More money to market Tropical North Queensland

Source: Government of Queensland Regions

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Mr Healy said the extra funding – comprising $1 million from the State Government and $1 million from Cairns Regional Council – would be given to Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) to promote the region as the perfect next holiday destination.

“Tourism creates jobs, that’s why we’re focused on growing this industry which is critical to the livelihoods of many Cairns locals,” Mr Healy said.

“Due to the weather it’s been a challenging time for tourism operators over the last 18 months but we know things are looking up.

“The funding announced today will help to attract thousands more tourists to our region, supporting local businesses and local jobs.

“We’re also investing hundreds of millions of dollars on new tourism infrastructure – through the port and the convention centre to ensure sustained growth for this sector in Cairns into the future.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the funding committed today was as a result of a tourism industry roundtable held by the Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy in March this year.

“Michael Healy has lobbied relentlessly for more funding for tourism marketing in Cairns. Today is a testament to that hard work,” Ms Jones said.

“As home to the world’s oldest living rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, Tropical North Queensland is unlike anywhere else in the world.

“We want to share these experiences with as many Australians as possible because we know the value of tourism when it comes to generating millions for local businesses and creating jobs.

“Tourism is vital to Tropical North Queensland – supporting more than 25,000 jobs and contributing $2.8 billion to the economy – and we’re fully committed to helping the industry grow further and driving more visitors to the region.”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said council was pleased to partner with TTNQ in the domestic market in addition to the work being done internationally.

“The domestic market is the Cairns region’s largest so it makes sense to target the high-value traveller sector of this market to grow our visitor economy,” he said. 

TTNQ CEO Pip Close said the additional funding would go towards one of the largest domestic campaigns ever undertaken by the marketing body.

“This is the second phase of a campaign launched in July to grow domestic visitation with the funding being used for a combination of a tactical campaign and brand awareness,” she said.

“This will help support the region’s brand work currently under way and build up to the launch in February 2020.”

[ENDS] 

Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447

06/17:10 EST Severe Thunderstorm Warning for parts of North East Forecast District.

Source: Australia Bureau of Meteorology

IDV21033
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

for DAMAGING WINDS

For people in parts of North East Forecast District.

Issued at 5:10 pm Friday, 6 September 2019.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Rutherglen and Wodonga.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
* Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
* Keep clear of fallen power lines.
* Stay indoors if possible.
* Avoid using the phone during the storm.
* If you are outside, avoid sheltering under trees
* Listen to the radio for storm updates
* Switch off your computer and electrical appliances

The next warning is due to be issued by 8:10 pm.

Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau’s website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 210. The Bureau and State Emergency Service would appreciate warnings being broadcast regularly.

Police search for missing woman Katie Fitzgerald

Source: State of Victoria Police

Friday, 6 September 2019 06:43

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing woman Katie Fitzgerald.

The 40-year-old last made contact with someone yesterday just before 2pm.

It is believed Katie is driving her silver Mazda CX7 and is known to frequent the Eildon, Hampton Park and Berwick areas.

Police and family have concerns for her welfare as it is out of character for her not to make contact.

Police have released an image of Katie in the hope someone can provide information on her current whereabouts.

Anyone who sights Katie or anyone who may have seen her is urged to contact the Cranbourne Police Station on 03 5991 0600.

Belinda Batty

Media Advisor

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Man charged following armed robbery in Mulgrave last year

Source: State of Victoria Police

Friday, 6 September 2019 05:59

Armed Crime Squad detectives have charged a man following an armed robbery at a gaming venue in Mulgrave back in March last year.

Police arrested the 44-year-old Endeavour Hills man earlier today in Springvale.

He has been charged with armed robbery and conduct endangering life and will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this afternoon.

