MIL-OSI Australia: New banks to provide Australians with more choice

Source: Australian Treasurer

The Coalition Government’s reforms to increase competition in the banking sector are working, with Volt Bank becoming the first bank to transition from a restricted licence to a full licence today.

The restricted licensing framework was introduced by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) in May 2018 to make it easier for new banks to get started and help foster competition in the sector.

The framework allows licence holders to carry out limited banking services for up to two years while they develop their capabilities and resources.

A fully digital, Australian bank, Volt Bank was the first authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) to be granted a restricted licence – in May 2018 – and now becomes the first bank to transition from a restricted licence to a full licence.

This follows the arrival of Xinja Bank late last year – the second ADI to be granted a restricted licence.

The Coalition Government has introduced a number of reforms to reduce barriers for innovative new entrants into the banking sector, including permitting all ADIs to use the term ‘bank’, providing new businesses with access to crowd-sourced equity funding and mandating ASIC to consider competition as part of its decision making process.

Further, our introduction of the Consumer Data Right, with the banking sector being the first to roll out the initiative through open banking, will be a game changer when it comes to how consumers leverage their data to obtain more tailored products and services and have more information to make better choices.

Increasing competition in the banking sector to give consumers more choice, lower prices and better service is part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Consultation on amendments to reduce ASIC’s search fees and amend the industry funding model

Source: Australian Treasurer

In line with the Morrison Government’s commitments, today I am releasing for public consultation draft regulatory amendments to reduce and remove the fees for accessing certain information from the online business registries maintained by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The draft Regulations provides an exemption to journalists for ASIC’s registry search fees. An exemption from these fees will facilitate free access to important information about companies and financial services providers.

The draft Regulations also cut existing search fees for accessing company roles and relationship extracts $40 to $19.

Separately, the draft Regulations also create a new sub-sector as part of ASIC’s Industry Funding Model. This will allow ASIC to recover the regulatory costs incurred from its close and continuous monitoring of Australia’s largest institutions.

Finally, the draft Regulations make other minor amendments to ensure ASIC’s fees-for-services reflect ASIC’s regulatory costs.

Comments on the draft Regulations close 8 February 2019. Stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback on the Treasury website.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Independent assessment of fish deaths

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Independent assessment of fish deaths

22 January 2019

An independent panel will assess the deaths of fish in the lower Darling River in December 2018 and January 2019, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced today.  

The independent panel will be chaired by University of Melbourne Prof Rob Vertessy, who is also Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s independent Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences (ACEESS). Prof Vertessy will pick other panellists. 

Minister Littleproud said the panel would aim to identify causes of the fish deaths and make recommendations within the framework of the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan and Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.  

“The vision we saw of dead fish floating in the river was upsetting for all,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“I fished in my local river, the Condamine, for much of my life and I’d hate to see that kind of event there, as I hate to see it in the Darling. 

“I’ve written to the PM requesting this assessment and the PM has agreed. 

“We always need to be growing and learning, so we can make sure we manage the risk of these events as well as we can in the future. 

“So we’re having a fair dinkum independent panel have a good look at this – with proper access to the scientists and river managers who run the system. 

“The independent panel will obtain advice from relevant New South Wales Department of Fisheries scientists and other experts including in native freshwater fish ecology, water management and water quality.” 

The independent panel will:

  • assess the water management, events, and conditions leading up to the 2018-19 fish deaths to identify likely causes;
  • assess the effectiveness of existing fish management responses to manage fish death risks in the lower Darling River; and
  • provide recommendations to the Minister, MDBA and Murray-Darling Basin Governments on strategies to prevent similar events in the future, enhance native fish recovery in the lower Darling River and inform the lower Darling under Murray Darling Basin Plan Native Fish Management and Recovery strategy.

The panel will interview State and Federal agency staff and local residents including Aboriginal stakeholders. It will also convene a facilitated workshop involving independent reviewers and a broader group of experts to validate the methods used in, and recommendations from, the independent assessment. 

A preliminary report and early advice and recommendations will be given to the Minister by 20 February and the final report to the Minister, Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board and the Murray Darling Basin Ministers by 31 March. 

Both the early advice and the final report of the independent panel will be released publicly.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Therapeutic Goods Advertising Consultative Committee (TGACC)

Source: Australian Department of Health – Therapeutic Goods Administration

This information is intended for stakeholders interested in activities regarding the advertising of therapeutic goods.

Purpose of TGACC

The purpose of the TGACC is to:

  • Provide input to policies relating to the administration of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
  • Provide a forum for engagement on emerging issues with respect to therapeutic goods advertising.
  • Assist with shaping TGA reporting activities with respect to advertising compliance.
  • Provide input on the development of education and compliance priorities to address non-compliance of advertising for particular categories of therapeutic goods.

Meetings and communiques

TGACC meetings are usually held quarterly in Canberra at the TGA. Following each meeting, a communique is published.

The schedule of meetings for 2019 will be published once finalised. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2019.

Membership

The members of the TGACC come from consumer, health professional, industry, media and government bodies:

Advertising Education and Assurance Section
Regulatory Education and Compliance Branch

Email: advertising.education@tga.gov.au

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Address to the Sydney Institute, ‘Creating opportunity and encouraging aspiration: The key to a growing economy and a stronger Australia’

Source: Australian Treasurer

“Aussie Rules: what Australia can teach the world”, screamed the headline of The Economist last November. An in-depth analysis of the Australian economy and our remarkable 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth.

A growth story which both sides of politics have contributed to.

It has been on the Coalition’s watch that the GST was introduced, the waterfront reformed, the Future Fund established and a decade of budget surpluses delivered.

