Nationals welcome Banking Royal Commission
The Federal Nationals have welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Royal Commission into banks and financial services. This comprehensive inquiry became necessary to restore trust and confidence in Australia’s banking and financial sector following years of concerns, particularly in rural and regional communities, about alleged misconduct and unethical behaviour by the banks. The Nationals will always fight for the regional communities and rural industries we represent and we believe today’s announcement reflects our commitment and the government’s commitment to those communities and industries. Despite the government putting in place a number of inquiries over recent years to examine and improve the conduct of our financial sector, it was clear there remained widespread community concern that only a Royal Commission could address. A Royal Commission will put an end to the uncertainty and doubts about the misconduct of our banking and financial services industries once and for all. Importantly, the Royal Commission will look at a range of financial services including banks, insurers, financial services providers and superannuation funds (not including self-managed superannuation funds). It will also consider how well equipped regulators are to identify and address misconduct. For more information about the Royal Commission, including the Draft Terms of Reference, visit http://sjm.ministers.treasury.gov.au/media-release/124-2017/
National enforcement of domestic violence orders to better protect victims
Domestic violence orders issued in any Australian state or territory will be automatically recognised and enforceable nationwide under the Coalition Government’s National Domestic Violence Order Scheme. The announcement coincides with White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Victims of domestic violence should be safe at home, on the streets and online and should not be forced into hiding by abusers. Victims of domestic violence and their children should not be forced to hide because of the crimes committed against them. For those who move interstate, this Scheme will make it easier to access protection and enable them to move forward with their lives.
Victims of domestic violence can now be confident that when they cross state and territory borders, they will not lose their protection or be forced to endure the stress of having to register multiple orders.
The Federal Government and State and Territory Governments agreed as part of Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to share the costs of the dedicated system. The Coalition Government allocated $9.9 million towards the development of this system in the 2016/2017 Federal Budget. If you are unsure whether you need to take action, or if you have further questions, visit www.ag.gov.au/ndvos or contact your local court. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling services call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au
Options considered for native title system
The Coalition Government is releasing an options paper considering how the native title system could be improved to better support all stakeholders involved with native title.
The options paper considers reforms to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) to make the native title system operate more effectively for all Australians.
In developing the options paper, the Government has engaged extensively with key stakeholders, including the states and territories at a Native Title Ministers’ Meeting on 13 October this year.
The paper considers how native title holders could be given greater autonomy to resolve claims more simply by providing claim groups with greater authority to make decisions, and more options to resolve internal disputes.
The paper also contains a number of proposals designed to improve the operation of Indigenous representative bodies which play a vital role in representing native title holders.
The options paper and more information on native title reform are available at ag.gov.au/Consultations.
Smart Farms Small Grants Round One closing soon
Farmers, fishers, community and industry groups submitting applications for the first round of the $50 million Smart Farms Small Grants need to be quick as applications close at 2pm AEDT on 7 December 2017.
Anyone who feels they have a good idea about how to improve soils, vegetation and biodiversity are urged to get their applications in quickly and make that idea a reality. These Smart Farms Small Grants of between $5,000 and $100,000 will help land managers and community groups to come up with, or take advantage of that next great idea.
Australian farmers care for 61 per cent of our land and have a long-held reputation for sustainable and innovative land management. Through the $1 billion National Landcare Program, the Government is supporting innovation leading to improved soils, vegetation and biodiversity and in turn, helping farmers to be productive and profitable.
For more information on the grant and how to apply: www.nrm.gov.au.