We’re now three months into the new term of government and while Parliamentary sittings have only just got underway in the past few weeks, there are plenty of issues that I’m already getting stuck into as well as ‘unfinished business’ from the last term.
Over the next three to six months, I’m focused on the delivery of a host of election funding commitments for our region – totalling around $150 million. There’s more detail in other articles in this edition of my newsletter but in a nutshell, these investments will help to protect our natural environment, boost our new industry in tropical sports conditioning, create local jobs and economic growth, and build much-needed infrastructure. Exciting times!
It was great to host Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton at the Border Force facility in Cairns in August.
The visit marked two years since a successful people smuggling venture came to Australia. In that time 28 boats have been turned back, and 734 passengers have been returned to the countries they came from.
It marks a start contrast to when we came to Government when around 50,000 people had arrived in our country on 800 boats, 17 centres were needed to cope with the processing, and many drowned at sea.
The PM sent a clear message to people smugglers: “We will not allow children to go back into detention and we will not allow successful people smuggling ventures to arrive on Australian soil”.
There have been some important developments in Medicinal Cannabis over the last few months.
In February we passed the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 to allow states and territories to cultivate and produce medicinal cannabis products.
In October a number of Regulations will come into effect allowing people to apply for licences and permits to grow.
Meanwhile, access to medicinal cannabis will, at this stage, be limited to paediatric epilepsy, palliative care end of life, and nausea associated with cancer treatment. Other cases will be considered by the Therepeutic Goods Administration on a case-by-case basis. Importantly, patients will need to visit a doctor or clinician who is an authorised prescriber, or be part of a clinical trial to access the treatment.
I also received a briefing from NBNCo recently to update me on the services that people in our region can access. nbn’s Sky Muster satellite was switched on earlier this year and Queensland’s nbn Sky Muster satellite truck has been touring regional Queensland showcasing what the service can provide.
An nbn Sky Muster service is designed to deliver wholesale speeds of up to 25Mbps download/5Mbps upload – a huge step change for many regional areas currently experiencing very limited access to fast, reliable broadband.
Internet service providers provide retail plans at different price points and data allowances, so eligible residents and businesses can choose a plan that best suits their needs. The nbn also continues to roll out the fixed line network across Leichhardt. With construction well underway across the Cairns region and Cooktown, Mossman and Port Douglas are also due to kick off construction in the first half of next year.
Lastly, can I again thank all those who put their faith in me to deliver for another three years. I look forward to continuing to celebrate our region’s successes, highlight challenges, identify workable solutions, encourage investment, and be an effective advocate for those who need my support.
If you have any federal issues you feel need attention, please contact me on 07 4051 2220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.