Labor oversaw a reduction in tariffs, the floating of the dollar, started key privatisations and moved away from centralised wage fixation in favour of enterprise bargaining. Critically, key Labor reforms had the support of the Coalition in Opposition.

It’s in this spirit of progress that the Coalition has continued to carry the baton of economic reform since our election over five years ago.

Bearing in mind that, with half the population being born after 1980, the majority of Australians have never experienced a recession in their working lives.

As Australians, we all realise how ‘lucky’ we are to live in this country. But of course it is not just luck that got us here and it is no time to be complacent.

What is needed is hard work, good policies and the right values.

So today, as Treasurer, I want to share my thoughts on three important areas:

First, Australia’s remarkable record of uninterrupted growth and the importance of this strong performance continuing in light of emerging global economic risks;

Second, the values and beliefs that drive and underpin the Coalition’s approach when it comes to managing the economy;

Third, our economic plan which has aspiration, productivity, growth and fiscal discipline at its core.

Coalition’s economic record

In politics as in life, you will never get every call right. What matters is getting the big calls right.

For the Coalition, reforms to the tax system, competition policy and workplace relations, along with red tape reduction and budget repair, have all been key features of our economic record over the past five years.

But one of the most significant for the long-term benefit of the country has been our achievements on trade.

In 1991 we had only one free trade agreement, it was with New Zealand. Today, we have eleven and counting. When we came to Government, Australia’s free trade agreements covered around a quarter of our total two way trade, today it is 70 per cent and rising to 88 per cent when current negotiations are completed.

We have secured agreements with our biggest regional partners, China, Japan and Korea, who between them account for around half of our exports worth more than $175 billion per year. More recently the eleven-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was finalised.

Global growth is being driven out of the emerging markets of Asia and the region’s rising middle class, which is estimated to grow to 3 billion by 2030.

The centre of global economic activity has never been closer, leading some to observe that the tyranny of distance has become the power of proximity.

This is good news for the economy as a whole, with 1 in 5 Australian jobs now related to trade.

Whether it is the lobster fishermen in Geraldton, the wine maker in the Barossa or the apple farmer in the Derwent Valley, the biotechnology firm in Rockhampton, the precision engineer outside Melbourne or the fund manager here in Sydney, they are all winners from the trade agreements the Coalition has secured.

But it is important to recognise that these trade agreements just don’t fall into one’s lap. You have to believe in them and the opportunities that they open up, often staring down vested interests that seek to weaken your resolve.

It is no secret that our political opponents equivocated on the China FTA and gave up on the TPP, saying it was “dead in the water”.  They are now threatening to open-up settled agreements and outsource negotiations at the behest of the unions.

It’s through our commitment to free trade, together with our other policy reforms, that sees the Australian economy in better shape today compared with what we inherited.

Growing faster than any G7 country, except the United States, Australia’s GDP growth is at 2.8 per cent compared to 2.1 per cent when we came to Government.

Over 1.2 million new jobs have been created, driving unemployment down to 5.1 per cent compared to the 5.7 per cent when Labor left office.

Importantly, more than half of the 1.2 million jobs created have been filled by women, with a record number of females now in the workforce. They are also being joined by growing numbers of young people, with over 100,000 young people getting a job last year, the highest number on record.

Annual average growth in government spending has been reduced to 1.9 per cent, the lowest of any government in fifty years and half what it was under Labor. Spending restraint and good economic management are making possible a return to surplus and an end to the decade of deficits.

In the words of Standard & Poor’s, the Government has been recognised for its “fiscal prudence” and “better budget performance”.

As MYEFO indicated, the cumulative surpluses over the next four years will be $30.3 billion, with surpluses rising to 1 per cent of GDP in 2025-26.

Net debt as a percentage of GDP will fall from around 18 per cent today to 1.5 per cent in the medium term.

This is important because as Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Guy Debelle has said, “In terms of government, public debt is sustainable until it is not.”

The strength of the economy is not only helping us deliver record spending on the essential services people need without increasing taxes, but provides the flexibility and resilience to respond to challenges as they arise.

Just as Howard and Costello’s strong budget management prepared the nation for the unexpected shock of the Global Financial Crisis, the Coalition is again rebuilding the buffers that will mean Australia can better absorb the impact of any future economic and financial shocks.

As the Prime Minister has warned, there are storm clouds hanging over the global economy.

Persistent trade tensions, high global debt levels and a contraction in growth in several key economies have changed the global outlook.

The German and Japanese economies recorded negative growth in the September quarter, while China has seen its growth slow through the year to its lowest rate since 2009.

Overnight, the International Monetary Fund updated its forecasts, downgrading growth from 3.7 to 3.5 per cent, noting the “global expansion is weakening and at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected” and saying “the risks to more significant downward corrections are rising” as investor sentiment has deteriorated, assets have been repriced and debt burdens have increased.

Domestically, the drought is having an impact, the housing market has softened, there are signs that credit growth is being constrained and the pick-up in wages growth remains gradual.

While the RBA in its most recent monetary statement in December said that “the Australian economy is performing well”, they did point to some uncertainty in the outlook for household consumption.

This is where confidence in the housing market is key. Economists and credit rating agencies have raised the potential adverse impacts to the economy that would flow from a hard landing in the housing market.

While regulatory interventions to date have put the housing market in the words of Governor Lowe “on a more sustainable footing”, what the economy can ill-afford right now are punitive tax policies that would will hurt both supply and demand and are completely inappropriate in the current environment.

Coalition’s values

It’s against this backdrop that our economic plan with its focus on growth, productivity, aspiration and budget repair, takes on even greater significance as we navigate the currents ahead.

