The Australian Government is getting on with fixing Labor's broken infrastructure system today hosting the first industry roundtable on the Productivity Commission's inquiry into Public Infrastructure in Adelaide, South Australia.
We have also commenced our broader consultations with State Governments, yesterday meeting with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird in Sydney.
The Commission's inquiry shows that we must improve the financing, governance and delivery of new infrastructure in Australia to boost our productive capacity and economic growth.
In order to achieve this we must:
World Trade Organization (WTO) Members in Geneva have failed to meet the prescribed deadline of 31 July 2014 to adopt the necessary Protocol of Amendment to open for acceptance the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
This deadline was the first test of WTO Members’ commitment to implementing the outcomes of the Bali WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said: “We have failed because a small number of WTO Members sought to reopen and renegotiate the decisions all Members had agreed to in Bali.”
“Australia is deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to meet the deadline. This failure is a great blow to the confidence revived in Bali that the WTO can deliver negotiated outcomes.”
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has confirmed the appointments of three senior investment specialists from the private sector who will add to Australia’s capacity to attract foreign investment.
“These three senior investment specialists will be joined by two more specialists in the near future, and all five will focus on promoting investment into the key sectors of the national investment priorities - food and agribusiness, resources and energy, tourism and hospitality, tropical health and medical research and international education,” Mr Robb said.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced an emergency funding package of $315,000 in response to a significant outbreak of beet western yellows virus (BWYV) in canola crops in the southern region.
Transmitted by green peach aphid (GPA), the combination of virus and aphid feeding has caused considerable damage and crop losses in parts of South Australia and Victoria, and infection has also been detected in southern New South Wales.
GRDC Managing Director, John Harvey, says that in the early stages of the outbreak, initial identification of BWYV as well as testing of GPA populations for insecticide resistance was undertaken with support from existing GRDC investments.
ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) from Adelaide-based PGW Financial Services Pty Ltd (PGW), after an ASIC surveillance found deficiencies in its advice to clients and arrangements for supervising its authorised representatives.
ASIC's surveillance followed PGW's appointment of a number of ex-representatives of AAA Financial Intelligence Limited (AAA FI) and AAA Shares Pty Ltd (AAA Shares) after their Australian financial services (AFS) licences were cancelled by ASIC in February 2013.
ASIC identified numerous instances where financial product advice provided by PGW to clients did not demonstrate:
Screen Australia today announced funding of $3.4 million to nine new documentary projects. The projects will stimulate production to the value of $11 million.
Screen Australia has also advised that its documentary guideline review process will be extended to accommodate further industry consultation and the existing program guidelines will continue to take effect for the remainder of 2014.
Industry submissions to the documentary guideline review process have outlined a number of issues and further matters for consideration. The review was instigated to ensure funding mechanisms allowed for Screen Australia to continue to support a diverse slate of significant Australian stories in an environment of reduced funding and changing audience dynamics.
Bushfire defences will be beefed up to protect homes and livelihoods across several council areas through the Abbott and Newman Governments’ Natural Disaster Resilience Program to protect Queensland communities.
The Cloncurry, Mount Isa, Scenic Rim, and Southern Downs Councils will share in more than $192,000 to build new fire breaks, clear fire trails and improve their management of fire hazards.
The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments together contributed $120,000 towards the projects, with the remaining funding contributed by the councils.
Commonwealth Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said preparation for the upcoming fire season was essential to reduce the environmental, economic and social costs of bushfires.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today announced $3.7 million in grants to assist Australian communities better prepare, respond to and recover from natural disasters and emergencies.
In 2014-15 the Federal Government will fund 19 nationally-significant projects under the National Emergency Management Projects (NEMP) Program, reinforcing its commitment to building a disaster resilient Australia.
“The partnership approach between all levels of government, non-government agencies and the community is vital in building a culture of shared responsibility, a key tenet of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience,” Mr Keenan said.
In 2014–15, successful projects include:
Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan joined the Western Australian Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis today to announce that over $2 million in Commonwealth funding is being made available to improve community preparedness for natural disasters.
This is part of more than $6 million the Commonwealth is providing to Western Australia through the current National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience.
Mr Keenan said the funding partnership between the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments would strengthen disaster resilience across Western Australia through state-wide and community level projects.
The Australian Government is putting in place another key programme in the comprehensive strategy to create new opportunities for investment and jobs growth in Tasmania.
Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said an $11 million Innovation and Investment Fund for Tasmania was now open for applications from local businesses with projects to diversify the economy.
“This fund is an important part of a regional economic diversification package for Tasmania and will support local businesses to deliver long-term sustainable industry opportunities, help diversify Tasmania’s economy and create new jobs,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Delivering on its election commitments to the people of Broome, the Australian Government is investing $3.2 million in new sea and air rescue facilities for the region through the Community Development Grants Programme.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss and Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price today announced funding for a new Royal Flying Doctor Service Base, Volunteer Sea Rescue Headquarters and rescue vessel, all to be located in Broome.
