Sharon Bird

published Super Trawlers in Hot Topics 2014-11-26 08:54:56 +1100

Super Trawlers

Labor recognises the importance of Australian waters to recreational fishers, the commercial fishing industry and tourism, and for its conservation value. Labor is committed to adequately protecting Australian waters from the risks of overfishing and from the use of super trawlers.


In Government, Labor ensured appropriate consideration was given to the impact of super trawlers on Australia’s fisheries by amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Our amendment guaranteed Australia’s waters were adequately protected from risks associated with the use of super trawlers.


In September 2012, the then Labor Government used these powers to ban the operation of the FV Margiris, known as the ‘super trawler', while an assessment of its impact was undertaken. We established an independent expert panel to provide an objective judgment of the environmental impacts of this trawling activity. This ban applied to vessels of similar size and capacity to the original super trawler only, and included vessels that received or processed fish, not just trawler vessels. 


The ban was opposed by the then Liberal Opposition. 


As you may be aware, a sunset clause in the original amendments enacted in 2012 means that no further bans can be placed on new super trawlers hoping to fish Australian waters.


To make further bans possible, in early 2014 Labor Senator Joe Ludwig introduced legislation into the Senate to remove the sunset clause. Under Labor's plan all future super trawlers could be thoroughly assessed using the most up-to-date science, thereby protecting our oceans and our recreational fishing spots. To date the Abbott-Turnbull Liberal Government has refused to work with Labor on this important issue.


Labor remains committed to preventing the operation of all super trawlers in Australian waters, unless a thorough assessment against the most up-to-date science can verify such operations will not undermine small pelagic fisheries and recreational fishing spots.


Federal Labor has a proven track record of protecting the environment. We will continue to pressure the Abbott-Turnbull Government to ensure to Australia’s precious marine resources are conserved.


published Marine Reserves in Hot Topics 2014-09-17 13:07:36 +1000

Marine Reserves

Labor has a strong record of protecting Australia’s environment, and that extends to our oceans. The Whitlam Government established the nation’s first marine reserve to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The last Labor Government established Australia’s Marine Park Network: the largest network of marine protected areas anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, the Liberals set aside the management plans for the Commonwealth Marine Parks so that they could conduct a review - a review Labor had already undertaken.

Federal Labor is committed to the sustainable management of Australia’s marine resources and we are a strong defender and manager of our oceans and those who use them.

The Government currently has in front of it the Independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review Report, outlining recommendations regarding the future management of Australia’s marine parks.

There was no need for a review. The only reason the Government undertook this process is because Malcolm Turnbull is following the lead of Tony Abbott in failing to protect our oceans. The review itself found that the proclaimed networks had a sound scientific basis and drew on the best available information.

The Marine Park plan the last Labor Government put in place created the world’s largest network of marine protected areas – over 3 million square kilometres were protected as Commonwealth Marine Parks. The jewel in the crown of this network was the Coral Sea.  So it’s particularly concerning to see that the pristine and iconic Coral Sea is now under threat with 100,000 square kilometres set to lose protections.

The Coalition is taking a Marine National Park and turning it into an area that allows longline, purse seine and underwater trawling.  A sustainable future for commercial fishing was entrenched in the original plan and there is no need commercially or justification environmentally for commercial practices to be extended in to a Marine National Park. The adjustment to fishing practices was the reason Labor took to the last election a commitment to over $100 million in funding required to implement the marine parks network.

Just like we have seen with climate change, the Turnbull Government is engaging in a fast retreat on marine protection. Treating the Coral Sea like this is like taking a bulldozer through a National Park.

Labor condemns the Liberal Government for cancelling the management plans for the Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network and for failing to protect Australia’s oceans for future generations.

published Hands Off Our Medicare in Sign a Petition 2014-01-28 10:36:36 +1100

Hands Off Our Medicare

59 signatures

Save_Medicare_(2).jpgThe Turnbull Government is planning to undermine the universality of Medicare by slugging Australians with an upfront fee on GP visits.

The Liberals' and Nationals' attack on Medicare will hurt families already struggling with the cost of living.

