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Shaping the nation : achievements of the Labor government



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• Recommended Retail Price $40

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Authorised by G. Gray Centenary House 19 National Circuit

Barton.ACT 2600

• Printed by Union Offset 20 Pirie Street Fyshwick ACT 2609

Text and Cover Design by Susie Stubbs

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SHAPING THE NATION

CQ II 1{ P 9 , r a 'f T S^

FOREWORD VII

I NTRODUCTION IX

GLOSSARY XXIII

1. ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT 1

ISLANDER AFFAIRS

Mabo and the Government's Response • The Native Title Act • The Land Fund • Social Justice • Increasing Employment • Aboriginal Deaths in Custody • The Stolen Generation • Reconciliation.

2. THE ARTS 7

Mass Media • Multimedia • The Arts Around Australia • Regional Arts • Contemporary Music Industry Package • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Culture • Heritage Conservation • Other Reforms.

3. BETTER CITIES 13

Building Better Cities • Major Programs • New South Wales • Victoria • Western Australia • Queensland • South Australia • Tasmania • The Territories.

4. COMMONWEALTH/STATE RELATIONS 19 Commonwealth/State Finances • Special Assistance • Open & Accountable Funding • Law & Justice • Health • Education • Aboriginal Affairs • Child Care • Housing • Pensions • Youth • The Arts • Environment •

Industrial Relations • Industry Programs • Energy • Resources • Tourism • Transport.

5. COMMUNICATIONS 31

Broadcasting • Telecommunications • Postal Reform • Networked Systems • Information Services.

6. COMPETITION POLICY 37

Cutting Monopoly Power & Profits • Striking a Balance • the Competition Policy Reform Agenda • The Agreements • Local Government • The Road to Reform.

7. CONSUMER AFFAIRS 45

Consumers and Financial Problems • Product Safety & Standards • Education • Consumers & the Environment

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• Consumer Protection Obligations • Consumer Groups.

0 8. DEFENCE 49

o Australia's Defence Relations with the Region • o Alliances • Global Security • Personnel • Women in the o Australian Defence Force • Reserves • Defence 0 0

Equipment • Defence and Australian Industry • Defence

o & the Community.

0 9. THE ECONOMY 55 p o Economic Growth • Income & Earnings • Employment • o Inflation • Investment • Productivity & Competitiveness © • International Trade • Superannuation & National o 0Saving • The Current Account Defecit • Australia's : .o

Foreign Debt.

e 10. EDUCATION & TRAINING 65

0 o Vocational Training • Post-Compulsory Education • A

o National Curriculum • Training Programs • Aboriginal o . Education • Higher Education • Exporting Education • o Education Network Australia (EdNA) • Schools • National Goals • Youth Training Initiative • Student

o 0 Assistance. G 0 11. EMPLOYMENT. 71

G o Working Nation • It's Working .• Women • Migrants •

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

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12. THE ENVIRONMENT 77

o . World Heritage • Our Coastal & Marine Environment • o Green Jobs • Forests • Landcare • Leaded Petrol • Greenhouse • The Ozone Layer • Biological Diversity • o Antarctica • Whaling • Desertification Convention • a 0

Hazardous Waste • Wilderness • Nuclear Testing.

13. FAMILIES 85

The Safety Net •• Family Health • Families at Home • Families at Work • Education • Child Care • Keeping 0 Families Together • Aged & Community Care •

a Domestic Violence & Child Abuse. • p

a 14. FOREIGN AFFAIRS 93

o APEC • Regional Security Dialogue — ASEAN • : International Citizens • Indonesia • Japan • China • o United States • Vietnam • Cambodia • South Pacific • Indian Ocean • Europe.

15. HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES 99

0 Preventative Health • Health Australia • Women's o Health • Cervical Cancer • Breast Cancer • Aged & o Community Care • Residential & Intensive Care • o Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health • o Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme • Mental Health •

People with a Disability • A Better Deal in Private o 0 0 0 0 0

Insurance • HIV/AIDS.

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16. HOUSING 105

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Public Housing • Home Purchase • Private Renters •

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Housing and Industry Exports • Aboriginal & Torres :

Strait Islander Housing • Homelessness • Women Escaping Domestic Violence • New Homes for Young : People • New Homes for Old. : O

17. I MMIGRATION & 111

ETHNIC AFFAIRS Migration • Citizenship • Multicultural Affairs • Refugee and Humanitarian • Boat People • Settlement & :

Ethnic Affairs.

