Australia’s 27th Governor-General and 46th Parliament
On Monday 1 July, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) will be sworn in as the 27thGovernor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. General Hurley’s appointment was approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in December 2018 following a recommendation being made by the Prime Minister. General Hurley has a military background, having served in the Australian Army for 42 years prior to his appointment as Governor of New South Wales in October 2014. I take this opportunity to welcome him to the role, and pay tribute to our outgoing Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
The following day, on Tuesday 2 July, Australia’s 46th Parliament will be sworn in. I am looking forward to getting back to work, with my colleagues and I determined to deliver on our commitments to create jobs, maintain a budget surplus while paying down debt, deliver tax relief to both families and small businesses, increasing funding for schools, hospitals, medicines and roads, as well as ensuring Australia’s borders are secure.
Schools from the Parkes electorate visit Parliament House
It is always a pleasure when I am able to meet with school students from the electorate who are visiting Parliament House. I make it a priority to meet with visiting students from the electorate, however sometimes I’m not able to do so due to other commitments and while I’m always disappointed when this happens, I’m delighted to hear of their visits. I missed recent visits made by Menindee Central School, Gunnedah South Public School, Coonabarabran’s St Lawrence’s Primary School and Narromine Public School; I’m confident they were wonderful ambassadors for our region and enjoyed seeing and sharing photos of their visit.
I was able to meet with students from Broken Hill School of the Air, Tibooburra Public School, White Cliffs Public School and Hay School of the Air when they visited Parliament House on 19 June. I was impressed by their journey – some of the Broken Hill School of the Air students actually live in South Australia, and they’d travelled 300kms to get to Broken Hill followed by a 14 hour bus trip to Canberra.
On 27 June, Dubbo College’s Band and Choir performed in the Great Hall at Parliament House. While I wasn’t able to be there to see them perform, I am told it was an impressive performance and I look forward to there being an opportunity for me to hear more about their experience when I am in the electorate.
The Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER) is an initiative of the Australian Government which provides some financial assistance for students in Year 4-12 across Australia to travel to Canberra. For schools travelling between 500–999 kilometres, a rebate of $30 is allocated for each student who attends. There are specific requirements in order to be eligible to receive this funding, with further information available at https://www.pacer.org.au/
Increased price limits for NDIS providers and children to get faster access to NDIS supports
I was pleased with Minister Robert’s announcement of a plan to resolve delays and backlogs for children with disability in accessing Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports through the NDIS. The Minister expressed his understanding that unnecessarily complex processes have the potential to discourage families who are already doing so much for their children, and since his appointment as the Minister for the NDIS he has been working with the NDIA to identify what more can be done to reduce the backlogs that are currently being experienced by families in some locations. The six-month plan will be implemented by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Further information on this announcement can be found at https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/2990-children-get-faster-access-ndis-supports.
In the last week of June Minister Robert also announced an increase to price limits for NDIS services. The increases are part of the Independent Price Review—with its 25 recommendations having been progressively implemented since July 2018 with the aim of transitioning the NDIS market to cope with significant demand growth, improving efficiency and quality of care and reaching the longer-term goal of price deregulation. From 1 July, providers will see increases to remote and very remote plan funding and price limit loadings; changes to billing for travel, cancellations and non-face-to-face services; and a temporary loading for attendant care and community participation supports—including group based supports—to assist organisations transitioning to the NDIS. These price increases are in addition to the base rate increases announced for therapy, attendant care and community participation in March 2019, representing the final outcomes of the 2019-20 Annual Price Review. For more information on the changes and the Independent Price Review, please visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-information.