Our values are key:

  • Encouraging the individual and their enterprise;
  • upholding personal responsibility;
  • maximising choice;
  • supporting families;
  • backing entrepreneurship and small business;
  • rewarding effort and hard work;
  • upholding the rule of law;
  • ensuring a safety net which is underpinned by a sense of decency and fairness

These are all values that go to the heart of what the Liberal and National Parties are all about.

These values are as relevant today as they were when Sir Robert Menzies founded the Liberal Party more than seventy years ago.

They are in our DNA, they define our national purpose and they are what motivate people to join the Liberal Party and run for office.

These values underpin our core beliefs.

  • That the invisible hand of capitalism delivers far more than the dead hand of socialism.
  • That Government is not the solution to every problem.
  • That fairness is achieved through equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.
  • That Government has no money of its own. It’s the people’s money and every dollar of tax is a dollar less in their pocket.
  • That we should be optimistic and outward looking, confident in the knowledge that our people are our greatest competitive advantage.
  • That communities work from the ground up, not the top down.
  • That intergenerational equity requires fiscal discipline as the next generation should not have to pick up the tab for the last.
  • That people should be encouraged to be self-reliant, but be absolutely assured that that if they need it, the safety net will be there.

Coalition’s economic plan

These values and beliefs are reflected in our policies and drive our economic plan.

Our plan, recognising that the private sector employs nine out of every ten workers, is focused on making sure that businesses stay competitive, keep investing and continue to hire more workers.

This is the pathway to wealth creation, job creation and higher wages. And it can only be achieved by boosting productivity through lower taxes, targeted spending, flexible labor markets, significant infrastructure and opening up new markets.

This is all about expanding the productive capacity of the economy so that we can grow the pie, providing a better future for all Australians.

Our plan, which is working and is being rolled out over the medium term, will deliver:

  • Legislated tax relief for 10 million working Australians, which will see a whole tax bracket abolished and 94 per cent of people paying no more than 32.5 per cent in the dollar.
  • Fast-tracked legislated tax relief for 3.3 million small and medium sized businesses, employing around seven million people, and providing an instant-asset write off encouraging them to invest in their business.
  • Once-in-a-generation reforms to the distribution of the GST, creating more equitable and sustainable outcomes for all States and Territories and all Australians.
  • Increased access to finance for small business with a $2 billion fund, while cutting around $6 billion in red tape and ensuring that small businesses get paid on time and are not used as a bank by big businesses.
  • Enhanced productivity and competitiveness of the construction sector with the reinstatement of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and establishment of the Registered Organisation Commission as a cop on the beat, helping maintain the rule of law.
  • Funding for over 500 major projects with a record $75 billion in infrastructure investment, including a second airport for Sydney after fifty years of indecision; the Melbourne Airport rail-link; the Inland Rail; upgrades to the Bruce Highway in Queensland; the Metronet project in Perth, Road Corridor Projects in Adelaide and the Bridgwater Bridge replacement in Tasmania.
  • A $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund to reduce average commute times and ease the burden on our public transport system as our population grows and the cost of congestion in Australia’s capital cities estimated to double between now and 2030.
  • An unprecedented $200 billion defence investment plan, promoting advanced manufacturing and creating jobs across the country.
  • A better deal for energy consumers, by removing the ability of networks to game the system; simplifying retail offers; underwriting new generation and expanding the iconic Snowy Hydro project with the largest renewable energy storage project in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Strengthened rules applying to multi-nationals, bringing $7 billion of sales into the Australian tax net each year.
  • An additional 300,000 apprenticeships through a $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund, which will equip young people with the skills necessary to compete successfully in the jobs market of the future.
  • Improved affordability and access to housing by unleashing supply, assisting first home buyers to build a deposit through super and incentivising more private investment in affordable housing. Over the last year, more than 100,000 first home buyers received loan approvals, the highest number since 2009.
  • Opportunities for people to move from welfare to work, by encouraging mutual obligation and providing incentives for businesses to take on young employees under the PaTH Program, which has seen 70 per cent of young people who participated in an internship be in employment three months later. These programs have helped the Government deliver the lowest number of people of working age on welfare in twenty-five years. We should never forget that, as the Productivity Commission recently reminded us, that the one constant that matters most in tackling inequality and poverty is having a job.
  • Much-needed reform to our superannuation system with legislation before the parliament that will boost the retirement incomes of millions of people. This will be done by preventing the erosion of their balances through a cap on fees in low balance accounts, banning exit fees and avoiding the cost of inappropriate insurance within their super.
  • Record levels of funding for health and aging programs with a 75 per cent boost for hospital funding and the new listing of 1900 medicines on the PBS, including on the weekend the addition of another life-saving drug, this time for lung cancer.
  • A Medical Research Future Fund which is on track to reach $20 billion by 2021, making it one of the largest medical research funds in the world.
  • Choice in education with our $300 billion School Funding Package, which will see funding per student increase by more than 60 per cent over the decade.

All of these initiatives and more are being delivered through fiscal discipline and while returning the budget to surplus. Importantly, this is being done with a tax-to-GDP speed limit that ensures we live within our means, but which the Labor Party now says serves “no useful economic purpose”.

In addition to continuing to roll out these initiatives across the economy, the Government will soon receive the final report from the Hayne Royal Commission. This follows the recent release of the Productivity Commission’s landmark inquiry into the efficiency and competitiveness of Australia’s $2.7 trillion superannuation system.

Central to the Government’s thinking in responding to these reports will be restoring trust in the financial system by delivering better consumer outcomes including in retirement.

