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Economic Reform OpEd

One proposal to reform the GST by raising its rate does not address the biggest challenge facing Australia’s federation; simply put the States are not paying their way.

 

Recently, the Treasurer of NSW has been asking his handpicked expert panel to look at the benefits of having the Federal Government increase the GST from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, and using the extra tax to increase funding for state government services and repealing the hated and economically damaging payroll tax.  The panel that he has assembled is impressive, it is to federation reform what the Avengers are to superheroes, so any suggestions they come up with should be taken seriously.

 

Given their reputation we should all hope that they go much further than the GST rate and deal with the underlying problem of how Australia’s federation has evolved.  The structure of our Federation hurts our economy, and too often results in sub-optimal outcomes in the delivery of critical services. 

 

The good news is that the NSW government is talking about removing one of the two most damaging taxes a government can levy being: stamp duty and payroll tax.  Adam Smith had four principles of good taxation that after 200 years have not been improved upon. Taxes should be fair, efficient certain and convenient. Stamp duty and payroll tax comprehensively fail each of these four tests. Removing them should be a priority, but fixing the incentives for states to undertake ongoing reform should be higher. 

 

State Governments are responsible for planning (think energy and housing prices), transport (congestion), education (high income jobs) and health. There are few governments that have a more target rich environment when it comes to productivity enhancing reforms.  The problem is that state governments have literally no incentives to undertake them. 

 

When the NSW Government decided to reform point to point transport in NSW, which allowed Uber and others to operate legally, the NSW Treasury estimated that over four years this would produce an uplift in the state economy of roughly $3 billion. Treasury also estimated that owners of taxi licences would in aggregate lose roughly $200m in the value of their asset.  In terms of reform there are few that come easier: use some of the extra tax revenue from growing the economy to compensate the current providers.  

 

The Problem was nearly all the tax raised from growing the NSW economy was collected by the Commonwealth and what remained was divided eight ways at the Grants Commission.  In fact, it is worse than that because State Governments that improve productivity in order to grow their economy are punished at the Grants Commission in favour of recalcitrant state governments.

 

Over the years numerous Federal Governments have tried to fix this problem through the National Competition Policy or Joe Hockey’s asset recycling grants, but all are temporary and narrow in their application. 

 

The truth is that all governments would prefer someone else to do the heavy lifting.  The States would love the Federal Government to increase taxes while they get to abolish one.  Politically it is the perfect solution for them.  But when Malcolm Turnbull offered to give them some income tax powers they ran for the hills. 

 

Tax reform over the years has been the third rail of Australian politics.  The GST was first put forward by John Howard in 1980, followed by Keating in 1984, then John Hewson in 1993, and finally John Howard again in 1998.  And even then we have a GST with a narrower base then initially envisaged, those sectors outside the GST have predictably grown faster than those inside the net, and what is a relatively simple tax now has some edge complexities. The Australian Tax Office in its red briefing book spoke about how one bakery has been provided with 48 private rulings on how to apply the GST. 

 

Even minor tax reform is difficult for the States.  When the NSW Government tried to remove an impost on insurance contracts and move to an emergency services levy some critical comments from an afternoon talk back radio host saw the government reverse its position.  If you cannot sell a tax that more fairly funds emergency services what hope is there of shepherding really difficult and meaningful reform through parliament?  Only necessity and incentives will encourage the states to take difficult steps, but for the moment there is neither. 

 

This is where the states now find themselves: providing most of the services at unsustainable prices (public transport systems do not recover more than ten per cent of their operating costs), relying on someone else to fund them, and incentivised to do all this badly like Jay Weatherill.  At every state election each party promises to spend more on any given item knowing that they are not ultimately responsible for funding it as most of the money comes from the federal government.  If we want to improve the choice voters have to make at state elections then they should know how a future state government will fund future promises. 

 

So when Dean Smith and Dominic Perrottet make a relatively modest reform suggestion to raise the rate of the GST it is disappointing to see Jim Chalmers instinctively throw the switch to hysterical.  Not a good start for someone who claims he is serious about productivity enhancing reform.

 

I am not sure which characters Ann Twoomey, David Thodey and Bill English most relate to out of the Avengers, but they will need to channel their heroes’ wisdom, strength and bravery to encourage everyone to look past the easy and modest fixes and rather to reverse the course of our Federation to make it more dynamic. A system that encourages experimentation, reform and rewards those governments who show leadership rather than pusillanimous policy courage. If they can do that, they will have truly earned their commission. 

