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GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up
12 June 2015
The cost of housing dominated federal politics this week, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott forced to defend Treasurer Joe Hockey, following comments he made during a media conference on Tuesday about housing prices. The Opposition labelled the Treasurer as out of touch for his advice that first home buyers should ‘get a good job’. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens labelled Sydney housing prices as ‘crazy’.
Prime Minister Abbott has called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to provide detail of any ‘sweetheart deals’ he may have been involved in during his tenure as National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union. The call came after Victorian Labor MP Cesar Melhem resigned as Premier Daniel Andrews’ upper house whip following allegations aired at the Royal Commission into Union Corruption.  Mr Shorten has denied any wrong doing and said he would cooperate with the Royal Commission.
Several months after the departure of the last departmental secretary, Daryl Quinlivan has been sworn in as Secretary of the Australian Department of Agriculture. Mr Quinlivan, who has most recently been the Head of Office at the Productivity Commission, was Deputy Secretary of the Department from 2005 to 2010.
Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews announced the appointment of the Expert Advisory Panel to oversee the Future Submarine Competitive Evaluation Process. The Panel includes Professor Donald Winter, a former Secretary of the United States Navy, the Hon Julie Anne DoddsStreeton, Mr Ron Finlay and Mr Jim McDowell. See the announcement here.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced Professor John McMillan AO as the NSW Ombudsman on a two year appointment. Prof McMillan will replace Bruce Barbour, whose term concludes on 30 June. See media release here.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell will join the Australia-India Council as Deputy Chair, from 1 August for a five-year term.
Federal, SA, WA, NT parliaments sit next week, while the Tasmanian and ACT parliaments have estimates. 

Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson announced consultations are continuing with the business community and the software industry on the scope and timing for the Single Touch Payroll initiative.  The initiative was due to be rolled out in July 2016.  The Government is now looking at targeted pilots in mid-2016 instead of the full rollout.  See media release: Government moves to get Single Touch Payroll right
Minister Billson has welcomed a formal commitment by Woolworths to become a signatory to The Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015 The Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, commencing on July 1, 2015.  See media release: Statement on Woolworths committing to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has released a new report calling for the harmonisation of state and territory workers compensation schemes.  See the media release: Finity report urges greater harmony between workers compensation schemes and the report


Federal Developments
The Federal Government announced $15 million for the Queensland Government to ensure water savings for the Great Artesian Basin to help landholders rehabilitate remaining free flowing bores in the state. See media release: More water savings and capped bores for the Great Artesian Basin

State Developments
The Victorian Government announced changes to planning law which will see Minister for Planning Richard Wynne take responsibility for wind farm project approvals, replacing existing requirements which require multiple applications to State and local governments. The announcement occurred as Prime Minister Tony Abbott criticised wind farms during an interview with broadcaster Alan Jones, describing them as ‘visually awful’ and noisy. See media release: Victoria Drives Renewable Energy Investment
The Queensland Government approved BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Red Hill Mining project north of Moranbah with detailed workforce conditions. The project involves construction of a new underground coal mine and expansion of the existing Broadmeadow and Goonyella-Riverside coal mines. See media release: New CQ mine project approved with FIFO conditions


Federal Developments
The Federal Government has begun the consultation process for the $100 million redevelopment of Hobart airport. The proposed works include a runway extension and redevelopment of the airport’s terminal.  See media release: Consultation underway on Hobart International Airport redevelopment
State Developments
In NSW, State and Federal Governments released the first Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan report card, overviewing the first three months of works undertaken as part of the $3.6 billion package.  For a full copy of the report, see media release: First Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan report card released
Also in NSW, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay announced planning and community consultation was underway to identify future transport corridors. Results will be presented in late-2015.  See media release: NSW Government Planning for South West Sydney's Future
Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has introduced legislation aiming to simplify the development contributions system to provide for infrastructure.  The new system is expected to be implemented by early 2016.  See media release: Infrastructure Contributions Overhauled


State Developments
The Victorian Government will spend $15 million for planning and early works for the Victorian Heart Hospital at Monash University in Clayton.  The Government will eventually provide $150 million in total for the project, with the private and philanthropic sectors also contributing.  See media release: Planning Starts on Australia’s First Heart Hospital
About GRACosway
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