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18. I NCOME DISTRIBUTION 115

Earning & Living standards • The Social Security Safety : Net • The Social Wage • .A Fairer Tax System • : Employment.

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19. I NDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 121

The Accord • Accord VIII • Workplace Bargaining • Fairness • Occupational Health & Safety • Future Directions.

20. I NDUSTRY, SCIENCE 127

& TECHNOLOGY

Science & Technology • Industries of the Future • information technology • Passenger Motor Vehicles • Pharmaceuticals • Marine Industries • Textiles, Clothing :

& Footwear • Investment Promotion & Facilitation •

Government Reforms • Auslndustry.

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21. LAW REFORM 135

Families and the Law • Reforming the Legal System • Reform of Business Law • Censorship • Human Rights • m A Safer Australia.

22. LOCAL GOVERNMENT 143 O 23. OVERSEAS AID 145

Relations in the Region • Humanitarian Response • Aid for Women • The International Perspective • South : Africa • Palestine • Environment • What Are the O

Results?. 0

24. PRIMARY INDUSTRIES 149

World Tariff Reform • Agribusiness • Structural Reform • Drought Relief • Drought Planning • The Environment : • Reaching Out. : 6 9

25. PUBLIC SECTOR 155

Public Sector Reform • the Public Service • Workplace S Reform • Purchasing Reform • Australian Made.

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26. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT 159

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27. A REPUBLIC 161 e

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0 28. RESOURCES & ENERGY 173

o Coal • Minerals, Oil & Gas • Forests • Fisheries.

0 29. SMALL BUSINESS 179

m Business Assistance • Women in Business •- Exporting o D Small Business • The Best Business Climate. D 0 30. SOCIAL SECURITY 183

D o Families • Women • Unemployed People • Pensioners •

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People in Crisis • People With Special Needs.

D D 31. SPORT 189

o Sydney Olympics • Elite development • Aussie Sport • o Women in Sport • Disabled Sport • Safety in Sport • 0 D

Sports Development.

D 0 32. SUPERANNUATION & RETIREMENT 193

o I NCOMES

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Pensions • Non-Pensioner Retirees • Superannuation.

0 D33. TAX REFORM 199

Lower Tax Scales • Tax Revenue as a Percentage of GDP o • Reaching Out to Individual Taxpayers • A Better Deal o 0

for Business • Cuts in Personal Tax Rates since 1983.

0 34. TOURISM 203

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e Strategies for Growth • Promoting Australia • Towards D the 2000 Olympics • 1996 — The Festivals of Oz • o Boosting Investment • Industrial Relations Reform.

35. TRADE 207

© Trade Performance • New Directions in World Trade • World Trade Organisation • APEC • Trade Promotion • o DMeeting the Export Challenge • The Future. D36. TRANSPORT 2150 DAviation • Roads & Road Transport • Rail • The o DWaterfront • Shipping.0 37. VETERANS' AFFAIRS 221 Do Health & Community Care • Aged Care • YoungerVeterans • Benefits • Australia Remembers • Australiano DWar Memorial. • D0 38. WOMEN 227o At Work • Jobs & Training • Work & Family • At a Home • Child Care • Education • Violence Againsto DWomen • Health • Justice & Equality.0 39. YOUTH 235m Employment • Education & Training • Communications • o • Health • Aboriginal & Torres Strait IslanderYoungaDDDDDDPeople • Homelessness.L_VI.

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haping the Nation sets out how Labor, in partnership with the Australian community, has responded to a decade of change.

Since 1983, life for all Australians has changed in profound ways — in terms of the work we do, the things we produce, what and where we sell overseas, how we save and invest, our

expectations of family life, how we spend our leisure, our fears and hopes.

Leadership and the management of change has been the defining feature of the strong, imaginative and responsive Government which the Labor Party has given the country.

Through unprecedented economic reforms we have revitalised our economy and made it far more outward looking and internationally competitive. And we have made Australia a fairer and more open society, with our commitment to social justice.

A Federal election is not far away. The election will be about what type of future we want for Australia.

John Howard's world view is narrow and divisive. He would return us to the pre-1983 days of industrial unrest, social conservatism and economic stagnation..

Labor's vision for the future is simple — progress with fairness for all Australians.

We face even more rapid change in the region we live in, the Asia-Pacific. The world will continue to evolve and Australia must evolve too.

