IT companies face public hearing on price rorts

The heads of all the major multi-national IT companies will face a public hearing tomorrow in Canberra as part of the Federal Government’s inquiry into IT price disparity. Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said the Government committee is looking into claims that Australians pay more for IT products than consumers in comparable jurisdictions. “This public hearing will be the first time the heads of all the major multi-national IT companies have been summonsed to appear before Parliament, and frankly they’ve been dragged kicking and screaming”, said Jones. Continue reading

Stephen Jones leads call to ban sports betting ads

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones is asking locals to back his campaign to ban sports betting promotions during games and telecasts. He has circulated a petition which he is asking locals to sign. Last week in the Illawarra Mercury Stephen called for the Australian sporting codes to voluntarily cut the ads from their telecasts. “I don’t have a problem with betting but as a parent and a sports fan, I want to be able to enjoy a game with my kids without constant interruption from these sites urging me to have a bet”, said Jones. “There is a place for betting but when your kids start quoting the odds they’ve just heard on TV, you know things are out of hand.” Continue reading

No cuts to funding for Community Radio

There has been no cut in fiunding for the community radio sector. In fact, as part of the 2011-12 Budget the Government provided the community broadcasting sector with an additional $12.5 million over fpur years - an increase of 25%. For digital community radio, the Government provided $13.5 million over four years from 2009-10 to 2012-13 to establish and provide digital radio services. Continue reading

Local MPs welcome field studies on Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link

Local MPs Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird today welcomed the news that teams of specialist engineers and environmental advisors have begun work on the Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link Project. The specialists will identify and investigate the design, safety and conservation issues associated with the proposal. “This stage is about making sure we get the planning right from the very beginning”, said Ms Bird. “The work these consultants and specialists are doing is critical to ensuring that the Maldon Dombarton project gets the necessary environmental approval to keep it moving forward.” “Our aim is to have all of the preliminary work completed by 2014 so the project can be considered for possible inclusion in the Government’s next rail construction program”, said Mr Jones. “The Maldon Dombarton Rail Link is critical economic infrastructure for the Illawarra, and when built will drive our regional growth for the next three years and beyond.” Continue reading

Alliance to put Wollongong at the heart of manufacturing innovation

An alliance between the Australian Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), the Advanced Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre (AM CRC) and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) will build opportunities for local companies to be at the forefront of the next generation of manufacturing and processing technologies. The alliance will allow the groundbreaking research being undertaken by ACES, facilitated by cutting edge fabrication tools provided by ANFF to be directly disseminated to industry and end users via the AM CRC. ACES Director Professor Wallace said the alliance would lead to global partnerships and opportunities for the local manufacturing industry in additive manufacturing. ACES current research focus is on production of medical devices – bionic devices for nerve and muscle regeneration. The Alliance is also expected to unearth exciting shorter term opportunities. Additive manufacturing, through inkjet and extrusion printing, involves taking a 3D computer model of a component and print it layer by layer. This process reduces machining waste and drastically reduces the amount of time it traditionally takes to build prototypes, or custom-ordered items, such as a hip or bone replacement. Continue reading

Coalition’s “user pays” approach to broadband is bad news for the Illawarra

Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird and Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones today slammed the Coalition’s “user-pays” plan for the rollout of broadband. “While Stephen and I have been busy sharing the great news of the construction of the National Broadband Network in suburbs across the Illawarra, the Coalition is working on a second rate plan that will mean users pay more and get less,” Sharon Bird said. At a Kickstart event on the Sunshine Coast, Coalition Communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull has said that his party favoured a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) approach that would use existing copper phone lines between the street and the home or business. He also confirmed that to get fibre to the home, homes and businesses would have to pay a premium to upgrade under the Coalition’s broadband plan. Continue reading

National Jobs Plan great news for the region

Federal Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones have today welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s Industry and Innovation policy which outlined a $1 billion plan for Australian jobs. “This is an industry plan which is focused on getting more for Australian workers and businesses out of the mining boom. “In the Illawarra we particularly understand the importance of this opportunity for our local jobs. “After the Bluescope restructure we established a manufacturing committee which I chaired to drive policy changes to assist Australian manufactures. “Our objectives were to improve anti dumping measures and more Australian content to support more Australian jobs. Continue reading

PAC backflip a disaster for Southern Suburbs

Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones has today criticised the backflip of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission over the Calderwood Development. “While I don’t normally weigh into matters that are a State responsibility, this one is different,” Mr Jones said. “That’s because the Calderwood project has been misconceived from the start. This project is strongly opposed by residents and local government for sound reasons. The Illawarra Highway is already congested and there are no adequate plans for funding for the new infrastructure that is needed for a whole new suburb. Continue reading

Aged Care For Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Australians (30/01/2013)

Minister for Ageing Mark Butler, joined local Federal MP’s Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones at the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra in Wollongong today to discuss the government’s recently announced aged care strategy for people from CALD backgrounds. The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) strategy will help inform the delivery of Living Longer Living Better – the Federal Government’s $3.7 billion aged care reform package. Continue reading

The NBN is Coming to Horsley (25/01/2013)

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today welcomed the release of detailed maps by NBN Co, showing where further construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) will commence in the Dapto area. “This is really exciting for local families and businesses” Mr Jones said. “In around 12 months’ time, people in Dapto and surrounding suburbs will be able to start connecting to the National Broadband Network. Continue reading