Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Jun 20, 2013

Cape Town convention to support aviation industry

 From early next year, Australian airlines will have access to lower cost finance for aircraft purchases, following the passage of legislation in the Parliament today.

The passage of the International Interests in Mobile Equipment (Cape Town Convention) Bill 2013 gives legislative effect to the Cape Town Convention, which I announced Australia would sign up to in October last year.

In practice, the legislation provides access to cheaper finance for Australian airlines of all sizes for purchases of aircraft, jet engines or helicopters.

It is estimated that Australian airlines could save in the order of $2.5 million on the purchase of a new Airbus A380 and airlines operating smaller aircraft could save around $330,000 on the purchase of a new ATR72 aircraft – like those flown by Virgin Australia.

Discount financing will also be available for purchases of second hand aircraft which will help smaller regional airlines and operators upgrade and maintain their fleet.

Ultimately, these changes will help reduce borrowing costs and risk for creditors, give Australian airlines access to a wider variety of sources of finance and provide greater certainty for the aviation industry.

They will also enable airlines to accelerate the move to safer, more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly fleets.

The Government will now put in place the necessary arrangements to support Australia’s accession to the Cape Town Convention.  The Cape Town Convention will come into force in Australia in early 2014.

Airlines seeking further information on the discounts available under the Cape Town Convention should contact export credit agencies or consult financial institutions for further advice.

 

Jun 19, 2013

Government welcomes Brisbane runway deal

I welcome the announcement from Brisbane Airport Corporation and Virgin Australia that they have reached a deal involving a ten year runway system agreement.

Brisbane Airport’s new runway is a $1.3 billion project and represents the single largest investment in aviation infrastructure, and the first of its kind, since the privatisation of federal airports in Australia.

The new runway is vital for Queensland and the rest of Australia now and into the future.

The Government welcomes the assurance from BAC that the new parallel runway project is being delivered on track and on schedule.

Brisbane is one of Australia’s fastest growing cities and its passenger numbers are growing to match. Passenger numbers are forecast to more than double from the current 21 million to 50 million by 2030.

The airport is a key economic driver for the state with wider flow-on benefits estimated to be worth some $4.6 billion annually now to the wider economy and is projected to grow to $11 billion by 2030.

The airport is currently home to 20,000 employees with this number expecting to grow to 50,000 by 2030.

The parallel runway project will ensure the Sunshine State continues to reap the social and economic benefits that come with the increase in aviation activity.

Jun 19, 2013

Investing in Regional and Local Community Infrastructure

 The Federal Labor Government will provide $150 million to be shared between all local councils and shires across Australia to help build and renew community infrastructure.

This funding, delivered through Round Five of the Regional Development Australia Fund and the Liveable Cities Program, is part of our plan for jobs and growth in regional and local communities.

This boost for ‘shovel-ready’ projects will allow councils and shires to generate new economic activity in regional and local communities while delivering infrastructure now and for the future.

Councils and shires will share this funding based on the current distribution of the Financial Assistance Grants. The Government has also put in place an additional protection for smaller councils by ensuring a base payment of at least $30,000.

This means around 70 per cent, or $105 million, of the total funding will be directed to rural and regional councils.

Urban councils will share $45 million for local infrastructure to help make our cities more productive, liveable and sustainable.  The $105 million will come from the Regional Development Australia Fund and $45 million from the Liveable Cities program.

This funding can only be used to build and renew community infrastructure and local councils and shires will need to outline the projects they intend to put this funding towards.

Sporting facilities, libraries, town halls, playgrounds and essential community services such as child care facilities are expected to benefit from this investment in every local community.

With these projects come more jobs and a boost to local economies across Australia.

Importantly, it is on top of $2 billion we provide annually to local government through Financial Assistance Grants, the $350 million annually for local roads through the Roads to Recovery program and the $1 billion we’ve provided since 2007 for community infrastructure projects through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.

Guidelines for this funding round will be up on the Department of Regional Australia website this Friday.

 

Jun 18, 2013

Facts not fear in the referendum debate

An issue as important as the September 14 referendum deserves constructive debate.

Sadly, we’ve seen little sense or clarity from opponents, but plenty of fear mongering.

So, here are the facts. 

FACT #1: Constitutional recognition has bipartisan support at the Federal level. 

The Government supports constitutional recognition of local government. The Coalition support it and so do the minor parties and the cross bench.

The vote earlier this month was almost unanimous.

Only two members of the House of Representatives voted against this proposal. 

FACT #2: Local government will continue to be the responsibility of state governments. 

The proposed amendment does not diminish the role of the States with regard to the administration of local government. Recognition in the Constitution does not alter the fact that local governments are created by and are accountable to State Governments.

FACT #3: Constitutional recognition is simply about providing financial certainty.  

