• Protecting penalty rates for ALL workers

    19 JUNE 2017: Today, I introduced a private members bill to parliament that would protect penalty rates for all workers and would restore penalty rates that have already been traded away through dodgy deals between big business and big unions.
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  • 91 young people get jobs through PaTH program

    91 young people in the electorate of Dawson now have jobs under the ‘Hire’ element of the Liberal National Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program. Across the country, more than 5,000 young Australians have been provided job opportunities as businesses take advantage of the financial incentives available to hire more young people. This is a big win for those young people and a win for local businesses helping them grow.
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  • Second local business wins Ring Road water relocation contract

    A second contract to relocate water mains on the construction site of the new Mackay Ring Road has been awarded to local company, Roebuck Civil. This is a major investment in the region’s road network. The Mackay Ring Road project was identified as a priority project under the Australian Government commitment to improving the Bruce Highway, and we want local businesses to benefit from that commitment. Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said this was the second local business awarded a water relocation contract on the Ring Road Project, after Vassallo Construction won a contract in May.
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  • Fair Work Bill must provide Fair Go for All

    JUNE 13, 2017: THE only fair work bill on penalty rate cuts that I will vote for is one which ends penalty rate cuts for ALL workers. Today Labor wanted to bring… read more →
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  • Local Drug Action Team applications now open

    The second round of applications are now open for local organisations to join the Liberal National Government’s Local Drug Action Team program. Community groups across the country are joining forces to deliver targeted local action to help tackle drug use and addiction. We need to work together to fight the scourge of ice and other drugs which cause so much harm to individuals, families and our communities. The program is an initiative under the Liberal National Government’s four year, $298 million investment to reduce the harms of ice, drugs and alcohol.
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  • Whitsundays on show in Paris

    THE city of Paris is festooned with billboards displaying turtles, Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef as part of the $10million tourism funding package to support our region following the effects of Cyclone Debbie. I welcome the launch of Tourism Australia’s international campaign which was undertaken by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo last night. I was able to bring Minister Ciobo to the Whitsundays to see firsthand the effects of Cyclone Debbie almost immediately after the event, and it is now heartening to see the results of that visit, which is a concerted effort to showcase our region internationally and beckon international tourists back to this beautiful part of the world. Tourism is so important for our community. It drives the economy and supports local jobs. That’s why the Liberal National Government is working hard to bring tourists back to the region.
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  • Adani announcement cause for celebration

    THE announcement today by Adani’s Gautam Adani that his company has made their final investment decision and will proceed with the massive Carmichael coal, rail and port project is cause for celebration throughout Central and North Queensland. This is an historic day, and it is significant that the announcement by Adani that they’ve signed off on their investment decision on the Carmichael Coal Project has been made on Queensland Day. It’s a great day for Queensland and particularly for those in Central and North Queensland who have had hopes raised and dashed numerous times as they await the jobs and business activity this project will create. Adani have announced in Townsville today that they have signed letters of award for design, construction, operations, supply of materials and professional services for the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin.
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  • Green groups with deep pockets

    3 JUNE 2017: Would you believe that the activist group at the heart of much of the attack against the Adani Carmichael Coal Project – GetUp! – paid out $4.6 million to their staff last year? That’s effectively $4.6 million going into the pockets of inner city green zealots who want to ensure that no money goes into the pockets of workers in this region who are desperate for jobs.
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  • Townsville MP puts green interests ahead of clean coal

    LABOR proved once again today that they would rather protect preference deals with the Greens than the needs of business in North Queensland. The benefits of having a coal-fired power station in North Queensland, preferably at the mouth of a coal mine in the Galilee Basin, have been demonstrated in a report commissioned by Townsville Enterprise Limited. A number of Labor MPs denigrated coal and the coal industry in speeches today, yet most disappointing of all was that the Member for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole, would not support any push for a coal fired power station in the region.
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  • Labor should be fair dinkum on penalty rates

    I HAVE issued a challenge to the Labor Party to prove they are fair dinkum about cuts to penalty rates, regardless of who is making the decisions. I moved an amendment to a Labor bill, stating that any move to address cuts to penalty rates due to the Fair Work Commission decision must also address cuts in penalty rates negotiated between big unions and big business. I oppose the reduction of any take home pay through changes to penalty rates, whether it comes about by the Fair Work Commission decision or union approved agreements.
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  • Bogus claims and cost-shifting from Qld Govt

