**This is an absolute direct copy and paste from: Australia Now. I have yet to discover the author but he/she has said please feel free to copy at will.
***Addendum: the author is Jinny Graf. Thank you Jinny. Follow the link to her site.
So, they’ve been in power for a while, but what have they done in all that time? I’ve compiled a list of many of the things the government has done since 2007. (Not all because there are too many of them)
December 3, 2007: The Kyoto Protocol was ratified.
December 7, 2007: Track work began on the Mildura rail corridor, marking the start of the $73 million upgrade of the line.
2007: Productivity Places Program was established.
Intention: It aims to provide access to up to 711,000 qualifications over 5 years, from 2007 to 2012, for existing workers wanting to gain or upgrade their skills, and for job seekers wishing to enter the workforce.
Effectiveness: As at 31 December 2010, over 366,000 training commencements had occurred across all elements of the program.
2008: The Trades Training Centres program commenced.
Intention: It is providing $2.5 billion over 10 years to enable all secondary schools across Australia to apply for funding of between $500,000 and $1.5 million for Trade Training Centres. Funding is provided through an annual national application process administered by DEEWR (Dept of Employment Education & Workplace Relations) to build or upgrade facilities that provide training to young people in the skill shortage traditional trades or other areas. Trade Training Centres are being established to help increase the proportion of students achieving Year 12 or an equivalent qualification to 85 per cent by 2015 and 90 per cent by 2020.
Effectiveness: To date it has awarded more than $1.03 billion to fund 288 projects benefiting 927 schools throughout Australia.
January 21, 2008: Infrastructure Australia was established. It is intended to form a national approach to future infrastructure needs.
February 8, 2011: The Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport announced nearly $1 million in funding to improve safety and access for 25 airstrips in remote and isolated parts of Australia through the Remote Aerodrome Safety Program.
February 12, 2008: Kevin Rudd & the majority of the Federal Parliament said “Sorry” to the Aborigines about the Stolen Generations policy.
“Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.
We reflect on their past mistreatment.
We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.
The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.
We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.
For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.
We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.
For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.
A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.
A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.
A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.”
February 15, 2008: The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government announced that Australia and the United States had settled the terms of a new “open skies” air transport agreement. Australian and US airlines will now able to determine the frequency of their air services, and the routes they wish to serve without government interference. Previously new entrants to the route were only guaranteed four services weekly, making it difficult for new airlines to start services.
April 26, 2008: Taxes on alcopops were raised 70%.
Intention: The purpose of this was not to raise revenue, but the higher price was to act to prevent people from buying that otherwise would have, changing their behaviour. (this follows the recommendations set by the Henry Tax Review).
Effectiveness: Within 9 months, sales on alcopops had fallen 8%
The National Preventative Health Partnership was launched.
April 30, 2008: The Government announced plans to establish and resource a Major Cities unit within the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government .
July 1, 2008: The Medicare Teen Dental Plan was introduced. Teenagers eligible for the scheme are those that are ages 12-17 years old, eligible for Medicare and receiving either of Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB A), ABSTUDY, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit, Youth Allowance; or their family/carer/guardian receives Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB A), or Parenting Payment or the Double Orphan Pension for the teenager; or their partner receives FTB A or Parenting Payment; or they are 16-17 years and receiving financial assistance under the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
July 1, 2008: The National Solar Schools Program commenced. The program offers eligible primary and secondary schools the opportunity to compete for grants of up to $50,000 (GST exclusive), to install solar and other renewable power systems, solar hot water systems, rainwater tanks and a range of energy efficiency measures.
November, 2008: An extra $18.4 million was invested in the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS). The new funding increases the number of places available through the RVTS from 15 to 22 from 2011. Also, the cap on GP training places to be doubled from 600-1200 by 2014. The number of training places available for medical graduates to undertake training to become specialist doctors will be increased from 360 to 900 by 2014.
November, 2008: The Government passed the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill 2008 that allowed same-sex and de facto couples access to the federal Family Court on property and maintenance matters, rather than the state Supreme Court.