Constitutional recognition is about granting certainty so local councils can continue to provide the services and facilities that so many people across the country use every day.

The Commonwealth has partnered with local councils to deliver local roads, sporting fields, libraries, childcare and community services.

Together we have delivered programs like Roads to Recovery which has enabled upgrade and repair work to take place at 16,000 road sites across the country.

FACT #4: The proposed amendment is carefully worded and based on expert independent advice. 

The proposed amendment is based on the wording suggested by the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government, led by the Hon James Spigelman AC QC and subsequently endorsed by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee.
FACT #5: Campaign funding is proportionate.   

The amount of funding to be provided for each case will reflect the proportion of Members that voted for and against the Constitution Alteration (Local Government) Amendment Bill 2013.

The Government will offer up to $500,000 to proponents of the ‘No’ case to put its case to the community.  The two Members who voted against the Bill have been asked to determine the distribution of this funding.

The Government will provide $10 million to the Australian Local Government Association for the ‘Yes’ campaign.

 

Jun 17, 2013

Smart Technology now being installed on West Gate Freeway

Work is now underway on installing the latest electronic freeway management technology along the West Gate Freeway, with the entire project to be completed by the middle of next year.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said once operational, the technology will give VicRoads the tools they need to better manage traffic flows and respond quickly to accidents and breakdowns.

“For the 180,000 motorists and truck drivers who use this vital part of the City’s road network every day, the retrofitting of this technology will mean faster, safer and less frustrating driving conditions,” said Mr Albanese.

“Indeed if applied nationwide, electronic freeway management systems have the potential to greatly reduce congestion and save Australian families and businesses more than $500 million a year.”

Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the installation of the freeway management system along more of Melbourne’s road network maintains Victoria’s reputation as a leader in the use of this technology.

“The system now being installed along the West Gate Freeway will be fully integrated with the one already in use on the M1 east of Williamstown Road as well as that proposed for the M80 Ring Road,” said Mr Mulder.

“Indeed, our ultimate aim is to deliver safer, faster and less congested driving conditions along all of the City’s major routes.

“The project will erect new signs to inform drivers which lanes they should use as well as alert them to temporary speed limit changes.  It will also install closed circuit television and upgrade the supporting communication networks and central control systems.”

The West Gate Freeway project is being funded by the Federal ($12.5 million) and Victorian ($12.5 million) governments.

 

Jun 17, 2013

Funding provided to promote public debate about constitutional change

The Federal Government today announced it would provide up to $10.5 million funding to proponents of the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ cases for the proposal to change the Constitution to recognise local government.

The proposed amendment has strong bipartisan support at the federal level.  Federal Members of Parliament voted 134 to 2 in favour of changing the Constitution to recognise local government.

To promote public discussion of the proposed amendment, the Government will provide funding to proponents of the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ cases to assist them to take their cases to the community.

The amount of funding to be provided for each case will reflect the proportion of Members that voted for and against the Constitution Alteration (Local Government) Amendment Bill 2013.  Over 98 per cent voted for and less than 2 per cent voted against this bill.

Accordingly, $10 million will be provided to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) to assist it in its promotion of the ‘Yes’ case.  ALGA has long been active in promoting constitutional recognition of local government along with its member councils and shires.

While the ‘No’ case would attract less on a strictly proportional basis, the Government will provide up to $500,000 to proponents of the ‘No’ case. The two Members who voted against the bill will be asked to determine the distribution of this funding.

The proposed amendment to the Constitution is a small but important change that supports the ability of the Commonwealth to provide financial assistance to local government.

The change will not diminish the role of the States with regard to the administration of local government. Recognition in the Constitution does not alter the fact that local governments are created by and are accountable to State Governments.

The Government encourages Australians to support the proposal to include local government in our nation’s Constitution and to SAY YES in the 14 September referendum.

 

Jun 13, 2013

Investing in Cape York roads and infrastructure

The Federal Labor Government will provide up to $210 million to upgrade roads and essential community infrastructure including power and sewerage in the Cape York region of Far North Queensland.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese said this is a significant investment in the Far North and would help unlock future economic opportunities.

“There is significant economic activity in the Cape York region.  However, a lack of vital infrastructure means that many Indigenous communities are unable to take advantage of the opportunities this activity brings,” he said.

“This investment is about putting in place good infrastructure that will unlock the region’s full potential. This will improve accessibility to the Cape York region, create new jobs and support mining and tourism in the area.”

The funding will deliver:

  • Upgrades to the road between Mapoon and Weipa and the road connecting Aurukun to the Peninsula Development Road to an all-weather standard.
  • Improvements to the Jardine River crossing;
  • The redevelopment of the Seisia Wharf.
  • Improvements to the raw water pipeline from Bamaga to Seisia.
  • Small scale improvements to community drainage.

Minister for Regional Services, Catherine King said the investment would make people’s lives easier and businesses more competitive.

