Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes

Coulton’s catch-up for week ending 16 September

Sunday, 17 September 2017


4.7 million Australians to benefit from September pension indexation 
4.7 million pensioners and allowance recipients will receive an increase to their welfare payments from 20 September 2017. 
As a result of the regular twice-yearly indexation, pension payments including Age Pension and Disability Support Pension will rise by $6.10 a fortnight to $894.40 for singles and $4.60 a fortnight to $674.20 for each member of a couple. 
People receiving Newstart Allowance while they look for work will also benefit from the increases of $3.20 per fortnight for singles with no children and $2.90 a fortnight each for members of a couple. 
Recipients of Parenting Payment Single will receive an increase of $4.50 a fortnight. 
Payment rates for pensions are allowances are adjusted twice a year, in March and September. Pension increases are linked to prices and wages, whilst allowances are linked to the Consumer Price Index. 
These increases help pensioners and allowance recipients keep up with increases in living costs. 
Rent Assistance rates also increase from next week and a range of income and assets limits for pensions and allowances will also increase as a result of indexation. This includes higher to the income and assets test limits for age pensioners before their payments are affected. 
“The amount self-funded retirees can earn to qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which provides access to cheaper medicines and a range of state/territory government and local government concessions increases by $1,003 annually for singles and $802 annually for each member of a couple.
Details of new rates, free areas and limits can be found at https://www.dss.gov.au/benefits-payments/indexation-rates-september-2017

1800RESPECT receives extra funding
The Nationals-Liberal Government is undertaking a concerted effort to make 1800RESPECT the best service of its type in the world. We completely turned around a system that was failing to help victims of domestic and family abuse and sexual assault.
We are now continuing our process of improvement for 1800RESPECT and putting an extra $5 million a year into the service for until December 2019. In 2017-18 this will see $19.568 million in total provided to 1800RESPECT.

Airlines Urged to Put ADF Personnel in the Fast Lane

Australia’s major airlines are being encouraged to support a new campaign to honour the service of the nation’s ADF personnel both past and present. This Government is spearheading a move that will see serving and former defence personnel and their families given priority boarding as a standard feature on Australian airlines.  
It is important to recognise the service and sacrifice made by our Australian Defence Force personnel and their families.
The Australian public is urged to participate by signing this petition located at: https://tinyurl.com/ADFboarding 
If we can show these airlines that the proposal has overwhelming public support, we may be able to cause some positive change.


Additional Safeguards to facilitate Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

The Government is honouring its commitment to give the Australian people a say on whether or not the law should be changed to allow same sex couples to marry through the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
The Government has been exploring in good faith how we can complement existing legal protections under current laws further – principally by ensuring that all of the usual relevant safeguards under our Electoral Laws apply to this process as appropriate. This includes provisions to ensure relevant authorisations on advertisements, reasonable opportunity to have opposing views broadcast, offences against bribery and threats and the prohibition of misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the completion of survey forms. 
That is why the Government introduced into the Senate the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Bill 2017, which will provide for those safeguards.


Cracking down on phoenix activities
The Nationals-Liberal Government is taking action to crack down on illegal phoenixing activity that costs the economy up to $3.2 billion per year to ensure those involved face tougher penalties. Phoenixing – the stripping and transfer of assets from one company to another by individuals or entities to avoid paying liabilities – has been a problem for successive governments over many decades. It hurts all Australians, including employees, creditors, competing businesses and taxpayers.
The Government’s comprehensive package of reforms will include the introduction of a Director Identification Number (DIN) and a range of other measures to both deter and penalise phoenix activity.
The DIN will identify directors with a unique number, but it will be much more than just a number. The DIN will interface with other government agencies and databases to allow regulators to map the relationships between individuals and entities and individuals and other people.


Pacific Island Labour Scheme
A new Pacific Labour Scheme in 2018 will give Pacific Island citizens opportunities to work in rural and regional Australia for up to three years, and help plug labour shortages in our towns and on our farms. Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu will have first access to the scheme, with an initial intake of up to 2,000 workers.  Australia will also establish a new Pacific Labour Facility to support the scheme – helping connect Australian employers with workers and monitoring its social and economic impacts.
This initiative builds on the very successful and longstanding Seasonal Worker Program, which itself will be streamlined to support Australian employers and Pacific Island workers to access the program more effectively. The Government is also working with the Australian financial sector, the International Monetary Fund and the New Zealand Government to reduce the cost of remittances so that workers can more easily send home a portion of their income to support their communities.

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Mark coulton MP, Federal Member for the ELECTORATE Of Parkes

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