“The Australian Government is helping create better social and economic infrastructure for regional communities across Australia,” Mr Truss said.
Four outstanding South Australian entrepreneurs took out top honours at last night’s 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Central Region awards ceremony in Adelaide.
The winners, by category, were:
Also recognised in the non-competitive regional award categories were:
The continued growth of low-cost Asian airline capacity and the economic recovery underway in the United Kingdom and the United States has contributed to visitor arrivals surging 8.2% over the year to May, the fastest rate of growth in nearly a decade.
This has led to an upward revision of Deloitte Access Economics’ international visitor forecasts. The latest Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook projects arrivals to grow by 5.1% and international visitor nights to increase by 5.2% over the next three years.
Road Trains and commuters are experiencing faster and safer trips on the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland, with works on a $260 million upgrade now complete and open to traffic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price and Western Australian Member for the Pilbara Brendon Grylls today to officially open the eight kilometre realignment.
Mr Truss said the Australian Government's investment in this section was one of many productivity-boosting projects funded by the Government on Australia's longest highway.
ASIC has banned Ms Shilpa Karandikar, a Melbourne-based mortgage broker, from engaging in credit activities for four years after an ASIC investigation found she submitted false documents to secure a home loan worth $243,000
ASIC’s investigation found that Ms Karandikar submitted a $243,000 home loan application on behalf of a client in July 2012 that contained false payslips, false employment documents and a false bank statement. The home loan application also contained false information to make the financial position of her client look more favourable than it actually was.
ASIC found that Ms Karandikar knew, or was reckless as to whether, the documents and information contained in the loan application were false or misleading.
Following an ASIC application, the Federal Court in Perth has made interim asset preservation orders by consent against former Western Australia-based financial adviser Marion Joan Pearson and Colisa Pty Ltd (Colisa).
The court also made interim consent orders restraining Ms Pearson and Colisa from providing financial services advice or dealing in financial products, and from dealing with any client accounts without prior express written authority from the client.
Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Professor Aidan Byrne, has today opened a new Dairy Innovation Hub at the University of Melbourne dedicated to developing new technical solutions to overcome challenges facing the dairy industry.
The ARC Diary Innovation Hub will focus on the technical challenges that currently constrain the growth of Australia's dairy industry, including: better ways to clean milk and cheese processing equipment; improving the spreadability and taste of butter and long-life milks; and faster maturation of cheese.
Good speed is being made on the Bruce Highway upgrade south of Townsville, with vehicles travelling on the new northbound Stuart Creek bridge for the first time today.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the bridge opening today was an important milestone for the $137.5 million project.
“Traffic is for the first time today driving northbound on 1.8 kilometres of the highway,” Mr Truss said.
“By next year the whole project will be complete and motorists will see yet another example of how the Australian Government is getting on with fixing the Bruce Highway.”
ASIC today accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) from The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. (RBS) in relation to potential misconduct involving the Australian Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW).
RBS will also make a voluntary contribution of $1.6 million to fund independent financial literacy projects in Australia.
The Government is today delivering on our election commitment to review regulatory barriers restricting the availability of retirement income stream products.
Australians are looking for more options to better manage their retirement income and manage associated investment and inflation risks.
We are also committed to providing self-funded retirees with confidence that their funds will not run out because of inappropriate forced withdrawals by reviewing the minimum payment levels for account-based pensions.
The Government wants to encourage greater product innovation in retirement income products that better cater for the evolving and differing retirement preferences.
Today we issue a discussion paper which considers key areas such as:
Grants totalling more than $100 million will flow to almost 100 South Australian River Murray irrigation and industry projects.
This includes projects such as $12.7 million to replant an existing production area with new crops and a new irrigation system, $5.2 million for a new onion and potato farm to supply a national supermarket chain, and a $2.2 million project to convert a disused almond orchard into an irrigated lucerne hay business.
The grants are being made through the Australian Government-funded $240 million South Australian River Murray Sustainability Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (3IP), and the projects will return about half the water required under the programs 40-gigalitre target for water recovery.
Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb today launched the OECD-WTO-World Bank Global Value Chains Report.
The report is the product of a collective request by G20 leaders seeking a better understanding of the rapid expansion and positive impact of participation in global value chains to support economic growth and job creation.
"The report makes a number of recommendations that I will strongly encourage my counterparts to take forward at the Trade Ministers Meeting on Saturday. Central among these is implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation”, Mr Robb said.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee of Public Works has tabled the $131.1 million facilities upgrade of the Defence Terrestrial Communications Network, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester announced today.
“Modernising the facilities is an integral part of Defence’s Terrestrial Communications Network transformation. This is a key strategic reform initiative that will deliver robust and secure communications technology, create greater efficiencies and lower costs,” Mr Chester said.
The works will go ahead at 282 Defence sites, supporting around 100,000 users in Australia and overseas. IT facilities and communications infrastructure will be upgraded under the project.