Kelly Grindley

Media Advisor

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At new dialysis clinic in Ernabella (Pukatja) in the #apy lands in remote northern Sth Australia with @marshall_steven & Tjungkaya Tapaya & Tjinkuma Wells – the clinic was part funded through art sales by indigenous artists from the #apy lands, along with

Source: Australian Minister for Regional Communications

At new dialysis clinic in Ernabella (Pukatja) in the #apy lands in remote northern Sth Australia with @marshall_steven & Tjungkaya Tapaya & Tjinkuma Wells – the clinic was part funded through art sales by indigenous artists from the #apy lands, along with SA & Clth Govt funds https://t.co/374hiLlEwR

Free and cheap things to do over spring school holidays

Source: State of Victoria Local Government

Are your kids climbing the walls after a winter indoors? From footy finals fun to a street-art walk, there are plenty of affordable and even free things to do during spring break.

Free and open every day during school holidays

Melbourne Zoo

The zoo’s great for keeping young bodies and minds active, especially given entry is free for under 16s during school holidays, weekends and public holidays. The regular zoo keeper talks are always free too, so kids can learn more about all sorts of animals, from seals to tigers. Opening just in time for the spring school holidays (and continuing until 10 November), Melbourne Zoo’s new Keeper Care Hub also has free entry. You might see macaws in full flight or learn about carnivore health care here, plus there’s lemur, squirrel monkey, pelican and red-panda training sessions.

Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Museum

Free for kids up to 16 years old, Melbourne Museum is a top option whatever the weather. Highlights include a living creep-crawly display, a Dinosaur Walk, the Melbourne Gallery, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the forest garden and Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery for little kids to play and learn. Plus, there are two free school holiday activities. Humming With Hadrosaurs explores dinosaur sounds, and Road to Zero hands-on workshops give tweens the chance to make their own road-safety TV ad.

Royal Botanic Gardens

One of Melbourne’s natural treasures, the Royal Botanic Gardens, is always free to explore and there’s no better time than spring. Discover buds, blossoms, bugs and birds, then visit the Threatened Species Children’s Art Exhibition (7-28 September). Australian kids have once again put pencil, paints and markers to paper for this annual art competition about plants and animals struggling to survive.

Royal Botanic Gardens

National Gallery of Victoria

Except for some select exhibitions, NGV International and NGV Australia’s wondrous world of art and design are free for everyone. Look for family-friendly descriptive labels in the exhibitions. Grab an NGV Kids activity sheet from the information desk to find a drawing activity inspired by the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. Relax or play in the sculpture garden where there are big, colourful cushions little people love lying back on. Don’t miss the free Kaws: Playtime exhibition (20 September-13 April), created just for kids by pop-culture-inspired New York artist KAWS.

School holiday fun awaits at the NGV

More free fun

ArtPlay

Young imaginations can go wild at ArtPlay, and at no cost to their grown-ups. Free school holiday events include Scrapatorium, an interactive exhibition featuring soft toy animals, a fortress, tiny realms and even a puzzle to solve. There are also two activities co-presented with the Melbourne Fringe Festival: a robot-making workshop We are the Robots, and Sonic Labyrinth’s interactive sound journey.

ArtPlay

AFL Finals activities

September means footy finals, and there’s much more going on than the pricey live matches. Join over four days of fun at the AFL Footy Festival, happening right outside the MCG (25-28 September). The MILO Kids Zone’s playground, obstacle course and Nintendo interactive zone will be a highlight for junior footy fans. There’s also the Fox Footy Longest Kick in Birrarung Marr on Grand Final morning where past and present players compete to see who can kick a footy across the Yarra. After the big game, everyone can run around on the hallowed turf during MCG Open Day. This annual event also offers up everything from free pony rides to a mascot race.

Self-guided street art walk

Discover 10 key street-art sites in the CBD with this new self-guided walk. You can find the informative, interactive map online here, or download it to your device at the Melbourne Visitor Hub at Town Hall. Budding artists will love discovering the murals, stencils, paste-ups and mixed-media in Hosier Lane and less well known street-art hot spots like Blender Lane.

