Media Releases

YAMBA TO MOREE RAIL LINK UNLIKELY

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A much-publicised plan to establish a shipping port at Yamba on the north coast and link it by rail to the north-western town of Moree is highly unlikely to ever occur.

The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams today labelled it a “pipe dream” based on the extreme hurdles it would have to overcome to gain approval.

In Senate estimates, Senator Williams asked the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Mike Mrdak if he had any further details on the project.

Read more: YAMBA TO MOREE RAIL LINK UNLIKELY

REVISED BACKPACKER TAX A WIN FOR COMMON SENSE

The proposed 32.5 per cent tax rate that was to apply to working holiday visa holders from July 1 will be slashed to 19 per cent following strong representations by The Nationals in Government.

The Nationals Duty Senator for Richmond John Williams said the change had to occur to ensure farmers could get their fruit picked at the right time which in turn means local towns prosper.

Senator Williams said led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals had lobbied for a review of the Budget announcement as they live in the regions where the tax would have the greatest effect.

Read more: REVISED BACKPACKER TAX A WIN FOR COMMON SENSE

LIFE INSURANCE INDUSTRY TO BE EXAMINED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

The Senate today passed a motion lodged by the Nationals Senator for NSW John Williams which will put the spotlight on the life insurance industry.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services will be asked to consider whether the industry needs further reform and better oversight by regulatory bodies like the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

Senator Williams said following the joint Fairfax-Four Corners expose on cases where people have been refused payouts for what seemed legitimate claims, he was made aware the practice may be more widespread.

Read more: LIFE INSURANCE INDUSTRY TO BE EXAMINED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

CITIZENSHIP TESTS NOW AVAILABLE IN TWEED HEADS

Migrants living in regional communities will now be able to take their citizenship test in their local area rather than having to travel to the city.

The Nationals Duty Senator for Richmond John Williams says the Department of Human Services and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have combined to help people living in the Tweed Heads area to take a citizenship test locally.

The centre will be at 100 Blundell Boulevard, Tweed Heads South.

Senator Williams said staff will be able to guide prospective citizens through the citizenship process, including verifying documents,

Read more: CITIZENSHIP TESTS NOW AVAILABLE IN TWEED HEADS

ROADS TO RECOVERY FUNDING ANNOUNCED

Almost $1.2 million will be distributed to councils in the Richmond electorate in the latest funding round under the Federal government’s Roads to Recovery programme.

Announcing the allocations today, the Nationals Duty Senator for Richmond John Williams said the Federal government is providing $3.2 billion to councils around Australia between 2014-15 and 2018-19 to repair and upgrade roads.

This includes the initial doubling of funding for 2015-16 and the additional $1.1 billion announced in June last year from the Fuel Excise Bill.

Senator Williams said in the August payments Tweed Shire Council will receive $658,333, Byron Shire Council $499,903 and Ballina Shire Council $40,438.

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