Memo from Mayo 13 November 2020
Rebekha is back in the electorate after a busy week in Federal Parliament. The Member for Mayo seconded a Climate Action Private Member's Bill introduced by her Crossbench colleague Zali Steggall, the Independent Member for Warringah, which is now open for public comment as part of a parliamentary review. Submissions close 27 November 2020.
Environmental Law Review
Rebekha would like to alert the community to the fact that the Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environment Approvals) Act 2020 has been referred to a Senate Inquiry.
The reporting turnaround is brief. The public has until 18 November to make submissions. A public hearing is being held in Canberra via videoconference on 23 November.
The Government gagged debate on the Bill in the House last month, however, Rebekha spoke about the legislation recently during Matters of Public Importance. You can read Rebekha's speech or watch on YouTube.
Aged Care Financial Transparency
A Bill introduced by Rebekha that seeks to bring in greater financial transparency in the residential aged care sector has also been referred to a Parliamentary Inquiry.
The Private Member’s Bill, if passed by the Parliament, would require aged care providers to disclose their income, costs of food and medication, staff and staff training, accommodation, administration and monies paid to parent bodies in annual financial transparency reports to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.
The Bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport but a date for public submissions is yet to be set.
Similar legislation introduced by Rebekha's Centre Alliance colleague, Senator Stirling Griff, has been referred to a Senate Committee for review. A report is due this month.
Bushfire Royal Commission
Calls for a streamlined recovery process, more support for farm firefighting units, and the development of an Australian-based aerial firefighting industry are among the Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations recently welcomed by Rebekha.
Rebekha also welcomed recommendations to incorporate resilience with disaster recovery measures, better information sharing among essential services and improved community education about assessing risk, insurance and emergency alerts.
Cashless Debit Card
Rebekha stated Centre Alliance's position on the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020 in Parliament yesterday.
Rebekha said that Centre Alliance would not support the Bill because the Party did not believe people in the Northern Territory or North Queensland have had their concerns heard. Further, the Government has not yet provided sufficient evidence that the card was conclusively working, and so Centre Alliance could not support its permanency or expansion.
However, Centre Alliance would be prepared to support a continuation of the trials but the Government would need to provide education and training opportunities and drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. These key elements have not yet been present at trial sites.
China Trade Threat
After speaking to horticulturalists, fishers and winegrowers in Mayo about their concerns regarding the ongoing uncertainty about trade bans in China, Rebekha spoke with Trade Minister Simon Birmingham this week and met with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, the messaging coming from different sources within China is mixed and conflicting at present," Rebekha said.
"DFAT was unable to provide certainty about the situation in China but the Department is working with their counterparts in that country and working to assist Australian exporters seeking to diversify into other markets. I will continue to liaise with Austrade and the Department and advocate on behalf of local exporters."
ABC, SBS and Channel 44
Several Bills relating to broadcasting reforms, including spectrum regulation and radio licensing provisions, were debated in the Parliament this week.
Rebekha took the opportunity to advocate for more funding for the ABC, less advertising (particularly gambling advertising) on SBS and a permanent broadcast licence for Community Television, including Channel 44 in Adelaide. She also gave a shoutout to all the community radio stations in Mayo.
You can read her speech on the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill 2020 here and watch the ABC/SBS segment on Youtube here and the Channel 44 segment here.