Visit to Menindee
Last Thursday, I travelled to Menindee with my friend and colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP.
It was thoroughly productive to take part in discussions with local residents and key groups at a public forum in Menindee, to hear from all parties regarding the recent Menindee fish kills, and to create a positive dialogue for all moving forward.
I will return to Canberra this week with the commencement of Parliament sitting on February 12, and I look forward to continuing robust discussion with my federal colleagues on this matter and others.
Instant asset write-off extended
The Coalition Government continues to back small business by increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $20,000 to $25,000, effective immediately. The initiative will also be extended for another year.
The instant asset write-off enables small businesses in the Parkes electorate with an annual turnover of less than $10 million to access the new $25,000 incentive from now until June 30, 2020.
This will help to improve cash flow by bringing forward tax deductions. I have seen this initiative encourage more small businesses to reinvest in their operations, and replace or upgrade assets.
Our government first introduced the $20,000 instant asset write-off in the 2015-16 Budget. In the first year alone, more than 300,000 small businesses took advantage of the opportunity.
When business owners are able to keep more of their own money, they are able to invest back into the business, boost productivity, grow the economy and create new and local jobs.
The government will introduce legislation to give effect to this measure when Parliament returns.
Assisting students with unfair debts
Legislation effective as of January 1 this year will lessen the burden of unfair debts incurred by vulnerable students under Labor’s failed VET FEE-HELP scheme.
The Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Student Protection) Act 2018 gives new powers to the Secretary of the Department of Education and Training to remit VET FEE-HELP debts incurred inappropriately.
The new measures will assist eligible students who have incurred thousands of dollars in debts under the VET FEE-HELP scheme, providing relief to students and restoring integrity to the sector.
The measures will help people get on with developing skills and finding employment, which is of enormous value to this electorate.
The VET sector is one of the cornerstones of local economies in the Parkes electorate. A skilled workforce drives growth and fuels Australia’s future prosperity.
Remote job seekers in my electorate will have more opportunities for flexible working arrangements under the first phase of the Coalition Government’s reforms to the Community Development Program (CDP).
Changes to Australia’s remote employment and community development service will be rolled out from March this year to facilitate greater employment outcomes for CDP participants.
These reforms aim to increase participants’ attendance and reduce the number of penalties applied to remote job seekers in the current compliance framework.
Flexible hours are being introduced so participants can take part in CDP alongside other family and cultural commitments. Communities have been asking for this flexibility, and this change will make the program more reflective of present workplace practices.