THE long held vision of creating a Drop In Centre for the homeless in Mackay took another step forward today with the presentation of a grant for $20,000 under the Stronger Communities Programme.
Mackay Drop In Centre (MDIC) will construct a purpose-built building in partnership with Salvation Army Mackay to provide a day service for homeless people of Mackay.
I recommended this project for the maximum funding available under the Liberal National Government’s Stronger Communities Programme, and I’m thrilled to see that it’s been approved.
FUNDING is set to flow to create jobs, provide water security and open up vast tracts of agricultural land with Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen welcoming announcements this morning that pre-construction planning work will begin for the Urannah Dam, the raising of the Burdekin Dam Wall, the Burdekin Haughton Channel upgrade, Hell’s Gate Dam and to upgrade water infrastructure for Clermont.
Today’s announcement makes all the hard work fighting for local jobs worthwhile.
Today I had the pleasure of announcing more than $725,000 from Round Two of the Coalition’s Safer Streets Programme to fund closed-circuit television (CCTV) at Airlie Beach.
The Safer Streets Programme supports communities at the grass roots to help address crime and anti-social behaviour, and boost crime prevention initiatives to keep our streets safe.
I was joined by the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan at Airlie Beach today to make the announcement.
It has been great to see so many volunteer groups in my electorate benefit from the last round of Volunteer Grants and I congratulate all of those involved, and I thank you for your service.
Across my electorate of Dawson, 40 organisations have received a total of $166,946 and this will benefit 1055 volunteers as well as the wider community they serve.
The regional breakdown is as follows:
Mackay region – 13 groups received a total of $58,496
Whitsunday/Bowen region – 8 groups received a total of $35,303
Burdekin region – 14 groups received a total of $53,655
South Townsville and Alligator Creek – 5 groups received a total of $19,492
The backpacker tax is gone.
The Federal Liberal National government is deferring the tax for six months pending a review which is expected to come up with a lower, more competitive tax rate.
I met with Bowen Gumlu Growers Association president Carl Walker in Bowen this morning to share the news, which will provide fruit and vegetable growers with greater workforce certainty.
The backpackers I spoke to were also happy to hear about it.
We definitely need to ensure that our growers have the workers they need to harvest their crops, but we also need to ensure that as many Australians as possible have the opportunity to take up work on farms.
WORK is now at the tender stage for the $57 million Bruce Highway – Sandy Gully Bridge Upgrade north of Bowen, as we deliver a road able to withstand a once-in-50-year flood event.
This particular section of the Bruce Highway is regularly closed during bad weather, with wide-ranging effects on surrounding residents and motorists passing through the region.
Making this section of highway more flood resistant will have significant benefits for the safety of motorists and the wellbeing of communities at risk of being isolated by flood waters.
It’s also a project which will provide 107 direct jobs over the life of the project, so we can look forward to these jobs coming on line in the very near future.
A Labor-Greens government would spell the end for the Adani Carmichael Mine Project and the thousands of jobs it would provide.
This has been made crystal clear by Greens and Labor candidates this week.
If the Greens get to power-share in a Labor minority government, we can kiss the Carmichael Mine Project goodbye because the Greens will push to overturn the mine approval and sound the death knell on the thousands of jobs it would create.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters has said the Adani mine should never have been approved.
So this is how it would play out if we ended up in the mess of having a Labor-Greens minority government.
LABOR leader Bill Shorten has confirmed that his government will do nothing to support the workers of Central and North Queensland who are desperate to see Adani’s Carmichael Mine Project go ahead.
Why is Mr Shorten so opposed to the project when it’s vital for the economy of the region?
Mr Shorten said in Mackay today, and I quote ‘The Commonwealth Government I lead wouldn’t be putting taxpayers’ money into the Adani mine.’
SECURING a Liberal National Government Industry Skills Fund grant of more than $28,000 will enable Paget-based business Mackay Conveyor Equipment to train up employees in preparation for a diversified future.
I paid the business a visit today and caught up with managing director Jason Kelly, who told me he wanted to upskill his staff so together they could work towards establishing a consistent flow of business.
He said it came down to looking further afield to source work for his business which has traditionally provided parts and maintenance services to coal mines in the Bowen Basin.
THE established industry capabilities of Mackay could allow the city to ride the back of a new Australia-Singapore partnership which will see the tiny Asian nation invest $1 billion in strengthening our defence partnership and accelerating collaboration in innovation, science, research and technology.
