NEW ENGLAND NEWSLETTER FOR AUGUST 2015
DOB IN A DEALER
The government has allocated $1 million to Crime Stoppers to run a campaign encouraging people to report drug-related activity. A similar campaign in Victoria was very successful. This in addition to the previously-announced $18 million, funded from the proceeds of crime, to establish a new Criminal Intelligence System and send expert analysts to hot spots in the United States, Canada, Dubai and Hong Kong. I firmly believe the ICE scourge is the biggest issue we face because it destroys lives and families. Please report any suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The Royal Commission into the Trade Unions has uncovered plenty of illegal activity by unions, principally the CFMEU which controls many construction sites. Allegations of blackmail, extortion and threats of violence have been the common theme and over 60 union officials are before courts or the Fair Work Commission. Their officials have made it clear to some employers and contractors that if they want work they will follow their rules. Under the Howard government the Australian Building and Construction Commission ensured the law was respected on construction sites, but when Labor abolished it in 2012 we saw the unrest ramp up. Last sittings the government attempted to reintroduce the ABCC and also increase the penalties for wrongdoings by union officials, but Senators Lambie, Lazarus and Muir joined Labor and the Greens to vote the Bills down. We know the Unions control the Labor party, and the Greens also abandoned their high moral ground to accept over half a million dollars in donations from the CFMEU, the MUA, ETU and other unions in 2013-14. It is disappointing the cross bench Senators have closed their ideas to what the rest of the nation is seeing.
SENIORS’ GUIDE TO ENERGY BILLS
This guide goes through the energy saving tips that will hopefully save you money on your power bill. For instance did you know that standby power can account for 10 percent of household electricity use, so best to turn appliances off at the power point. The guide is available at yourenergysavings.gov.au or copies are obtainable from my office.
NBN Co now says the final cost of the rollout will be between $46 and $56 billion, working off a base cost of $49 billion. Labor’s 2013 projection was $29 billion! High speed broadband is now available to 10% of Australian premises, by June 30 next year it will be available to 1 in 4 and by 2018 it will 3 in 4. Whereas under Labor it was claimed it was costing between $2200 and $2500 to connect premises to fibre the cost is closer to $4300. NBN Co NBN will be releasing its 3 year rollout plan in early October which will provide localised rollout information. Current rollout information can be viewed at http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html
RURAL FINANCIAL COUNSELLING SERVICE
This service fills a vital role as noted in the review last year. The government has just announced it will provide a $3.5 million funding extension to the end of March next year. This will enable for a merit-based competitive grants process to allocate a new round of contracts.
MYTHS vs REALITIES – CHAFTA
If you ever needed evidence that Labor politicians are totally under the control of unions, you only need look at their falsehoods on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The union leaders have written the scripts for the Labor politicians, but it is interesting that Bob Hawke, Bob Carr, Martin Ferguson and Peter Beattie who no longer require union support to hold a job are actively promoting ChAFTA.Meat and Livestock Australia estimates ChAFTA will be worth an additional $830 million each year by 2024 to the Australian red meat industry.
Written and authorised by Senator John Williams, 144 Byron Street, Inverell 2360
VIETNAM – 50 YEARS ON
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Grants of between $4,000 and $20,000 will be available for community-based projects and activities that directly commemorate any aspect of the war under the theme of camaraderie. Applications open on the 14th of September and details are available at www.dva.gov.au
GONE WITH THE WIND
A Senate inquiry into wind farms has found there is no evidence of the impact wind power has on retail electricity prices. The committee found the wind industry receives a substantial and generous cross-subsidy from the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and each company receives in excess of $500,000 annually for each turbine. There are 2,077 wind turbines in Australia so that is $1.09 billion annually. If the marginal cost for a wind farm company to produce 1 MWh of energy is around $80, the RET at current prices offers a significant subsidy ($50 of the $80). In other words, at current REC prices, wind companies have only to raise $30 per MWh from the electricity itself. Amongst the committee’s recommendations are that a Scientific Committee be established to research into the adverse impacts and risks to individual and community health and for future applications the Committee’s advice be sought; the Committee should also develop National Windfarm Guidelines; local councils be relieved of the responsibility of monitoring wind farms and that responsibility be given to the EPA; and the government direct the Productivity Commission to conduct research into the impact of wind power electricity generation on retail electricity prices.
TAX AVOIDANCE REPORT
The Senate Economics committee has handed down an interim report into tax avoidance. It found that American headquartered technology companies run their Australian operations as marketing and distribution companies and shift revenue earned in Australia to other jurisdictions. MICROSOFT stated that profits from its Australian business are earned primarily in Singapore – approximately $2 billion with $100 million remaining in Australia. The ATO is investigating if this is an appropriate split of revenue. Whilst the committee accepts MICROSOFT does provide some legitimate services from Singapore, it does not appear to pay corporate tax in Australia on the majority of revenue it sources from Australians. GOOGLE Australia reported a profit of just over $46 million on revenues of $358 million in 2012–13. It paid only $7.1 million in corporate tax because it was able to claim a research and development tax credit of $4.5 million. The ATO is reviewing 12 companies in the ‘e-commerce IT area’. The Coalition government is introducing the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law which will prevent multinationals using complex and artificial structures to escape paying tax here.
SENATE REPORT INTO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Two Australian die each week in domestic violence incidents. And in one submission it was claimed that a 2012 survey found that 119,600 men had reported partner violence, and another pointed out there are over 300 refuges for women in Australia but none for men. We tend to forget the long term consequences and VicHealth told the inquiry that it is responsible for more preventable ill-health in Victorian women under the age of 45 than other risk factors like high blood pressure. It is said that 1 in 4 children witness or are affected by domestic violence and this manifests into social problems later in life. The Federal government is investing more than $15 million into the delivery of specialist family services supporting children and parents experiencing family violence alcohol and drug abuse. One of the recommendations from the committee is that the Prime Minister table an annual report in Parliament on the progress in eliminating this blight on society.
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