NBN inquiry goes West

The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Committee will conduct public hearings in Perth on Thursday 5 May and Friday 6 May. Committee Chair Sharon Bird said today that “the Committee is looking forward to hearing from West Australians about how the NBN can contribute to, among many other things, enhanced research outcomes and overcoming the tyranny of distance.” “On Friday we will be conducting a roundtable discussion with four local government and regional organisations, which, in combination, represent 19 West Australian council areas” she added. “As has been evident in the inquiry to date, the NBN will transform the economy and society and will foster innovation in ways that cannot yet be envisaged.” Continue reading

Toursim funding for rare Sumatran tigers' exhibit

The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, and Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird MP, have announced tourism funding for Symbio Wildlife Park on the New South Wales south coast to exhibit two rare Sumatran tiger cubs. For more than 35 years, Symbio has been a strong tourism drawcard, giving generations of visitors hands-on experience with wildlife. With $100,000 from the Australian Government’s TQUAL Grants program, the two Sumatran tiger cubs will be housed in a re-vamped authentic enclosure with landscaping and viewing areas. “By upgrading and refreshing their exhibit, the Symbio Wildlife Park is demonstrating the innovation and diversification tourism businesses need to remain competitive. This is what the Australian Government’s long-term strategy for tourism is about,” said Minister Ferguson at today’s launch. “The domestic and international tourism market, as well as surrounding tourism businesses, depends on high-quality tourism attractions such as Symbio which offer a unique experience and consistency in product delivery.” Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird MP, said the rare Indonesian tigers would draw even more visitors to the Illawarra and South Coast’s $1.8 billion tourism industry. Continue reading

NBN inquiry to visit Wollongong and Sydney

The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee will conduct public hearings in Wollongong tomorrow (Thursday 28 April) and in Sydney on Friday (29 April) as part of its inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN). “Wollongong is a vibrant, innovative city and nearby Kiama Downs/Minnamurra is a first release site for NBN fibre. The Committee is looking forward to hearing from the organisations of the Illawarra about how the NBN will shape the region’s social and economic future”, said Sharon Bird, Committee Chair and MP for the Wollongong‐based electorate of Cunningham. “The Sydney hearing will be very important for the inquiry” she added. “We will be talking to the CEO of NBN Co, Mike Quigley, as well the Australian Telecommunications Users Group and a number of important industry participants, including NICTA”. Continue reading

NBN inquiry to visit Brisbane and Townsville

The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Committee will conduct public hearings in Brisbane on Monday 18 April and Townsville on Tuesday 19 April. “To date the Committee has received more than 40 submissions from Queensland, so we are particularly looking forward to engaging with some of these groups in person”, said the Chair Sharon Bird (Member for Cunningham) today. “Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city, and with Townsville being a major regional centre and one of the first sites on the mainland to receive NBN fibre, we expect to hear some important evidence from organisations in both cities”, she said. Continue reading

$4.4 million in funding to support local families

The Commonwealth Government will invest $4.43 million in Cunningham over the next three years under new Family Support Program, Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said today. “Four local service providers will share in the $4.43 million funding to support local families, improve children’s wellbeing and to build more resilient local communities. “Service providers will focus on parenting skills training, relationship counselling, playgroups and more intensive support for children and families at risk. “I am delighted that Catholic Family Welfare Services, Healthy Cities Illawarra, Illawarra Children’s Services and Southern Youth and Family Services Association will be able to deliver these services to local families and children over the next three years as a result of the Commonwealth Government’s funding. “Each community organisation has an outstanding record of community service and are held in high regard within the local community”, Ms Bird said. The new Family Support Program follows extensive consultations with service providers across Australia.

Financial assistance to Trio's Superannuation fund investors in the Illawarra

Over 600 Illawarra victims of fraud from the collapse of Trio Capital Limited (Trio) will be compensated for their loss, following a Government decision announced today. Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten today announced his decision to provide a grant of approximately $55 million in financial assistance to benefit the members of four superannuation funds that were formerly under the trusteeship of Trio. “Investors in APRA regulated funds deserve to be compensated by the Government when they lose their investments through fraud or other malfeasance by super fund trustees. I’m very pleased to be able to offer Trio investors this compensation,” Mr Shorten said. Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said “I’ve seen first-hand how badly people have been affected by the collapse of Trio and have spent a lot of my time helping constituents put their case. I’m very glad to see the Government has helped the people affected in region.” Continue reading

Funding boost for youth now open

Funding to support the artistic and creative development of young people is now open to local organisations, Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said today. “Local community organisations can apply for funding up to $70,000 under the Commonwealth Government’s Youth Development and Support Program. “The Youth Development and Support Program is designed to provide financial support to non-government, not-for-profit organisations that deliver youth-led community-based projects. “The arts and culture are very important to young people, and the Government has decided to place an emphasis on this year’s funding grants being aimed at the arts and creative enterprises”, Ms Bird said. Applications for the Youth Development and Support Program 2011-12 are now open, and will close on 27 May 2011. Organisations working with Indigenous young people are encouraged to apply. Information on the Youth Development and Support Program government grants is available at www.youth.gov.au.

Climate Change Minister to meet with Illawarra steel and coal workers

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, will visit the Illawarra today to discuss the proposed framework for a carbon price directly with workers employed in the steel and mining industries. Mr Combet – together with local Federal Labor MP’s Sharon Bird (Cunningham) and Stephen Jones (Throsby) – will visit Port Kembla to meet with rostered-off BlueScope Steel employees and union members to talk about the Government’s carbon price plan, including it’s commitment to industry assistance and to protecting local manufacturing jobs. The meeting will be followed by a joint media conference. When: 11.00am, Wednesday 6 April 2011 Where: Near Visitors Centre, BlueScope North Gate, Springhill Road, Port Kembla.

Veterans grant funding announced

Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, today announced $4000 in grant funding to Coledale RSL Sub Branch to help in the restoration of its First World War Honour Board. “I am delighted to announce this funding grant under the Commonwealth Government’s Saluting Their Service program. “The First World War Honour Board is currently located at the Scarborough Public School. “After its restoration, which this grant funding is intended to support, the Honour Board will be relocated to the Coledale RSL Sub Branch”, Ms Bird said.

NBN inquiry to visit Ballarat and Melbourne

The House of Representatives Infrastructure and Communications Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Committee will conduct public hearings this week in Ballarat (Thursday 17 March) and Melbourne (Friday 18 March). “The NBN will have an impact on almost every sector of our society, so the committee is looking forward to consulting with a wide range of organisations during our two days in Victoria”, said the Chair Sharon Bird (Member for Cunningham) today. “Ballarat has a particularly strong ICT sector for a city of its size and in Melbourne we will be talking with some of the nation’s leading universities and non‐for‐profit organisations” she added. Continue reading