Last week Infrastructure NSW released its report “First Things First”, setting out a NSW infrastructure strategy for the next twenty years. The report is a substantial and impressive piece of work. It sets out an ordered list of priorities for NSW infrastructure investment, based on a rational, fact-based assessment of which projects will deliver the greatest economic and social benefit; how much projects will cost; how much money there is available to spend; and available funding sources including both general government revenue (funded by taxes) and user charges (particularly tolls for users of motorways.)
I recently met with Chloe Van Dyck, a high school student who lives in my electorate. Chloe came to speak to me on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. JDRF supports research towards finding a cure for type-1 Diabetes.
Last week the House of Representatives passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill.
The policy intention is to combat the international trade in illegally logged wood - by making it illegal to import into Australia timber which has been illegally logged in other countries. So far, so good – we can all agree that it is highly desirable to stop criminals chopping down virgin rainforest in Indonesia or Brazil in breach of local laws.
One of the most important industry sectors in Australia is higher education.
In a competitive globalised economy the premium earned by people with innovative ideas is enormous. High wage advanced economies like Australia need to compete in areas of relative strength. Research and higher education is one such area.
The National Broadband Network is squandering public money on an unprecedented scale.
The chaos has been so great that some aspects have not received the scrutiny they really deserve.
As part of its deal with the Greens on the carbon tax, the Gillard Labor Government announced the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – into which $10 billion of taxpayers’ money will be ploughed.
On 1 July when the carbon tax comes into operation, will we see extensive price rises throughout the economy? The Gillard Government seems keen to give the impression that we won’t see much in the way of price rises at all. For one thing, they say that the ACCC will be on the case, looking out for price increases which cannot be justified.
I have just finished a visit to Bendigo with the Coalition Online Safety Working Group. Our visit was hosted by Senator Bridget McKenzie, the National Party Senator for Victoria, and we were also joined by ACT Senator Gary Humphries and Tasmanian Senator Stephen Parry. We started the day in a meeting with the Bendigo South Football Netball Club, talking about the impact of Facebook and social media for a large, youth-oriented community organisation.
There’s been a lot of talk about last week’s budget. Was it a Robin Hood budget, taking from the rich and giving to the poor?
Was it a surplus budget, showing a new determination by Wayne Swan to keep the finances under control?