The new partnership would see Rockhampton and Townsville become bases for the Singapore Army.
A $1 billion investment in Singapore’s defence capabilities to the south of us in Rockhampton and to our north in Townsville puts Mackay in a great position to tap into opportunities for the manufacturing and maintenance of equipment which may be required.
I will lead a backbench revolt against any decision to terminate funding for local school chaplains beyond 2018 if I have to, because I am concerned that it is not listed in the Budget’s forward estimates.
This is a programme I support personally through donations, and it will continue if I have my way.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham has said that Federal funding for the School Chaplaincy Programme will continue until the end of the 2018 calendar year, as it was funded as a four year program from 2014. It will then be due for consideration ahead of the 2017-18 Budget.
THE Dawson electorate will benefit from a significant infrastructure boost in the 2016-17 financial year, with $43.6 million allocated for specific projects in the region, and that’s in addition to any Federal funding which will flow for the $448 million we will invest into the Mackay Ring Road.
The electorate will also receive its fair share of a further $6.4 billion across a range of infrastructure initiatives, including the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
This demonstrates the Liberal National Government’s commitment to regional communities, outlined in last night’s Federal Budget.
The funding is about boosting connectivity, building critical infrastructure, supporting innovation and fostering local leadership to support regional communities in Dawson.
AN ESTIMATED 3195 homes and businesses in more isolated rural areas of the region can begin to connect to affordable, high-speed broadband with the launch of services on NBN’s Sky Muster satellite network today.
This is great news for people in more rural areas that will finally be able to access high speed internet.
There’s an estimated 3195 homes and businesses in my electorate in rural pockets between Mackay and Townsville who can connect and achieve download speeds of up to 25 megabits per second and uploads of up to 5 megabits, as the Sky Muster service will provided a faster online experience.
To be eligible to connect to the service, you must be outside of NBN’s fixed line and fixed wireless coverage areas, and you can find out if you are by visiting www.nbnco.com.au or freecall NBN on 1800 687 626.
THIS morning I met with key proponents for the Urannah Dam which would provide water to underpin growth and development in the Mackay, Whitsunday, Isaac and Burdekin regions to discuss the push for funding for planning and design of the dam.
I hope to see funding flow when the successful applicants for the Liberal National government’s National Water Infrastructure Development Fund are announced.
I have done everything in my power to get the Urannah Dam on the radar of those in Canberra, and I am hopeful we will be able to start work on the project through the $25 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
There’s funding which will be specifically directed to Northern Australia, and the planning and design work for Urannah Dam is in the running for this.
AS if farmers don’t have enough to deal with when it comes to tree clearing laws, we now have Federal Labor pollies from city seats announcing fancy plans to introduce more ‘green police’.
Bill Shorten has announced a plan to overrule state tree clearing policies, and send in Federal ‘green police to tell farmers what they can and can’t do on their own land.
So we would have jumped-up federal bureaucrats flashing badges, stopping landholders from doing the work needed to run a normal farming enterprise.
Only city slickers like Bill Shorten would come up with such a restrictive and blatantly unfair policy.
Labor’s announcement today that they would essentially bring back a carbon tax if elected beggars belief.
The Opposition’s climate plan also includes an option for them to further restrict farmers’ ability to clear their own land.
Labor’s fearless leader Bill Shorten will go blindly where Labor leaders before him have gone, and that’s down the path of introducing a carbon tax which will cost jobs and drive up power prices.
Shorten has announced that a Labor Government will introduce an emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030, so this would essentially double Australia’s emissions reduction targets.
I welcome today’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt that the Turnbull Government is investing a further $11 million in new projects to improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
This will help farmers with the great work they do to manage effects on the environment, and it will help the Reef to withstand pressures such as the current coral bleaching event.
The funding, to be delivered under Phase Three of the Reef Trust, will help local farmers reduce the impact of agricultural practices on the Reef.
THE ability to progress work on some Bruce Highway projects rests entirely in Labor’s hands, and the best thing Bill Shorten could do for the Bruce Highway is to tell his counterparts in the State Labor Government to pull their finger out.
I believe Mr Shorten has been making announcements regarding Labor’s plans for the Bruce Highway in Townsville today, and he should ask his counterparts in the Palaszczuk government ‘why is Labor holding up the Haughton River Bridge Replacement?’