Labor has already demonstrated that with the support and partnership of the community it can deliver strong and responsive leadership.

FOREWORD

Labor has shaped our nation for a great future. We want the opportunity to take Australia into the 21st Century. For Australia the best is yet to come.

Barry Jones National President Australian Labor Party

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SHAPING THE NATION

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n the coming election, people will have real choices. The parties stand for markedly different things.

Over the past 12 years, Labor has with the Australian people been building a unique model of a modern, open and fair society.

This has been based on the Labor tradition of progress with fairness, of inclusiveness and caring, of active engagement with the world and taking on the big policy challenges.

Australia is making its way in an increasingly tough and competitive world. The certainties of the past have long gone. And the transition throughout the past decade has had a high price.

No Government can stem the tide of change that has been and is continuing to sweep across Australia, as it is in all nations. Nor can governments predict the future with absolute certainty.

We know, however, that the competitive challenges and the pressures to change and adapt to new circumstances will become stronger. Our ever-shrinking world and the relentless march of technological change will make sure of that.

Faced with further uncertainty and change, it is important for Australia's leaders to set out clearly the values that will guide the choices they make. The central test of such values should be

whether they will provide the foundation for good government for all Australians and for the longer term.

The record of the Labor Government over the past twelve years is there for all to see. Successes and failures can be checked off with the benefit of hindsight.

But the issue Australians must address is who is best equipped to lead our nation into the future.

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An important guide is to look at where Australia is today and the

© road we've travelled to get here. It was not inevitable that we a took the direction we did, nor travelled so far.

o It could have been very different. At every point hard decisions o had to be made. C Of course, a strong, growing, sustainable economy is necessary

0 for us to be fit to take on the challenges and realise the big © opportunities. But by itself it is not enough. 0 0 Labor has built a new political framework which fosters the 0 o pursuit of excellence, while building up the strengths of those

G o who are less able to capture the opportunities from change and

0 manage the stresses it creates. C0 o People will continually be subject to the strains of modern life. m : But it is central to Labor's values that the Government has been Co there to provide support at such times. CO9LABOR AND THE o I) SECURING INDUSTRIAL HARMONY 0BIG ECONOMIC o John Howard's world of industrial relations in 1983 could not CHALLENGES a have been further from Labor's system today. Australia had one 0O of the world's worst industrial relations records under • a conservative governments. It was a national shame, which we are• o still trying to live down in parts of the world, especially in Asia.In 1982/83, some 872 days, per 1,000 workers, were lost to©. industrial disputes, compared with 84 in 1995 — the lowest since Oocrecords began in 1940. 0o In the closed, protected economy that John Howard ran, with itsback turned steadfastly against Asia, it was possible for a time too Gget away with such divisive policies. In the new, open and o internationally competitive Australia of today, such policieso would amount to national economic suicide.Labor Governments have, together with unions and industry,o Gbuilt a modern cooperative industrial relations system based on o successive Accord agreements between the Government and theACTU. The Accord is a flexible system that keeps adapting to0 0Australia's rapidly changing economic needs.o The Accord has slashed industrial disputes and locked in lowo inflation. It has given workers a social wage through Medicare,o family assistance measures and increased spending on child care,education and housing. It has given Australian workers access to

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superannuation for the first time. And it has protected basic

entitlements such as minimum wages, equal pay for equal work,

parental leave, minimum redundancy standards and protection

against unfair dismissal.

The Accord has helped many employees with families to balance

better their responsibilities through the introduction of family-

friendly practices such as maternity leave, part-time work, job

sharing, flexible work hours, family leave, career-break schemes

and employer sponsored child care.

The workforce has also become more productive. Hourly labour

productivity increased by 24.4 per cent between 1983/84 and

1994/95, more than double the rate achieved under John

Howard. Real unit labour costs fell by 5.4 per cent over this

period, compared with John Howard's record of rising real

labour costs.

Between June 1983 and June 1995, the real total earnings of full-

time adult workers increased 7.2 per cent. Together with tax

cuts, job growth and better targeted social security spending,

average real household disposable incomes per capita have

increased by 20.9 per cent over the same period.

Looking to the future, the Accord Mark VIII will take Australia

to the end of the century. It is based on the clear goals of

"Sustaining Growth, Low Inflation, and Fairness". As the

Governor of the Reserve Bank has said, it is probably a first

anywhere in the world for a free trade union movement to

commit itself to national goals for inflation and economic

growth.

