Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes

COULTON'S CATCH UP 19 DECEMBER

Monday, 19 December 2016

Productivity Commission study into regional economies
Last week it was announced that the Productivity Commission will undertake a study into regional economies. With our national economy’s transition away from the resources-led boom towards broader-based growth, we are seeing different challenges and opportunities for Australia’s regions.

This study will help to determine how well different regions are adapting to the transition and the factors which influence their capacity to adapt to changes in economic circumstances, and to identify those regions most at risk of failing to adjust.

The Coalition Government has a clear economic plan to support this transition, to fuel economic growth and deliver our children and grandchildren the jobs they deserve, but we need to better understand and respond to the local drivers and causes of economic change.
The Commission is due to provide an initial report to the Government in April 2017 and a final report within 12 months.

Public consultation will be undertaken as part of the study and the Government encourages all interested parties to participate. Further information and the terms of reference are available on the Commission's website


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2017 ABC Heywire Winners announced
Congratulations to Brian Edwards of Broken Hill and Leah Robins of Dubbo who were honoured last week as two of the forty-one winners of the ABC's Heywire storytelling competition.

Heywire is supported by the Australian Government and has been in operation for 19 years. This year’s competition received almost 700 entries from young rural and regional storytellers aged between 16 and 22 across the nation.

I echo the sentiments of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce who said the Coalition Government is proud to support the important Heywire programme. Minister Joyce also announced that funding for this programme will continue for another three years.

I look forward to meeting Brian and Leah in February next year when they attend the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra.


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Regulatory reforms for Superfast broadband infrastructure
The Coalition Government last week released draft legislation to strengthen the provision of superfast broadband infrastructure for public consultation.

These reforms will provide a strong structural framework for superfast broadband.

For more information about the reform package, supporting documents and to make a submission please visit https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say.

Consultation on the draft legislation is open until 3 February 2017. The Government intends for the legislation to commence from 1 July 2017.


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A new approach to telecommunications universal services
I was pleased to hear that the Productivity Commission is recommending a modernised and forward-looking approach to the current Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation (TUSO).

The TUSO is the obligation placed on service providers to ensure that standard telephone services, payphones and prescribed carriage services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they reside or carry on business.

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report pointing to the rapid evolution of Australia's telecommunications environment, including the shift in consumer preferences to broadband and mobile communications, as the impetus for recommending reforms to the voice based TUSO, which is fast becoming outdated.

Public hearings for this inquiry will be held in January and February of 2017, one of which will take place in Dubbo. The Productivity Commission will present its final report on this inquiry to the Government in April 2017.

For more details on these hearings or to make a submission on the draft report please visit http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/telecommunications#draft 


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Christmas wishes
This is the final Coulton’s Catch Up for 2016. On behalf of my family and staff, I take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2017.

Thank you for your support over the past 12 months. I am truly honoured to represent the wonderful people of the Parkes electorate.

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Mark coulton MP, Federal Member for the ELECTORATE Of Parkes

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