Throsby News: Holden, HECS for VET students

Welcome to the weekly Throsby eReport. I look forward to keeping in you touch with what's happening in the electorate and in Canberra.

holden.jpgI’m back in the electorate today after what was another busy week in Canberra, our last for the session until the Budget in early May.

It was great to see two important Bills pass through the houses:

  • Road Safety Remuneration Bill will establish a new Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to promote safety and fairness in the road transport industry on issues like hours, conditions and rates of pay. This will make the industry fairer on truckies and the roads safer for all Australians.
  • Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill will give locals a fairer share of major mining company profits by providing new tax breaks for local small businesses as well as a cut to the company tax rate for all businesses. A boost to the superannuation from 9% to 12%, projected to provide a 30-year-old worker on average full-time earnings with well over $100,000 in extra retirement savings, and a much needed extra superannuation contribution for 22,100 low-income-earners living in the Illawarra.


Investment in Holden

The Australian car industry is a cornerstone of our manufacturing strength. This is a high-tech industry – vital for exports and vital for Australian jobs. That’s why the Gillard Government has announced:

  • $275million joint investment with the SA and Victorian governments in Holden jobs and innovation in Australia, helping maintain Holden auto jobs nationwide;
  • In return, a Holden investment of $1 billion in Australian car manufacturing and commitment to making cars in Australia until at least 2022; and
  • A $35m joint investment with the states in the Automotive New Markets Initiative, helping Australian firms in the auto supply chain get new contracts, diversify and win export trade.

Holden estimates that this will deliver a significant return on investment, injecting around $4billion into the Australian economy over the life of the program. This will support thousands of jobs. It will boost our economy, foster innovation, build new business opportunities for auto component makers and promote new furl-saving and safety technologies.

Without this co-investment, Holden would have closed its Australian car manufacturing operations, at a huge cost to thousands of workers and their families.


HECS comes to VET students

The nation is facing a skills shortage and current estimates reveal that more than two thirds of all new jobs created over the next five years will require a Certificate III TAFE qualification or higher. That is why we’ve announced our transformative skills reform package this week.

The Gillard Government is putting $1.75billion on the table to work with the states and territories to:

  • Help around 375,000 more students complete vocational skills training over the next five years;
  • Ensure all Australians have the chance to access government-supported training to a Certificate III level through a National Training Entitlement of up to $7,800 a year;
  • Offer interest-free loans for up to 60,000 vocational students a year, deferring tuition costs.

This will mean that students from less affluent backgrounds are no longer excluded from vocational skills training due to the cost of fees, which can exceed $3,000 a year.


What’s coming up –

Parliament is in recess until May when we will return to deliver the 2012-13 budget.

Until then I’ll be back in the electorate dealing with local issues and here’s how the first few days are looking:

MONDAY is a constituent day, where I’ll be meeting with locals to hear about a range of issues important to the residents of Throsby.

TUESDAY Minister for Communications Senator Conroy is paying a visit to the region and we will be attending the opening of the NBN Expo in Kiama, which includes the launch of the Digital Hub at Kiama library.

WEDNESDAY I am attending the inaugural ‘Future of Manufacturing in Australia’ forum in Sydney. It will be an open panel discussion with a number of CEOs regarding pressing policy challenges and opportunities impacting the future of Australia’s manufacturing Industry.


As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office on (02) 4262 6122 if you wish to make an appointment with me or get some assistance.