NEW ENGLAND NEWSLETTER FOR JANUARY 2016
AUSTRALIA DAY HONOURS
The following people in the electorate have been named in the Australia Day Honours List.
Mr Richard COVENTRY of Bonshaw - for service to local government, and to the community.
Mr Charles May AFSM of Nundle - for service to the community of Nundle.
Mr Garnet WOOD of Tamworth - for service to community health.
Ms Laurel WRAY of Armidale – for service to conservation and the environment through a
range of volunteer roles.
The late Mrs Margaret Theresa HEILIGER of Tamworth - for service to the community of Tamworth.
I am particularly pleased to see that Dr. Professor Minas CORONEO of Sydney has been made an Officer in the General Division (AO). Minas has had a dedicated career in ophthalmology including the research and development of innovative surgical technologies and devices, and work on eye health in regional and Indigenous communities. Minas is a valued member of the Nationals Central Council.
BRIDGES RENEWAL PROGRAMME
Four councils have been provided with up to 50% funding to replace bridges under Round 2 of the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Programme.
Tamworth Regional Council – will replace the load-limited single lane timber Rimbanda bridge at Kentucky with a one lane concrete causeway (total cost $165,000); and replace the load limited single lane timber Swamp Creek Bridge at Nundle with a one lane concrete bridge (total cost $381,700).
Gunnedah Shire Council – will replace the single lane timber Simpson Bridge at Breeza with a two lane concrete bridge (total cost $2.17 million).
Guyra Shire Council – replace the single lane timber Tenterden Road Bridge at Tenterden with a two lane concrete bridge (total cost $1.06 million).
Walcha Council – the current narrow two lane Aberbaldie Bridge will be replaced by a wider two lane bridge of the same span (total cost $497,000); the Niangala Bridge which has a 5 tonne load limit will be replaced by a wider one lane bridge with a 68 tonne limit (total cost $305,000); and the narrow single lane Kangaroo Flat Bridge will make way for a wider, single lane concrete bridge (total cost $477,000).
INDONESIAN CATTLE QUOTA
The year has started well for cattle producers with news that the Indonesian government has recommended up to 200,000 head be imported from Australia in the first quarter and a likely 600,000 head for the year. This is good news for our cattle producers and is a far cry from the dark days when Labor shut down the trade. Minister for Agriculture and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has worked hard to restore good faith relations between the two countries in agriculture and the quota announcement has come soon after his most recent visit to the country.
NATIONAL STRONGER REGIONS FUND
A reminder that applications are now open for Round 3 of the National Stronger Regions Fund. Councils and incorporated not-for-profits can apply for grants of between $20,000 and $10 million for priority infrastructure project. Details are at www.infrastructure.gov.au/nsrf.
ARMIDALE FUEL PRICES
It appears an investigation by the ACCC has not deterred operators of fuel outlets in Armidale from continuing with their extraordinary high prices. In May last year the ACCC conceded that Armidale petrol prices are among the highest in New South Wales. It found that the average retail price of unleaded petrol in Armidale was 144.7 cents per litre in 2014-15, which was 10.6 cpl higher than the five largest cities (i.e. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth). Yet it did not find any evidence of illegal cartel conduct. Under pressure from the Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and me, the ACCC then announced Armidale would be the third market where it would take a closer look and the results of that investigation are still to be released. As a comparison, early in January unleaded fuel in Armidale was 9 cpl more expensive than Inverell, 4.5 cpl dearer than Tamworth, and 7 cents higher than Guyra. Diesel was between 11 and 19 cents higher. During the second week of Parliament I will again take the matter up with the ACCC on behalf of Armidale residents.
ELECTORAL REDISTRIBUTION FINALISED
The Electoral Commission has made a further alteration to the boundaries of New England which will come into force for this year’s Federal election. In October last year it was proposed that Warialda and Bingara would move into the New England electorate but following public feedback, it has been decided that all of the former Shire of Yallaroi, and a small part of the former Shire of Bingara, both now within the Shire of Gwydir, will remain in Parkes. The Gwydir River and Myall Creek will form the boundary between the proposed Divisions of Parkes and New England. Gunnedah Shire will also move into Parkes and New England will extend south to encompass Upper Hunter Shire (Scone, Aberdeen, Murrurundi).
Wine, beef and grape-growers are among those sectors enjoying the competitive advantage provided by the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement after 12 months in operation. Asia’s growing middle class is developing a taste for Australia’s clean, green produce. Exports of fresh table grapes have increased ten-fold from the original $500,000 to $6.5 million, bottled wine sales are up 11 percent while fresh and chilled beef exports have increased by 24 percent in the past year. The FTA’S with Japan, Korea and China will benefit our traditional exports and create opportunities in emerging areas where previously Australian farmers and manufacturers have not been competitive.
I congratulate the organisers, particularly Kim Blomfield and Ann Hodgens OAM, of the Kurrajongs Re-enactment activities in Inverell early in January. Almost two years of planning were rewarded with good support and attendances at the events, particularly the Re-enactment March on Sunday the 10th. When the Kurrajongs marched out of Inverell bound for World War 1 in 1916, the Mayor said they would not be forgotten. One hundred years later their descendants and the town upheld that pledge.
Written and authorised by Senator John Williams, 144 Byron Street, Inverell 2360.
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