Jason Falinski is the Chair of the House of Representatives’ Tax and Revenue Committee – Jason.Falinski.MP@aph.gov.au.

 

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Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day 2019

Member for Mackellar, Mr Jason Falinski has today honoured all those who have served and continue to serve in our military at the Pittwater RSL Remembrance Day service.  

“The Pittwater RSL Sub-Branch has hosted yet another magnificent Remembrance Day Service.” Mr Falinski said. 

“Every year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we mark Remembrance Day because it was at this time and date in 1918 that the guns fell silent on the Western Front, officially ending the First World War,” “The war came at a great cost for Australia, with more than 60,000 service men and women never returning home, from the 416,000 who enlisted.” 

“This affected every community, large and small, across the country, in what was a very young nation at that time.” 

“More than 102,000 names are today listed on the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour in Canberra to honour the lives lost at war and it is vital we continue to remember their service and sacrifice today.”

“It is incredibly important to instil an ongoing sense of remembrance and respect in future generations of Australians so our current and former serving defence personnel and their families know their sacrifices are honoured, now and into the future.” 

Mr Falinski reminds all Australians, including our younger generations, to continue the Remembrance Day tradition and pay tribute to those who have proudly served our nation in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations by attending a local commemorative service and wearing a red poppy in honour of the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women.

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

 

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Commemorative Grants

Grants for commemorative projects in Mackellar

 

COMMEMORATIVE projects in Mackellar may benefit from a funding boost and expanded eligibility of the Saluting Their Service (STS) Commemorative Grants Program.

 

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester and Jason Falinski MP said the expansion to the STS Grants Program is part of the Government’s election commitments, and will see an extra $10 million allocated over the next four years to continue to honour the service and sacrifice of those who have served their country.

 

“The STS Grants Program is aimed at acknowledging and commemorating those who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations,” Mr Chester said.

 

“With this is mind, we are expanding the program to increase the funds available and will also be opening up the eligibility so more projects are able to be funded than ever before.

 

Northern Beaches MP, Jason Falinski said the funding increase means extra opportunities for local projects in Mackellar to commemorate their local military heroes.

 

“Our community has a proud military history, with many veterans now calling Mackellar home, and many more before them having served our nation,” Mr Falinski said.

 

“I encourage the community here in Mackellar to review the new guidelines and apply for a grant to carry on the legacy of commemoration and ensure our veterans are never forgotten.

 

 

The revised guidelines will see a shift in focus to conflicts post the First World War, and also mean projects such as documentaries, and digital projects such as digital honour rolls and podcasts, can have funds allocated.

The new guidelines will come into effect in November 2019. For more information about the new guidelines, or to apply for a Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grant, visit the Community Grants Hub (https://www.communitygrants.gov.au/) or GrantConnect (https://www.grants.gov.au/) web sites.

 

ENDS

 

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

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Safer Communities

Local projects deliver safer communities on the Northern Beaches

Communities are set to share in $41.9 million to protect children in the community facing risks associated with racial and religious intolerance thanks to round four of the Australian Government’s Safer Communities Fund.

Northern Beaches MP, Jason Falinski said the Safer Communities Fund is delivering on the Government’s commitment to protect children in the community facing risks associated with racial and religious intolerance.

“We have already seen 340 projects funded under the first three rounds, and round four is allowing more schools, places of worship and community organisations to help protect Australians from harm” Mr Falinski said.

The Northern Beaches have already received $400,000 for the installation of bollards on and around Manly Corso.

“This project aim to enhance safety and security in the community by preventing vehicle attacks.”

“It is our priority to ensure that children in our community are safe from attacks, harassment or violence stemming from racial or religious intolerance.”

The Australian Government has committed a further $55 million for round five of the Safer Communities Fund, which is opening soon.

Further information on round five will be available at www.business.gov.au

Ends

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

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Fighting Chance Grant

$19.6M TO HELP AUSTRALIANS WITH DISABILITY REALISE THEIR EMPLOYMENT GOALS  

 

The Morrison Government, through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), is investing $19.6 million to fund innovative projects that will provide greater opportunity for people with disability to participate in work.

