I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2015-2016 and cognate bill. These bills seek authority from the parliament for the additional expenditure of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for this financial year. The total of the appropriations being sought through these two bills is just over $2.2 billion. The bills detail pages and pages of expenditure and savings, but there are a number that are particularly relevant to my electorate and I would like to highlight them today.
These bills allocate $60 million over two years for round 2 of the very successful Mobile Black Spot Program-something that was actually cut after Labor came to government in 2007. In Leichhardt, we had a high level of community engagement in round 1 of this program and we were successful in getting $2.19 million for three new or upgraded mobile phone base stations at Speewah, Coen airport and Bamaga Island in the Torres Strait. These three stations alone will boost reception at 19 black spots.
Nominations for black spots under round 2 closed in mid-January and more than 50 submissions have been received. Black spots ranged from areas such as the outer suburbs of Cairns to north of Mossman, particularly the Mossman Daintree Road and north of the Daintree River through to Cape Tribulation and the Lion's Den and Rossville. Mount Carbine was identified again along with the townships of Portland Roads, Aurukun and Weipa. I commend Kylie Fell and the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce for being very active in rallying public support, and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of this round.
The White paper on developing northern Australia was released in June last year, just nine months ago. We have already seen the Office of Northern Australia being set up in Darwin; the appointment of an interim chair, John Wharton AO, to establish the new Co-operative Research Centre for Northern Australia; the strengthening of critical biosecurity measures and Indigenous ranger teams. In addition, we have seen the release of the exposure draft legislation for the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for projects such as the Mt Isa to Tennant Creek railway, Townsville Port expansion, upgrade to Cairns airport and the expansion of the Outback Highway linking Western Australia to Queensland. We also welcomed 350 investors from over 20 countries who came together in Darwin last year to focus on opportunities that we have in northern Australia-40 per cent of Australia's landmass.
There is a renewed focus on tropical health and medicine. The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine recently opened at the James Cook University campus at Cairns. Plans are being finalised for a feasibility study for key water infrastructure in the north, including the Nullinga Dam proposal outside Cairns and water resource assessments in the Mitchell River catchment. There is also a focus on key transport infrastructure, including a $100 million beef roads program, with forums already held in Rockhampton and Kununurra and a third scheduled for Darwin in March. It is also great to see that water storage at Lakeland is also being considered-something that is very exciting for that area. It will certainly allow them to expand their already extensive agricultural activities in that area. The only thing inhibiting them at this stage is water.
These appropriation bills now secure the $600 million northern Australia roads package, where we will be looking to partner with the three northern state and territory governments to identify and deliver key infrastructure upgrades. They allow for the raising of $17 million over four years by changing visa arrangements to support the northern Australia workforce. Boosting northern Australia's population is absolutely critical to our success in building capacity in northern Australia. These visa changes will help businesses in the North to be a more adaptable and mobile workforce by allowing work and holiday visa holders to get a second visa if they undertake three months' work in tourism, hospitality or agricultural industries in northern Australia; expanding the seasonal worker program to better respond to industry demand; and enabling working holiday maker visa holders to perform 12 months' work with the same employer in certain industries in northern Australia. A lot of our horticulture industries-even our dairy now-and our tourism industries depend very heavily on this workforce, and it is very important that we are able to accommodate the needs there and make sure that the workforce is available.
Another one that I was very pleased to be associated with was the introduction of the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill earlier this month. This bill will see the government establish a Commonwealth licensing scheme to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific use, to be administered by the Department of Health. It will also amend legislation to downgrade cannabis from a schedule 9 substance to a schedule 8 substance to make it easier to access for clinic trials and for therapeutic use. I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the work of Lucy Haslam and her son Dan; Lanai Carter and her son Lindsay; and, in Cairns, the Hickey family and Debbi Cliff for their ongoing advocacy. They have certainly educated me on the real value of medical cannabis and the relief that will be achieved by being able to use these products. I certainly look forward to contributing in the second reading debate of that bill in this place.
Another major policy that was announced in late 2015 was about driving the smart ideas that create business growth, local jobs and global success. These appropriations bills allocate funding for a whole range of measures, including $127 million over three years to provide greater incentives for university researchers to engage with industry; $2.3 billion over 10 years to set up an ongoing research infrastructure funding program; $17 million to enhance linkages between research organisation and businesses; and $90 million over 10 years to CSIRO to support increased commercialisation of research. This year, the government will also establish a Biomedical Translation Fund to invest in promising biomedical discoveries. This fund will complement the Medical Research Future Fund through the commercialisation of health and medical research, and will receive $250 million over two years from government, to be matched by private sector contributions. All of these programs are designed to make sure that Australia is not just doing great research but also getting great outcomes from that research, whether it is to get a commercial end product or to help businesses operate better.
