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GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up
3 July 2015
 
The latest Newspoll analysis conducted over the past three months shows the Government trailing the national two party-preferred vote. The analysis also shows Labor recording its strongest levels of support in Queensland for over five years, and that it continues to lead the Coalition in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The one exception is the Prime Minister’s home state of NSW where the Government’s support reached an 18-month high. See The Australia here (subscription).
 
Treasurer Joe Hockey has been awarded $200,000 in his defamation suit against Fairfax, following a story last year which allegedly portrayed the Treasurer as being open to corruption. Justice White ruled that a poster and Tweets promoting the story were defamatory but dismissed other claims.

Former Shadow Minister and Liberal Member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, has won preselection to contest the seat she lost at the 2013 Federal Election. Mirabella will face off against current Member, Independent Cathy McGowan, as well as a National Party candidate yet to be announced.  
 
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the appointment of Tim Reardon as Secretary of Transport for NSW, and Martin Hoffman as Secretary of the NSW Department of Finance, Services & Innovation. Reardon has been Acting Secretary of TfNSW since February 2015, while Hoffmann has most recently been Deputy Secretary of the federal Department of Industry and Science since 2010. See media release here.
 
Also in NSW, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced the establishment of an independent taskforce to examine point-to-point transport. The taskforce will examine the future viability of the taxi and hire car industries and the challenges posed by ride sharing apps. Professor Gary Sturgess AM will chair the taskforce, which is expected to report to the Minister by October. See media release here.
 
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has announced Party Whip Noreen Hay will stand aside from her post pending the outcome of an investigation into electoral fraud. Hay’s decision follows an Australian Federal Police raid on her electorate office on Thursday. See more here (subscription). 
 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland Tim Carmody tendered his resignation to the Acting Governor this week, ending a long standoff between Carmody and his fellow judges. Carmody will remain a Judge of the Supreme Court and will serve as a supplementary judicial member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. 


FINANCE
 
Resulting from changes to the foreign investment framework, all foreign investors who hold interests in agricultural land must now register those interests with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from 1 July 2015 regardless of value. See media release: Strengthening scrutiny and transparency around foreign investment in agriculture – land register starts 1 July
 
Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson has announced the commencement of tax changes to Employee Share Schemes (ESS). It is hoped these changes will support innovation in Australian firms and assist employee retention. See media release: Boosting start-ups to energise enterprise
 
Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced the Government will amend the income tax law to ensure that the existing MySuper tax relief covers the consequences of transfers within a super fund, where the transfer is required under the law. See media release: Income tax relief for MySuper transfers within a fund
 

RESOURCES AND ENERGY

Federal Developments
 
Federal Minister for Environment Greg Hunt, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Queensland Minister for Environment Steven Miles have welcomed the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decision not to list the Great Barrier Reef as endangered. See media release: Final World Heritage Committee decision praises Australia and unanimously rejects "in danger" listing for Great Barrier Reef
 
Following the decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Minister Hunt announced the Federal Government will invest $8 million for monitoring and reporting as part of the Reef 2050 Plan. See media release: $8 million for Great Barrier Reef monitoring and reporting programme

State Developments
 
Western Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage Albert Jacob announced Environmental Protection Authority Chairman Paul Vogel will be stepping down in November. See media release: EPA chairman stepping down
 


INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND WATER

Federal Developments
 
The Federal Government has announced it will invest $274 million to redevelop the Australian Air Force base at Williamtown, north of Newcastle.. The upgrade forms part of the Government’s $1.2 billion investment in facilities ahead of the delivery of the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) in late 2018. See media release: Major investment at RAAF Base Williamtown
 
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss announced the conclusion of a nine-month consultation period on the Western Sydney airport. The Government now hopes to put a proposal to the Sydney Airport Group on the technical specifications, contractual terms and construction timetable by the end of the 2015. See media release: Government wraps up consultation with Sydney Airport
 
State Developments
 
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced 315 extra weekly bus services for Sydney’s West and North West. This takes to more than 14,000 the number of new public transport services introduced since the Government took office in 2011. See media release: An extra 315 bus services roll into Sydney's West and North West
 
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, announced new board members for Public Transport Victoria, V/Line and VicTrack. The Minister also announced Patricia Faulkner as the new Chair of Public Transport Victoria and Jenny Dawson as Chair of V/Line. See media release: New Board Appointments To PTV, V/Line And VicTrack
 
Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Mark Bailey announced Nexus as the preferred tenderer for the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project. See media release: Toowoomba Second Range Crossing preferred tenderer announced
 

HEALTH

Federal Developments
 
Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced melanoma drug Keytruda will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at a cost of $57 million from 1 September 2015. Keytruda currently costs patients being treated for metastatic melanoma up to $156,130 per year without taxpayer subsidy. See media release: New drug listing Keytruda to treat melanoma
 
The Federal Government’s recent overhaul of the General Practice Rural Incentives Program has come into effect, which pays a higher incentive for doctors to work in rural Australia. See media release: Bigger incentives to attract doctors to rural towns begin tomorrow
 
The Federal Government’s announced freeze on Medicare rebates has come into effect. See media coverage from the ABC here, the Opposition’s response here and the Australian Medical Association’s response 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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