With the commencement of another Parliamentary sitting fortnight last week, legislative discussions are in full swing. I presented a Bill in the House of Representatives chamber – the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Support for Infrastructure Financing) Bill 2019. These amendments give Australia’s credit export agency, Efic, a new overseas infrastructure financing power, and an extra $1 billion in callable capital. This will support infrastructure projects in the region that benefit Australia.
In other news, the passing of the medivac bill supported by Labor on Tuesday was a dark day. It waters down our asylum policy and poses major risks for our future border protection. I have concerns that as a result of these legislative changes we will certainly see people smugglers on the rise.
Closing the Gap report, National Resources statement
On Thursday the Prime Minister delivered a statement regarding the 2019 Closing the Gap report, which highlighted successes across the country but also reminded us that targets are an opportunity to work together to accelerate progress.
A new suite of initiatives includes a teacher boost for remote Australia. This will involve removing all or part of the HELP debt for 3,100 students to encourage more teachers to work and stay working in very remote areas, offering opportunities for those choosing to teach in parts of my electorate. It will also include a Youth Education Package – $200 million extra support to give more Indigenous students the support and mentoring they need through their secondary studies; and investing $5 million in remote and very remote areas for projects that support and promote school attendance.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, has delivered a National Resources Statement – the first such statement in more than 20 years. The statement outlines how the government will attract investment, develop new resources and markets and share the benefits of success with more regional communities.
YMCA Broken Hill opens
On Friday I was glad to visit Broken Hill for the official opening of the YMCA’s Integrated Wellness Centre. Having visited the centre numerous times since works commenced, it gives me great pleasure to see this impressive redevelopment complete, which will provide a range of important community health and wellbeing programs for the local community.
The Federal Government contributed $371,302 to the Integrated Wellness Centre’s mezzanine redevelopment through the Building Better Regions Fund. I commend the YMCA Broken Hill and YMCA NSW teams on their foresight and hard work to bring this project to completion, as well as other contributors to the overall project including the State Government, the local council and Maari Ma Aboriginal Health. While in the area, I also enjoyed attending the opening of the new synthetic carpet green at the North Broken Hill Bowling Club.
Photo Caption: Deputy Premier John Barilaro, YMCA NSW Area Manager Shane Simmons, Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, and Nationals Candidate for Barwon Andrew Schier testing out the bikes in the newly redeveloped YMCA Broken Hill Integrated Wellness Centre at the official opening event last week.