$5 billion funding bill for the North ready to go

THE draft legislation to enable the flow of $5 billion into projects in Northern Australia has been released and this is a welcome step in developing jobs and opportunities for the north. This exposure draft legislation for the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) paves the way for the flow of funding into the development of infrastructure, so that this region and other parts of Northern Australia can reach the potential we know is there. Northern Australia holds the country’s rich reserves of energy and resources, it has many thousands of hectares of arable land if we get the right water infrastructure, like Urannah Dam, in place, and we have world-class tourist attractions.

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‘Big fish’ in labour hire rort caught in Bowen

CONGRATULATIONS must go to Border Force officials on the successful apprehension of dodgy labour hire contractors in Bowen, some who were sourcing illegal workers and sending sizeable sums of money offshore. Some of the ringleaders of a labour hire racket were seized last week; it appears there were four dodgy contractors and two illegal workers apprehended and they are now in immigration detention.

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Boost for seasonal worker programme

A number of new measures introduced by the Liberal National Government will further support employers and seasonal workers to access the Seasonal Worker Programme. The new measures will help overcome local labour shortages in the agricultural and accommodation sectors, and will be phased in from 1 July 2018. We will be introducing a multi-entry visa for seasonal workers, thereby offering greater flexibility in the granting of visas, and piloting new ways to lower upfront costs for employers seeking to access the programme. The measures will reduce red tape and save time within the Seasonal Worker Programme, and will be a welcome support for businesses in centres such as Bowen, the Burdekin and Townsville who are struggling to fill vacancies at critical points in their business cycle.

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Senator clueless on sugar industry

Moves by NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm to reverse a hard-fought decision to introduce a sugar marketing code of conduct are both ignorant and arrogant. Senator Leyonhjelm wants to scrap the Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct, and he claims he has the support of Labor senators to do so. This is an arrogant stance by a NSW Senator with no experience or understanding of the sugar industry. He calls cane farmers ‘socialists’ and he says their arguments for a right to a say over who markets their sugar are ‘piss-weak’.

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