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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
TODAY’S announcement by Treasurer Scott Morrison that a backpacker tax of 19 cents in the dollar will be introduced next year, rather than a proposed 32.5 cents, is a win for our regional economy.
Those in the horticultural, agricultural and tourism sectors in this region had legitimate concerns about the effects of a backpacker tax and I was happy to champion their cause and seek a fairer deal to ensure that the backpacker workforce was not decimated.
14 SEPTEMBER 2016: Congratulations to local academics and professional staff from CQ University and James Cook University on being recommended for citations for their outstanding contributions to student learning.
8 SEPTEMBER 2016: R U OK? Sometimes it’s the simplest words that are the hardest to say, but today we are being encouraged to start a conversation with someone if we notice they are struggling to cope. Today is R U OK? Day, a day to take the first step, check in and reconnect with those around us – after all, we are stronger together.
7 SEPTEMBER 2016: The first report from the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land was released by the Liberal National Government today. I have long been an advocate for the register and this report provides the basic transparency needed to ensure oversight and confidence in agricultural investment.