I was very pleased with the government's response to the National Ice Action Taskforce in late 2015. It is comprehensive and addresses prevention right through to treatment. These bills provide $212 million over three years to reduce the harms associated with methamphetamine use in the community through further investment in drug and alcohol treatment services; supporting communities to increase their capacity to address the impact of illicit drugs through implementing and expanding community based programs; establishing a centre of clinical excellence in treatment, research and training development for emerging drugs of concern; and expanding and improving data sources for the analysis of illicit drug trends. There is also $9.1 million to list 15 new items of addiction medicine on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
This is very important, particularly in relation to ice, as we see the emergence of it into our remoter communities. It is certainly of great concern, and we really need to continue to focus in this area. It is having a huge impact on our communities generally, on our police forces and on our paramedics et cetera, and we have to deal with this problem. I think that any money that we spend in dealing with this is money well spent, particularly in areas where we can start to focus on some of the rehabilitation that is desperately needed for some of these people who have become addicted to this horrible substance. A further $78 million will be redirected from the Indigenous Australian Health Program to support delivery of drug and alcohol strategies in Indigenous communities-it is a major problem there-with a focus on ice. I am looking forward to working with the communities, the police, the youth and health services and the Primary Health Network as we put together a range of local and practical solutions.
In this period of time, we did of course have ChAFTA, the China-Australia free trade agreement. That is having a huge benefit in my region. Again, I would like to acknowledge Minister Robb for the outstanding work that he did in putting that together, along with a number of others.
There are also red-tape measures in this bill that will make life simpler for small to medium sized businesses. The government is progressively implementing Single Touch Payroll, which will streamline the way employers report their Pay As You Go withholding obligations and superannuation contributions to the ATO. I think that is a great initiative. It certainly assists our small businesses.
There is a specific measure in the appropriations that I am disappointed about, however, and that was the decision to scrap the Clinical Training Fund in the MYEFO. It was James Cook University that alerted me to the plans to reallocate funding from the CTF, and I was very quick to contact the Minister for Health and the Minister for Northern Australia to express my concerns. Minister Ley has since written to me to explain that the funding will be redirected to priority areas, including developing a rural training pipeline for new medical graduates and increasing rural, regional and remote clinical training placements.
Sandra Harding, the Vice-Chancellor of JCU, said that this would not address the need for Far North Queensland and has proposed a 12-month freeze on the introduction of these measures to give them time to transition. To me, this seems like a sensible proposition. History has shown that the inclusion of medicine and dentistry training is vital to our rural clinical placements. Through placements, community members have been able to access professional, supervised and cost-effective medical and dental treatment. The experience gained through these placements has contributed to a high proportion of students actually continuing their internships or employment outside our metropolitan areas.
Lastly, the great thing about appropriations is that it gives members wide scope to talk about initiatives that they would potentially like to see included in future appropriations bills. There is a Wet Tropics Management Authority proposal seeking $15.19 million over three years from state and federal governments to eradicate yellow crazy ants from areas adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas in my region. Already, we are spending close to $4 million on baiting and controlling these pests, including through funding for six Green Army teams, a grant made by Terrain Natural Resource Management to Kuranda Envirocare and a $1.9 million grant to WTMA that winds up in June 2016. I would particularly like to acknowledge the great work of Scott Buchanan, the Chief Executive of WTMA, together with Lucy Karger of the yellow crazy ant eradication team and local landowner Frank Teodo.
Now we need the state government to come on board. Biosecurity Queensland has done great work with electric ants, which have been already been eradicated. They can transfer that Cairns based team to yellow crazy ants. They have the expertise and all the set-up, so we can easily transition and eradicate yellow crazy ants. Also, $3 million of federal money has been recently allocated to Queensland through the Agricultural competitiveness white paper for biosecurity measures. Queensland needs to allocate this to the eradication of this horrible pest adjacent to the wet tropics and make a matching contribution. It would be a good start towards WTMA achieving what we need for eradication.
I am also looking forward to $10 million going to James Cook University for an innovation centre that they have put up. They are putting in a lot of the money themselves. It would be great to get the money for that. Of course, we are also seeking $10 million for the Cairns Performing Arts Centre. The Cairns Regional Council, under the leadership of Bob Manning, has done an outstanding job in putting up a new performing arts centre. I think a $10 million contribution from the federal government is relatively small in the overall contribution, and I certainly hope that we can do that.
Finally, we are certainly holding our breath waiting for the $2 billion for the Pacific patrol boat tender to come forward. I am sure that the 'Cairns solution'-in particular, Scott Morrison, from Teekay Shipping Australia; Mark Todd, from Damen Shipyards Group; and Justin Parer, from BSE Maritime Solutions-did a great job in making that contribution. I am sure we will be successful.