Local, Independant and Effective
December 11, 2013

Manus Island and Australia Fund

Manus Island

The violence that has occurred at the Manus Island Detention Centre in the last several days is distressing. A person is dead, a number of people are in hospital with serious injuries, and whilst these incidents have occurred overseas they are Australia’s responsibility.

I support the Government’s moves to review what has happened and I am calling on the Government to release this review as soon as it is available in order to reduce the uncertainty surrounding these incidents.

In this Parliament I have consistently voted against further reducing the rights of people seeking asylum in Australia. We must not forget that the Australian government has a duty of care to the people detained within Australian detention centres, whether they end up being granted asylum or not. The Government must take action to ensure that this duty of care is maintained.

I have worked in Papua New Guinea and I know that the people of Papua New Guinea would also be very distressed that this has occurred. The Australian Government has good relations with the Government of Papua New Guinea and must rely on their advice , especially if detainees granted asylum are to be settled in Papua New Guinea.

Australia Fund

Australia Fund – Working towards a plan to support Australian communities and business

Independent Cathy McGowan has given her support to a private member’s bill proposed by the member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, along with co-sponsors Adam Bandt, Andrew Wilkie, Bob Katter and Sharman Stone.

The bill will explore the viability of creating a fund to provide support to Australian communities and businesses in need of assistance. The Australia Fund responds to the need for a strategic plan to support communities affected by natural disaster and the need to support manufacturing in Australia.

The bill proposes to investigate the viability of creating a fund by holding hearings throughout the country to establish key areas of need for our communities. The fund will propose a variety of support mechanisms rather than just government grants.

“This bill highlights the fact that Australia does not currently have a clear plan for supporting Australian communities in difficult times,” Ms McGowan said.

“Australian manufacturing deserves to know what government assistance will be available in times of change. Australian governments need proactive strategies to deal with natural disaster support. A fund such as this will help to achieve these goals.”

Ms McGowan believes that this bill highlights the need for immediate action by government to respond to declining manufacturing and communities affected by drought, floods and fires across the country.

“Until we have plans or a regulatory environment for new and innovative industries to employ today’s workforce, we need to support our existing manufacturers to innovate and continue to employ workers,” Ms McGowan concluded.

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