• Apply now for round one of Building Better Regions Fund

    18 JANUARY 2017: Community groups and local councils are encouraged to apply for funding under the Building Better Regions Fund, which is available for community and infrastructure projects in North Queensland. Applications will be assessed in three categories depending on the size of the project – so small community projects are not competing against huge projects worth tens of millions.
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  • Thoughts on a republic

    DECEMBER 16, 2016: I have declared my support for an Australian republic, but only if the move was truly egalitarian, with a head of state who was elected by the people. My other… read more →
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  • Petition to stop abuse of legal system

    9 DECEMBER 2016: To the thousands of North Queenslanders who joined me in the push to get Adani’s Carmichael Coal Project over the line, I would like to offer sincere thanks and also to congratulate you on the successes we have achieved to date. Mr Adani’s visit to North Queensland this week brought with it a wave of confidence and a positive outlook for our region as we look forward to the jobs and economic boost that will follow.
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  • Right to clear land assured

    ANY suggestion that the Federal Government will intervene and ban farmers from tree clearing is just utter nonsense. There have been media reports which gave the impression that Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg would “stop Queensland farmers clearing land in an effort to protect the Great Barrier Reef”. The Liberal National Coalition Government will not be stepping in and banning farmers from undertaking tree clearing on their own land. Any media reports which claim we will are overblown nonsense.
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  • Rail line to boost jobs & economy

    5 DECEMBER 2016: Construction of a rail line linking the Galilee Basin with the port at Abbot Point will open up jobs and economic opportunity far beyond Adani’s Carmichael Coal Project. I am supporting a Federal Government loan for construction of the multi-use rail line under the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
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  • Tax deal a win for backpackers and local workers

    28 NOVEMBER 2016: A 15 per cent tax rate for backpackers is a good outcome for North Queensland farmers, backpackers and Australian workers. The Liberal National Government announced today it had negotiated a deal with One Nation for the tax rate applying to working holiday visa holders.
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  • Regional funding better than ever

    23 NOVEMBER 2016: Regional funding takes a quantum leap forward with today’s launch of the Building Better Regions Fund. Most importantly, capital cities will no longer be eligible for regional funding because this is a fund for rural, regional and remote communities.
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  • Sugar tax will cut jobs, not kilos

    23 NOVEMBER 2016: A TAX on sugar will cut jobs but it won’t obesity – and it will hurt people on low incomes the most. The Nanny State today launched a report from left-wing think tank, the Grattan Institute, called: Taxing Sugary Drinks: Recovering the Community Cost of Obesity.
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  • Wilmar ‘forcing government to act’

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    21 NOVEMBER 2016: Despite having crops already in the ground and the best prices for years, most cane farmers have not signed cane supply agreements with Wilmar because Wilmar’s proposed agreements deny farmers their right to choice in marketing.
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  • Call for sacked mine workers to speak up

    17 NOVEMBER 2016: Today, I am calling for any German Creek mine workers who believe they have been made redundant so their jobs could go to labour hire contractors to contact my office so I can take up their case with the Fair Work Ombudsman. I have had ongoing concerns about the rise of casualisation in the mining industry and particular concerns about what was happening at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine near Middlemount.
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  • Shorten needs to back up his outlandish claim

    16 NOVEMBER 2016: Bill Shorten needs to back up his outlandish accusations today about 457 visa-related voting in parliament with fact. He claims I voted “no” to legislation that, according to Bill, Labor “proposed to help improve the governance, the regulation of the visa system to make sure that Australians were getting looked after and people weren’t getting ripped off and exploited”.
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  • Shorten fails to own up to issuing record 457 visas

    16 NOVEMBER 2016: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten missed a golden opportunity today to explain to North Queenslanders why he signed off on a record number of 457 visas when he was the Employment Minister. Although the purpose of Mr Shorten’s Mackay visit was to talk about 457 visas, he failed to mention that Labor oversaw the largest increase in 457 visas during their last term of government.
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  • Moratorium needed on foreign workers

    15 NOVEMBER 2016: I wrote to the Prime Minister this morning, calling for a complete ban on 457 visas being issued for jobs located in Central and North Queensland. I also wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister and the ministers for Employment and Immigration, requesting a moratorium on 457s in the region hardest hit by the mining downturn.
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  • 8 million visitors: Australia sets new tourism record

    14 NOVEMBER 2016: AUSTRALIA welcomed more than eight million international tourists over the past 12 months and the benefits have flowed to North Queensland, especially the Whitsundays. This year’s results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics is the first time Australia has broken the eight million visitor mark.
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  • Supplanting Australian law with Sharia should cost citizenship

    7 NOVEMBER 2016: Today I called for citizenship to be revoked from new residents who broke Australian law in order to comply with Sharia law during a speech in parliament on forced marriages. Political correctness should not stop Australia from upholding and enforcing Australian law, including for those who voluntarily came to Australia.
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  • Next step on $30 million jobs and investment boost