II) OPENING THE ECONOMY

Since 1983, Labor has been dedicated to rebuilding the

ramshackle economy left over from decades of conservative

governments. Australia's export mix is now more balanced and

therefore less exposed to risk than it was under John Howard.

The decision to modernise the economy to regain our standing

with the other industrialised countries that were accelerating past

us meant undertaking a major task which would take years of

effort.

For five years under Howard's control of the economy,

conservative governments squibbed at the task, even though the

prices of the few bulk commodities on which Australia's

prosperity had come to rest were collapsing. They chose not to

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0a o because they were caught in a web of their own making of

0 special interests to protect and favour. Opening the economy to a o competition threatened those interests. C0 o Without action Australia's living standards would have continued

to worsen. Labor responded by opening the economy to international competition, deepening economic engagement in o Asia and seeking to restructure the economy by building new 0 o export strengths. O 0

o Following on from the floating of the dollar and deregulation of

the financial market, the Labor Government then began to remove Australia's old-fashioned, expensive system of high tariffs a and quotas on imports. Conservative governments had used these o restrictions to advantage sectional interest groups while Q regressively taxing the rest of the economy — particularly o consumers and otherwise efficient exporters. f o The result of Labor's decisions was the transformation of the 0 o Australian economy into a viable, prosperous, going concern. In

0 1982/83, Australia's exports of goods and services accounted for 0 14.8 per cent of GDP. In 1994/95, the share of exports in GDP 0o had risen to over 19 per cent. 0 o With the increased export orientation of the economy, the

0 structure of Australia's trade also changed markedly. Each of the 0 o main sectors (farm, manufactures, minerals, services) now 0 o accounts for about equal shares of exports, with exports of

manufactures growing the most rapidly. 0 0 Conservative governments presided over the lost decades for 0 o Australian manufacturing. It was then that world trade in G

manufactures exploded, but Australia was left on the sidelines.

0 By 1983, manufacturing industry was all but written off. It had o struggled for decades under high levels of protection, an over-: valued exchange rate, grossly neglected infrastructure and chaotic

0 industrial relations. 0 o Over a 15 year period from 1969/70 to 1983/84, manufactured

o exports as a share of total sales Of manufactured goods increased o by only 2.7 percentage points, from 11.1 per cent to 13.8 per o cent. Under Labor, this increased by over 6 percentage points in o less than ten years, to reach 19.9 per cent by 1993/94.

o The share of services in total exports has also increased. In a 0 1983/84, services accounted for 17.8 per cent of exports. In 0 1993/94, they accounted for 22.4 per cent. Since 1986, a Australia's service exports have . been growing slightly faster than 0 0 XII

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world service exports —.14 per cent per annum, compared with 12 per cent per annum.

III) WINNING A PLACE IN ASIA

o Winning a place in Asia did not just happen. Australia under conservative governments could still have been isolated from Asia © with -Australians denied the full opportunities of the region's m progress. John Howard's recent refusal to meet senior officials of

the Government of Vietnam shows how deep runs the old o ideology and suspicion of Asia in conservative veins.

o The isolation of Australia under conservative governments m resulted in Australia entering the 1980s with diminished • importance in Asia. Australia stood aloof, was tarred by a racist a image, had a closed economy and saw itself more as a champion a of policies dictated from outside the region than as a partner in

regional development and security.

o Conservative governments chose to continue to ignore the dramatic changes in Asia and to cling instead to imperial ties with Britain.

a Underpinning our export drive into Asia has been Australian initiatives such as APEC; major diplomatic efforts to build close and harmonious working relations with key states in the region; ® extensive cultural exchanges and regular contact between people

through tourism, business and academic travel; and heightened interest in Asia within Australia through Labor's initiatives in the fields of education, language and the arts.

® IV) REFORMING THE TAXATION • SYSTEM

John Howard chose to let Australia's taxation system become a national disgrace. Rorting the system by the wealthy had become a major industry in its own right. Labor chose to restore the ® integrity of the system.

In the field of taxation, the contrast between what Labor stands for and the Conservative Model could not be clearer.

® Conservative governments were content to see the tax burden shift onto low and middle income earners, with high income

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earners able to minimise income tax through numerous scams.

Much of Labor's effort went into ensuring-that those with obligations actually met them. Money that would have stayed in the pockets of high income earners was used by Labor to help

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o fund cuts in income tax, particularly for low and middle income

0 0 earners.