November 17, 2008: The National Binge-Drinking strategy was launched. It includes grassroots, community work targeted at combating the impact of excessive alcohol consumption on individuals, their families and the wider community, with 19 community groups recieving $3.6 million in grants in the first round. There are also a range of measures to help tackle binge drinking among young Australians, including:
$19.1 million to intervene earlier to assist young people and ensure that they assume personal responsibility for their binge drinking;
$20 million to fund advertising that confronts young people with the costs and consequences of binge drinking.
Closing the dangerous tax break for alcopops, used to hook young girls on binge-drinking
December 10, 2008: Workchoices was abolished and ceased to exist on the 1st July 2009.
February 2009: The Nation Building Economic Stimulus was passed. It was based on Keynesianism, which took the world out of the Great Depression in the 30s. It took the form of cash payments to low and middle income families, carers and pensioners, to support demand and help those most in need, additional investments in schools, social housing and local community infrastructure to support growth and keep more tradies in work, tax breaks for small business and investment in economic infrastructure like road, rail, and ports to support growth and jobs during the global downturn, while putting in place that which is needed for future growth. As a result of that and other factors Australia was the only major advanced economy to avoid recession.
March 2, 2009: The Small Business and General Business Tax Break was increased by $2.7 billion.
Small businesses were able to access the tax break for assets costing $1,000 or more and all other businesses were, at $10,000.
The tax break provided an additional tax deduction for assets acquired from 13 December 2008 to 30 June 2009, where the asset was also installed before 30 June 2010. The deduction was equal to 30 per cent of the asset’s cost.
For assets acquired between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009 and where they are installed ready for use before 31 December 2010, the deduction was 10 per cent of the asset’s cost.
2009, sometime: The Reef Rescue program was launched. Reef Rescue is part of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative, initially funded for $2.25 billion over five years, to restore the health of Australia’s environment and build on improved land management practices. Reef Rescue’s objective is to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon by changing land management to reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment run-off from agricultural land. Reef Rescue at a national level is a partnership between government, industry and Natural Resource Management organisations. Reef Rescue activities are rolled out by experienced Extension Officers who are specialists in their industry. Extension staff assist Landholders review their proposed activities against Reef Rescue guidelines. If the activities are found to be eligible for incentives the Extension Officers will then help landholders complete an application form. The incentive applications are assessed periodically by expert panels and approved applicants are offered contracts and can begin work.
March 20, 2009: The Fair Work Act 2009 was passed. There are three main employment streams regulated under it. They are Enterprise agreements, awards and individual employment contracts. There are 3 types of enterprise agreements. They are Greenfields, single enterprise & multi enterprise. The Enterprise agreements cover all factors that influence productivity, and wage increases are linked to increasing productivity. They must comply with the National Employment Standards, and they must be better off overall than the relevant award. It covers all workers up to management level. The Awards must exceed the NES, and they are tailored to specific industries & occupations. It sets a minimum rate of pay & entitlements. Individual Employment Contracts must comply with all the minimum standards of the system. It is enforced through common law courts. They cannot offer pay & entitlements below that of the equivalent award.
April 29, 2009: At the G20 summit, the world leaders decided that the G20 would supersede the G8 as the world’s premier body on economic cooperation. Kevin Rudd had argued for quite a while that the 20 was a more representative forum because it includes emerging powers like China and India. Australia is a member of the G20 and it is for the very first time that Australia has “had a place at the top economic table of global economic decision-making” as Mr Rudd said.
May 27, 2009: The Digital Education Revolution was implemented in NSW. Under the new program, students & teachers can access laptops without charge provided they do not breach the terms of the Laptop User Charter. From mid-2009, students in Year 9 started receiving laptops.
May 28, 2009: the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of NSW was opened, thanks to grants from the Federal Government and Lowy. Other initiatives started as well, with regards to cancer prevention & treatment, including:
The McGrath Foundation was granted 12 million to train, recruit and employ 44 breast cancer nurses.
