Advocacy Alert: Latest State & Federal Announcements

Latest News...
  • Federal Government regional tourism funding & BBRF Round 5
  • State Government eases restrictions
  • LNP commit to Bruce Highway expansion
  • Low Emissions Technology Statement
  • JobKeeper & JobSeeker reduces from today
Federal Government Tourism Funding

The Federal Government yesterday announced it will provide $250 million to boost tourism and infrastructure in regions across the country. The upcoming October 6 Federal Budget will set aside $50 million for a regional tourism recovery initiative to assist businesses in regions heavily reliant on international tourism. Those areas include South Western Australia, Gold Coast, Kangaroo Island, Lasseter and Alice Springs, North Coast NSW, Phillip Island, Tasmania, Tropical North Queensland & Whitsundays/Mackay region.

A further $200 million will be injected into the 'Building Better Regions Fund' (BBRF) to boost infrastructure in regional communities, $100 million of which will be dedicated to tourism-related infrastructure. BBRF Round 5 will be delivered like its previous four rounds, with Infrastructure Project and Community Investment streams. Grant Opportunity Guidelines will be made available shortly, consistent with the existing BBRF framework, to assist potential applicants. More HERE.

Easing of Restrictions

It was a positive announcement on Friday that the Premier and Chief Health Officer have begun to review and ease restrictions, reducing the density rule for outdoor venues to 1 person per 2 square metres from 1am this Thursday. Our advocacy around this issue recognises it is possible to have more commonsense relaxations based on our medical circumstances and drawing comparisons to the science based restrictions in place elsewhere around Australia. Also effective from this Thursday is Stadium capacity in Queensland increasing from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and end of year school and sport events can increase from 500 to 1000 people outdoors with a COVID-safe checklist.

Whilst it’s a step in the right direction it remains vitally important that a broader review and an updated road map is prioritised. This will build confidence and certainty for tourism and hospitality businesses leading into the critical Christmas period, and as JobKeeper begins to reduce from today.

The continued easing of restrictions will be important to support businesses through the next economic challenges during the scaling back of JobKeeper payments. While JobKeeper has provided a level of support, as it begins to wind back, many businesses will be unable to continue trading and this will mean devastation for local communities.

Bruce Highway Expansion Commitment

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington yesterday announced that an LNP State Government would four-lane the Bruce Highway from Cairns to Gympie. The project is expected to take 15 years to complete, costing an estimated $33 billion under a proposed 80:20 Federal-State funding arrangement, and create 100,000 jobs.

Queensland companies would be given preference for contracts over interstate and international construction corporations – with tenders scaled to allow local small and medium-sized businesses to bid. A dedicated panel of local construction contractors will be assembled to ensure regional companies are prioritised when contracts are awarded. More HERE.

Low Emissions Technology Statement

Minister for Energy and Emissions reduction, Angus Taylor MP has released the Federal Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS). The Statement is the first milestone in Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap, which seeks to address the challenge of rapidly reducing emissions in a way that supports economic growth.

The Statement outlines the Government’s five priority technologies and economic goals to make new technologies as cost-effective as existing technologies. These are:

  • Hydrogen production under $2 per kilogram
  • Long duration energy storage (6-8 hours or more) dispatched at less than $100 per MWh
  • Low carbon materials – low emissions steel production under $900 per tonne and low emissions aluminium under $2,700 per tonne
  • CCS – CO2 compression, hub transport, and storage under $20 per tonne of CO2
  • Soil carbon measurement under $3 per hectare per year

Read more HERE

JobKeeper Changes

From today, the rate of the Federal Government's JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments will reduce, as a part of the first stage of the gradual reduction of COVID-19 relief payments. The JobKeeper rate for full-time employees will reduce from $1500 a fortnight to $1200 a fortnight and $750 a fortnight for part-time workers, or those who were working less than 20 hours a week before the pandemic hit.

For full-time workers, the $1200 a fortnight rate will then reduce to $1000 on January 4 2021 and will last until March 28. For employees who work less than 20 hours a week, the reduction will be from $750 to $650 on January 4. Businesses are required to resubmit their eligibility for the scheme. More information HERE.

It's estimated the extension of JobKeeper until March next year will cost an additional $16 billion, bringing the total cost of the scheme to $86 billion.

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