“Upgrading these roads to an all-weather standard will mean fewer disruptions for locals as well as business owners and tourists during the Far North’s renowned wet seasons,” she said.

“Improvements to the Jardine Crossing  will enable large trucks to travel to the region improving development opportunities and access for the delivery of food and other necessities.”

Senator McLucas said the infrastructure investments would make economic development opportunities available to communities in Cape York.

“These improvements to key infrastructure will make an immense difference to people and business in Cape York. The redevelopment of the Seisia Wharf will open the region up to further economic opportunities,” Senator McLucas said

For a region supported by mining and tourism, well planned and modern infrastructure is the key to economic growth and future productivity

This new funding is part of the record $16.6 billion the Federal Labor Government is investing in the State’s road and rail infrastructure.

Jun 13, 2013

Sixth meeting of the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum

The sixth meeting of the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum will get underway in Cairns today, providing a valuable opportunity for State and Federal Government Ministers to discuss opportunities for jobs and economic growth in the north.

The Ministerial Forum brings together Ministers responsible for regional development and agriculture from the Federal, Western Australian, Queensland and Northern Territory governments to work collaboratively in advancing the sustainable development of Northern Australia.

Chair of the Forum, Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories, Catherine King said the Forum provided an opportunity for ideas to be shared across the four jurisdictions and has delivered innovative, considered approaches to the challenges and opportunities of Northern Australia.

“The Forum provides a fantastic opportunity to progress agreed actions for the region and to review outcomes since the last meeting at Kununurra,” Ms King said.

“Over the next two days, Ministers will discuss a range of issues including land tenure and water reform, the opportunities of the NBN in Northern Australia, the beef industry, agricultural opportunities and the potential expansion of the Ord Irrigation Scheme.”

Minister for Regional Development, Anthony Albanese, said that the Ministerial Forum had proved to be an effective vehicle for the four jurisdictions to collaborate on a range of initiatives relevant to the sustainable development of the north.

“New opportunities for the region continue to emerge from growth in the mining and resource sectors and specialisation in the development of tropical knowledge for medicine, bio-security, industry, infrastructure and agriculture,” he said.

“The Ministerial Forum will apply a strategic focus to the region, from the east to west, to ensure economic development is genuinely sustainable and connected to key growth markets in Asia.”

Ministers attending include:

  • Federal Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese MP
  • Federal Minister for Regional Services and Local Communities and Territories, Catherine King MP
  • Queensland Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, John McVeigh MP
  • Northern Territory Minister for Regional Development, Alison Anderson MLA
  • Western Australian Minister for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls MLA

More information on the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum can be found at www.regional.gov.au/regional/ona/namf.aspx

Jun 12, 2013

$1.4 million upgrade to Alpha Aquatic Centre

The Federal Labor Government today announced it would contribute $1.4 million to the $4 million redevelopment of the Alpha Aquatic Centre in Central West Queensland.

The redevelopment includes upgraded facilities and the replacement of the current 50 metre swimming pool with a sustainable, heated 25 metre pool with wheelchair access.  The new pool will also have two extra lanes, allowing more people to swim at different levels.

Heating the pool will extend the club’s swimming season, and allow increased use by other community groups in the Barcaldine region.

Good sports infrastructure strengthens communities and the upgraded aquatic centre will help cater for the region’s growing population. 

I commend Barcaldine Regional Council for their successful funding application.

This project is a good example of the real benefits of targeted, long-term investment in regional communities.

Overall, the project will support 16 local jobs during construction and five ongoing jobs upon completion.

The project is expected to be completed by end 2014.

Funding is being provided through Round Four of the Regional Development Australia Fund.

More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund can be found at www.regional.gov.au

Jun 12, 2013

Funding to redevelop Mackay City Centre

The Federal Labor Government today announced it would contribute almost $9 million towards the redevelopment of the Mackay City Centre which will draw more tourists and new residents to the region.

The 1.3 million tourists who visit Mackay and its surrounding regions annually will benefit from the refurbishment of the historic Pioneer Shire Council Building, parklands and a new streetscape.

The works will also include decorative pavements, new street furniture, water fountains, street and landscape lighting and shade structures.

Good community infrastructure is essential for Mackay’s future economic growth.

I congratulate Mackay Regional Council for their successful application which will allow Mackay’s growing population to enjoy the more pleasant surroundings in their city centre and attract new investment.

This project is the first stage of a larger plan to make Mackay City Centre the destination of choice for people of all ages to live and work in.

The attraction and retention of skilled people is a high priority for the local region. Overall, the project is expected to generate around 65 new jobs during the construction stage and a further 100 new job opportunities once it is complete.

The project will be completed by the beginning of 2016.

Funding is being provided through Round Four of the Regional Development Australia Fund.

More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund can be found at www.regional.gov.au

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