A network of 20 new and enhanced regional cancer centres across Australia is currently being established.
BreastScreen Australia’s national network is currently being upgraded state of the art digital mammography equipment.
$526 million was granted in infrastructure funding to build two integrated cancer centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
$70 million was granted to expansion of the Garvan St Vincent’s Cancer Centre in Sydney.
May, 2009: The Water for the Future Plan was announced. It includes:
National Urban Water and Desalination Plan – $1 billion in tax credits and grants to eligible projects—this funding is intended to attract up to $10 billion of investment in desalination, water recycling and major storm-water capturing projects;
$400 million for water efficiency measures and for purchasing water entitlements from Murray Darling basin sellers;
$255 million National Water Security Plan for practical water saving projects in cities and towns;
$250 million for the installation of rainwater tanks and other water saving measures; and
Adelaide and Geelong will receive additional funding of $50 million for two recycling projects.
July, 2009: The troops returned from Iraq
July 1, 2009: The Education Tax Refund was established. Eligible families can claim a 50% tax refund on eligible expenses of up to $750 for each child undertaking primary school studies and up to $1,500 for each secondary school child.
July 1, 2009: Fair Work Australia was established. Fair Work Australia is the independent body which sets minimum standard, helps resolve disputed & manages the three main streams in the labour market. These streams are Awards, enterprise agreements, and individual employment contracts.
July 1, 2009: The Child Care Rebate & Benefit was modified. Find out more at:Child Care Rate Changes from July 2009 Fact Sheet (PDF 60KB). The Child Care Tax Rebate (CCTR) will provide $4.4 billion over four years to assist working families with their out-of-pocket child care costs. The Child Care Benefit (CCB) will deliver $8.4 billion over four years to reduce child care fees.
July 1, 2009: same-sex couples now receive the same level of recognition as de facto opposite-sex couples in federal legislation
August 21, 2009: The Renewable Energy Target was expanded. It will now ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2020.
September 20, 2009: Under the Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms, all 3.3 million age pensioners, disability pensioners, carers, wife pensioners and veteran income support recipients received increases in their pension. Total assistance for single pensioners increased from $304.19 per week to $336.68 per week and for pensioner couples combined from $497.36 per week to $507.50 per week. Single pensioners who currently receive a part pension benefit from an increase of between $10.14 and $32.49 depending on their level of private income. Around 75 per cent of single pensioners received the full increase. The single pension was benchmarked at 27.7% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings. All current pensioner couples will receive $10.14 per week combined. To make the system sustainable, the age pension age was lifted from 65 in 2017 to 67 by 2023.
November, 2009: The Australian Organ and Tissue Authority launched. It recieved:
$67 millionto fund dedicated organ donation specialist doctors and other staff in public and private hospitals;
$46 millionto establish a new independent national authority to coordinate national organ donation initiatives.
$17 millionin new funding for hospitals to meet additional staffing, bed and infrastructure costs associated with organ donation.
$13.4 millionto continue national public awareness and education;
$1.9 million for counselling for potential donor families; and
Other significant measures including enhanced professional education programs, consistent clinical protocols, ‘clinical trigger’ checklists and data collection for organ transplants in hospitals.
December, 2009: Emergency Alert became operational.
December, 2009: MySchool Website launched.
April 9, 2010: The Australian Government introduced a suspension of the processing of new asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
June 17, 2010: The Paid Parental Leave Scheme, proposed by the Government, was passed. It is for working parents of children born or adopted after January 1, 2011. Eligible working parents can get 18 weeks of government funded Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently $589.40 a week before tax). Parental Leave Pay & Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. If a family meets the eligibility requirements for both payments, they can choose which payment is the best financial decision and take that one.
July 4, 2010: A new State Emergency Services headquarters was officially opened in Marysville. It replaces the original building which was virtually destroyed in the bushfires.
The Australian and Victorian Governments have put in place the Rebuilding Together plan.