 

Local member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, said 64 organisations will receive funding through the Economic Participation of People with Disability grants, as part of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program.

 

Grants under the ILC program are to build connections between people with disability and the communities they live in. Unlike the rest of the NDIS, ILC grants are not for individuals – they are for organisations to carry out activities in the community.

 

Mr Falinski said local Fighting Chance Australia Limited would receive $544,775.00 to provide Linking Jigsaw participants to mainstream employment for people with a disability to improve their prospects of employment.

 

‘Today’s announcement will help many members of our community with disability realise their ambitions of increased participation in the community through securing a job and I am proud to see this excellent project receive funding through this program,’ said Mr Falinski.

 

‘The grant will build the capacity of businesses and organisations to employ people with disability through community engagement, improved resources and training.’

 

The grant round also supports the work of the Coalition Government’s recently established NDIS Participant Employment Taskforce.

 

‘Since it was announced in December last year, the taskforce has been delivering changes that open the way for better employment outcomes,’ said Mr Falinski.

 

‘Together, the taskforce and grants are providing more options for people with disability to participate in work and are a reminder of the good work being done to implement Australia’s world leading NDIS.’

 

Types of projects funded include a community of practice between employers, promotional activities to attract people with disability to roles, events and forums to promote people with disability in workplace settings and creation of workforce inclusion plans.

Ends

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

 

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Transcript: ABC Panel with Jason Falinski and Don Farrell

MR JASON FALINSKI MP

Federal Member for Mackellar

                                    

TRANSCRIPT

ABC News24, Capital Hill with Jane Norman – 23 October 2019

 

Topics: Medevac Laws, Drought Response, Treasury Secretary.

E&OE

 

Jane Norman: Joining me in the studio is Liberal MP Jason Falinski. Thanks for your time.

 

Jason Falinski: Thanks for having me.

 

Jane Norman: And Labor frontbencher and Senator Don Farrell.

 

Don Farrell: Good to be here.

 

Jane Norman: All right let's start with this medevac repeal bill. Jason Falinski, Labor and the Greens want the laws to stay in place. They don't want it to be scrapped. It looks like it might all come down to crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie when this eventually makes it to the Senate maybe in November. How confident are you that you can get her vote and axe these laws?

 

Jason Falinski: Well look we're reasonably confident that we have the argument on our side that how the bill has played out in reality has damaged our border protection policies and that Jackie you know an advocate for her for Tasmania of the people she represents. But we're pretty sure that when she sits down and listens to the arguments that that she'll vote for the repeal of this legislation at least that's what we're hoping.

 

Jane Norman: Are you winning the argument though because it looks like a lot of lawyers a lot of doctors. The major parties here at Parliament House at least are opposed to the bid to get rid of the laws.

 

Jason Falinski: Look I understand that there are a lot of people in this area who good people of good faith can come to different views and I appreciate that. But I think that any. I mean my father was effectively a refugee to this country. I'm very cognizant of making sure that our country remains an open and welcoming country to people who have been displaced around the world. But we need to have a process in place for obvious reasons. I think when you look at what has occurred since this bill passed I don't think a reasonable person can conclude that this has actually had the effect that people thought it would have.

 

Jane Norman: Well the government said they'd be you know dozens if not hundreds of asylum seekers coming but in the past six months or so there have been 130 and you know they've come to Australia for treatment it's certainly not the flood of transferees that we've been warned about. 

 

Jason Falinski: And I appreciate that. I think our primary worry was twofold. The first that it would send a signal to the people who trade in human misery otherwise known as people smugglers that would say would give them a marketing benefit that they could use in other countries to encourage people to start getting back on boats. So that was one thing that we're very cognizant of stopping that signal to open that market again. The second thing we were worried about was that it removed discretion from the minister in cases where there were people for various reasons of bad character. So the bit that is true the bill allows the minister to veto someone if there are security concerns but it doesn't if they're a bad character. And Peter Dutton has pointed to about half a dozen people that have walked into our country that may be in that category. I mean they're the two things that we were primarily worried about. We believe that's how it's playing out at the moment. 

 

Jane Norman: Don Farrell if six people of bad character in Peter Dutton's words have been able to come to Australia under these laws is that a cause for concern. Does this show that maybe we should actually be having a look at even amending the laws.

