JOYCE – ALL TALK, NO ACTION

Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and the National Party talk a big talk on regional Australia but are slow to deliver. In Question Time today, Mr Joyce boasted about the Government’s record on regional Australia but their divided and dysfunctional Government has still not allocated a dollar from its Regional Growth Fund. Seven months after announcing the Regional Growth Fund, the Government has failed to release guidelines for the program. Continue reading

LIBERALS MUST ACT TO ENSURE LONG TERM VIABILITY OF STEEL INDUSTRY

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today welcomed the release of the Senate Economics References Committee’s final report into the future of Australia’s steel industry. During the inquiry, the Committee visited Wollongong and heard evidence from BlueScope Australia and New Zealand, Bisalloy Steel Group Limited, the Australian Workers’ Union, the South Coast Labour Council, the University of Wollongong, Wollongong City Council and The Illawarra Business Chamber.  The Committee also conducted a site visit at BlueScope Steel at Port Kembla.  Continue reading

TURNBULL DRAGGED TO BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

Illawarra Labor representatives have welcomed the change of heart by the big four banks on the need for a Royal Commission. This has only come about because of the concerted pressure from Labor, the community and rebel National MPs. The Prime Minister, who has explored every other alternative, will finally now do the right thing. Continue reading

ANOTHER LIBERAL PM VISIT WITH NO LOCAL COMMITMENTS

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones were stunned that this out of touch Prime Minister today used yet another flying visit to the Illawarra as a stunt to spin his electricity policy and failed to provide one cent of funding for infrastructure in the Illawarra. Power bills have skyrocketed under the Liberals, putting pressure on good manufacturing companies in the Illawarra.  Continue reading

TURNBULL MUST TAKE ENERGY SUPPLEMENT CUT OUT OF THE PARLIAMENT

Labor’s Jenny Macklin, Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird have again called on Turnbull to drop the energy supplement cut from his Budget. Visiting the Illawarra today, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Jenny Macklin MP, met with concerned community groups and residents. Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Jenny Macklin, said if Turnbull had his way, the Energy Supplement would have been axed to 1.7 million Australians from 20 September this year. Continue reading

MOBILE BLACK SPOT PROGRAM FAILS FAIRNESS TEST

The Coalition has again failed the fairness test when delivering its Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP) Round 3. Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones MP, criticised the lack of transparency and clear, evidence-based decision making in defining the Government’s Priority Locations list. “There is no clear or transparent process for determining these Priority Locations. Instead, the Government is using Round 3 to deliver on the Coalition’s 2016 Election commitments when critical locations in bush-fire prone areas are missing out. Continue reading

AUDIT OFFICE COMMENCE INVESTIGATION OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GRANTS PROGRAM

Labor welcomes the announcement by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to investigate the Coalition’s Community Development Grants program. Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Stephen Jones MP, said the Coalition had allocated nearly $1 billion with next to no transparency. “Successive Minsters for Regional Development have used the Community Development Grants as a slush fund for using millions of dollars of public money for their own political purposes. Continue reading

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT IN CHAOS

Local Federal MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, slammed Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals for the chaos and madness that they have created in the Federal Parliament by cancelling the second last week of sittings of the House of Representatives. Sharon Bird said the Turnbull Government was running scared and Malcolm Turnbull was too afraid to face the Parliament and debate important issues such as marriage equality, penalty rates, a banking royal commission and citizenship. Continue reading

TURNBULL’S NBN FAILED BUNDABERG COMMUNITY

Labor’s Stephen Jones and Leanne Donaldson said Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN had failed the Bundaberg community. Visiting Bundaberg today, Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones MP, said Turnbull’s poor technology choices – switching from fibre to copper – was a disaster throughout regional Australia. “Bundaberg was one of the first sites in Queensland to have copper-NBN switched on,” Mr Jones said Continue reading

RESIGNATION OF GRAHAME GOULD (LIFELINE)

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today recognised the huge contribution Grahame Gould has made to the community in the Illawarra during his 24 years as Executive Director of Lifeline South Coast. Grahame has always been a leading voice on mental health issues and suicide prevention in the Illawarra.  He has always provided great local input on policy issues and was instrumental in ensuring that Lifeline services were available to people in the Illawarra during their times of need. Continue reading