2016 has started with a very busy sitting schedule! We’ve made inroads on a range of legislation; I’ve met with numerous stakeholders and constituents and taken a whole range of issues to my Ministerial colleagues.
Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016
The introduction of legislation to allow the cultivation of cannabis in Australia for research and medicinal purposes is a major achievement and something that I’ve been lobbying on for almost two years.
In as little as 12 months’ time, through either clinical trials or an authorised prescriber, patients will be able to access Australian-produced medicinal cannabis products. These are likely to be in the form of tinctures, oils and raw product for vaporising, for conditions such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, childhood epilepsy and palliative relief.
The Commonwealth, in conjunction with States and Territories, will tightly oversee the cultivation, production and distribution process. I look forward to continuing to work with patients and the Minister for Health on this exciting and life-changing development.
National Innovation and Science Agenda
Innovation has always been a key factor in Australian success and the new National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) will encourage every business to be more innovative, entrepreneurial and more prepared to take risks.
We have announced 24 measures, involving $1.1 billion of spending, to create high-paid jobs and help Australia compete globally.
The NISA will provide a boost to Australia’s resources and energy sectors, keeping them strong while encouraging the development of northern Australia, and our northern universities are also well placed to capitalise on the focus on tropical health and medicine.
Late last year the National Ice Taskforce made 38 recommendations on how governments can strengthen their response to Ice across five key action areas.
As a result, we’lll make a major investment of $241.5 million over the next four years to improve access and treatment for Ice and other drugs, through the Primary Health Networks, on top of the up to $310 million already allocated for treatment services.
I’m looking forward to working with communities, police, youth and health services as together we put in place a range of practical local solutions. Visit www.health.gov.au/Ice for more info.
We need a better tax system in Australia if we’re going to grow our economy, create jobs and maintain our strong welfare safety net for those who are most vulnerable.
In particular, income tax has become an increasing burden on working Australians. Fifteen years ago, almost 80 per cent of taxpayers paid no more than 30 cents in the dollar. Today, that has fallen to around one quarter of taxpayers.
We need a better mix and combination of tax at both the state and federal level that removes the barriers that are holding each of us back.
So don’t buy into the scaremongering, you’ll be able to have your say on any major changes to taxation policy at this year’s election.
The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that taxpayers’ massive child care investment of almost $40 billion is used to its greatest capacity and is benefitting as many Far Northern families and children as possible.
Our new package will support around 1.2 million families in 2017-18 as they balance work and family responsibilities, as well as protect those most vulnerable.
Our objective is to better help parents who want or need to work, or who want to work more, while still supporting early childhood education. More affordable access to quality childcare puts the opportunity of work within reach for more families.