 

Don Farrell: Jane look I think Tanya Plibersek was exactly right today. The minister can stop these people from coming to this country but there are two issues here. There's the issue of security and there's a very simple way that the government can deal with that. They've got the powers to do it and they should do it. But we're a compassionate country. Jason talked about his father. This has been a very compassionate country. If people are sick and those people are under our care we have an obligation to give them medical treatment. It's a simple proposition. I'm hoping that when the bill does come to the Senate that that will be the proposition that the parliament accepts.

 

Jane Norman: What's your sense being in the Senate? You obviously would speak to Jacqui Lambie as part of various other negotiations where do you think she's falling on either side of the debate at the moment if you can't read her mind.

 

Jason Falinski: That worry smiles gives it away.

 

Don Farrell: I wish I could read her mind she's is a hard person to read. I have to admit that.

 

Jane Norman: She's becoming the real kingmaker in the Senate now with this legislation...

 

Don Farrell: Queen Maker.

 

Jane Norman: Queen Maker I should say yes.

 

Don Farrell: Look Jackie in my experience is a very sensible lady. She'll look at all of the issues on their merits. I would be surprised if she adopts a position other than what I'm saying. I mean I think she's a compassionate person. I think she understands why people under our care have to be brought back to Australia. I think Kristina Keneally is prosecuting this case in a very sensible and considered way. I think she's contrary to what Peter Dutton says about her. I think she's one of our best performers in this Parliament and she's bringing and I think a sensible and common sense approach to this issue.

 

Jane Norman: Yeah it's certainly a very different approach she's taking to the portfolio than her predecessor. But another issue on this topic the ABC's political editor Andrew Probyn yesterday revealed that the PM has parachuted his newest senator Sarah Henderson from Victoria into a prime parliamentary role that will ultimately have oversight over these medevac laws. She has openly criticized these laws in the past, Sarah Henderson, Jason Falinski why has she been put in this role taken from Ian Goodenough, He's been told to move on.

 

Jason Falinski: Well no. Ian's got plenty to do but I think the reason that Sarah has been involved in that role was when she was the Member for Corangamite. She was heavily involved. He was the chair of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee. That's what she really involved herself in. She's very much across social affairs issues and social welfare issues. When she came into the Senate it made sense to you know put your best people in the best position with their skill set. And I think that suits Sarah perfectly.

 

Jane Norman: Is the governor trying to nobble this committee though like we know that it's going to having an oversight.

 

Jason Falinski: Oh Jane we wish we could nobble Senate committees. That's fine. No one's managed to do it. No we're not trying to nobble the committee we're trying to make the Senate committee operate as effectively as it possibly can. And that means having the best people in the best place.

 

Jane Norman: This is of course the Senate Human Rights Committee. Don Farrell It has a history of strong bipartisanship are you worried that this change in leadership this sudden change is going to undermine that bipartisanship and ally of Scott Morrison.

 

Don Farrell: Look I think I think the Prime Minister has made the wrong call here. Sarah is not the right person to be chairing this this committee...

 

Jane Norman: And why is that?

 

Don Farrell: Well for the reasons you've just said I think the idea behind this committee is that we try and present to the world a cross party position so that we're all sending the same message. I think it would seem that based on prior conversations or statements that Sarah has made that she's made up her mind about these issues and I don't think that's a good thing. I get back to the point earlier. This is all about being compassionate towards people who are sick. That's the obligation that I think Australia has that ought to be a bipartisan position. And I think she is the wrong person to be dealing with it.

 

Jane Norman: Let's zoom out a bit and talk about the economy it's really the issue that is front of mind for most of us in Parliament at the moment. The new Treasury boss Stephen Kennedy just fronted a Senate Estimates and he said he was cautiously optimistic that the biggest risk in Australia at the moment are external factors the trade war China the US and so Don Farrell. It appears that he's effectively endorsing the Coalition's economic plan. Is this a huge repudiation of what Labor's been basically arguing for the past few months. 

 

Don Farrell: Well I don't think he is endorsing the government's plan.

 

Jason Falinski: So what would he say if he was endorsing the government’s plan?

 

Don Farrell: Well with all due respect Jason, I was quiet while you were...

 

Jason Falinski: I'm sorry Don, pardon me.

 

Jane Norman: We'll ask you next.