We have to fight this together. Sign the petition to send a message to the Liberals and Nationals: basic healthcare should never be about your ability to pay.

published Hot Topics 2013-09-12 11:10:21 +1000

Hot Topics

From time to time constituents participate in email campaigns about particular issues that are of current interest to them.  As it is often very difficult to reply to these in a timely way I will place information here on the current status of those issues.

published New home for Apprentiships Queensland in Media Releases 2013-05-23 15:24:55 +1000

New home for Apprentiships Queensland

11 April 2013

Employers and apprentices will benefit from new purpose built premises to house the operations of Apprenticeships Queensland.

Federal Minister for Skills, Sharon Bird, today joined Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, to officially open the new centre.

Ms Bird said that the apprenticeships system is essential to delivering skilled labour into the economy and supports our future productivity.

“Australian Apprenticeships play a critical role in enhancing labour force participation and productivity at various levels,” Ms Bird said.

“Apprenticeships play a crucial role in skilling and training the Australian workforce. The new centre will help Apprenticeships Queensland to work with local businesses and employees to take on a new apprentice.”

Mr Neumann said the new purpose built premises located in West Ipswich will provide a modern base for Apprenticeships Queensland to continue its valuable work.

“Apprenticeships Queensland provides services such as advising businesses about the advantages and requirements involved with taking on an apprentice, managing recruitment and training and addressing any problems that may arise in the workplace,” he said.

Apprenticeships Queensland is a not-for-profit, community-based Group Training Organisation.  They currently employ approximately 300 apprentices and trainees and work with over 400 active host employers.

published DisabilityCare for All Australians in Issues 2013-05-17 14:39:44 +1000

DisabilityCare for All Australians


I would like to personally thank each and every person who participated in the National Disability Insurance campaign. This campaign was fundamentally important for the future of the NDIS in Australia and I was proud to have been a part of it.

Kembla_Grange_26_oct_2012_014.jpgThe Gillard Labor Government announced in the 2013/14 budget that they would create and fully fund DisabilityCare Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, transforming disability services throughout Australia.

These historic reforms provided certainty and security for 410,000 Australians with a disability, their families and carers and ensure they are provided with the care and support they need throughout their lifetime.

This was the most fundamental social policy reform since the introduction of Medicare, and one I have been very passionate about. We were committed to building a better life for Australians with a significant and permanent disability.

published Issues in Home 2013-05-17 14:33:08 +1000

published Local Achievements 2013-05-17 13:10:03 +1000

Local Achievements

Below is a summary of the funding that Sharon and Federal Labor have delivered in the Illawarra since 2007.

For a list of Australian Government grants and assistance that may be available to you or
your community group, please visit:




published About Sharon in Home 2013-05-16 10:43:22 +1000

About Sharon Bird

Photo_2.jpgSharon Bird MP was elected as the Federal Member for Cunningham (New South Wales) in October 2004, November 2007, August 2010, September 2013 and July 2016.

Sharon was Shadow Minister for Vocational Education on the 18 October 2013 until July 2016.

Sharon served as Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communications and Minister for Road Safety from 1 July 2013.

Ms Bird also served as Minister for Higher Education and Skills from 25 March 2013 and as Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills from 5 March 2012 until her appointment as Minister. 

Ms Bird Chaired the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications from 2010 until 2012.  She was also a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure from 2010 until 2012.

Ms Bird served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Vocational Training from 2004 until 2010 and Chaired this Committee from 2008 until 2010. 

She has also served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations (2008 – 2010); the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services (2004 – 2007) and served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration in 2007 as Deputy Chair.

Ms Bird was born on 15 November 1962 in Wollongong, New South Wales.

Ms Bird served as a Councillor on Shellharbour Council from 1991 to 1995.  Her occupations prior to entering Parliament are as follows:

• BA (Syd), Dip Ed (Wollongong)
• High School Teacher (1985-1989)
• TAFE Teacher (1989 – 1995)
• Electorate Officer to Colin Hollis MP, Member for Throsby (1995-1997)
• Senior Project Officer, Department of Juvenile Justice (1997 – 2004)

I'm a Federal MP and Shadow Minister for Vocational Education