Stephen Jones receives UMD Macedonia Friendship Award

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones was presented with the UMD Friendship Award at the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) Gala in Sydney for his services as Co-Chair of the Australia-Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group (AMPFG). “I’ve been working throughout my term in office to strengthen the bonds of friendship between Australia and Macedonia, so it’s a great honour to be given this award as recognition”, said Jones. “My highest priority as Co-Chair of AMPFG has been campaigning to have the Australian Government recognise Macedonia by its constitutional name – The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” “I have made representations to the Foreign Minister Bob Carr on a number of occasions and invited him to a successful event in the Illawarra last year to address the many Macedonian constituents I represent.” “I also made a speech in Parliament recently, calling for bipartisan political leadership to support the recognition of Macedonia by its constitutional name.” “My ambition is to see Australia join other countries around the world in acknowledging the importance of the Macedonian community to our national history and culture”, said Jones. Continue reading

Illawarra Sports Stadium wins energy efficiency funding

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones announced a $71,953 energy efficiency grant to Illawarra Sports Stadium through the Federal Government’ Community Energy Efficiency Program. Mr Jones said the stadium is a great example of the innovative projects being funded by the carbon price under the Clean Energy Future package.   “This grant means Illawarra Sports Stadium can replace their current inefficient lighting with new fluorescents, install new sky lighting and solar hot water heating throughout the premises.” “This is how the Government’s carbon price funds smart, cost-effective improvements in low income households, community facilities, councils and businesses across Australia,” Jones said. “Improving energy efficiency across our economy is central to a Clean Energy Future. It will play a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting energy costs and boosting productivity.” Continue reading

Jones welcomes Schoolkids Bonus payments

Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said over 18,000 families in the region would start receiving the second instalment of the Schoolkids Bonus from 4 July, in time for parents to purchase back-to-school items for Term 3. “The second installment of the Government’s Schoolkids Bonus will start arriving in bank accounts this week, providing welcome relief for thousands of local families facing back-to-school costs”, said Jones “Eligible families will receive $205 for each child in primary school, and $410 for each child in high school, injecting more than $7 million into the region.” “This money helps parents buy uniforms, shoes, school books and stationery, as well as other costs like school excursions, tutoring, music lessons and sports registration fees.” Continue reading

More family flexibility for working families

Millions of working Australians will benefit from increased workplace flexibility and protections through changes to the Fair Work Act which take effect on the 1st July. From 1 July, the right to request flexible workplace arrangements have been expanded to: -       parents returning to work after a period of parental leave; -       parents with school-age children; -       workers with caring responsibilities; -       mature-age workers; -       workers with disability; and -       those suffering family violence and their carers. Mums and dads will also have greater flexibility in the taking of parental leave. From today, the length of concurrent unpaid parental leave will be increased to eight weeks and parents will have greater flexibility about when it can be taken in the 12 months after the birth of their child. Continue reading

Locals set to benefit from Clean Energy Supplement increase

Local families will this week start receiving a boost to their family payments, Member for Throbsy Stephen Jones said today. “About 11,500 local families are receiving higher payments from Federal Labor to help them make ends meet,” said Jones. “This is a result of indexation and the new Clean Energy Supplement, which is part of Labor’s Household Assistance Package. “The Household Assistance Package is delivering higher payments and tax cuts to thousands of locals, helping them keep up with their bills and meet the modest impacts of the carbon price.” Continue reading

Millions more for mental health in the Illawarra

Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today welcomed the announcement that local residents with mental illness will benefit from $9.3 million provided to Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local from the Partners in Recovery program. “This funding will be used to help local health providers collaborate and come up with solutions to improve the response of our health system to people with severe and persistent mental illness”, said Ms Bird. Some of the local health organisations participating in this initiative include Southern Youth and Family Services, Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service, Illawarra Disability Trust and the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW. Stephen Jones said the partnerships will collaborate on complex issues connected to mental health such as drugs and alcohol, housing, homelessness, employment, education, emergency services, and hospital emergency departments. Continue reading

Coalition blocking fair go for local workers

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones says the Coalition are doing Australian workers a disservice by blocking the Government’s  legislation to install greater transparency in the granting of temporary work visas for overseas workers. “I’ve been pushing for this ‘Ready, Willing and Able’ Bill for a long time now and to see it blocked at the final hurdle shows just how uninterested the Opposition are in giving priority to jobs for Australian workers”, said Jones. “The Bill is before the House at the moment but with only one week left before Parliament rises, the Opposition is frantically filibustering to make sure the legislation does not get passed.” “The proposition is simple. If employers’ want to bring in workers from overseas to fill local vacancies, they have to demonstrate there isn’t a local worker who is ready, willing and able to do the job first.” “Surely all Australians can agree on that.”

New restrictions on sports betting advertising significant

“I welcome Prime Ministers announcement to introduce new rules that regulate sports bet advertising. “They mean the bookies are bounced from the stadium, the gambling ads are restricted to quarter and half time and live odds ads are canned for the entire game. “Nobody should underestimate the significance of these changes. “This sends a clear message to the Corporate Bookies, Broadcasters and the Professional Sporting Codes. They are now on notice – gambling and professional sport can co-exist, but we can’t have a model of professional sport or free-to-air broadcasting that is dependent on gambling revenue for its viability. “Equally, if we want to see sport on free-to-air TV we have to have advertising. “It is well known that I have been pushing for gambling advertising to be removed from children’s (PG) viewing times (8.30pm).  I want to explore this issue further with the Prime Minister and my collegues in Caucus tomorrow. Barry O’Farrell should follow Jay Wetherill’s Lead “My congratulations to SA Premier Jay Wetherill for announcing he will introduce extensive changes to the SA Gambling Laws which will ban live odds promotion and the gambling advertising at their stadiums. “This has the potential to create a national code for other States.  “NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has expressed some views on this today.  NSW and other States can – and should – follow South Australia’s lead on this.

Stephen Jones announces support for community gardens

Community food organisations will receive a boost with a small grants program to help them grow, prepare and share food, as part of the National Food Plan which will be released this Saturday. Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today announced that a $1.5 million small grants program will be made available to support community food organisations. “It’s fantastic to see the boom in local communities in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands growing, preparing and sharing food,” Jones said. “The Australian Labor Government will provide grants of up to $25,000 to support farmers markets, community gardens, city farms, food hubs, cooperatives and food rescue service projects to start up and expand. “These organisations widen our access to new and interesting foods, support better health and lifestyles, increase food knowledge and support jobs by providing alternative ways to market products. “Australia has an abundance of high-quality nutritious food but not all Australians have a balanced diet. Community gardens in particular are encouraging healthier food choices. “Community food also brings people together, builds cohesion and helps bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.” Continue reading

Throsby’s Biggest Morning Tea to highlight breast cancer awareness

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones will be holding his annual ‘Throsby’s Biggest Morning Tea’ tomorrow to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Council Australia. This year’s morning tea will focus on promoting awareness for breast cancer screening for older women in the electorate. “The Federal Budget set aside an extra $55.7 million to invite women aged 70 and 74 to undergo a free mammogram”, said Jones. “Currently the free service is only available to women who are aged between 50 and 69.” “This expansion is predicted to target an extra 70,000 women across the country and detect an extra 600 cancers every year, which is vitally important because cancers that are detected with a mammogram are much smaller and more able to be treated with breast preserving surgery”, said Jones. “I know there are a lot of older women in the electorate that this initiative will directly help, so I’m inviting everyone to come along to my morning tea tomorrow to help spread the awareness.”