Bon Scott in ACDC Lane

Fitzroy Gardens

One of the city’s prettiest parks, the Fitzroy Gardens, is a great place to enjoy spring blooms and sunshine. It’s not just a horticultural adventure though. There’s also a playground with a giant dragon, the Fairies’ Tree carved with Australian birds, plants and bush spirits, and a model Tudor Village. Fountains abound too, including a boy with an urn, another with sea creatures like dolphins and turtles, and a grand Victorian featuring river gods. Can you find all the fountains?

Fitzroy Gardens

Fun for $10 or less

Juan Vesuvius Says Relax

The Melbourne Fringe Festival Kids Club gets chill when Juan Vesuvius Says Relax on 22 September. The Caribbean’s silliest DJ and his assistant Mr Piñapoople present interactive stories, comedy and tunes that will make kids want to move. It’s $5 for them, free for their grown-ups and suitable for children with sensory and communication disabilities.

Cooks’ Cottage

If you have spare time and change after your free Fitzroy Gardens fountain hunt, pop into Cooks’ Cottage, the home of English explorer Captain Cook’s parents. The home was transported here from England in 1934 – making this a rare little patch of history. Entry is just $6.90 for adults or $3.70 for children, and there’s a free self-guided Spring Seek and Find throughout the school holidays (21 September-6 October).

Cooks’ Cottage

Black Light Mini Golf

What’s better than playing mini-golf with friends or family? Playing glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, rain, hail or shine in air-conditioned indoor comfort is what. Black Light Mini Golf has 18 holes, each inspired by an Aussie icon like the Kingswood ute hole. Open every day, it’s just $10 for mini golfers, $15 for adults or $45 for a family pass.

Dex2rose nitrogen ice-cream

Why settle for ordinary ice cream when you can have nitrogen-frozen gelato – and in amazing flavours too. Made with a puff of sub-zero smoke, Dex2rose’s next-level desserts include Milky Playtime. That’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in a dulce de leche gelato, topped with caramel popcorn and peanut-butter-chocolate sauce. Yum! Other options include Unicorn Party and Birthday Cake Cookie Dough flavours, and a generous cup costs less than $10.

Interview on 3AW Drive with Tom Elliott

Source: Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment

Topics: luxury car tax, Brexit impact.

Transcript, E&OE

5 September 2019

Tom Elliott: Do you reckon you pay too much for a car here in Australia? I mean, look at what you can buy cars for in the United States or in the UK, you run it through your exchange rate calculator and you think: we’re being ripped off. Well, in many cases, we are. Now, in the good ol’ days when we had, at one stage, six or seven different car manufacturers here, there was an argument – not a good one – but an argument to erect a tariff war. So what they did was right up until the- I think, it was the early 90s was put tariffs of 40, 50, 60 per cent on important cars so that we would go and buy the locally-produced cars: the Holdens, the Fords, that sort of thing, even if they weren’t quite as well made or not quite as advanced. The point is the price differential was so great it was usually worth buying an Australian car. And Australians in the 70s and 80s took great pride in buying and driving Australian cars.

Now, that all changed with the Button plan, which said there were too many car manufacturers in a small market. I don’t think Senator Button thought that we’d end up with no car manufacturers whatsoever. But in 2016, the Ford Motor Company seized manufacturing here at its Broadmeadows plant and in 2017, both Holden and Toyota decided to stop making cars in Australia as well. So while we have a parts industry still and a few specialist vehicles built in this country, and a lot of buses and caravans and that sort of thing, we don’t make passenger cars anymore, not from the ground up. Now, that’s sad. I’ve got one and I want to hang on to it because I think one day it might be worth a bit but it’s also a good car to drive. But when we go back to the rationale behind putting taxes on cars, it was always about, always about protecting the local manufacturers. Well, they’re gone and yet, if you buy, I don’t know, a BMW X3, a medium-sized SUV, it might cost you $80,000, $90,000. It’s a nice car. It’s, I guess, verging on expensive but they’re pretty common. I mean, just have a look around. You get hit with an import duty of 5 per cent. You think you’d hit with a luxury car tax – 33 cents in every dollar for which the car sells over $67,500. Now, that luxury car tax is set at $67,500 because that, going back a few years, was roughly the price of a top model locally-made Holden or Ford – think a Statesman or an LTD.