The Fringe Benefits and Capital Gains taxes were introduced to o close loopholes. Other measures were used to build Australia's o productive capacity, such as dividend imputation and concessions for research and development expenditure by firms.

q Labor has delivered seven rounds of personal tax cuts since 0 1983. The second round of One Nation tax cuts will be paid into o superannuation, giving Australians higher living standards in retirement while boosting national savings.

John Howard was the high tax and high spend Treasurer of the past twenty years. Howard's outlays were 28.6 per cent of GDP, © his top marginal tax rate was 60 per cent. The bottom marginal • rate was 30 per cent, which the battlers could not avoid. ® Company tax was 46 per cent, and shareholders were subject to

double taxation on their dividends.

Australia's taxation level is now the second lowest in the

• a western world. Revenue is 28.7 per cent of national income,

compared with 35.7 per cent for New Zealand and an average m of 38.7 per cent in OECD countries. Australia would be raising $35 billion more in tax if it had the New Zealand taxation

• ® system.

V) EMPLOYING MORE PEOPLE

Labor's policies have created over two million jobs since 1983. This has been sufficient to absorb growth from new labour force ® entrants, particularly from the strong growth in workforce participation by women, and to cut unemployment to around 8

per cent today.

Over the past two years, employment growth has been ® outstanding — today there are 670,000 more jobs compared with April 1993. Australia is one of the leading OECD countries

• . in generating new jobs.

Had participation rates remained static over the period Labor was in office, then today's unemployment rate would be 3 per m cent and decreasing rapidly. The marked increase in female 0 participation in the work force is itself a result of significant

social reform.

But had job creation remained at the same low level as when • o John Howard was Treasurer, then unemployment would be

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e . . over 2 million higher than it is now, with an unemployment rate of 23 per cent.

© Labor's reforms have also assisted long-term unemployed people. s The number of people who had been out of work for more than a a year has dropped by 23.2 per cent in the year to August 1995. Moreover, the number of discouraged job seekers is falling. The

o most recent figures show a 28 per cent decrease in their number ® in the year to September 1994.

® The number of unemployed youth looking for fulltime employment has fallen from a peak of 158,000 under John Howard to 91,000 today.

o Labor's education and training initiatives have enhanced m Australia's skill base, providing the more highly skilled labour force required for the emerging jobs. These programs also assisted job seekers, ensuring that they were not left behind

m because of a lack of the necessary skills.

Incentives through the taxation system and direct assistance have also helped create sustainable jobs. Regional assistance programs have helped some of Australia's most disadvantaged communities to work together to create new employment opportunities.

® In 1994, Labor introduced the Working Nation initiatives to ® ensure that all Australians have the opportunity to share in ® sustained economic and employment growth. Active labour ® market assistance is a key feature of Working Nation, especially

helping long-term unemployed people so they can compete effectively for jobs.

LABOR AND THE o VI) GROWING WHILE MAINTAINING CHALLENGE OF 0 E QUITY

MANAGING e Over the past 12 years, policy choices made by successive Labor RAPID CHANGE ® Governments have ensured that Australia is among the world's WITH FAIRNESS e a fairest and most equitable societies. 0 The transformation of the Australian economy in the 1980s and

0 1990s has been done within Labor's framework of fairness and O o sharing both the burdens and gains of change.

Australia is also a world leader in narrowing the gap between 0 men's and women's earnings, with wages for women in full time : non-managerial jobs rising from 86 per cent of men's earnings in 1980 to 92 per cent in 1994. e o Labor's policies for social security and taxation have offset the

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world-wide trend to greater earnings inequality. Under Labor

Governments, Australia has continued to have one of the most equal distribution of earnings: with the top ten"per cent earning 2.3 times as much as the lowest ten per cent (in 1981, it was 2.1 times). Among the OECD group, only Belgium and Sweden had

a more equal distribution of earnings.

VII) BUILDING THE SOCIAL WAGE AND SAFETY NET

When Labor came to office it was faced with an ailing social security system. Since then, Labor has built one of the most sophisticated, well-targeted and flexible social safety nets in the

world.

Under John Howard, real incomes of those dependent on pensions, benefits and allowances (particularly those with children and those in rented accommodation) had been cut.

Between December 1975 and March 1983, the real value of unemployment benefits had decreased by around 18 per cent, sole parent pensions by around-4-per cent and age pensions,by around 2 per cent.

