Clean Energy Future legislation

The Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, has this afternoon welcomed the passage through the Senate of the Clean Energy Future legislation.“The pricing of carbon from 1 July 2012 by introducing a fixed three-year carbon price will cut greenhouse gas emissions by Australian industry and households, encourage innovation by increasing energy efficiency, and investment in clean energy technology.“Low and middle-income households in my electorate will benefit by receiving income tax cuts, higher Family Tax Benefit payments, increases in pensions and other benefits and allowances.“In historic tax reform, one million part-time workers, the majority of them women, will no longer pay any income tax meaning what they earn will be tax-free for the first time, increasing their take-home pay.“The Illawarra’s industry will benefit from the Commonwealth Government’s $9.2 billion Jobs and Competitiveness Program, the $300 million Steel Transformation Plan and the $1.3 billion Coal Sector Jobs Package”, Ms Bird said.She said that the Government’s legislative package was a balanced approach to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, protecting emission-intensive trade-exposed industry, and ensuring fairness for low and middle-income households.

$5.8 million in research grant funding for University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong will benefit from $5.8 million in new research grant funding, the Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, announced today.17 research projects will receive funding under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects, Linkage Projects and Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities program.“These funding programs are extremely competitive and I am very pleased that once again the University of Wollongong has been awarded grant funding for significant research projects.“These research projects will build on knowledge and applications, and in many cases, research will be commercialised to create new products and services.“Research and innovation are a key part of the Illawarra’s economic and regional development”, Ms Bird said.Over the last 2 years, the Commonwealth Government has invested $213.5 million at the University of Wollongong. For further detailed information on the research projects, please contact the University of Wollongong directly.

Cash rate cut by RBA

The Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, today welcomed the decision of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official cash rate by 0.25 percent to 4.5 percent effective from tomorrow.“This is a good decision by the RBA for Illawarra mortgage-holders and small businesses.“A family in my electorate with a $300,000 will save about $50 a month in interest repayments, which will save around $590 per year.“I welcome the fact that some banks have already announced that they will pass on the full extent of the cash rate cut. I encourage all banks to do the same”, Ms Bird said.

Health reform delivers over 40 beds for Illawarra and Shoalhaven

Patients in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven will benefit from better access to more subacute hospital beds including improved rehabilitation, palliative care and mental health services as a result of the Gillard Government’s historic national health reforms. Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon today joined Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, and Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones at Wollongong Hospital to announce new beds and equipment for local hospitals. “The new beds and services will deliver a better deal for patients right across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven,” Minister Roxon said. “Health reform will deliver over 40 beds to the region – 20 rehabilitation beds and 5 palliative care beds for Wollongong Hospital and 20 subacute mental health beds at Shoalhaven. “On top of the beds announcements, the Government’s health reform has delivered new anaesthetic machines for both Shoalhaven and Shellharbour hospitals. Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said that the Government’s health reform was delivering over $100 million in health investments for the Illawarra. Continue reading

Shellharbour GP Super Clinic opens

The Gillard Government is delivering more health services to Shellharbour with the official opening of the Shellharbour GP Super Clinic. Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon, Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones and Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird today welcomed the boost to Shellharbour health services. "The Shellharbour GP Super Clinic is making it easier for locals to access the health services they need, all under the one roof, since opening its doors on Wednesday 6 July 2011," Minister Roxon said. "GP Super Clinics, like this one here in Shellharbour, are part of the Gillard Government's commitment to ensure Australians can see a doctor, close to home. "The Shellharbour GP Super Clinic is supported by a large multidisciplinary team of health professionals, including a medical director; five part-time GPs; GP educator; GP registrar; senior practice nurse; practice nurses; practice manager; exercise physiologist; clinical psychologist; dietician; speech therapist and medical students and has a strong focus on delivering team based patient care and training the medical workforce that will serve and work in the Illawarra over the years to come,” Minister Roxon said. Continue reading

$2 million in health and medical research grant funding for University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong has been awarded just over $2 million for three projects in health and medical research, the Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, said today. “This important funding investment in health and medical research is part of an overall $673.7 million package for over 1000 grants to support the work or researchers, research projects and research institutions across Australia. “I am absolutely delighted that researchers at the University of Wollongong have been recognised for their outstanding research into a range of areas to address improvements in diagnosis, treatment and cure of illnesses that affect all Australians”, Ms Bird said. Continue reading

