The Jones Report: Recognition, Education & Live Music

This was an historic week in Canberra. We commemorated the fifth anniversary of the apology to the stolen generations and voted in favour of the ‘Act of Recognition’ to change our national Constitution to formally recognise Indigenous Australians. 

The ultimate goal of the Labor Governement is a successful referendum on this issue and this Bill is the starting point. Over the next two years it will help build momentum and anticipation for a national vote to reflect the long-standing aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A link to the Prime Minister’s speech on the Act of Recognition is here.

I also used my time in Parliament speak in support of the Australian Education Bill, which all started with the Gonski review of our current school funding system.

Gonski found the gap between our highest-performing and lowest-performing schools was growing and that a national overhaul of the way we allocate funding and resources was needed to give our kids the best possible start in life.

This National Plan for School Improvement has had an overwhelmingly positive response from schools here in the electorate.

Examples of how the Bill will support local schools and students can be found in my speech to Parliament here.  I also encourage any teachers, parents or students with stories to share to get in contact with my office on 4262 6122 or email me at I’d love to hear from you.  


More speeches from Parliament 

Fairer workplace laws 

The Government unveiled new changes to workplace laws this week, which focus on more flexible arrangements to help Australians manage the work and family balance.

The new measures include:

  • Amendments to require an employer to consult with employees about the impact of the changes on their family life before making any decision to change rosters or working hours,;
  • Providing a worker who has suffered bullying at work a right of recourse through the Fair Work Commission;
  • Extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to more categories of employees who need it – carers, workers with disability, mature aged workers and workers experiencing domestic violence;
  • Improving entitlements for workers who are pregnant, including changes to special maternity leave and the right to transfer to a safe job,
  • Providing flexibility to parents taking unpaid parental leave, including extending the time that parents can take unpaid parental leave together from 3 weeks to 8 weeks and allowing them to choose when they want to take that leave; and
  • An express right to request a return to work on a part time basis after taking unpaid parental leave.

We know from past experience that the Opposition doesn’t believe in protecting the entitlements of working Australians, providing flexibility to help balance work and family life or making sure workers can’t just be sacked for no reason.

These Labor policies will provide Australian families with real flexibility, whether it’s before or after the birth or adoption of a child, if they have caring responsibilities or are on the path to retirement.


Support for local live music

I was disappointed to see the region lose yet another live music venue this week, with The Patch Hotel forced to cancel upcoming performances due to noise complaints.

I’ve been a long-time supporter of bring the local music scene back to life. I believe that if we want to transform ourselves into a region that attracts skilled workers and retains our young people when they finish school or university, then we have to have things for them to do when they aren’t working. Music and entertainment is a big part of that.

I’m holding a fundraising gig in this year that will showcase the great musical talent the Illawarra has to offer.  If you know a great local band, or even people that can help out with a venue, equipment or volunteering on the day, please get it touch with my office on 4262 6122 or email


Community Consultation a great success! 

Today I joined with Shellharbour MP Anna Watson and Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba for a multi-tier Government consultation with Warilla residents.

It was a one-stop-shop for people to come and talk about their concerns and have Government representatives respond.

It is a successful model that we will use in other suburbs throughout the year.


Upcoming events

Mobile offices:

  • Monday 18 February @ Berkeley Bi-lo (12pm-1pm)
  • Sunday 3 March @ Dapto Markets (9am-11am)


Stephen’s Trivia Night

Friday 1 March @ Port Kembla RSL (6pm)

It’s only $10 per player and you can have tables of up to 10. Friends and guests welcome.


NBN Community Workshops

The National Broadband Network is currently rolling in the electorate. Soon thousands of local homes and businesses will have access to high-speed, low-cost digital broadband so now is the time to start thinking of the myriad possibilities the NBN will present.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) in conjunction with Kiama, Wollongong and Shellharbour councils, is hosting three workshops across the region to get opinions from businesses, industry sectors and community groups to help develop a strategy to ensure the Illawarra capitalises on the opportunities of the NBN.

Workshops are free and lunch is included. More info can be found at


Links update

I understand there was a glitch with some of the links in last week’s Jones Report. Here they are again for those interested –

IT Inquiry:

Grubs and Cheats:

Local Sporting Champions:


What’s up next –


  • Appearing on 2ST with Matt Pardy.
  • Meeting with constituents in the Throsby Electorate Office.
  • Dapto and Albion Park ALP Branch meetings.


  • Illawarra Senior College Student Day.


  • Senator Kate Lundy is visiting the Illawarra.
  • Inspecting a 3D printer at UOW Innovation Campus.
  • Visiting the Roller Hawks at the Snakepit.
  • Official opening of Headspace with Senator Lundy.
  • Forum at Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra.
  • Speaking at Lakelands Public School SRC induction ceremony.


  • Meeting with constituents in the Throsby Electorate Office.


  • Inaugural meeting of the Transition Illawarra Stakeholder Group.
  •  Attending Economics Committee Review of the 2012 RBA Annual Report in Canberra
  • Berrima District Sports Awards Annual Presentation Dinner at Mittagong RSL.


  • Splash 'n' Dash Festival Summer Run 5 at Lang Park, Wollongong.


As always, if you have any concerns or enquiries please contact my office on 4262 6122 or drop by at 2/1 Bong Bong Rd, Dapto.

You can also follow me on Facebook or check the website. I often post photos of events and meetings I’ve attended here.