$93.4 million to support people and communities rebuild through ongoing accommodation support, counselling services and rebuilding key community assets including upgrading more than 20 community halls, building new community centres and restoring sports and recreation facilities, parks, gardens, walking and cycling trails;
$60.5 million to build new multipurpose facilities that will improve education and recreation services in Kinglake, Flowerdale, Callignee and Marysville including a new primary school in Strathewen, a new Marysville Police Station and a new Marysville community centre which brings together the primary school and early childhood services.
$21.6 million to assist small business to return to pre-fire operating levels, new tourism marketing campaigns, new National and State Park facilities and the restoration of the iconic Lake Mountain Alpine Resort as a major tourism destination; and
$17.5 million to rehabilitate the environment including urgent action to protect threatened species and habitats, regenerate state forests, help farmers and landholders restore their land and repair critical waterways and catchments.
July 2 2010: An agreement with industry on resource taxation was hewn. It involves:
a new profits-based Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) regime applying to iron ore and coal in Australia, at a rate of 30%; and
extending the current Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) regime to all Australian onshore and offshore oil and gas projects, including the North West Shelf. This will provide certainty for oil and gas projects and ensure all oil and gas projects are treated equitably. It will apply at a rate of 40 per cent.
July 7, 2010: The suspension of processing Sri Lankan asylum claims was lifted.
July 7, 2010: $24.8 million in extra support will be provided to law enforcement agencies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Extra patrol boats, surveillance aircraft and communications equipment to help the Indonesian National Police detect and disrupt people smuggling ventures in Indonesian waters.
New land-based policing surveillance and investigative equipment for partner law enforcement agencies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand,Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Seven more Australian Federal Police officers to increase our presence in the region and boost the team that works with our regional law enforcement partners.
$5 million to develop the computer forensic capabilities of the Indonesian National Police.
September 14, 2010: The Australian Government announced that it would fund the upgrade of Emergency Alert to deliver warnings to mobile phones based on the location of the handset. It had sent warnings by recorded voice and text message to landlines and mobile phones based on an owner’s billing address rather than the actual location of a handset at the time of a disaster or emergency.
September 30, 2010: The suspension on processing of asylum seeker claims of Afghanis was lifted.
October 8, 2010: The Prime Minister announced the signing of the Smart Grid, Smart City project funding agreement. Lead partner EnergyAustralia will work with industry and community consortium partners including AGL Energy, IBM Australia, GE Energy Australia, Sydney Water, Hunter Water Australia and the Newcastle City Council to deliver the project. The focal point of the demonstration will be in Newcastle though smaller trial elements will be undertaken in Newington, the Sydney CBD, Ku-ring-gai and the rural township of Scone.
October 21, 2010: The Australian Government’s Counter Terrorism Control Centre (CTCC) was opened. It will play a lead role in strengthening the coordination of Australia’s counter-terrorism intelligence efforts by setting and managing counter-terrorism priorities, identifying intelligence requirements and ensuring that the process of collecting and distributing intelligence is fully integrated. It will strengthen Australia’s national security capability by improving the ability to prepare for and respond to significant national and international threats. It will be hosted by ASIO with representatives from Australia’s key security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the AFP, ASIS & DSD. The creation of the CTCC was a key recommendation of the Government’s Counter-Terrorism White Paper.
October 29, 2010: 4 teacher training projects were launched and would receive Australian Government Funding under the Information and Communication Technology Innovation Fund (ICTIF). They are intended to help them better use ICT in the classroom. They are Teaching Teachers for the Future, led by Education Services Australia, ICT in Everyday Learning: Teacher Online Toolkit , led by Education Services Australia, Anywhere, Anytime Teacher Professional Learning, led by the NSW Department of Education and Communities and Leading ICT in Learning led by Principals Australia
Teaching Teachers for the Future
November 6, 2010: The Commonwealth Government announced it will contribute up to $952.8 million towards Stage 2 of the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project (NVIRP). Victoria will contribute 10 per cent of the funding towards Stage 2 of the project with the timing and nature of this contribution to be negotiated with the Commonwealth. This is part of an agreement reached between the Commonwealth and the Victorian Government to upgrade irrigation systems in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.