    I will meet with other Federal MPs who represent the Bowen Basin region next week to plan the next steps in delivering a $30 million jobs and investment package, bringing to fruition another Coalition Government election commitment. The aim of the Bowen Basin Regional Jobs and Investment Package is to help businesses diversify and to create more jobs on the ground. The next step in getting this $30 million investment out of Government coffers and into businesses and programmes that will provide jobs is to establish a local planning committee which will operate under the guidance of the Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash.
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  • Give local youth a go

    3 NOVEMBER 2016: An innovative Youth Jobs PaTH programme is getting young North Queenslanders ready and able to join the workforce. Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) will help increase young people’s job prospects by ensuring they are better prepared for the workplace and encouraging more businesses to open the door to them.
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  • Free shingles vaccine for over 70s

    2 NOVEMBER 2016: Good news today that 70-year-old Australians can get the shingles vaccine for free. The vaccine will be free to eligible people, with a catch-up program available for adults aged 71 to 79 years.
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  • NDIS rolling out in Mackay

    31 OCTOBER 2016: The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will roll out to Mackay residents from tomorrow, improving the lives of more North Queenslanders with disability and generating hundreds of jobs in the region.
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  • Upgrade for Mackay to Galilee road link

    24 OCTOBER 2016: A vital road link between Mackay and the Galilee Basin will be upgraded under the Liberal National Government’s road funding program announced today. The Clermont to Alpha road has been talked about for years as the missing link in an all-weather transport route from the Galilee Basin to the service centre on the coast.
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  • Name needed for Yellow Gin Creek bridge

    18 OCTOBER 2016: I put a call out this morning for North Queenslanders to help name a new bridge over Yellow Gin Creek on the Bruce Highway, south of Ayr. The yet to be named two-lane, 120m bridge opened to traffic in June, replacing an old crossing that regularly flooded and caused road closures.
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  • Adani jobs starting to flow

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    16 OCTOBER 2016: Adani’s job advertisements in Saturday’s Daily Mercury are an early sign of a regional jobs floodgate about to open at the Carmichael Coal Project.  Jobs advertised included… read more →
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  • ACCC must investigate Wilmar stalemate

    150508 - Paul Schembri sugar cane 2 lo
    12 OCTOBER 2016: I have called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to urgently investigate the stalemate between North Queensland cane farmers and Singaporean sugar miller Wilmar this morning.
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  • Best welfare is helping to secure and hold a job

    12 OCTOBER 2016: The best form of welfare government can provide is to fund initiatives that help people to find and keep a job. The Liberal National Government’s focus on ensuring young Australians are job-ready has been strengthened with the launch of grant guidelines for the second round of the Empowering YOUth Initiatives.
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  • Labor sweeps QLD dam projects under the carpet

    11 OCTOBER 2016: Urannah Dam and a host of other water projects in North Queensland have been swept under the carpet by the Queensland Labor government, putting thousands of job opportunities on hold.
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  • Week highlights suicide prevention

    10 OCTOBER 2016: Mental Health week, which starts today, is an opportunity to highlight the important suicide prevention work undertaken by individuals and organisations in North Queensland.
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  • Million dollar boost to aged care facility

    It was a pleasure to represent the Prime Minister today at the opening of a new specialist care wing which will provide a million dollar boost to Townsville’s aged care facilities. The Good Shepherd Home at Annandale was successful in gaining further funding under the second round of the National Stronger Regions programme last year, and today we celebrated the opening of a new wing for the facility which features 90 new rooms with private ensuites, a premium accommodation floor, a high care accommodation floor and an entire level dedicated to the care of dementia patients. This project has been completed over two stages and features three levels, and it provides a premium care facility for Townsville’s aged community.
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  • Flicking the switch on cricket lights funding

    A PROJECT which will drive sports tourism in Mackay and draw cricket and AFL fans from far afield will now become a reality thanks to a significant boost of Federal Government funding. I’m happy to announce that Harrup Park Country Club’s application for $497,026 in funding under the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) to upgrade the lighting at their Premier Oval has been successful. This means that Harrup Park will be able to meet the standards required by Cricket Australia and the AFL to host premier sporting events during the popular evening timeslot which is televised. This million dollar project ($997,026 in total) will stimulate the economy and create jobs both now and into the future.
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  • $266,000 in the hoop for Burdekin basketball

    I am pleased to announce that I have fulfilled an election commitment to the Burdekin Amateur Basketball Association made during the final days of the recent election campaign. I spoke to Burdekin Amateur Basketball Club president Steve Plaza at the time, and gave an undertaking that I would do my utmost to secure the funding they were seeking to make their outdoor stadium a reality. They now have more than $266,000 on the way.
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  • Work kicks off at Sandy Gully

    We’ve turned the sod to mark the commencement of work on the Sandy Gully Bridge upgrade north of Bowen today, and this $57 million project will improve safety and flood immunity on this 3.7 kilometre stretch of the Bruce Highway. The project will create in excess of 100 jobs, and I was happy to see this work was awarded to a Mackay-based business, Vassallo Constructions. This section of the Bruce Highway floods regularly in bad weather and closures can seriously impact on drivers in the region.
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