Labor's social safety net is more affordable than universal systems which give benefits to everyone (not, just those in need).

It is more responsive to the circumstances of families than insurance systems (which determine entitlements on the basis of contribution levels rather than need).

Since 1983, Labor has increased in real terms the base rate of pensions by 12 per cent, single unemployment payments by 24 per cent, payments for children between 75 and 150 per cent, depending on age, and rent assistance to unemployed people and to low income families by between 75 and 135 per cent.

Additional family payments have also been extended to low income working families.

Labor's family payments and child care systems have assisted parents to choose between caring for children full-time or combining work and family responsibilities.

Payments such as the Parenting Allowance are specifically directed to parents who choose to stay at home to care for their children.

Families that choose to combine work and family responsibilities are being helped through the provision of subsidies to assist with the cost of child care. Other forms of income support,

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m such as family payments and rent assistance are available

to low income families to help them with the costs of raising . children.

a Labor's social wage is progressive, with most of the benefits o going to those most in need. The main components of housing, health, education and child care are worth around $200 per a week to a typical family with two children. Under Labor the m value per person of the social wage components of housing,

health, education and child care increased by 75 per cent. This is a in stark contrast to the 17.5 per cent decline under John m Howard.

o VIII) HOUSING AND SHELTERING PEOPLE

Standing for fairness, Labor's housing policies aim to ensure affordable housing is available to all Australians.

When John Howard left office, housing interest rates were high o — between 12.5 and 13.9 per cent for first mortgages. In a heavily regulated market, home loans were rationed, excluding many Australians from home ownership or forcing people to pay ® higher interest rates through the provision of cocktail loans (with

interest rates often as high as 20 per cent on the top-up loan). m Under the Coalition most of those on low incomes who were unable to access public housing had to pay commercial rents,

often for sub-standard housing.

Labor's policies have facilitated home ownership, provided funding to the States to pay for the provision of public housing ® and expanded rent assistance to make private rental accommodation more affordable.

Labor's initiatives in this area mean that twice as many people get home loans compared with the number under the Coalition.

® Australian home ownership is now at 72 per cent, one of the highest levels in the world.

For Australian families unable to afford their own home, Labor has in place a safety net to provide help in meeting o the costs of rental accommodation. Labor's Commonwealth-State Housing Agreements assist low income earners through

the provision of public and community housing. Emergency housing is provided for people in crisis situations, with funding directed to homeless people and to women escaping domestic violence.

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o IX) HELPING AUSTRALIANS CARE FOR

o THEIR HEALTH

GC o In keeping with the tradition of conservative governments, John

G o Howard set out to destroy Australia's public health care system

o despite having gone to the 1975 election promising to retain o Medibank. By 1983, nearly 2 million people were left without m o any health cover. In every election since then he has opposed 0 universal health care for Australians. 0

In contrast to the conservative parties, Labor believes access to 0 o high quality affordable health care is a right of all Australians.

Australia's first universal health care scheme was introduced o during the brief period of the Whitlam Labor Government in the C o early 1970s. This was achieved against strident conservative

• 0 opposition and disruption.

o In February 1984, Labor introduced Medicare as the new o universal scheme. Cost is no longer a barrier to people gaining 0 access to the health services they need. Bulk billing, which John

o Howard has shown little enthusiasm for, is a key feature of the o system along with free hospitals. Labor's Pharmaceutical Benefits 0 o Scheme ensures that all Australians also have access to affordable 0 o medicines.

0 ® Labor has improved the quality of life for our aging population

o through the Home and Community Care program and a comprehensive program of support for carers. Those who need o full time residential and intensive care have been assisted through

o Labor's improvements to nursing homes and hostels. G o X) PREPARING OUR ASSETS FOR THE

o TWENTY—FIRST CENTURY

NATURAL ASSETS m © This Labor government has been the first Commonwealth a Government to tackle the management of Australia's natural 0 resources in a coherent, long-term fashion.

Labor has articulated the policy framework of ecologically sustainable development. This enables Australia to continue to ® derive extensive economic benefit from its rural and mining resources while striving for excellence in environmental e protection and management and looking after the needs of future 0

generations. •

Labor has sought to strike a balance between current and future generations in preserving key natural assets. In the face of

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concerted conservative opposition, Labor saved the Franklin River in Tasmania; gained World Heritage listing for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (stages 2 and 3) and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory and Shark Bay in Western Australia. Labor also provided a $23 million rescue package for Daintree Rainforest; protected Fraser Island; and established over 2,200 Landcare groups covering about a third of Australia's farms.