The Stage 2 agreement will see more than 7,600 irrigation properties in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District benefit from more reliable and efficient delivery of water.
This gives the green light to the NVIRP Stage 2, which had in-principle support under the 2008 Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform. This project is funded through the Commonwealth’s $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program under the Water for the Future initiative.
December 4, 2010: The Moreton Bay Rail Link Intergovernmental Agreement was signed by the Queensland Premier & the PM. Construction of the Rail Link will begin in 2012, with the building of 12.6 kilometres of dual-track rail line from Petrie to Kippa-Ring, including six new rail stations at Kallangur; Murrumba Downs; Mango Hill; Mango Hill (east); Rothwell; and Kippa-Ring. It is jointly funded by the Australian Government ($742 million), the Queensland Government ($300 million) and Moreton Bay Regional Council ($105 million). The Queensland Government will provide the rail corridor for the project.
December 7, 2010: The Government signed a loan agreement drawn up with the NSW Government to ensure asbestos victims and their families continue to receive payments through the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund (AICF), providing up to $160 million to the NSW Government to give victims of asbestos-related diseases and their families. Under the agreement, the NSW Government will contribute an equal amount in funding to the AICF each time they draw down from the Federal loan. Without the loan agreement, the AICF had advised that asbestos compensation claims would have been rationed and paid in instalments, with some victims facing the prospect of not living long enough to receive their full compensation.
December 23, 2010: The Prime Minister announced arrangements for an Independent Review of the Intelligence Community to start in early 2011. The aim of the review is to ensure Australian intelligence agencies are working effectively together and are well positioned for challenges in a constantly evolving security environment. The timing of the review meets a recommendation of the Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies in 2004 by Mr Philip Flood AO, that the intelligence agencies undergo further external review every five to seven years. Funding for the Review was announced in the Budget in May this year. The 2011 Review will be led jointly by Mr Robert Cornall AO and Associate Professor Rufus Black.
January 3, 2011: The Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier announced additional Commonwealth-State disaster assistance to help small businesses and primary producers impacted by Queensland’s flood crisis. It would see small businesses and primary producers in Banana, Barcaldine, Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Cherbourg, Lockyer Valley, North Burnett, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Western Downs, and Woorabinda eligible to receive grants of up to $25,000 for clean up and recovery. Category C assistance does not compensate for income losses and is not intended to replace insurance. The grant scheme will run until 30 September 2011. Concessional interest rate loans of up to $250,000 for small business operators and primary producers, as well as freight subsidies of up to $5,000, are available across 23 Local Government Areas. The additional grants announced come on top of the range of assistance already being provided by both the Queensland Government and the Australian Government.
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGRDP) is available for people who have been significantly impacted by the floods. The AGDRP is a payment of $1000 for each eligible adult and $400 for each eligible child, including people who have lost their homes or whose homes have sustained major damage.
Joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements have been activated for 41 local government areas. Councils will be able to access funding from the Australian and Queensland Governments to assist with the cost of restoring essential public infrastructure as well as the cost of counter disaster operations.
Disaster relief funding arrangements have also been activated for people experiencing personal hardship in a number of local government areas.
These funding arrangements consist of an Emergent Assistance Payment – up to $170 per person and $780 per family and a means tested Essential Household Contents Grant – of up to $1,660 for individuals and $4,980 for couples or families and a Repairs to Dwellings / Structural Assistance Grant – up to $10,250 for individuals and $13,800 for couples or families.
April 7, 2010: The new headquarters of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Canberra were opened. It includes a $13.2 million Operations Coordination Centre & the coordination centre for the Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce. The latest AFP overseas post will open in Los Angeles on the 7th, following the establishment of a post in New Delhi in July last year. These new AFP bureaus add to a network of 31 international posts.