 

Jason Falinski: Jane said I could ask you questions so I did.

 

Don Farrell: You still won't be quiet. I was quite well you said your drivel...

 

Jane Norman: Back to the topic at hand, is he endorsing the coalition? Because it seems like he is.

 

Don Farrell: No no. And I don't think he is. Now look let's understand what's happened in this country since the election. Interest rates have dropped all of the indications are that the Reserve Bank is going to continue to reduce interest rates. That's not a good sign. That's a sign that the economy is in real trouble. I met yesterday with the retailers association. They've gone through Chapter and verse all of the problems that we've got in this country with consumer spending. I think the economy is showing all the signs of being in a lot of trouble. I don't dispute that there are international factors at play but there are a whole lot of domestic issues that are at play. The principal one is I mean we've seen what's happening with the drought. You know the government seems completely unconcerned about what's happening in the bush with farmers. We've seen what that's happening. But unless we start getting spending local spending going again doesn't matter what's happening internationally whether it's good or bad we've got to start spending on infrastructure and we've got to get the economy moving again. And the government has no time to waste. This idea that they've got to protect the surplus at the expense of damage to the Australian economy I think is crazy.

 

Jane Norman: So you think they should sacrifice the surplus and pour money on the economy?

 

Don Farrell: Now what I'm saying is we need to start spending on infrastructure. We need to start spending on infrastructure now. We have no time to waste. If the government if the Reserve Bank drops interest rates a further two times and that's what's being speculated about, that means this economy is in real strife. And the people the people who get worst affected when the economy is in real strife are Labor voters they're at the lower end of the economic chain. They're the first to lose their jobs. I think they realized quite early in the piece much earlier quite frankly than the Labor Party or the government did that the economy is tanking. We need to turn it round. We need action now. And the government has to respond to these both external issues but more particularly internal issues.

 

Jane Norman: All right. Jason Falinski the treasury secretary said that it's too early to tell if the Coalition's big income tax cut package is going to have any impact on economic growth. So he said we have some patients there we'll figure it out but this could still play out either way we don't know whether it's going to get the economy growing. What happens if there's sort of no impact? You know we have my MYEFO coming out before the end of the year should the government be considering some stimulus measures in that?

 

Jason Falinski: Well I mean in answer to that what we saw during the global financial crisis when Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan gave away about nineteen hundred dollars directly to people was that what their initial response to that was to pay down debt. So typically credit card debt but not always. And then that unwound over the next 12 months. I think what Steve Kennedy is saying is that you should expect to see that occur are similar to what happened this time. The second thing around infrastructure spending is that we already have a 10 billion dollar infrastructure spend this year 100 billion dollars over the next 10 years. New South Wales and Victoria are spending massive amounts of money. New South Wales just had to put about 40 billion dollars in a future fund because it was suffering hyperinflation in the building of infrastructure. So the bandwidth that we have to build more infrastructure in Australia certainly in Victoria and New South Wales is probably at its limit.

 

Jane Norman: But what about smaller measurers like targeted measures?

 

Jason Falinski: Such as?

 

Jane Norman: Well I mean let's look at drought funding for example. In fact one issue that's been raised by the National Farmers Federation is asking for exit packages for farmers wanting to leave the land. These are kind of you know smaller measures as opposed to huge new roads or ports that should be...

 

Jason Falinski: So for example in small businesses we've rolled out the instant asset write off that's obviously had a positive impact on business investing. You know just too humbly and obviously respectfully disagree with Don in conjunction with how it works in the Senate. I would say is that you know the people who most feel this are typically small businesses they're the ones that keep it in the eye first when there's a slowdown in the economy. There are structural changes going on in the retail sector due to online the online retailers coming into the market certainly in farms we've already in the agriculture sector we've already said that we will continue to be agile and responsive to the drought. You've seen some announcements last week on that

 

Jane Norman: Can we expect any more announcements on the drought?

 

Jason Falinski: Well at this point in time I don't think so but we will always respond to events as they unfold. I mean the drought is you know as David Littleproud keeps saying the best solution to this is a good lick of rain.

 

Jane Norman: All right. Jason Falinski, Don Farrell I'm sorry. Question time is rapidly approaching I'll have to say goodbye. Thank you for joining us.

