• Senator clueless on sugar industry

    Moves by NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm to reverse a hard-fought decision to introduce a sugar marketing code of conduct are both ignorant and arrogant. Senator Leyonhjelm wants to scrap the Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct, and he claims he has the support of Labor senators to do so. This is an arrogant stance by a NSW Senator with no experience or understanding of the sugar industry. He calls cane farmers ‘socialists’ and he says their arguments for a right to a say over who markets their sugar are ‘piss-weak’.
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  • Have your say on review of regional education

    Got something to say about education for country kids? Now is the time to speak up as the Liberal National Government is undertaking a landmark review into regional, rural and remote education initiated by the Liberal National Government. I invite families, students and the wider community to take a look at what’s being discussed and then tell us what you think. We need your input on the challenges faced and the ways you get around them.
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  • Main tender on Mackay Ring Road announced

    WE reached a major milestone in the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 project today with the announcement that CPB Contractors have won the major tender. This project will remove heavy vehicles from the Mackay CBD and residential areas by providing a bypass for all vehicles without a destination in Mackay. This is a massive project for the region – we’re going to see 13 new bridges being built as part of it – and I believe an average of 534 jobs will be supported during construction of the bypass. We need jobs, jobs, jobs in this region and I have already had discussions with CPB and heard firsthand that they’re very keen to engage the local suppliers, subcontractors and workers in Mackay. They have said that it is naturally more efficient for them to source supplies where they can up here in this region rather than elsewhere. CPB will also be advertising for expressions of interest in due course for locals interested in being involved in the project. This is a very big infrastructure project for our region and we can look forward to seeing the flow-on effects of business dollars and job opportunities for a number of years.
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  • Superyacht access a boost to Whitsunday economy

    THE introduction of more superyacht anchorages in the Whitsundays, to take effect from today, is a welcome step on an issue I have lobbied for extensively over the past two years. I was very pleased to hear the announcement from Federal Minister for the Environment Josh Frydenberg that amendments to the Whitsundays Plan of Management have been finalised, opening the way for 21 new superyacht anchorages in this world-class tourist destination. I have met with superyacht industry representatives on numerous occasions in the past two years and discussed the case for change with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) as well as the current and former Environment Minister. One superyacht spending a week in port has the potential to inject $50,000 into the local economy and support a number of small businesses. When we see places like Noumea hosting 200 visits a year of a week or more each, we can appreciate the potential for the Whitsundays.
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  • $1 million boost for Skate Park Dream

    THIS morning I’ve announced that Mackay Regional Council has been successful in attracting funding of $1 million under the Building Better Regions Fund for the their Mackay Skate Park & Wheeled Sports Plaza Project. This all came to pass due to the efforts of a pair of 12-year-old Mackay boys who dreamed of a quality skate park in their city, and they approached politicians at all levels to make it happen. Flynn Bushell and Ethan Leval started a petition for a skate park, and they came to see me as well as Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson. Today they’ve got the good news that their dream will become a reality. Mackay Regional Council will contribute another $1.2 million to make the project a reality and it will be built at the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in Scriha Street, North Mackay. Mackay will receive great benefits from this project, as it will deliver the region’s first competition standard skate park and wheeled sports plaza.
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  • Frank discussion on cyclone funding

    NO-ONE pulled any punches at a teleconference which was held today with Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan in relation to concerns over Category D NDRRA funding approvals. It was a frank and fearless discussion as it had to be because we are talking about funding to assist the community in recovering from a natural disaster.Both Mayor Andrew Willcox and Mayor Greg Williamson did a fantastic job in ferociously advocating for the region. While there was a lot of disagreement around specific statements that were being made, a way forward was mapped out. The Federal Government has unanswered questions about a number of projects that were rejected for funding.
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  • Get bids in for up to $20,000 in community funds

    A FUNDING programme which provides as much as $20,000 for non-profit community groups to undertake capital projects is up and running again, I’m calling for applications. We are now embarking on Round 3 of the Stronger Communities Programme, an initiative of the Liberal National Government, which has provided funding for 28 different community groups throughout the Dawson electorate over the past two years. The programme provides between $2,500 and $20,000 under a 50/50 funding arrangement for small capital projects being undertaken by not-for-profit groups which deliver social benefits in our communities. We are now taking Expressions of Interest, so if you have a project that might fit the bill please call my office on 4944 0662 and we can provide the EOI form and answer other questions.
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  • Traffic flows with ease at the Annandale intersection

    JULY 18, 2017: Townsville motorists now have a safer and more streamlined road network with the newly improved William Angliss/Mervyn Crossman Drive intersection now reopened to traffic. This is one… read more →
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  • Big 4 banks called to account

    JULY 14, 2017: I’ve organised a special banking industry forum to be held in Mackay next week to put direct questions to representatives of the big four banks regarding their… read more →
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  • Disbanding army a disservice to community

    13 JULY 2017: The Federal Government’s axing of the Green Army was a disastrous decision for North Queensland. I’m not going to play the government’s line on the Green Army program, which will cease on June 30 next year, because, frankly, I was ticked off when the government announced the Green Army was axed.
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  • Seasonal work incentives will help farmers and unemployed

    JULY 13, 2017: The Liberal National Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers a range of incentives for unemployed people to undertake seasonal horticultural work to help them gain experience and… read more →
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  • Funding available to assist younger veterans

    12 JULY 2017: Community and ex-service organisations can now apply for grants to deliver sustainable services for younger veterans. The Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program recognises the importance of the transition phase for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they leave the military.
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  • Funding available to assist younger veterans

    I would encourage community and ex-service organisations to apply for grants which are now available for projects that deliver sustainable services for younger veterans. The Supporting Younger Veterans (SYV) grants program recognises the importance of the transition phase for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they leave the military. $1 million is available in the second round for projects that build community support and service the unique needs of younger veterans transitioning to civilian life. Applications are invited for a range of initiatives including mentoring, team building, self-improvement, and creative activities that promote social inclusion and peer-to-peer support for younger veterans.
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  • Shortlist for fixing dangerous Haughton bridge

    6 JULY 2017: Two preferred tenderers have been shortlisted to deliver the $515 million project to upgrade the notoriously dangerous and flood-prone Haughton River Bridge on the Bruce Highway, about 50km south of Townsville. The Australian Government’s $412 million commitment to the project is funded under the 10-year, $8.5 billion Bruce Highway Upgrade Program.
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  • Seasonal worker incentives for the North

    5 JULY 2017: THE Liberal National Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial offers a range of incentives for unemployed people to undertake seasonal horticultural work to help them gain experience and improve their skills. The trial will support those looking for work and businesses keen to give workers a start.
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  • Staff & funds for clinical training in NQ

    4 JULY 2017: Work is progressing on the establishment of the North Queensland Regional Training Hub, which will provide medical students the ability to study, work and live in Mackay and Townsville. Significant progress has been made in establishing the Hubs, and the James Cook University will focus on a ‘grow your own’ model to facilitate regionally based vocational training and career paths.
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  • Retailers to put young people on the right PaTH

    3 JULY 2017: Another leading industry organisation has backed in the Liberal National Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program with a commitment to deliver thousands of internships for young Australians. The Australian Retailers Association has confirmed it will partner with the Government and deliver up to 10,000 internships to young Australians looking to get into work through the Youth Jobs PaTH program.
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  • 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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