May 7, 2010: The Australian & Malaysian Prime Ministers issued a joint statement that outlined a cooperative transfer arrangement. After this agreement comes into effect, 800 people arriving in Australia by boat will find themselves taken to Malaysia instead. For every person Australia transfers to Malaysia, Australia would take five refugees from Malaysia. These places will only be open to those already in Malaysia and will not be open to those who are transferred to Malaysia.
May 10, 2011: The Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund was launched.
May 13, 2011: The 2011-12 Budget passed both Houses. It included a $2.2 billion mental health package. For young people in particular, there is $419.7 million over five years to significantly increase youth mental health serviceswith $197.3 million provided to triple the number of headspace centres across Australia from 30 to 90 and $222.4 million in Commonwealth funding for 12 new Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC). These new centres will be modelled on the existing EPPIC centre, an integrated psychiatric service for young people in Melbourne’s west, to provide professional help for young people who require more specialised and intensive treatment. When fully operating, these centres will be able to help 72,000 young people across Australia each year.
Also included is a new Prisoner of War (POW) Recognition Supplement that will provide former POWs with an extra $500 per fortnight in recognition of their special service and sacrifice. The new supplement will apply from September 2011 and is in addition to current benefits available to former POWs. It will cost $27.2 million over the next four years.
The Flood Levy also went through.
There is an increase in Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for 16-19 year olds with families receiving up to an additional $4,200 a year for each eligible teenager that stays in school. From 1 January next year, the new maximum rate of FTB Part A for 16-19 year olds will increase by around $160 per fortnight – an increase of around $4,200 per year. This will align with the 13-15 year old rate and ensure assistance for families does not drop when children turn 16. The increases to FTB Part A will only be available for families where their teenager is in full-time secondary study, or the vocational equivalent.
The Government will invest $47.1 million over four years to trial a new initiative in ten disadvantaged communities across Australia. From 1 January 2012, teenage parents in trial communities receiving Parenting Payment, with a child aged six months or older will be required to attend compulsory support and engagement interviews with Centrelink until they complete Year 12 or equivalent or until their youngest child turns six. Through this service parents will work with Centrelink to develop a participation plan that includes compulsory activities designed to support them in their parenting role or help them gain a good education. The parents will be supported by their Centrelink case worker to ensure they receive the necessary support to meet their obligations. If they do not engage with Centrelink when required, without a reasonable excuse, they will have their income support payment suspended until they re-engage.
June 17, 2011: The Government opened the Bionics institute in Victoria and provided $50 million to two research teams to develop a bionic eye in Australia.
June 18, 2011: The Government announced they will contribute $464 million for the construction of Solar Dawn & $306.5 million towards the construction of Moree Solar Farm. They have been selected as the two successful consortiums to build the power plants under Round 1 of the Australian Government’s $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program, in accordance with the recommendations of the independent Solar Flagships Council. The projects are expected to generate enough power to support the electricity needs of more than 115,000 Australian homes per year. The Solar Dawn consortium, led by Areva Solar, will build a 250 MW solar thermal gas hybrid power plant near Chinchilla. The Moree Solar Farm consortium, led by BP Solar will build a 150 MW photovoltaic power plant near Moree. Work will commence next year and the plants are expected to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2015.
June 31, 2011: The after hours GP helpline was launched. The helpline number is 1800 022 222. It will be open 365 days a year. People are able to talk to a nurse or a GP between 6pm and 8am Monday to Friday, 6pm Friday to 8am Saturday, 12pm Saturday to 8am Monday, and on all national and state/territory public holidays. Medibank Health Solutions will operate the helpline with a team of about 100 GPs and more than 240 nurses on staff to answer calls. It will be added to existing telephone-based nurse triage, information and advice services currently available across the country. The service will be free to callers from landlines within Australia & be available most states and territories from 1 July 2011, and in Queensland from early 2012, building on Queensland’s existing nurse advice line.
July 1, 2011: Effective from now, a ban on mortgage exit fees on new loans.