This requires a culture of compliance and accountability, regulators that are fit for purpose and an acknowledgement by the sector that people must be put before profits. All of this must be achieved without inadvertently strengthening the position of incumbents or unduly restricting the flow of credit or other vital financial services that Australians need and the economy relies on.

In his Interim Report, Commissioner Hayne makes the telling observation that “much more often than not, the conduct now condemned was contrary to the law”. He makes clear that while behaviour was poor, misconduct when revealed was insufficiently punished or not punished at all.

This raises the issue as to whether new laws are required or whether existing laws simply need to be better enforced. Simplification may be, according to the commissioner, a better route rather than adding “an extra layer of legal complexity to an already complex regulatory regime”.

After three years of painstaking work, the Productivity Commission’s report into superannuation has provided some compelling insights into how the current system is failing to advancing the interests of all members.

The health of Australia’s superannuation system is fundamental to the strength of the national economy and the quality of life in retirement of every working Australian, so we must get it right.

Calling out the “anachronistic” design flaw at the heart of the system with default funds a product of our industrial relations system, the Productivity Commission says current arrangements give rise to an unlucky lottery for members.

With a series of changes including more aggressively weeding out underperforming funds, the establishment of an independent expert panel to select ”a best in show” short-list and the decoupling of default fund selection from the industrial relations system, the Productivity Commission finds members could be $3.8 billion better off each year. For somebody entering the workforce today, this could see them $533,000 at retirement or about double what their retirement balance could otherwise be.

Unlike our political opponents our response will be focussed only on one thing: the best interests of all members.

Conclusion

With our economic plan working and a whole series of significant reforms underway, there is no room for complacency. The IMF have provided a timely reminder of what could be around the corner.

What is absolutely certain is that as a nation we cannot afford to fall for the false prophets who would have you believe:

that a country can tax itself into prosperity;

that a government can redistribute what its economy doesn’t produce;

that economic growth can be achieved while punishing aspiration.

For Labor, the pursuit of class warfare is more than just rhetoric. It is at the heart of their policies from tax to trade to industrial relations. It’s a dark shadow, not a light on the hill.

Labor and their co-conspirators in the ACTU are promising to rewrite the economic rule book, disrupting the economy as we know it and sending a chill through every workplace. With the ACTU wanting to install their union organisers on every company and government board including the Reserve Bank of Australia, it is no wonder that the Business Council has warned that the ACTU’s plans could send Australia “back into the dark ages”.

Blinded by its obsession with class warfare, Labor is ignoring the message from the Productivity Commission that our tax and transfer system has worked well in sharing income growth and reducing inequality.

In the words of the then Chair of the Productivity Commission Dr Peter Harris, “This will be instantly rejected by some, since it is not the popular perception. But it is the unquestionable fact.’

In other words, no political party has a monopoly on fairness or equality.

But what is not fair is Labor’s $200 billion of new taxes that will hit retirees, homeowners, renters, small business owners and all those aspiring to build a better life for them and their families.

Labor’s tax and redistribution agenda is one of the most radical, aggressive and dangerous Australia has ever seen. Putting at risk our prosperity and harmony and taking us back decades.

No wonder there is now a growing chorus of opposition. Australians are starting to see Bill Shorten’s plan for $200 billion in taxes for what it really is.

At the next election, Australians will have a clear choice.

Between a Labor Party with its $200 billion of punishing new taxes and a Coalition that has kept its promise of delivering more than 1.2 million new jobs, cutting taxes, growing the economy, redefining our trading relationships that lock us into the emerging markets of Asia and providing an unprecedented social dividend with record spending on health and education.

We are repairing the nation’s finances and on 2 April will announce a budget surplus, the first in more than a decade.

All of which is possible because we have a strong economy and an economic plan that is working.

The choice for the people of Australia could not be clearer.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Live export footage investigation

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Live export footage investigation

21 January 2018

The federal Department of Agriculture has started to formally investigate under what conditions footage of the Awassi’s May to October 2017 voyages was obtained.  

The department will investigate whether payments were made to fabricate inhumane changed conditions on the voyages.   

“Depending on what the department finds, other agencies may need to be involved,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Whilst the department examined all 800-plus pieces of footage at the time, it can’t hurt to investigate. If animals were deliberately mistreated for even one piece of footage, those responsible must be brought to justice.” 

Minister Littleproud, currently en route home after attending the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conference in Berlin, said Australians deserved clear information about the footage and any payments made. Media organisations will be asked for information to assist. 

“It’s important Australians remember reforms to the live export industry were not as a result of nor based on the Awassi footage – they are based on science. The industry had 10 consignments in which more than 2 per cent of the sheep died in the past ten years. I’ll continue to stay the course on these reforms – my office is methodically working through the reform process with stakeholders. 

“Doing the sensible thing sometimes means being criticised by both sides. 

“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable.  

“We need to make sure all animal cruelty is stamped out regardless of the motivation behind it.”

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Live export footage investigation

21 January 2018

The federal Department of Agriculture has started to formally investigate under what conditions footage of the Awassi’s May to October 2017 voyages was obtained.  

The department will investigate whether payments were made to fabricate inhumane changed conditions on the voyages.   

“Depending on what the department finds, other agencies may need to be involved,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Whilst the department examined all 800-plus pieces of footage at the time, it can’t hurt to investigate. If animals were deliberately mistreated for even one piece of footage, those responsible must be brought to justice.” 

Minister Littleproud, currently en route home after attending the EU Agriculture Ministers’ conference in Berlin, said Australians deserved clear information about the footage and any payments made. Media organisations will be asked for information to assist. 