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Life Changing Medicines

Life-changing medicines listings to save cystic fibrosis patients up to $250,000 a year

 

The Morrison Government will provide immediate access to life-changing medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to help support people with cystic fibrosis, saving them and their families up to $250,000 per year.

From 1 December 2019, the life-changing cystic fibrosis medicine Symdeko® will be listed on the PBS for patients with cystic fibrosis over the age of 12, who have specific gene mutations.

The current listing of Orkambi® will also be expanded for children aged 2-5 years of age, allowing earlier access to this life changing medicine.

Patients can gain access to Symdeko® and Orkambi® immediately, with the manufacturer agreeing to the Government’s request to provide early access, until the medicine is listed on the PBS on 1 December.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the new and amended listings were “expected to provide new or improved treatment options for over 1400 patients.”

“People might otherwise pay up to $250,000 a year for Symdeko®, or for Orkambi®, but with the Government’s investment they will now only pay a maximum of $40.30 per script, with concessional people paying just $6.50,” Minister Hunt said.

In Australia, one in 2,500 babies are born with cystic fibrosis, and there is currently no cure.

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. A defective gene causes a thick, sticky build-up of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs.

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski welcomed the announcement, saying it was another example of the Morrison Government’s commitment to “saving lives and protecting lives.”

“The average life expectancy for Australians with cystic fibrosis is 38, still less than half that of the average Australian,” Mr Falinski said.

“This is why it is so important to provide access to new medicines that can extend the lives of people with cystic fibrosis.”

“The PBS will continue to assist people on the Northern Beaches, access life-changing medicines.”

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended these medicines be listed on the PBS.

PBAC is independent of Government by law and in practice. By law, the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from PBAC.

Unlike Labor, we are subsidising all drugs recommended by the independent medical experts.

Since 2013, the Government has listed more than 2,200 new or amended items on the PBS.

This represents an average of around 30 listings per month – or one each day – at an overall cost of around $10.6 billion.

Our commitment to ensuring that all Australians can access affordable medicines remains rock solid. Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that saves lives.

More information these new PBS listings:

  • Symdeko® will be made available through the PBS for the treatment of people with cystic fibrosis who have two copies of the f508del mutation in the CFTR gene, and are 12 years or older.
  • Symdeko will also be made available for people with cystic fibrosis who have only one copy of the f508del mutation, and have one other residual function mutation, and are 12 years or older.
  • The current listing of Orkambi®, used to treat people with cystic fibrosis who have two copies of the F508del mutation in the CFTR gene, will be expanded so that children can commence subsidised treatment from two years of age, instead of six years of age.

Ends

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

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HSC Exams

Support for Northern Beaches students sitting exams

 

Member for Mackellar, Mr Jason Falinski wishes all local Year 12 students sitting their final exams the best of luck.

 

“I wish all students on the Northern Beaches who are sitting final year exams the very best and would like to remind them, and their parents and carers, to look after themselves during this period,” Mr Falinski said.

 

“This is an exciting time in your life, and regardless of the exam results there are amazing opportunities for you, whether it be pursuing higher education, vocational education or entering the workforce.

 

“Exams can be a stressful time for many, but I would encourage students to make use of the many resources to help cope with the pressures of exams and also to make informed decisions about your future. The Morrison Government has produced resources with tips and information for students and parents to navigate the exam period.”

 

Resources for students and parents are available at:

 

Information about higher education courses and government assistance for financing tertiary study can be found at:

 

Ends

Media Contact:  Harry Coates 0404 604 487

 

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Australian Financial Review Opinion Piece

People power over bureaucrats 

 

The Liberal Party ideal of personal empowerment has never been more important. 

 

This weekend the Liberal Party of Australia celebrates its 75th anniversary.  The Liberal Party is not just the Party of Menzies, it is the Party of Greiner and Kennett, the Party of reform and ideas, the Party of people not vested interests. 

 

Most importantly of all it is the Party of the liberal ideal.  And today, more than ever, the torch of this first revolution must burn brighter because the forces of illiberalism, and the darkness they bring, are gathering. 

 

It is long past time for us to reclaim the notion that firms should put people before profit, because without people there is no profit.  As Adam Smith pointed out two centuries ago no one can make a profit without first offering a product or service that another person wants.  As he said this one thing turns private vice into public good.  An attack on profit is actually an attack on public good. 