July 1, 2011: The Government signed a new Memorandum of Understanding which almost doubles the number of flights which can be operated between Australia and Indonesia. Effective immediately, this deal increases the capacity available for services to and from Australia to up to 27,500 seats each way, each week an 86 per cent increase on current capacity of 14,800 seats.
The deal includes:
Up to 25,000 seats a week for airlines of each nation travelling to and from Australia’s major ‘gateway’ destinations (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane) each way, every week;
Up to 2,500 additional seats a week on routes into and out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth as long as those additional flights make stopovers at a regional international airport such as Adelaide, Darwin or Cairns; and
A fully open code share framework which will allow airlines of both sides to offer consumers more choice and competition through cooperative arrangements with other airlines to broaden their networks.
June 8, 2011: The Federal Agriculture Minister announced live cattle exports to Indonesia will stop immediately and be suspended for up to six months. The Minister said the live export trade would not resume until the Government, community and industry were confident that safeguards were in place to ensure appropriate animal welfare in Indonesia. This had been done because of the evidence presented on the 4Corners report and the outrage that many Australians felt after hearing about & watching it. The Government would be working closely with Indonesia, and with the industry, to make sure they could bring about major change to the way cattle are handled in those slaughter houses.
July 7, 2011: The ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia was lifted, resuming on a limited basis. The Government announced a progressive reopening of the trade. Exporters would have to meet supply chain assurances before recieving permits and have to establish they are able to keep track of the cattle and that they will go to slaughterhouses using humane processing.Meat works in Indonesia will be independently audited to further trace the cattle.
July 10, 2011: The Government proposed a Carbon Pricing Scheme. You can find more information about this on other articles on this site, and acleanenergyfuture.
July 26, 2011: Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen signed a refugee-trading agreement with the Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. The next 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia were to be deported to Malaysia, to be traded with 5000 proven refugees who were in Malaysia. It is in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention. However, a barrister obtained an injunction at the Federal Supreme Court and for the moment, no sending to Malaysia can happen.
July 28, 2011: The exposure drafts of the key bills in the Government’s Clean Energy Legislative Package were released.
The Bills include the:
Clean Energy Bill 2011, Carbon Pricing Mechanism
Establishes a carbon price which is expected to apply to around 500 of the nation’s biggest polluters.
Clean Energy Regulator Bill 2011, Establishes Regulator
Sets up the Clean Energy Regulator as a statutory authority that will administer the mechanism and enforce the law.
Climate Change Authority Bill 2011, Establishes Independent Review Body
Sets up the Climate Change Authority, which will be an independent body that provides the Government expert advice on key aspects of the mechanism and the Government’s climate change mitigation initiatives.
Establishes the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Advisory Board.
Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011, Links mechanism, regulator and other functions
Clean Energy (Unit Shortfall Charge—General) Bill 2011 Procedural Bills
Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—General) Bill 2011
Clean Energy (Charges—Excise) Bill 2011
Clean Energy (International Unit Surrender Charge) Bill 2011.
Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment Bill 2011
Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment Bill 2011
The elements of the mechanism which oblige a person to pay money are implemented through separate bills that comply with the requirements of section 55 of the Constitution.
Excise Tariff Legislation Amendment (Clean Energy) Bill 2011 Fuel Tax Arrangements
Customs Tariff Amendment (Clean Energy) Bill 2011
Fuel Tax Legislation Amendment (Clean Energy) Bill 2011
Clean Energy Amendment (Household Assistance) Bill 2011 Household Assistance
Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Clean Energy Institutions
Australian Renewable Energy Agency
Legislation to establish these agencies will be introduced in 2012 following the consideration of advice from the Chair of the CEFC as to governance and investment mandate of the CEFC.
Steel Transformation Plan Steel Assistance
Legislation to establish the Government’s Steel Transformation Plan will be introduced at the same time as the Clean Energy Legislation Package.