“It’s important Australians remember reforms to the live export industry were not as a result of nor based on the Awassi footage – they are based on science. The industry had 10 consignments in which more than 2 per cent of the sheep died in the past ten years. I’ll continue to stay the course on these reforms – my office is methodically working through the reform process with stakeholders. 

“Doing the sensible thing sometimes means being criticised by both sides. 

“Depending on the outcome of these investigations, we may need to consider the best way to make sure taking action which could reasonably be expected to cause cruelty to animals being exported is punishable.  

“We need to make sure all animal cruelty is stamped out regardless of the motivation behind it.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

21 January 2019

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has called out the Aussie Farms Map launched today as an anonymous farm shaming website with no real outcomes for animal welfare. 

“This website is irresponsible at best,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map for activists. This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists. 

“Farms are people’s homes, not just their businesses. Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses which they do not. 

“Further, we don’t know if the footage posted on this website is actually from the farm it is attributed to. Content such as graphic images or video can be uploaded and attached to any farm by anonymous users. 

“This potentially encourages activists to trespass and worse after being misled about the practices on that farm. Trespass also has the potential to cause significant bio-security issues that ironically could lead to the death of the animal. 

The website, run by charity Aussie Farms, lacks official checks and balances and has a clear agenda. 

“Australian producers are some of the cleanest and greenest in the world, are proud of the work they do and are a key pillar of the Australian economy. 

“Our farmers play an important role in feeding and clothing people across the world. They deserve to be thanked, not have their addresses published and possible be harassed in their own homes.”

Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

Farm shaming website despicable: Littleproud

21 January 2019

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has called out the Aussie Farms Map launched today as an anonymous farm shaming website with no real outcomes for animal welfare. 

“This website is irresponsible at best,” Minister Littleproud said. 

“Putting the locations of farms online could be creating an attack map for activists. This will potentially result in illegal behaviour by activists. 

“Farms are people’s homes, not just their businesses. Some farmers have already complained the website claims they run businesses which they do not. 

“Further, we don’t know if the footage posted on this website is actually from the farm it is attributed to. Content such as graphic images or video can be uploaded and attached to any farm by anonymous users. 

“This potentially encourages activists to trespass and worse after being misled about the practices on that farm. Trespass also has the potential to cause significant bio-security issues that ironically could lead to the death of the animal. 

The website, run by charity Aussie Farms, lacks official checks and balances and has a clear agenda. 

“Australian producers are some of the cleanest and greenest in the world, are proud of the work they do and are a key pillar of the Australian economy. 

“Our farmers play an important role in feeding and clothing people across the world. They deserve to be thanked, not have their addresses published and possible be harassed in their own homes.”

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Minister for Defence Personnel visits RAAF cadets at RAAF Base East Sale

Source: Australian Government – Minister of Defence

The latest General Service Training Camp at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base East Sale has kicked off, welcoming 58 cadets and eight support staff for the week-long training camp.

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester, who is also the Federal Member for Gippsland, visited RAAF Base East Sale to meet RAAF’s latest cadets from Tasmania’s Number 5 Wing.

“The Australian Air Force Cadets organisation is actively supported by RAAF and aims to inspire young Australians to seek a career in the Australian Defence Force or Australian Aerospace Industry,” Mr Chester said.

“The organisation has grown into a vibrant network of some 7,500 young cadets who share camaraderie, responsibility and a sense of belonging.

“Camps such as these foster qualities that will enable cadets to become responsible young adults who will make a valuable contribution to the community.

“The camp gives cadets a chance to experience life and the workings of a RAAF base, something not currently available within Tasmania.

“Cadets will experience a familiarisation flight on a military aircraft which is a wonderful opportunity for these young aviation enthusiasts.

“During the course the cadets will be exposed to the many opportunities available to them both within the Air Force and the aviation industry as a whole.

“The Government is proud of what the Australian Air Force Cadets offers to young people and sees it as a tremendous investment in our youth and the future of defence in Australia.”

The General Service Training Camp at RAAF Base East Sale will wrap up on January 26, 2019.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Doorstop – James Cook University, Cairns

Source: Australia Government Ministerial Statements

Photo: AAP Image/Marc McCormack

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: Well thank you very much indeed for being here. It’s another red letter day for Cairns and for far North Queensland. I have here our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Professor Chris Cocklin from James Cook University and we are welcoming the Prime Minister to make a statement here today which is going to have a very positive and profound impact on our future, particularly in relation to medical science and for our hospital system in Cairns. So over to you.

PRIME MINISTER: Well thank very much Warren and thanks Chris for having here and to all the amazing scientists here who are doing tremendous work, not just for Australia but right across the regions. It’s tremendous to get a bit of an update on the work that they’ve been doing. Not that long ago I was here, Warren, as the JCU as well announcing $10 million for the innovation hub and I was which is being spent and those projects are happening.

But you know, since the last election, youth unemployment here has fallen from 28 per cent to 15.6 per cent. That’s what’s happened under our Government. Youth unemployment here in North Queensland, in Warren’s electorate has fallen from 28 per cent to 15.6 per cent. Now you might say why are you talking about that? Aren’t you going to talk about hospitals today? Yes I am going to talk about hospitals today. The reason I can announce today $60 million to support the James Cook University Tropical Enterprise Centre, that will free up 150 beds in Cairns Hospital and enable the fusion between the wonderful work we are seeing here done here with a teaching hospital and university here in North Queensland, the reason I can do that is because we’re running a strong economy and we’re running a strong Budget and with a strong economy youth unemployment falls, you get record employment growth, particularly for young people, which is what our Government, and the careful stewardship of our economy, is being is able to deliver. I am very pleased because we are running a strong economy we can invest and we can guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on.