The replacement of this bridge has been voted the most urgent problem to be fixed on that stretch of the Bruce Highway between Mackay and Townsville.
THE main street of Ayr is a beneficiary under the latest round of Black Spot Program funding, as is the notorious Horse & Jockey Road and Landsdowne Road intersection at Racecourse near Mackay.
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester’s has announced that $70,000 would be provided by the Liberal National Government to fix the black spot at the intersection of Queen and Soper streets in Ayr.
This black spot funding will be used to modify the approaches and centre island geometry, for resurfacing and upgrading line marking.
In the Mackay region, though it actually falls in the Capricornia electorate, I welcome the announcement of $1.19 million for the intersection of Horse Jockey Road and Landsdowne Road.
THE reality regarding access to NBN services for the people of the Mackay region is that it’s happening at a cracking pace, and many residents have access but have not yet opted to connect.
The Mackay region, and in fact nearly all of my electorate of Dawson which includes Proserpine and the Whitsundays, Bowen and the Burdekin, will have access to the NBN by the end of next year.
That means this region will be two years ahead of the full scheduled rollout prediction of 2020.
What we have taking place here is a huge shift in communications technology, and that can get confusing because residents will connect to the NBN via a mix of technologies.
It was a pleasure to welcome the Assistant Minister for Immigration Senator James McGrath to Mackay today to shore up support for international flights to New Zealand.
International flights out of centres like Mackay and the Whitsundays will provide a vital tourism boost for this region and be a great step forward in diversifying our economic base.
Senator McGrath is a fellow Queenslander who understands the value of tourism and I welcome his support of plans by both the Mackay Airport and the Whitsunday Coast Airport to provide direct access to the international market.
Senator McGrath met with Mackay Airport general manager Rob Porter and Hello World Mackay managing director Steven Boxall this afternoon.
A VESSEL which could make it easier for emergency services workers to work in floodwaters was unveiled in Cannonvale this morning and I am happy to lend my support to boat-builder and designer Steve Jandt on his project.
His 6m prototype rescue catamaran, named the Jetcat, was put through its paces at Cannonvale today.
Mr Jandt has designed and built a vessel that is unlike anything else available globally and the key benefits are it’s powered by jet units, so there are no propellers, and you can launch it in floodwaters and harsher conditions.
BALL Bay centenarian Anna Eastoe has taken the fuss surrounding her latest birthday in her stride, welcoming guests, attending parties and providing answers on the secret to her long life.
It was a pleasure to pay Mrs Eastoe, who turned 100 on Friday, a visit over the weekend during her birthday celebration to present her with a framed certificate.
“I had a lovely day with all my friends; we had about 35 to 40 people there.
I have received confirmation from Environment Minster Greg Hunt’s office this morning, that we have a stay of execution on job losses at our Bureau of Meteorology field office.
I went into bat for these jobs after it was announced with just a day’s notice to my office, that jobs would go from BOM field offices up and down the Queensland coast.
I have now been assured that BOM field staff duties of taking meteorological observations and maintaining observing equipment will continue for a further 12 months, which takes us through to March 2017.
THE stories that Mackay man Joe Wills can tell about his service during the Second World War have been heard by very few people.
That’s because this unassuming man chose to stay quiet about his experiences as a commando fighting the Japanese in New Guinea.
The 93-year-old has clearly not had the recognition he deserved though I was able to rectify that in some small measure this week by presenting Joe with a Certificate of Appreciation.
THE announcement today from Adani that Mackay, Bowen, Townsville and Rockhampton will all play key roles in providing manpower and services for their Carmichael Coal Mine Project will provide the region with a huge confidence boost
This is the news that everyone has been waiting to hear – workers and businesses in Mackay and Bowen, as well as those in Townsville and Rockhampton – will all benefit from the Carmichael Mine Project as we have the people, the logistics and the mining services hubs to service this project.
Labor’s claim on approving the Carmichael Mine (Bowen Independent, 6/4/16, P8) is a hollow boast, considering Labor are still holding up the approval of the Abbot Point port expansion.
The Labor Party ran a half page ad for their candidate in the upcoming federal election but what they failed to mention was they’re still yet to approve the Abbot Point port expansion.
In fact Labor’s State Environment Minister Steven Miles is on the record stating he will not issue the Abbot Port approval until Adani has the finance for the project.