Prime Minister - Transcriot of Interview (ABC Illawarra)

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH NICK RHEINBERGER ABC ILLAWARRA 18 OCTOBER 2011 E & O E – PROOF ONLY   HOST: Julia Gillard joins us now, good morning. PM: Good morning. HOST: Can you confirm that the NBN is coming to the Illawarra and we’re going to be the first major metropolitan area to be wired with fibre optic cable? PM: Yes, I can confirm that I’m here today to make an announcement about the NBN and that the NBN will be coming to you, to Dapto and the Wollongong areas. This is great news for the region. The NBN is about transforming our economy because it literally bring the world to your door, as well as about transforming the way we provide health and education services. So, this is good news for the long-term economic future here. It’s also good news because people will be employed in the construction, and around 500 jobs will be created at the peak of the construction of the NBN in the Illawarra. Continue reading

Prime Minister - Speech to the Third Illawarra Regional Leaders Summit

THIRD ILLAWARRA REGIONAL LEADERS’ SUMMIT NOVOTEL WOLLONGONG NORTHBEACH TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER 2011 Eddy De Gabriele, Chairman of the RDA Illawarra committee. Rev Fr Chris Riley. Our distinguished guest, Professor Howard Armitage. Local business and community leaders. I thank Sharon Bird for that generous introduction. Sharon and Stephen Jones are outstanding advocates for this region– and I pay tribute to them today. I honour the traditional owners of this land, the Dharawal people. They wrote the first chapter of this region’s development and we’re going to write another great chapter in that very long and proud story. Friends, it’s a great honour to be back so soon after my last visit and I’m here for one reason: To keep faith with this region and its people.   Continue reading

Illawarra Job Creation Fund open for business

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr today announced that the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund was now open for business. From today, businesses with innovative projects in and around Wollongong can apply for financial assistance that will help strengthen the local economy and create new high-skill high-wage job opportunities. The $30 million fund is jointly funded by the Australian Government ($20 million), the NSW Government ($5 million) and BlueScope Steel ($5 million) over three years to 30 June 2014. The fund will also be matched by at least $30 million in private sector investment. Focussing on the manufacturing industry, the Innovation and Investment Fund will favour projects which offer long-term growth potential in order to grow the Illawarra’s industry base. This support will help offset the effect of BlueScope Steel’s decision to de-activate one of its blast furnaces at Port Kembla, which will result in the loss of 800 permanent and 200 temporary jobs. The minimum grant under the Fund is $50,000, matched dollar-for-dollar by the successful applicant. There is no maximum funding limit. Funds will be available for applications received through up to three rounds. The first round opens on 18 October 2011 and closes on 16 December 2011. Further information is available from the AusIndustry hotline on 13 28 46, by emailing [email protected] and from the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund page at www.ausindustry.gov.au. Information is available from AusIndustry’s Illawarra and South Coast regional manager, Peter Masterson, who is based in Wollongong and can be contacted on 02 4254 5534 or 0451 632 141 or by email at [email protected]

Bright NBN future for the Illawarra

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today confirmed the Illawarra is set for a major expansion of the National Broadband Network, bringing enormous economic and social benefits to the region. Visiting the Illawarra today, the Prime Minister announced that construction of the NBN will begin in Dapto and Wollongong within the next 12 months. Nearly 11,000 premises across the two sites in Dapto and Wollongong are set to gain access to NBN fibre services under NBN Co’s new construction schedule in the coming year. The announcement complements the Gillard Labor Government’s strong and detailed plan for the Illawarra region to keep the local economy strong by providing new job and economic growth opportunities. The NBN is forging ahead in the Illawarra and it is expected that more than 500 jobs will be created by the rollout of the NBN in the region at its peak construction. The residents in Wollongong and Dapto will soon be on track to receiving this essential infrastructure that will help us build a strong future for the region and Australia. Today’s announcement builds on the NBN rollout that has already connected 2,500 premises in Kiama Downs and the Minnamurra region, and is now currently connecting 5,200 premises in Jamberoo and Kiama. Continue reading