Yesterday I was talking about critical new PBS listings for Australians suffering with lung cancer. Today, I can talk about freeing up 150 beds in Cairns Hospital here for the health treatment of locals here in North Queensland but also building on the incredible work being done by JCU as becoming an absolute centre of excellence when it comes to all things tropical. Tropical business, tropical research into medicines and diseases. Linking up with other parts of the world. Becoming an internationally recognised hub for all of this which will only further compound the opportunities and grow those opportunities here in far North Queensland. I want to thank Warren, I want to thank Con, I want to thank the whole team for the way they have focused on this project and bringing all the strands together. We’re doing this today because we’re able to do it because of a strong economy and I’m going to remain absolutely focused on continuing to deliver that strong economy which means we can have Medicare bulk billing rates at their highest on record. We can be funding hospitals here with increased funding. Up here since 2017, I think it is, by $39 million. And at the same time, the State Government has cut funding to hospitals up here. So when it comes to who you can rely on to increase funding for health without increasing your taxes, it’s the Liberals and the LNP here in Queensland.

So I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today and make the announcement today and very happy to be doing so. Great work to Warren and the team up here in the north. And I want to thank, particularly Advance Cairns for the work they have done with in working with us on working up these proposals. We have had many meetings with Advance Cairns. I first met Trent years ago when I was Treasurer and we would come up and talk about the priorities and you can see the vision that Advance Cairns has right across the region. I know Warren has worked hand in glove with Advance Cairns to ensure that we can deliver, whether it is this project, the  project I announced last time I was here last time which just means the north can continue to grow stronger and with greater capability in future for the young people getting those jobs, the scientists and researchers coming from all around the world and from just people every day getting who need good quality health care and they’re getting it because of our strong economy which I am absolutely determined to continue.

PROFESSOR CHRIS COCKLIN: Thank you, welcome, Prime Minister, to James Cook University. What a great day it is for Cairns today. We are announcing… the Government is announcing a $60 million investment in the Cairns Hospital, which as the Prime Minister indicated is going to free up bed space. But as importantly, it is going to also enable the growth, diversification and strengthening of the Cairns Hospital in a way that really is warranted I think in this particular location and this particular region. It is something that absolutely has to happen.

So, what we’re talking about here is the bringing together of technologies and research in health and health-related disciplines, and particularly with the digital enabling of those capabilities, health capabilities. And so, the Prime Minister’s used the word “fusion”. We will be bringing together the work that is done through our IOT, our Internet Of Things disciplines and putting that together with our health-related disciplines to establish a centre, the Cairns Tropical Enterprise Centre, that will enable us in Cairns to establish this location as a national and indeed an international leader in digital connections with health. And so things like being able to provide remote diagnosis to people at great distance, to using sensor technology to be able to better diagnose and indeed to be able to prescribe treatments for people at large.

The other element of this particular investment from the Morrison Government is that it’s going to create a place in which we can advance another national priority which is in STEM education, science, technology, engineering, maths education. What we aspire to with the CTEC is to create a facility in which we can work with the local high school to create a leading edge international capability to provide STEM education to students in Cairns and that’s the foundation on which that employment that the Prime Minister has referred to will actually grow and prosper.

So we’re very pleased that the Centre not only will bring together the health and the digital agendas but also provide a wonderful facility for young people in Cairns to prosper in their science education. Look, I would also like to express first, thanks to the Morrison Government for this wonderful, inspired, innovative investment in the Cairns region. We are deeply grateful, Prime Minister, for what you have announced today. I express thanks also to our colleague and friend, Mr Warren Entsch, Member for Leichhardt and I would like to express considerable thanks to Advance Cairns who have worked so hard on this particular initiative. So we look forward to working with Cairns health and hospital service in now developing and refining the plans and forging ahead with great speed and alacrity. Thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, please give our regards to the Vice Chancellor who I was here with last time. Obviously this project is done with partners. One of the great thing about JCU is how they work with partners in the commercial sector and the teaching sector, the hospital sector and so on. But it also needs the support of the State Government, some $90 million for this project, the Commonwealth is stumping up for our part, $10 million for this land and $50 million for the construction of the new facilities for the CTEC. So we just want to get on with the project. It’s a great project for North Queensland.

Happy to take some questions on this announcement today. If there are other questions you’d like to talk about, we might excuse the acting Vice Chancellor for that, he doesn’t need to be quizzed on those matters but we can deal with those things then.

JOURNALIST: Obviously we’ve seen quite a lot of news about the ramping rates rising here in the far north, would you care to speak about how this development will help resolve some of those issues?

PRIME MINISTER: I missed that start of that question.

JOURNALIST: We have seen a lot of issues with the ramping rate here at Cairns Hospital rising and other staffing issues come up. How will this development help in that regard?

PRIME MINISTER: For a start, we’re freeing up 150 beds. If you’re out there in Cairns today and around in the region and say what does it mean for me? 150 extra beds that will be there in the Cairns Hospital which is incredibly important. As I said, we’ve put over $30 million extra into hospitals here in North Queensland. It is disappointing the State Government has actually cut funds to hospitals here. So they need to step up, that’s what they need to do. But Warren, you are the local member and might want to comment?

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: Yeah and the other thing is of course a lot of the JCU teaching staff will coming out from the hospital to this dedicated building so it that then provides more opportunities there for the State Government to be able to put more people into front-line services, nurses and doctors etc. Because not only is there space for the beds, those additional beds, but there will also be space for the support to have with it. And I hope and expect that they would take advantage of that opportunity and ramp up the numbers because that’s where the problems lie. And so it is a great opportunity and I think this is something to… that we can really grab with both hands. This is a major step forward in becoming a tier 6 hospital and this is what we’re aspiring to do. This is what we are all targeting for and of course this then puts us up there on a bigger footing than anywhere else in the country. Because of the location with the international connections, particularly the regional connections that we have, it really puts us into an international forum as well which is very exciting.

