It is very welcome news that when Federal Parliament returns this week, the Coalition Government will introduce two bills to abolish the Gillard Government's Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and provide certainty to numerous small business owner-drivers across Australia.
The RSRT has set a controversial minimum rates order that industry groups, farmers and truck drivers say will destroy jobs and livelihoods in regional Australia.
Labor and the Greens have so far moved to block abolition of the RSRT. However if there is insufficient Crossbench Senate support for the bills next week, the Government will move to put a stay on the RSRT order until January 2017.
I have received feedback from many owner drivers across the electorate of Parkes who want the RSRT abolished immediately. It has become clear that if we don't act quickly, there won't be an owner-driver trucking industry to save once Labor and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) are finished with it.
Truck drivers have been on an emotional roller coaster as they waited to hear what the RSRT's decision would mean for them. These owner-drivers own homes, they have mortgages on their trucks, spend money in regional towns around Australia, and keep our nation moving. These small businesses are common throughout Western New South Wales (NSW) and it is essential their livelihoods are protected.
The RSRT issued a minimum rates order only targeting owner-drivers, who said the new system would make them uncompetitive and leave them without work.
The Government has a special temporary hotline through the Department of Social Services to provide targeted financial advice for owner drivers who have been negatively affected by the payment order.
Owner drivers can reach the Financial Counselling Helpline by calling 1800 007 007.
The number of Australian apprentices supported through the Coalition Government’s Trade Support Loans has doubled in the past year, with 40,000 apprentices accessing loans nationwide, including 316 in the federal electorate of Parkes.
This large number of applicants clearly shows that the programme is a vital helping hand for Australian apprentices seeking to complete trade qualifications.
Apprenticeships are vital to boosting the nation’s skilled workforce. Apprenticeships are delivering opportunities for young people entering the workforce and for those looking for a career change.
The Trade Support Loans programme offers loans of up to $20,000 to help apprentices cover day-to-day expenses associated with living, learning and completing an apprenticeship. Trade Support Loans can also be used by apprentices to purchase necessary equipment for their chosen trades.
The objective of the programme is to encourage and assist apprentices to complete their training in key sectors of the economy where there are real skill shortages. It is important we give apprentices the best chance to complete their trade qualifications.
As an additional incentive, the Trade Support Loans programme rewards those who successfully complete their apprenticeship by giving them a 20 per cent discount on their loan amount.
I urge apprentices across Western NSW in need of a helping hand to apply for a Trade Support Loan.
For more information visit please visit http://www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au/publications/trade-support-loans