• Helping kids with Anzac Day history

    Schools throughout the region will receive books and posters to educate students about Australia’s wartime history and commemorate Anzac Day. It is important that every generation understands the costs and impacts of war, both on the battlefield and at home. To help with that, the Coalition Government is providing schools will two books: Decision: Stories of leadership in the services about the influence of Australian leaders during wartime and A Bitter Fate: Australians in Malaya and Singapore, December 1941 – February 1942. The books explore the stories of individuals who made decisions that saved lives and influenced the outcomes of battles and wars.
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  • Funds for bridges on offer

    Councils throughout the region have the chance to get local bridges in poor condition fixed with the help of direct funding from the Federal Government with the commencement of a new round of funding under the $360 million Bridges Renewal Programme. This is a great opportunity for state, territory and local governments to apply for funding to have ageing bridges fixed, with up to half the cost met by the Australian Government. This will be the third round of funding under the programme, which is continuing to keep communities connected and local industries profitable. Our councils can get on board by nominating local bridges that need upgrading or replacement. Residents who might like to put forward their ideas should get in touch with their Council to find out about any plans they have to nominate local bridges, or put forward suggestions.
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  • Elitists try to write off jobs in the North

    The elitists are trying to write off jobs for struggling unemployed Central Queenslanders and North Queenslanders with their letter to Gautam Adani opposing the Carmichael Mine. Styling themselves as ‘prominent Australians’, these elitist wankers include investment bankers, CEOs of major corporations such as Telstra, pretentious literati, professional activists and has-been celebrities. I’d love for just one of them to come down to the Larrikin Hotel in Bowen and explain to the locals there who have been suffering from a stalled economy for years on end, why they think the jobs from the Carmichael Mine and Abbot Point coal port expansion should not be created.
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  • Tourism numbers for region on the rise

    We know it’s beautiful one day, perfect the next in Mackay and the Whitsundays, and others are working that out too. The latest latest tourism data released today shows an increase of 11 per cent in international visitor numbers to Mackay in the last 12 months, and an increase of 19 per cent in international visitor numbers for the Whitsundays. Mackay welcomed 47,000 international visitors in 2016 and they injected $31 million into the economy. The Whitsundays welcomed 248,000 international visitors in that timeframe and they spent $204 million in the region.
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  • Adani wants Mackay workers in jobs mix

    I’ve come away from a meeting with Adani representatives in Brisbane this morning heartened by assurances that up to 1000 jobs will come on line by mid-year and Mackay workers will be actively encouraged to apply. There are 1000 jobs in the mix as Adani moves into pre-construction work later this year and these jobs will be advertised directly in Mackay as well as regionally, and Mackay workers will be encouraged to apply for these jobs. I met with a key spokesperson for Adani in Brisbane this morning to lobby them for a greater commitment to assist Mackay regional residents being to apply for positions that may become available with their mine and associated works. These jobs will be in fields such as earthworks, fencing, building dams; all that is required for setting up the basic infrastructure for the mine site. There will also be construction jobs associated with the rail line from the Galilee Basin mine to the port of Abbot Point. These construction jobs will go on for two and a half years, so the employment prospects for workers are imminent and significant.
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  • Sugar industry needs rule book

    THE sudden collapse of arbitration between Burdekin District Cane Growers Limited (BDCG) and Wilmar Sugar has provided further proof of the need for Federal intervention via a Mandatory Code of Conduct. What the industry needs is a rule book and I’m determined to provide it. The arbitration process, which has ended, came about as a result of amendments to the Queensland Sugar Industry Act which was pushed through State Parliament by the LNP and Katter’s Australia Party in 2015. While the Queensland Sugar Industry Act amendments were initially welcomed, the reality is that now they are near-useless, meaning federally something will have to be done.
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  • Helping more young people into work

    8 March 2017: The Australian Government has today announced the organisations that were successful in their applications to deliver the second round of Empowering YOUth Initiatives and Headspace, with centre… read more →
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  • Helping women get into work