 

Yet this slogan has not seeped in.  We need to continue to focus on ensuring that we are not removing choice from individuals, and placing it in the hands of regulators.  For once you accept that profit is not good, then who is to determine what a person needs?  Typically the answer has been regulators. 

 

Andy Haldane, a Bank of England economist has pointed out that in 1980 for every regulator there were 11,000 bankers, by 2011 it was 300.  Did all these new regulators make consumers better off, or improve product choice and service?  The evidence says it did not. In Australia, ASIC now accepts that the disclosure regime caused consumer harm.

 

That is why this Government continues to focus on empowering individuals and providing them with the tools to make better informed decisions and taking personal responsibility.  The Consumer Data Right which was passed earlier this year does just this – it empowers consumers to use their own data to get a better deal.  Putting Members Interests First is another piece of legislation that was recently passed which allows people under 25 to opt-in as to insurance through their superannuation fund.

 

When business leaders spend more resources designing products that meet regulatory whims rather than meeting the needs of people, we have a problem.  When regulators feel like they need to issue regulatory guidance on how boardroom notes are taken then we have gone past any reasonable understanding of consumer protection. 

 

So is it any surprise that in the United States the most profitable investment a firm can make is in lobbying?  Jesse Norman recently pointed out that some lobbying efforts in the United States had a return on investment of 1200 per cent. 

 

Which makes you wonder how much of this is a driver of the lower productivity that we have faced in the post GFC era.  Those people who have traditionally allocated capital to areas of our economy that could most benefit from it, have been spending increasing amounts of time dealing with legal requirements, such as how boardroom notes are taken, rather than new products or services.

 

The director and officer liability insurance market is a great example of innovation killing lawfare.  Overseas litigation funders, who in many cases cannot do in their own country what they do in Australia, are getting returns in this country of close to the 1000 per cent mark.  The number of shareholder class actions have quintupled over the last decade, the cost of director and officer liability insurance has gone up 500 per cent in the last two years. 

 

Hard working Australians are seeing their returns cut, but more seriously over the long term businesses in Australia are becoming more cautious, less innovative, and the losers from that are all of us: investors, consumers and Australians.

 

This Liberal Government knows that if we are to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities of this century then innovation must be enabled not disabled.  Too often our challenges seem intractable because the argument is framed as being between the candle and the darkness when the answer is the light globe. 

 

We need to keep incentivising people in business to take well informed risks without fear of legal regulatory retribution.  This is how we will overcome the challenges of climate change, productivity, creation of meaningful employment, education and the many other opportunities before us.

 

So as the Liberal Party approaches the last quarter of its first century we are reminded that the only way to a fair country is through freedom, for no one person knows the path of happiness for every person; that care and compassion comes not from the generosity of the state but from those who know and love us; that history’s surest pathway to serfdom is by replacing equal rights with equality of outcome; and this is the only way anyone has created a just society.

 

Jason Falinski MP
Liberal Member for Mackellar

 

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National Headspace Day

National Headspace Day 2019

October 9 is National headspace Day, which puts the issue of young Australians’ mental health in the spotlight.

National headspace Day draws attention to a significant issue in our region, and encourages young people to discuss their mental health and take steps to improve their wellbeing.

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski encouraged young Australians on the Northern Beaches to take part in National headspace Day by “attending a local event, by talking and sharing ideas with family and friends, and by learning tips to help build and maintain a healthy headspace.”

“About 560,000 Australian children and adolescents are estimated to have a mental illness and one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experiences mental illness in any given year,” Mr Falinski said.

“Young people need to look after their mental health and wellbeing on an ongoing basis. To help with this, headspace National has released wellbeing kits, with seven tips for a healthy headspace.”

Mr Falinski said the Morrison Government was committed to supporting headspace, and to “giving young people access to services early in life, to help reduce the duration and impact of mental illness,”

“Young people should know that they are never alone on this journey. Headspace is here to help and will deliver quality support to those that need it. Mr Falinski said.

“In 2019–20, the Government will provide close to $120 million across the headspace services in Australia, and we committed $111.3 million over seven years in the 2019–20 Budget to expand the headspace network to 145 services by 2021.”

For more information on the day and how to be involved, along with the digital wellbeing kits, visit www.headspace.org.au

Follow headspace on social media and share your favourite tip using #headspacetips and #headspaceday

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