PRIME MINISTER: They can also sign up for the hospitals agreement, the State Government, there is $7 billion of funding for the Queensland hospitals in that agreement which they are still yet to sign over the next five years and I hope they take up the opportunities as other states and territories have.

JOURNALIST: What about staffing pressures? How will it alleviate that at the Cairns Hospital, this announcement?

PRIME MINISTER: Again, what we are doing is we’re freeing up the beds, we’re freeing up the room. The State Government, we’ve offered a $7 billion hospitals agreement right across the state so they can get on with the job. This is record funding for hospitals across Queensland. They need to sign and get access to that money, which we want to provide them. We are standing there with the cheque book and the deal and saying, “Sign up, let’s get on with it” and then they should exercise their responsibilities to meet the health and needs of North Queenslanders.

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: We provide the money, we do not actually employ the staff. We do not build the hospitals, we just provide the funds. So it is up to them, the money is there, the space is there, the opportunity is being created for what is being announced today. All they need to do now is start recruiting.

JOURNALIST: What was your take on Bill Shorten saying he would match the same funding if elected?

PRIME MINISTER: I would say to the people of North Queensland, don’t take Bill Shorten’s carbon copy with higher taxes, take the real thing. This is what we have been working on for some time with Advance Cairns and Warren. He can follow me around the country and pretend he can do these things. But I’ll tell you what he can’t do, he can’t do it without lifting people taxes and he can’t do it under a stronger economy. You cannot guarantee health services with a weaker economy. If you’re going to put $200 billion of higher taxes on the Australian economy, that weakens it. That weakens your ability to deliver these important health and education services, disability services, providing important welfare supports throughout the community. You deliver this through a stronger economy. So what I’m announcing here today, I’m announcing on the back of strong economic management. Any time Bill Shorten opens his mouth, what he is talking about is doing things with you paying higher taxes. So as he gets around Queensland in his tax bus, he should be explaining to people why taxes have to go up because he can’t manage money. He can’t manage his own Budget so he will take money out of yours.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, will this be – the $60 million – be in the April Budget?

PRIME MINISTER: It is already factored in. The decision has already been taken and it is already in the forwards.

JOURNALIST: Has a school been chosen that is going to partner with JCU? You’d think Cairns High from a proxy meeting would be a logical choice?

PROFESSOR CHRIS COCKLIN: Certainly, Cairns State High is one that we have already had some conversations with about STEM education and the principal is here today. We will certainly be taking those conversations further in terms of partners. It is an important priority for the region, for the city. As you say, proximity counts for a lot in this particular case.

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: And we have the Executive Principal of Cairns State High standing there looking very slim.

[Laughter]

Can I get Advance Cairns to make a comment?

TRENT TWOMEY, ADVANCE CAIRNS: Thank you, Prime Minister and thank you, James Cook University and of course to our Federal Member. This has been a long time in the making. Two years we have been talking to the Federal Government about this, both when you were Treasurer, PM, and now that you’re in the big chair. But what does it mean for North Queensland? A university hospital by any other name is a teaching hospital and is a level six tertiary facility. So what does it mean? What that means for the average Cairns resident, for the average far North Queensland resident is they no longer have to travel south to get the health services that they need, whether it be special orthopaedics, specialty paediatrics or specialty ophthalmology, what it means is you will get the very best, world-class healthcare right here at our own university hospital. So that’s what it means for you. The other point from an economic point that we would like to make is health and community services is the largest sector in the far North Queensland economy. So the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service is the largest employer in far North Queensland. So there are more tables in more kitchens that have food on them because of the employer that is the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. So thank you very much Prime Minister, for announcement today. We look forward to working with you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much Trent. OK, I think Trent has covered that very, very well. In the last Budget, just to pick up on the point that Trent mentioned, the medical industry economic plan was a key part of that Budget recognising exactly that point Trent was making. People are saying, “Where are the new jobs coming from? Where is the record jobs growth coming from?” It has come from sectors like the medical industry, the human services industry, the disability support care sector. A lot more of those jobs are coming out of those sectors and particularly in regional parts of the country. So you make the point very well, Trent. It is one of the reasons why I said at the outset of this media conference, that youth unemployment is falling because of initiatives like this. OK, well I will excuse our friends and thank you all very much for your participation.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask one question if I may Prime Minister, Paul Makin FAB FM Port Douglas. This is a very serious thing. She has encouraged people on Australia Day to wear thongs and shorts in tropical weather.

PRIME MINISTER: She, sorry?

JOURNALIST: Julia Leu, the local Mayor of Port Douglas has said that in tropical weather we need shorts and thongs.

PRIME MINISTER:  Look, what is important is that people treat the day with respect. Now, I have been and I am sure Warren has been to even more, and particularly up here, citizenship ceremonies. When I go the citizenship ceremonies, whether it is in hot weather or whether it is in cold weather, the vast majority of people come and they dress a bit like people are dressed here. They do that out of respect.

JOURNALIST:  Sorry, Prime Minister…

You are in the minority today. You are the only one here wearing thongs and shorts. I suspect it was behind the question.

JOURNALIST: I apologise.

PRIME MINISTER: Nevertheless, the point is it is a day for respect and citizenship is an important institution. I wouldn’t go along to my kids’ graduation wearing boardies and thongs. I wouldn’t do that, I would respect the work they have put in and the seriousness of the day and what they have achieved and I am simply making an obvious point that the code and the guidelines are there to ensure that citizenship and its institution is treated with respect. So if other people want to play games with it and make cheap points about it, they can. My point is simple – respect citizenship, respect the day.