    THE State Labor Government has serious questions to answer about their $220 million application for Category D funding under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) scheme. I believe that at least $56.3 million – about one quarter ­– of claims are bogus. Frankly I’m shocked at what has not been included in this application for funding which is expressly for the purpose of disaster recovery, and I’m equally shocked at what has been included.
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  • Applications open soon for Bowen Basin Jobs & Investment Package

    The Bowen Basin region with get a much-needed $30 million shot in the arm from the Regional Jobs and Investment Package, and the good news is that applications will open on May 31. With the Local Investment Plan, formulated by local representatives now done, the applications from the Bowen Basin region can roll in. This has been announced jointly today by the Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash along with Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd and myself. I thank the Bowen Basin Local Planning Committee for their hard work, based on local knowledge of the Bowen Basin region.
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  • Help for young parents in Mackay and Townsville

    Disadvantaged parents of young children in Townsville and Mackay will soon have access to the training and support they need to become work ready, thanks to the Liberal National Government’s decision to expand the successful ParentsNext program. The best form of welfare is a job and we are focused on helping more parents of young children into work and off welfare. After successful pilots, the Government is rolling out ParentsNext nationally, to connect more parents of young children with personalised support to improve their work readiness by the time their children start school. 20 new locations have been selected for the next rollout of this program, and both Townsville and Mackay are included.
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  • Cyclone Debbie grants for businesses and non profit groups

    May 18, 2017: I welcome today’s announcement that eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations in the Mackay region will be eligible for NDRRA recovery grants of up to $25,000. This… read more →
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  • Labor Senators ‘don’t give a damn’ about jobs

    LABOR senators can’t spent an extra few hours in Canberra to ensure thousands of workers get on the job sooner to build the Carmichael mine, port and rail line. This is the frustrating result of a series of last minute amendments and stalling in the Senate which has pushed off a vote on the Native Title Act for another month. Although Labor said they would support the necessary amendments to the Native Title Act which has essentially frozen a number of projects, including Adani’s Carmichael mine project, over indigenous land use agreements, they have managed to stall the process and further delay job creation. It’s just another example of the so-called ‘party of the workers’ failing to do what is necessary to support workers not only in Central and North Queensland, but also workers in South Australia at Arrium who will have job security through the company’s deal to supply steel to build the Carmichael rail line. The necessary amendments to the Native Title Act were scheduled for a vote in the Senate yesterday.
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  • Banks warned: Anti coal capitulation will cost

    If banks are going to take actions to discriminate against businesses undertaking legitimate activities, I will take action too. To start with, I’ll be pushing for the LNP and the National Party to shut down their accounts with Westpac and go to a bank that does support jobs in regional Queensland because of the stance they have taken against the Adani Carmichael Coal Project. I have been informed that the Mackay Conservation Group is planning to grandstand about their ‘huge win’ outside the Westpac bank in Mackay on Monday, and then head to CommBank to put pressure on them to abandon support for Adani. People have a right to protest against government decisions, but they are really treading close to the edge when they protest against a legitimate business activity, which is a bank financing another company to conduct a completely legal activity. For the banks to acquiesce to these green thugs is unbelievable.
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  • Future secure for $1 billion Landcare program

    An investment of more than $1 billion over five years in the National Landcare Program announced in this week’s Budget will supports the type of environmental work I fully applaude. It provides practical, on-the-ground ways to improve issues like soil health, erosion management and water quality, making the program relevant to all land managers – but especially farmers. Our farmers manage about 53 per cent of our landmass and with global demand for food and fibre set to double by 2050 it’s important that we keep Landcare front and centre to assist them to manage our natural resources. Every farming family I know wants to pass on their land in better shape than when they got it and our investment through this Budget will help them achieve those goals.
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  • 300,000 apprenticeships for rural and regional Australia

    A new $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund announced in the Budget will give rural and regional Australia a jobs boost through the creation of 300,000 apprenticeships over the next four years. I welcome this move to reverse the dramatic decline in apprentice numbers, because vocational education and apprenticeships are vital in this region, and some of the identified growth industries to be prioritised are agriculture and tourism. And I welcome the fact that this is being funded by the abolition of the 457 Visa program, which will be replaced by a revised program which will require employers hiring temporary or permanent employer-sponsored foreign workers to pay a fee.
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  • Mackay businesses invited to seize North Asia free trade opportunities

