Welcome to the weekly Throsby eReport. I look forward to keeping in you touch with what's happening in the electorate and in Canberra.
This has been another busy week. Some of the activities I've gotten up to include:
- On Wednesday I met with local school principals and teachers at a forum at Dapto High School to get feedback on the future of school funding and to discuss the Gonski Report recommendations. Some really good ideas and discussion topics were put forward and I hope to conduct more in the future.
- Two Building the Education Revolution recognition ceremonies were held this week. Monday saw Mt Terry Public School open their fantastic new school facilities and refurbished hall, built with a $3million grant from the Government. St Francis of Assisi School opened their new multi-purpose hall and canteen facilities on Friday, built with a $2million grant. What a big difference these new projects are making to our local school communities, giving teachers and parents state of the art meeting spaces and providing our kids a better place to learn.
- Lakelands Public School held their SRC induction assembly on Wednesday where I was honoured to give a brief speech on leadership. Whilst there, I also met with the Principal Mr Coogan and SRC advisor Mrs Dodds to discuss the importance of developing public speaking and leadership skills in kids from a young age.
- I caught up with the blokes from Jettys by the Lake Men’s Shed at Windang yesterday to talk about how they were going to use the $4,000 in Commonwealth funds to upgrade their facility. These guys do the lion’s share of maintenance jobs in the live-in onsite vans at Windang. As John said today "we haven’t had a dissatisfied customer yet."
- Wednesday was constituent day at my office in Dapto. We met with a bunch of locals to discuss a variety of issues important to Throsby. These included concerns over the live animal exports from Indonesia, environmental initiatives for the pollution at Lake Illawarra and the closure of the local pipe coating industry. These are all valid concerns and ones that I hope to be following up on in the coming weeks and months.
- Today I am joining my colleague, the Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird, to visit the AHM head office in Wollongong. We will be given a demonstration of ‘Anywhere Healthcare’ – their new online medical consultation software platform. This is an exciting new development for the region’s health industry and one that will continue to grow as the National Broadband Network expands across the Illawarra throughout the year.
- Tomorrow, Saturday March 10th is the opening of the Red Point Artists Members Exhibition Showcase at their gallery at Wentworth St, Port Kembla. I will be dropping by at 2pm to check out the new items the RPAA spent with the $5,000 Volunteer Funding Grant they received earlier this year. It will be a great day for the family with free painting and crafts available for the kids to get stuck into and coffee and art for the parents to enjoy.
NSW Cancer Council Relay for Life: Shellharbour
This year the NSW Cancer Council is holding the Shellharbour Relay for Life. They are calling on locals to show support by getting a team of 10-15 people together and registering to help raise money to reduce the impact cancer has on our families and the community.
In NSW around 40 000 people each year take part in Relay For Life. The event is not just about the amazing experience of spending the weekend with people from your local community. It's also about the fun ways your team can raise money in the lead up to the day. Relays are truly amazing occasions where tears are shed, hopes are raised, fun is had and friendships are forged.
WHEN: 9:30am Saturday 26th May – Sunday 27th May, 2012.
WHERE: John O’Dwyer Oval, Croome Road Sporting Complex, Albion Park Rail.
WHY: To celebrate cancer survivors in the local community, remember loved ones we have lost and to fight back and pledge a healthy life against the disease with education, information and support.
Labor is boosting the age pension
The Government understands that the cost of living pressures extend beyond working life. This is why from 20 March 2012; we’ll be increasing the pension for the second time since 2008.
The pension will now be increasing by up to $6.70 per fortnight for singles and $10 per fortnight for couples.
This is not the only way we’re looking out for our seniors. Labor has also:
- Improved Seniors Work Bonus allowing age pensioners to earn up to $6,500 per year and continue to receive the maximum pension rate.
- New Seniors Supplement for self funded retirees of $837.20 for singles and $1,263.60 for couples combined.
- Increased the Utilities Allowance by around $400. This is now part of the consolidated Pension Supplement ($1,554.80 per year for singles and $2,345.20 for couples combined).
- Economic stimulus payments to more than 3 million pensioners and self-funded retirees to fend off the impact of the global financial crisis.
- National transport concessions so that State Seniors Card holders benefit from public transport concessions when they travel interstate.
National Broadband Network Definitive Agreement with Telstra
On 7 March, the Definitive Agreements between NBN Co and Telstra came into force. This means that Telstra is now fully signed up to the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the main rollout of the NBN can start. By the end of this month NBN Co and the Government will be in a position to announce the three year roll-out plan.
In the 21st century telecommunications have become an essential utility, just like water and electricity. Australian families rely on it and Australian businesses need it to secure our economic future. That’s why the rollout areas will not be the only ones reaping the benefits of the NBN scheme.
Work on the NBN’s fixed wireless network has already begun, which will provide peak download speeds of 12 Mbps to homes and businesses in regional Australia outside the fibre footprint. This project is expected to be completed by 2015 and will cover around half a million homes and businesses outside the fibre footprint.
What’s coming up –
For the next fortnight I’ll be mostly in Canberra for the final two weeks for Parliament for the session. Some of the Bills I’ll be speaking on include:
- Insurance Contracts Amendment Bill, which will establish a standard definition of flood in home building and contents insurance contracts.
- Corporations Amendment (Future of Financial Advice) Bill, which will require financial advisors to provide more fee disclosure statements to clients and will extend ASIC’s licensing and banning powers used to supervise the financial services industry.
- Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Maintaining Address) Bill, which will encourage fairer voter participation by using reliable and timely sources to deliver a more acurate electoral roll.
For more information on any of these issues please call my office on (02) 4262 6122.