So, motorists pay too much tax, alright. We pay tax every time we go to the bowser. We pay tax like on our rego, TAC fees and the like, and we pay far too much tax when we buy cars. Now, given that we don’t have the local industry to protect anymore, I think we should get rid of the import duty on cars. There’s no good reason for it. And we should get rid of luxury car tax. Luxury car tax stops Australian families from being able to buy better, safer vehicles because it puts government taxes on top of the purchase price of the vehicle. Anyway, there are negotiations going on between the European Union and Australia. It is possible that some of these taxes get dropped in return from concessions from the European Union.

Before we went to air today, I spoke to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Simon Birmingham and I began by asking him: why are we still paying import duty and luxury car tax to protect an industry that no longer exists? Here’s what he had to say.

[Excerpt]

Simon Birmingham: Well, Tom, a couple of points there. Obviously, the luxury car tax is a non-discriminatory tax. It’s been in place for a long period of time and duties themselves have been brought down significantly over the years but to remain in place, in some instances, in others they’ve been negotiated away as part of free trade deals and of course, we remain open to looking at that for the remaining markets or source markets when it comes to cars if under trade terms we can make sure that our businesses, our farmers, our exports gain an advantage into their markets just as they seek an advantage into Australia for their cars.

Tom Elliott:      Okay. So you’re saying that, for example, take cars from Europe – and we buy a lot of them from German manufacturers for example like BMW and Mercedes and so forth – you’re saying you might trade away the 5 per cent import duty if they agree to stop some duties on Australian exports?

Simon Birmingham:     Yes, Tom. So under our trade agreements that we’ve struck with Japan and Korea, we eliminated the tariffs in relation to cars from those sorts of countries and in return, we’ve seen huge growth in terms of Australian beef exports and other products and services into those markets and many others. We’re now negotiating a trade agreement potentially with the European Union. I expect – and indeed you can read in newspapers – that their negotiators are putting better access for their cars into the Australian market. They don’t like the fact, not unsurprisingly, that there’s a 5 per cent tariff applied to their cars but it’s not applied to those from Japan and Korea. In the end, if we can get a good enough deal for our farmers and other businesses into the European markets, we’ll contemplate whether we remove that tariff on European cars. But it’s got to be a deal that’s in the interests of Australian exporters as well as Australian consumers.

Tom Elliott:      Yeah. What about Australian motorists? I mean, if you buy an $80,000 car from Europe, you’re spending, I think, what would that be, close to $10,000 in extra taxes here. Why tax the motorist who just wants to buy a reasonably upmarket German-made car, for example? Why should they pay this surcharge?

Simon Birmingham:     Well, of course, you can argue that about, in many ways, any taxes but yes, this one, as time has evolved, it’s become more targeted towards some cars and not others because we’ve eliminated the tariffs where we’ve managed to get good trade deals. But- and this is about standing up for Australian business and industry as well, that if we’re going to eliminate tariffs on such products, we now want to make sure we get something for it, and that something for it is to make sure that those countries who want to send tariff-free- their goods or products into Australia are going to allow our goods or products to enter their country tariff-free.

Tom Elliott:      But where is the logic on just a luxury car tax? I mean, if I buy a gigantic 50-foot motorboat to scoot around Port Phillip Bay, there’s no luxury tax on that. If I buy a jewel encrusted hot tub, there’s no luxury tax on that. But if I buy a car that costs more than about $67,000, there is a tax on that. Where’s the logic?