JOURNALIST: You have criticised the Canberra bubble in the past.  Do you think you are you adding to the culture wars through this Australia Day debate?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I am just calling it as I see it. I have had this view for a very long time. I was the Minister for Immigration. It was my signature on people’s citizenships. In fact when I was at Kakadu the other day I has couple came up to me and they wanted to meet me because I had signed their citizenship form and their certificate that they have. This is a very significant gift given by the people of Australia to welcome someone as a citizen. It is one of the most, if not the most, important thing as a nation we can give to anyone in the world and when you do it, when you provide that gift, we would expect anyone who is receiving it to treat Australia with respect.

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: And it says quite clearly, while you get all of the rights, there are obligations and while you might sort of be light-hearted about an individual in how they want to appear, you also have got to be respectful for all of the others that are standing in line, whether they be in their traditional dress of their homeland. They all fought very, very hard and worked very hard to earn the right to become citizens of this country and I think even out of respect for the other people that are getting that certificate it is not unreasonable to ask that people be dressed in the appropriate manner. Now, would we have a coat and tie up here? Of course not.

PRIME MINISTER: Of course not.

THE HON WARREN ENTSCH MP: That’s be ridiculous. But, you can be smart dressed and appropriately dressed. As I say, it looks great to have the colour of a lot of the original homelands in their traditional dress, but out of respect for those, I think everybody should be at least dressed in an appropriate manner. I 100 per cent support what the Prime Minister says.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Warren.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how dismayed were you to hear about the release of Abu Bakar Bashir?

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t want to make too much comment on that today. We are working and have been in close contact with the Indonesian Government as I said in my press conference on Saturday. That continues. We have been consistent, always, Governments of both persuasions over a long period of time about our concerns about Abu Bakar Bashir and that he should serve what the Indonesian justice system has delivered to him as his sentence. In these cases, when prisoners have served about two-thirds of their sentence, it is not uncommon for them to get parole, but we would be very… we have been very clear about the need to ensure that as part of our joint counterterrorism efforts – we have an excellent counterterrorism partnership with Indonesia – that Abu Bakar Bashir would not be in any position or any in way able to influence or incite anything. Let’s not forget that that Bali bombing led to the deaths of Indonesians as well. Australians died horrifically on that night and I think Australians everywhere would be expecting that this matter was treated with the utmost seriousness. Of course by our Government, which it is, and I have had direct contact over this matter, but also that the Indonesian Government would show great respect for Australia in how they manage this issue also.

JOURNALIST: In light of the pill testing debate, New South Wales Greens MP Cate Faehrmann has admitted to taking illegal drugs. Have you ever taken illegal drugs?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I haven’t. And look, we go through those questions every time when we get around elections. But what is serious is young people are dying takings these drugs. As a parent, these things always cause you great anxiety. My children, they are young. They are nine and eleven. They will go through that time in high school and those other times when they are older where they will be exposed to all sorts of things which I wish as a father I could shield them from. I met Aiia’s father in a completely different context, who was brutally murdered in Melbourne. As a father to father, we sat and spoke and we were dealing with some practical issues, but also just to extend my deep sorrow for him and his family. Look, as parents, it is the best job in the world, but it is also the hardest job in the world, but you love your kids and you want them to be safe. I can assure you that our Government will do everything within our power to keep our kids safe, but and we will endeavour to do that by leading by example.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, more recently at the Australian Open did seem to boo when you did appear on screen is that a concern to you?

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t think they liked the line call.

[Laughter]

It is a great tradition. I would be disappointed if they didn’t. Bob Hawke and everyone else got the same treatment at games. I enjoyed being there last night. It was a fantastic game. With the million or so Greek Australians, they would have been pretty excited about the outcome and Jenny and I certainly enjoyed the contest, but nowhere near as much as we enjoyed Ash Barty’s win and to meet Ash afterwards, she is delightful. We are looking forward to the return game tomorrow,  for the quarterfinal. Hopefully she can go all the way. But let’s not put too much pressure on her. She is a pretty focused young Australian and she is a great Queenslander, too. We are hoping for the best for Ash as she goes up in the contest on Tuesday.

But I have got to say, the Australian Open I have got to tell you is the most significant international event that Australia hosts. It is on every single screen throughout our region, around the world and it is on there for weeks and weeks. I know this from my time as being head of Tourism Australia. It is the single biggest event that speaks to the world about Australia and I want to commend the organisers and the work that has been done. It was an outstanding event during my attendance yesterday and I was pleased to be able to announce $12 million to support 3,000 more young girls staying in tennis, playing tennis, making sure they have female coaches and we are bridging the gap having competitions more in their local area. We know that young girls join tennis to play with their friends and spend time with their. That is what the research tells us. The program is around that. So I was there to happy to be supporting tennis, supporting Ash and supporting Australia.

JOURNALIST: As you say, it is an international event that does broadcast globally. It does send a message to the world. Is that message that Australians are not happy with the current leadership?

PRIME MINISTER: No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t.

JOURNALIST: Kelly O’Dwyer is resigning. Will you insist she will be are placed by another woman in her seat of Higgins?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s what I believe is going to happen.

JOURNALIST: So Peter Costello is not a potential candidate?

PRIME MINISTER: I haven’t heard anything to that effect.

JOURNALIST: Have you been given any assurances that Julie Bishop intends to stay on after the election?

PRIME MINISTER: Julie has made her own statement on that. I just refer to her statement on that. Thanks very much.

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