Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement to recall Parliament from 18 April has certainly attracted some attention over recent days.
The Prime Minister has made this decision in order to provide the Senate with ample opportunity to consider and pass what is known as the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) Bill and the Registered Organisations Bill.
It makes perfect sense that we need to protect Australia’s construction industry. It employs more than 1 million Australians and is our third biggest contributor to economic growth.
Having the industry in the state of lawlessness that it has become accustomed to simply isn’t good enough. Australians will not be able to afford the infrastructure of the 21st century unless the rule of law returns to the construction industry.
When the ABCC existed, economic and industrial performance in this important sector improved. Following the abolition of the ABCC, the significant improvements in labour and multifactor productivity in the construction sector flat-lined.
For example, in the December quarter, two out of every three days lost to industrial disputes in the economy were in the construction sector. In addition to this, since the abolition of the ABCC, the number of days lost to industrial disputes in the construction industry has increased by 34 per cent.
I agree with the Prime Minister that there is a need for a strong and effective regulator in the building and construction industry. The ABCC legislation will ensure there is an effective framework to address the problems of rampant industrial unlawfulness in this important industry.
Additionally, the Coalition’s Registered Organisations Bill will improve the governance and financial transparency of registered organisations and provide a new independent regulator with increased powers that will ensure compliance with the new rules.
In a renewed bid to cut the incidence of bowel cancer, the Commonwealth Government has launched A Gift for Living campaign, as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
According to Minister for Health Sussan Ley, Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, but with the full implementation of biennial screening it is estimated we can save between 300 to 500 Australian lives each year.
Since the inception of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006, over 2.5 million Australians had been screened to June 2014, with 3,989 participants found with suspected or confirmed cancers and 12,294 diagnosed with advanced adenomas.
The benefits of this are two-fold. This has not only prevented enormous stress and heartache for thousands of Australian families but it has potentially saved our health system millions of dollars by not having to treat advanced bowel cancer which is the most expensive cancer to treat in a hospital setting on high-cost drugs.
The screening kit is one of the best first defences we have against bowel cancer; the more people we screen the more lives we can save. If detected early enough we know around 9 out of 10 cases can be successfully treated.
I encourage all local residents, when you receive your screening kits, not to just throw it away. The kit might be A Gift for Living and that life might just be yours.