Simon Birmingham:     Look, Tom, if you were to go back and start all over again, maybe you would identify a whole range of different luxury goods that were targeted in that sense. We have the tax system that we have that’s evolved over many decades and the luxury car tax has been in place for a very long period of time. All of these taxes are things that we love not to have but we have them so that we can pay for roads, schools, defence forces, hospitals, aged care, disability insurance schemes, all of those sorts of public services.

Tom Elliott:      [Talks over] Well, that’s not entirely true. The import duty on cars was designed to protect the local industry and the luxury car tax was always set at a level so the top Ford and the top Holden, whatever they were priced at, it was any car that was more expensive and that was where it was set. Now, there is no top locally-made Ford now. There is no top locally-made Holden, which is very sad. So it seems to me the original logic for the tax no longer applies.

Simon Birmingham:     Those arguments are not without validity except for the reality that they are still also revenue generators for the budget bottom line, and that revenue goes into general revenue support for all of the types of essential services: roads and welfare payments and support that I spoke about before.

Tom Elliott:      Yeah I get that, but I mean, having a massive luxury boat is a genuine luxury. Having, say, a car that cost $80,000 is, for many families, just a normal family runabout. It’s not actually a luxury; it’s a necessity of life. So you’re taxing the necessity of life, a reasonable motorcar, but you don’t tax the luxury yacht. To me, that just doesn’t make sense.

Simon Birmingham:     And as I said before, if you are starting from scratch all over again, you might look to your definition of luxury goods in a different way.

Tom Elliott:      Different way.

Simon Birmingham:     Now, again, we’re entering into these trade negotiations that could well, as other trade deals have done as we saw with those deals with Japan or Korea or the like, get us to a point where we can manage the best of all worlds. A scenario where prices come down for Australian consumers because tariffs are eliminated at the Australian end but opportunities increase for Australian exporters because tariffs are eliminated or reduced on the goods and services that they export, which means that overall we’re better off. We’re able to sell more goods to the world. Our exports are now at a record level and this is something that, in part, has been achieved because of these types of trade deals. But we’ve now recorded trade surpluses in 31 out of the last 36 months in the country. I think that would surprise many of your listeners, sort of instinctively, when I talk to a lot of Australians, they think we import more than we export. Well, for 31 out of the last 36 months, we’ve been exporting more than we import and that’s been driven by a whole range of factors. But opening up access to other markets as our Government has done with Japan, with Korea, with China, through the Trans-Pacific Partnership; what we want to keep doing with new agreements with Indonesia which we’ve finished negotiations on and we just need the Labor Party to say they’ll support its ratification through the Parliament and then Europe and beyond.

Tom Elliott:      Now, very quickly, Britain appears to be pushing ahead with Brexit, although it changes on a daily basis. If Brexit occurs, if Britain withdraws from the European Union, will that increase the opportunities for British-Australia trade?

Simon Birmingham:     I hope so. Australia got a pretty raw deal when Britain entered the European common market back in the 70s and we saw trade with the UK drop significantly at that time. We are absolutely ready, willing and eager to strike new trade terms with the UK as quickly as we can after they leave the EU, assuming that they do. Obviously, we can’t control the uncertainties happening on the other side of the world but I’ve had discussions with my UK counterpart. I am hoping to be able to welcome her to Australia next week to be able to really put some meat on the bones of those discussions ahead of any Brexit scenario. But clearly, those uncertainties in the UK mean there’s a bit of a question mark that hangs over that planned visit.

Tom Elliott:      Indeed. Thank you for your time. Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Media enquiries

  • Minister’s office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

State Service School-based traineeship success

Source: State of Tasmania Government

6 September 2019

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training

A pilot program in the Tasmanian State Service, which provides students in Government schools access to a paid traineeship, will continue to be rolled out following its success.

Fourteen students participated in the pilot program, which provides pathways to employment for young Tasmanians in partnership with the Tasmanian State Service and The Beacon Foundation.

