Last week the Australian Government completed an intergovernmental agreement between all jurisdictions on the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
This Agreement included a commitment to cap water purchases at 1500 gigalitres and prioritise water infrastructure programmes. Both are key to binging balance back to the Murray Darling Basin discussion.
Many of the valleys in the Parkes Electorate have already gone through a substantial amount of pain throughout the MDBP process through water buybacks and I am pleased that we are now seeing sensible measures for our basin communities.
The water reform agreement also provides for $32.5 million for New South Wales as a part of the Regional Economic Diversification Programme. This investment in the local economies of basin communities is vital. I look forward to working with my colleague Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and my State Government colleagues on the rollout of this programme.
I believe that all Australians are committed to improving environmental outcomes in the Murray Darling Basin. Water reform has had a monumental impact on industry and communities in the Basin. I am glad to see a return to a sensible centre on the Murray Darling Basin.
In Parliament last week the Government introduced legislation to boost workforce participation and encourage young job seekers to move from welfare into work. The legislation is also a fulfilment of the Coalition’s election commitments about changes to the welfare system.
The changes are designed to encourage those who are on welfare to get a job, and to remain in employment through the provision of a cash bonus. The Job Commitment Bonus will encourage young, long term unemployed job seekers aged 18-30 through a payment of $2500 if they get a job and remain in continuous work for 12 months. A further $4000 will be paid if they remain in continuous work and off income support for two years.
The legislation also introduces an additional measure to assist job seekers to relocate for employment. The Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job measure provides up to $6000 for job seekers relocating to a regional area or $3000 for job seekers relocating to a metropolitan area. For families with dependent children there will also be additional assistance.
These bonuses are targeted at the long term unemployed. They are designed to offer an additional incentive to job seekers and boost workforce participation.