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GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up
10 April 2015
 
Treasurer Joe Hockey hosted his state and territory counterparts in Canberra this week for a Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting where the focus was squarely on tax.  Hockey faced opposition from Treasurers as he sought support for changing the distribution of the GST, in response to the latest report from the Commonwealth Grants Commission that highlights WA’s falling share.  The Treasurers did find agreement that goods downloaded, such as songs and movies, should be subject to the GST, and that it should also apply to overseas online purchases under $1000.  The discussion comes as the Federal Government has confirmed measures to prevent profit shifting by multinationals will be included in this year’s budget.
 
Treasurer Hockey makes his way to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in the US this weekend.  State and territory leaders will be in Canberra next Friday for the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, just under four weeks out from the May budget.
 
Human Services Minister Marise Payne announced today that the Government will provide funding to replace the Department of Human Service’s IT system.  The Government plans to go to market in the new financial year.  For further details, see the media release here.
 
Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane released the Energy White Paper earlier this week.  See GRACosway’s summary here.
 
Independent Senator John Madigan has announced he will form his own party, John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party.
 
Queensland Labor Senator Jan McLucas has announced that she will not contest the next federal election after losing support in the upcoming Labor Party preselection process.
 
In NSW, Premier Mike Baird has announced changes to NSW department heads.  Mark Paterson will leave as Secretary of NSW Trade and Investment, and Simon Smith has been appointed to a new role of Secretary of the Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development.  Phil Gaetjens will also leave as Secretary of NSW Treasury.
 
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Luke Foley has unveiled his 17 person Shadow Cabinet.  Linda Burney continues as Deputy Opposition Leader and Michael Daley as Shadow Treasurer.  Among the changes, Ryan Park will become the Opposition’s Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson, and Jodi McKay the Shadow Minister for Justice and Police, and Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.  See the full list here.
 
The Victorian Parliament sits next week.


FINANCE

Treasurer Joe Hockey has approved the acquisition of John Holland by China Communications Construction Company, subject to certain arrangements.  See media release: Foreign investment decision: acquisition of John Holland Group by China Communications Construction Company
 
Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has written in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that the John Trowbridge Report into the life insurance industry is likely to be the last chance for industry to self-regulate.  See the Assistant Treasurer’s article: Trowbridge report is last chance for insurance industry to reform itself and the Trowbridge Report
 

RESOURCES AND ENERGY

Federal Developments

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced that Labor will support the proposal by the Clean Energy Council for a Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 33,500 Gigawatt hours by 2020.  The Business Council of Australia and a number of trade unions and renewable energy providers have welcomed the announcement.  Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane said the Government maintains that its proposal of 32,000 GwH is its final position.  See media release: Labor Will Protect the Future of Renewable Energy in Australia

State Developments
 
Northern Territory Treasurer David Tollner announced that Alan Tregilgas will chair the Power and Water Corporation Board.  Mr Tregilgas was formerly a member of the NT Utilities Commission for nearly a decade and has also served at the ACCC.  See media release: New chair for Power and Water Corporation Board
 

INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND WATER

Federal Developments
 
The Federal Government has opened the tender process for two projects as part of the Bruce Highway upgrade – a $624 million early works package for the Cooroy to Curra - Section C project, and a $15 million upgrade of the Hay Point Road intersection.  See media releases: Cooroy to Curra – Section C Tender Launched and Tenders open for Hay Point Road upgrade
 
State Developments

Former Victorian Treasurer John Lenders has been appointed Chair of VicTrack, the State’s rail asset owner.  See media release: John Lenders appointed Chair of VicTrack
 

HEALTH

Federal Developments

Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced $75 million over the next four years to add three new drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) that treat multiple sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, and central precocious puberty.  See media release: $75 million for new medicine subsidies
 
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released its fifth six monthly progress report on reforms to the TGA.  See the report here.
 
About GRACosway
GRACosway is Australia's leading public affairs and corporate and financial communications counsel. Our integrated suite of services provides public policy, communications, regulatory, issues management, and media relations advice to a range of domestic and international clients across all industry sectors. From offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth (through GRA Everingham), GRACosway's clients benefit from the combined experience, expertise, and strategic perspective of our team in addressing complex and commercially sensitive projects. For more information head to gracosway.com.au
 
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