BIODIVERSITY BILL FOR FARMERS
On 9 February 2022, the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill was introduced to parliament. This Bill will create a framework to support new income streams for farmers, improved biodiversity, and international recognition of Australia’s biodiversity stewardship credentials.
The Bill builds on the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, which aims to improve on-farm land management practices and develop a market-based approach for rewarding farmers to deliver biodiversity services.
The Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package demonstrates that a market can deliver financial returns to farmers by piloting projects that deliver biodiversity outcomes alongside carbon and enhance remnant vegetation. The Australian Government is building on the success of these pilots to provide a long-term pathway to market for farmers – a market that is world-leading and informed by science.
Australian farmers are amongst our most essential caretakers of the land – they manage 58 per cent of Australia’s landscape.
COMMUNITIES IN THE PARKES ELECTORATE TO BENEFIT FROM MEDIA REFORM PACKAGE
Access to public-interest journalism is critical to the health of Australia’s democratic system. However, the economics of public interest journalism is challenged, especially in regional areas.
The Government will provide $10 million over two years for the Journalist Fund creating employment opportunities for cadet and trainee journalists and professional development opportunities for journalists working in regional news businesses.
The Journalist Fund is an excellent opportunity for local news outlets to secure new talent, upskill existing talent, and ensure local stories are captured and reported.
The Australian Government is ensuring residents have access to high-quality local content and regional coverage. The importance of streaming services investing in local content—ensuring that they continue to do so through the Streaming Services Investment and Reporting Scheme and asking the ABC to report on its regional footprint.
For more information on the Media Policy Statement, including details on the measures, visit https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/2022-media-policy-statement
To view the Streaming Services Investment and Reporting Scheme Discussion Paper and have your say, go to https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/streaming-services-reporting-and-investment-scheme
REOPENING TO TOURISTS AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS
Australia will reopen to all fully vaccinated visa holders, welcoming the return of tourists, business travellers, and other visitors from 21 February.
These changes will ensure we protect the health of Australians while we continue to secure our economic recovery.
Australia’s health system has demonstrated its resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including the recent Omicron wave. With improving health conditions, including a recent 23 per cent decline in hospitalisations due to COVID, the National Security Committee of Cabinet agreed Australia is ready to further to progress the staged reopening of our international border.
Visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia and be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.
In 2018-19, tourism generated more than $60 billion for the Australian economy, with more than 660,000 jobs dependent on the industry.
Since the Coalition Government commenced Australia’s staged international border reopening on 1 November 2021, we have seen almost 580,000 arrivals come to Australia, including reuniting with loved ones, working or studying.
FUNDING TO HELP PRESERVE WARTIME HERITAGE
The Saluting Their Service program has seen hundreds of worthy projects across Australia funded in recent years to help local communities pay tribute to Australians who have served during wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
The latest round has funded three projects in the Parkes electorate, Moree, Emerald Hill and Gilgandra.
The North West Nashos will use this $9,650 grant to construct a Moree Anzac Centenary Park memorial to commemorate all National Servicemen.
Emerald Hill Progress Association will receive $2,700 to remember local World War I veterans.
Gilgandra Returned and Services League Sub-Branch will utilise $4,207 to upgrade the Coo-ee March Memorial Park.
This funding is part of the Australian Government’s $32 million investment in the Veterans’ Affairs grant programs.