Other funding measures Programs
Other funding measures, including the Clean Technology Programs, coal sector assistance, household and community sector energy efficiency programs and land sector programs, will be implemented through the budget process.
Implementing Regulations Legislative instruments
Subordinate rules for the implementation of the plan and decision making by the Regulator. These include:
Jobs and Competitiveness Program details
Application requirements for generator assistance
An additional bill which incorporates the Government’s household assistance measures announced is currently being drafted.
2011: The NBN Bills were passed over various days. The work of the rollout will support 25,000 jobs and involves connecting 93% of Australian buildings to a high-speed fibre network, capable of providing broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The remaining premises will be connected via a combination of next-generation fixed wireless and satellite technologies providing peak speeds of at least 12 Megabits per second (Mbps). The government established a new company, NBN Co Limited (NBN Co), to design, build and operate the NBN.
August 1, 2011: The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport released the first stage of the implementation study of High Speed Rail. An AECOM led consortium comprising KPMG, Sinclair Knight Merz and Grimshaw Architects found that an eastern seaboard network connecting Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and a range of regional centres is expected to:
Cost between $61 billion and $108 billion to build and involve laying more than 1,600 kilometres of new standard-gauge, double-track.
Achieve speeds of up 350 kilometres per hour and offer journey times as low as 3 hours from Sydney to Brisbane, and just 40 minutes from Sydney to Newcastle.
Carry around 54 million passengers a year by 2036 including, for example, about half those who would have flown between Sydney and Melbourne – currently the world’s fifth busiest air corridor.
Offer competitive ticket prices, with one way fares from Brisbane to Sydney costing $75 – $177; Sydney to Melbourne $99 – $197; and $16.50 for daily commuters between Newcastle and Sydney.
Cut carbon pollution, with emissions per passenger a third of what a car emits and each full train – 450 passengers – equivalent to taking 128 cars off the road.
August 2, 2011: A new national health agreement with the states and territories was announced. Under the National Health Reform Agreement, the Commonwealth is providing an extra $16.4 billion per year, through to 2019-20, for public hospitals.
The Australian Government will step up to permanently pay for 45 per cent of growth in hospital services in 2014-15, increasing to 50 per cent in 2017-18. Victorians will benefit from up to $822.1 million of Commonwealth Government funding including over $12 million for Eastern Health to improve elective surgery and emergency department services, increase the availability of sub-acute services and to undertake clinical redesign projects across the region over the next five years. As part of the funding for Eastern Health, in November this year Angliss Hospital will commence work on creating ten new sub-acute beds and in February 2012 Maroondah Hospital will begin work on 20 new sub-acute beds. These new beds are being funded under one project totalling $5.7 million.
Under this agreement, the elective surgery target for patients to be treated within clinically recommended times has been increased from 95 per cent to 100 per cent by 2016. the new target for emergency ensures that by 2015, 90 per cent of all patients presenting at an emergency department will be seen to within four hours.
August 11, 2011: The Prime Minister announces support for a $13.5 billion national disability insurance scheme, as was called for in a National Productivity Commission report. It would not be means tested and cover every Australian for “reasonable and necessary support” if they became disabled. People would be given a personal plan and budget tailored to their needs. About 410,000 are expected to use it. Another, a National Injury Insurance Scheme, would provide no-fault lifetime support for people with “catastrophic injuries” such as quadriplegia, brain injury, severe burns and multiple amputations. It would start in 2015 and is expected to cover 30,000 people. The commission said it could be funded by existing mandatory insurance policies such as third-party car insurance and the states pick up any extra cost, perhaps from a small charge on council rates.
Tax cuts were delivered in the last three years for middle and lower income earners, and someone earning $50,000 a year is now paying $1,750 less in tax than they were in 2007.
The Government is in the process of designing a national school curriculum. The English, maths, science and history curriculum has already been created and the next phase has started, with the languages, geography and the arts curriculum currently being developed.
PS: I had a couple of problems in translating this into WordPress format, but hope that it worked out ok. Min.