It gives students in Government schools access to a paid traineeship in the Tasmanian State Service as part of their year 11 and 12 studies.

To add to the success of this initiative, Rachell Robinson and Jarred Pinner from the current pilot program have been named as finalists in the 2019 Tasmanian Training Awards hosted by Skills Tasmania for their outstanding work in the program.

Both Rachell and Jarred are finalists in the School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year Award, which is presented to a student who is undertaking a Certificate II or above qualification as a part-time School-based Apprentice/Trainee.

By being part of the program, young Tasmanians are being given the opportunity to combine work, training and education, and gain a nationally recognised qualification.

The program supports the Hodgman majority Liberal Government’s commitment for Year 12 attainment by providing engaging and meaningful educational and training opportunities.

It also provides the trainees with pathways into further employment in Tasmanian State Service and/or further education, with the two of the 14 students who have so far completed the program, being offered employment in those State Service agencies.

Insight – Austrade and Export Finance Australia help defence companies go global

Source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade

Government support for Australia’s defence industries is on the increase, as two government agencies extend collaboration.
Under the Australian Government’s Defence Export Strategy, Austrade and Export Finance Australia – formerly Efic – are expanding support for Australian defence businesses.
With additional co-ordination and resources from the Australian Defence Export Office, the two agencies are working more closely to help Australian defence companies grow overseas.
Australia’s export credit agency
From 1 July 2019, Efic’s trading name changed to Export Finance Australia (Export Finance). While their focus on helping businesses go global remains the same, their new name better describes who they are and what they do.
Export Finance provides financial expertise and solutions to drive sustainable growth that benefits Australia and their partners through their loans, guarantees, bonds and insurance options.
Export Finance’s objective is to enable small-to-medium enterprises, corporates and governments to take on export-related opportunities. They also support infrastructure development in the Pacific region and beyond.
Export Finance: a track record in defence
Export Finance has a track record of helping Australian defence businesses involved in engineering, advanced manufacturing and software to win air, land and sea defence contracts overseas.
They also partner with Austrade to help businesses expand their operations overseas.
For example, when Victorian-based supplier of complex metal parts, A W Bell won a contract to supply a metal housing and chassis-assembly for the sensory system on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, Export Finance provided them with finance to fulfil the contract.
Austrade has helped A W Bell in other ways. The company is a previous recipient of Austrade’s Export Market Development Grant (EMDG), which helps cover the costs of eligible export promotion activities. This allowed A W Bell to more proactively promote their business internationally from which they saw significant export growth.
Austrade has also provided A W Bell market entry advice and facilitated introductions to key stakeholders to support their expansion, including potential partners and overseas customers.
Increased support from the Australian Defence Export Office
To help Australia’s growing defence industry, Austrade and Export Finance are also working closely with the Australian Defence Export Office to expand its activities in the defence sector.
Austrade initiatives include the recently held San Francisco Dual-use Landing Pad cohort. New, dedicated defence and civil security Austrade staff have also been recruited in priority defence markets to deliver 1–1 tailored business support.
Export Finance also administers loans under the Government’s Defence Export Facility, allowing Export Finance to help even more businesses grow internationally.
To learn more about how Austrade can assist with your export journey, contact Austrade for more information or call 13 28 78.
To find out how Export Finance Australia could help your business grow, visit exportfinance.gov.au or call 1800 093 724.

Police investigate Clarinda burglary

Source: State of Victoria Police

Friday, 6 September 2019 04:10

Kingston Crime Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding a burglary in Clarinda last month.

It is believed an unknown offender gained entry to the Centre Road home around 2.20pm on 29 August.

Once inside, the offender has stolen an amount of overseas currency.

Detectives are keen to speak to any witnesses or anyone that may have seen any suspicious activity in the area at the time.

Investigators have released CCTV stills of a man they believe may be able to assist with their enquiries.

Anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Leading Senior Constable Rohan Imms

Media Officer

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