    With today marking International Women’s Day, I welcome the expansion of a successful employment partnership between the Coalition Government and UnitingCare Australia to deliver meaningful pre-employment training to women looking to engage in the workforce. Over the past year, 31 women have participated in three pilot projects in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia with each pilot project achieving close to a 100 per cent completion rate. For many of the women, being out of work had impacted on their confidence, however the transformation from these pilot programs has been remarkable. Due to the success of this partnership, the Coalition Government has committed $10 million over the next three years to the new ‘Launch into Work’ program, which will commence later this year.
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  • Surf club election pledge takes shape

    WORK to fulfill an election commitment to the Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club will soon get under way, with the end result of an upgraded premises with a dedicated first aid room and training facility. I was happy to make the commitment in June last year that a re-elected Liberal National Government would provide $100,000 for this upgrade. The club’s president Bill Landsbury and vice president Duncan Sanderson told me they hope to have it up and running by the end of April.
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  • Childcare centre boosts service with solar

    A Mackay childcare centre expects to halve its energy costs thanks to a boost from the Stronger Communities Programme. I congratulated C&K Mackay Children and Family Centre’s family support officer Lionel Hardiman, back, and director Tineke Philip on a successful grant of $14,877 for a newly-installed energy-saving solar panel system.
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  • Support for state action on sugar

    I congratulate the Queensland LNP on taking decisive action to end the impasse over sugar marketing which is crippling the sugar industry in the north. My Federal colleagues and I… read more →
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  • Defending free speech

    13 FEBRUARY 2017: I spoke in defence of free speech at a fundraiser on Friday night. You can read the speech here or link to the video.
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  • Native Title Act concerns will not halt Adani

    FEBRUARY 13, 2017: CHANGES to the Native Title Act will be introduced into the Federal Parliament this week to ensure there are no impacts on the Adani Carmichael Coal Project.… read more →
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  • Step closer to $30 million jobs package

    FEBRUARY 13, 2017: THE local committee which will identify the best priorities for a $30 million jobs and investment boost for the region has been announced by the Minister for Regional… read more →
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  • Support and ovarian cancer treatments needed

    8 FEBRUARY 2017: I want people diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families to get the support they need and I will be advocating on their behalf for the funding that can improve quality of life and help to extend life. I will be facilitating meetings with the Primary Health Network and also the Mackay Hospitals and Health Service to see what funding might be available for a support network in North Queensland.
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  • Children given access to life-changing CF drug

    7 FEBRUARY 2017: From today, children aged two to five will have immediate and free access to Kalydeco® (ivacaftor) – a life-changing drug that addresses the causes of cystic fibrosis rather than just the symptoms. Previously, only children six years of age and older with the G551D or other class III gating mutations had subsidised access to Kalydeco.
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  • Time to bring Wilmar into line

    7 FEBRUARY 2017: IT’S time for the government to step in and resolve sugar marketing dispute with a mandatory code of practice for the sugar industry. Wilmar has had more than enough time to the right thing of their own free will and it’s time the government stepped in to stop the Singaporean-owned miller from bullying farmers.
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  • NQ jobs, cheaper power a step closer

    2 FEBRUARY 2017: New jobs and lower power prices could come to North Queensland as momentum builds for a low-emissions coal-fired power generator in the North. My call for a clean coal generator in North Queensland has received a boost with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supporting the technology and emphasising the need for affordable and reliable electricity.
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  • Ovarian cancer drug subsidised

    1 FEBRUARY 2017: From today, Australians have subsidised access to new drugs for ovarian and lung cancer – which would otherwise cost more than $100,000 per course of treatment – but are now available for just $6.30 for concessional patients and $38.80 for general patients.
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  • Greens inciting flag-burners should be booted

    Members of the Greens who want to disrupt Australia Day celebrations and encourage people to “steal and burn aus rags” – an obvious reference to the Australian flag – should be expelled from their party. The far left faction of the NSW Greens are actively promoting disruption of our national day of celebration and I call on Greens leader Richard di Natalie to show some spine and expel party members who are encouraging theft and acts of desecration of our national flag. The Greens Left Renewal arm are sharing ideas for “7 days of Resistance” in the lead-up to Australia Day via their Facebook page, and the suggestions promoted include “interrupting aus day celebrations, paint images words/wording on walls and roads” and “steal and burn aus rags”.
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  • 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’

    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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