Happy New Year!

With the Prime Minister Mr Rudd bracing us all for a “tough year” ahead, I took confidence in reading that Australia ranked third in a worldwide poll believing that 2009 would be a better year than 2008.   Whilst we are no doubt in testing economic times, like many Australian’s I am looking forward to a busy and rewarding year ahead.

This year the Government needs to take note of some important priorities:
In particular the Government must place its highest priority on protecting the job prospects of Australians and in particular Young Australians.

Mr Rudd must keep his election promise that Labor would not bring back compulsory student unionism . This was made just twelve short months ago and now, in government, they appear set to reintroduce compulsory fees for students repackaged as a “compulsory amenities fee”.

I also have strong concerns over the Federal Government’s plans to introduce mandatory internet filtering.  Recent reports from the Internet Industry Association show that the technology fails to block child pornography (the stated reason for this initiative) whilst significantly slowing internet speeds and blocking legitimate websites.

The emission trading scheme is also on the agenda for 2009 and we will make a considered evaluation of the ETS proposal and will not be rushed into endorsing, opposing or proposing amendments to it.  The design of an ETS has to be assessed clinically in terms of its cost-effectiveness both with regard to reducing emissions and above all in terms of its impacts on economic growth and jobs.

Finally, the Rudd Government needs to put the North West Metro back on track, and allocate funds from the $20 billion Infrastructure Australia fund. I have lodged a submission for infrastructure Australia arguing the case that the North West Rail is a nationally significant project worthy of federal funding.

I am interested in your views on these issues as well as any other ideas or concerns that you may have.  I look forward to receiving your feedback and seeing you out and about in our community in 2009.