High Speed Rail report puts Southern Highlands on the map

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today welcomed the announcement that a stop on the proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) will be built in the East Mittagong. “This is great win for the Southern Highlands”, said Jones. “I know there are a lot of people here who commute to Sydney everyday, which can be a more than three hour round trip, so being included on the High Speed Rail will cut that time down to just 30 minutes.” “It’ll give people a lot more spare time to spend with friends and family and really transform the way they live, work and spend leisure time in our region.” Continue reading

China to start Emissions Trading Scheme in June

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones says Tony Abbott’s deceit on climate change has been exposed again with China’s announcement that the first of its seven pilot emissions trading schemes will commence on 17 June this year. “The Chinese commitment to work with Australia to reduce carbon emissions blows the top off Tony Abbott’s claims that we are going it alone as a nation in the fight against climate change.” Covering 635 companies, the Shenzen Emissions Trading Scheme will cover even more companies than Australia’s carbon price. China recognises the threats posed by climate change and has pledged to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its economy by 17 per cent of 2010 levels by 2015 and by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. Continue reading

Coalition’s second-rate broadband plan a disaster for regional Australians

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones has slammed the Coalition’s plan for the National Broadband Network, saying it will be slower, more expensive and discriminatory to those living in regional Australia.  “This is a disaster for regional Australia and particularly in areas like Dapto, Horsley and Kanahooka where faster, cheaper, more reliable broadband is just around the corner for thousands of local homes and businesses.” “I’ve seen the NBN Co trucks in Dapto doing preliminary work to roll out the fibre optic cable and I’ve also spoken to people in Kiama who are already connected to the NBN, getting a far superior service for a lot less money.”  “Doing away with uniform pricing means that people in regional areas like the Illawarra and Southern Highlands will have to pay more for broadband than those in metropolitan areas while their broadband speeds will be considerably slower.” Continue reading

Local kids doing better in key development indicators

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said kids in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands are doing better than they were three years ago, improving in all five of the key development indicators. According  to the latest round of data from the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) released today, Australian children have improved their results since the first AEDI data collection was held in 2009. Data was collected in May 2012 on nearly 290,000 children, representing 96.5 per cent of children in their first year of formal schooling. “This second round of data shows that children in our region have improved their development in the areas of social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, communication and general knowledge, and physical health and well-being” Jones said. Continue reading

O’Farrell Government rips off local pensioners

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones has slammed New South Wales Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell’s decision to take part of the Federal Government’s pension increase from more than 2,400 pensioners living in public housing in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands. “I’ve had a lot of calls to my office this week from local pensioners who can’t believe that the extra money they’ve been given could be so easily snatched away again to serve the NSW Liberals’ bottom line” Jones said. “The Federal Government knows that pensioners on a fixed income have the least room to move in their budgets. That’s why it’s so important that when prices go up, the pension goes up to match it.” Continue reading

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