    I encourage business owners to seize the opportunity to gather firsthand information on trade opportunities from the experts at a seminar for small to medium sized businesses in Mackay next week. Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Keith Pitt will host the seminar for those who want to discover how Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with China, Japan and Korea can benefit them. The free event will be held on Friday, May 12 at the Mackay Grande Suites, Flinders Room, 9 Gregory Street, Mackay from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. There are businesses in the region reaping the benefits of the free trade deals which are now in place with our Asian neighbours and I would love to see others explore the options available.
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  • Getting funding right for schools

    THE Liberal National Coalition Government’s new plan for schools will mean growing and better targeted funding and evidence-based programs for local students. The Government announced it would grow funding for Queensland government schools by $1426 million or 91.5 per cent over the next ten years that would be real needs-based funding and would be tied to school reforms which are proven to boost student results. Non-government schools will see an increase in funding of $1304 million or 59.3 per cent over the next 10 years. We’re delivering the real ‘Gonski’ needs-based funding model that Labor didn’t.
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  • Surging ahead on Haughton

    The vital upgrade of the Haughton River Floodplain, which includes the replacement of the Haughton River Bridge, has been brought forward by nine months and tenders for the design and construction of the project will be called this week. This work cannot come soon enough. The replacement of the Haughton River Bridge has been voted the most urgent problem to be fixed on this stretch of the Bruce Highway between Mackay and Townsville.
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  • $15 million for cyclone community recovery

    THE announcement of almost $15 million in Category C community recovery funding for Local Government Areas (LGAs) including Mackay, Whitsunday, Isaac and Rockhampton is a sensible support step for those who have been adversely affected by Cyclone Debbie. This further level of Category C Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) funding provides for such initiatives as a personal support program to provide counselling for those experiencing personal and emotional difficulties, and financial counselling for those adjusting to changed financial circumstances. Another important element of this additional funding will be the provision of specialist mental health services and support for those experiencing severe distress and mental health disorders. It can be particularly appropriate for those with existing mental health problems (including children), and for emergency responders.
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  • Campaign on Country of Origin labelling kicks off

    The Federal Government’s country of origin labelling for food campaign, which was announced yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos, is a welcome move. This new food labelling system which came into effect last year supports Aussie producers and Aussie jobs, and it’s what the Australian consumer wanted. It’s important now for the government to get out there and let people know what the new labels mean.
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  • Who should call North Queensland home?

    21 APRIL 2017: Decentralising government can bring a lot of benefits if it is managed well so I’m asking North Queenslanders to help identify the best options and then I can lobby for North Queensland to be a beneficiary of the Liberal National Government’s decentralisation push.
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  • Ayr school scores $19,000 for digital teaching tools

    20 APRIL 2017: Ayr State Primary School is set to engage in some digital technology education with cutting edge tools as part of a nation-wide digital literacy program run by the Liberal National Government. The school will receive $19,065 through the Digital Literacy School Grants Program.
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  • Scrapping 457 visas puts Aussie workers first

    19 APRIL 2017: The Liberal National Government’s scrapping of the 457 visa program is a massive win for Australian workers. In November last year, I called for a complete ban of 457 visas in North Queensland because Australian workers here could not find jobs. Now that the entire program has been scrapped nationwide, that’s even better.
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  • Insurance forum for cyclone-affected

    19 APRIL 2017: Cyclone-affected insurance policy holders can attend a forum in Mackay to meet with key insurance companies, Legal Aid, and the Insurance Council of Australia. The forums will be held in Mackay on May 1 and Proserpine on May 2.
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  • Jobs flow from new overlaking lanes

    12 APRIL 2017: MORE overtaking lanes are in place along the Bruce Highway, with two new sections opening between Proserpine and Bowen three months ahead of schedule. Completion of the overtaking lanes near Dingo and Emu Creeks – funded as part of the Coalition’s record $50 billion infrastructure investment programme – highlighted the government’s drive to improve safety and efficiency on the Bruce Highway.
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  • Debbie donations deductible

    12 APRIL 2017: Donations made to Australian disaster relief funds in the wake of Cyclone Debbie will be tax deductible after the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, declared Tropical Cyclone Debbie and associated rainfall and flooding a disaster for the purposes of establishing Australian disaster relief funds.
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  • Foreign aid an insult to victims of Debbie

    7 APRIL 2017: NORTH Queensland cyclone victims are struggling to access government payments while billions of dollars are being sent overseas. Today Icalled for a halt to all foreign aid while the nation is struggling to deal with its own domestic disaster.
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