Another major natural asset is our geographic location close to the Asian marketplace. Labor has provided both leadership and support for the Australian business surge into Asia —our biggest market and the most dynamic region on the planet.

PUBLIC SECTOR ASSETS

Australia's system of Government is a key national asset. Our open, democratic systems, our transparent and effective regulatory environment and our world class public sector are all central to our national life, and vital assets in our long-term • economic performance.

• The Labor Government has fundamentally restructured the business of government to maximise its contribution to strengthening our economy; supporting our community; and

: building on our human and physical asset base.

John Howard has time and again bagged and made snide attacks on the Commonwealth public service. Labor chose to modernise it in line with best private sector practice, embracing an extensive range of management and financial reforms. The public service now does considerably more with fewer resources.

Under past conservative governments there was no attempt to manage public resources effectively and creatively. Businesses were kept in the public sector long after that had stopped making sense on grounds of fairness or efficiency. Now under the

aggressively free-market ideology of John Howard, assets sales are regarded as an end in themselves. So he would sell Telecom/Telstra immediately regardless of the cost to wider Australian interests.

Australia today has one of the world's most effective telecommunications infrastructures. Australian companies like Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone are investing billions of dollars establishing Australia as a world beater in the communications revolution.

XIX

Australia's historic infrastructure project, the Snowy Mountain

scheme, cost more than $5 billion over 20 years in 1995 dollars, fully financed by Government. Investment in Australia's telecommunications future, by both Government and privately owned companies, will exceed that figure in five years. This represents a profound commitment to, and confidence in, Australia's long-term prosperity.

Labor's privatisations have been undertaken to free up resources for other productive or socially useful ends. They have been pursued only when there are sound economic reasons for doing so without risking fairness.

Moreover, the Labor Government has provided direct incentives for the private sector to invest in Australia's infrastructure through One Nation and Working Nation. The investment in : transport infrastructure in One Nation complements the microeconomic reform process and supports continuing expansion of manufacturing and other industries.

• In addition to instituting a national highway system, Labor has : brought the nineteenth century up to the late twentieth century when it created Australia's first national railway grid. Two hours have now been cut from the travel time between Adelaide and : Melbourne and some eight hours from a journey between Perth

and Melbourne.

CONCLUSION

Labor has been shaping our nation for the challenges of the next century. Together with the Australian people, Labor has transformed John Howard's outdated economy and society, characterised by sluggish growth and great unfairness.

Labor's values and the choices it has made reflect those of Australians at large. These values are fairness and the willingness to have a go, while giving others a go.

• These are the values that have made Australia such a great place in which to live, work, bring up families and plan for the future.

These are the values of hope and opportunity which can only exist when government is based on inclusiveness.

• Labor's values have meant that it has made historic choices at key moments over the past 12 years which have built a modern, flexible and productive economy based on fairness.

This has prepared Australia well for the journey into the next

I RODUCTION

century. That we find ourselves today a fairer and more

• prosperous, better educated and better cared for society, was not inevitable.

Make no mistake, it would have been a vastly different place under conservative values and governments of the type that John Howard wants to install.

. This Government has demonstrated a capacity in very difficult times to plan wisely for a better Australian future, drawing on Australia's many strengths.

And we want to continue to harness our national values, skills, resources and confidence to build a better future for all Australians. •

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SHAPING THE NATION - -

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ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions ADF Australian Defence Force

AESIP Aboriginal Education Strategy Initiative Program

AFCO Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations

AFTA ASEAN Free Trade Area

AIC Assistance for Islolated Children

AIRC Australian Industrial Relations Commission

AIS Australian Institute of Sport

ANTA Australian National Training Authority

ANZAC Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

ASEAN Association of South East Asian Nations

ATC Australian Tourism Commission

ATO Australian Taxation Office

ATSIC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

AVTS Australian Vocational Training System

CAA Civil Aviation Authority

CAPP Coal Australian Promotion Program

CBD Central Business District

CER Closer Economic Relations

CES Commonwealth Employment Service

CGT Capital Gains Tax

CIT Coal Industry Tribunal

COAG Council of Australian Governments

CPI Consumer Price Index

CSHA Commonwealth State Housing Agreement

CSP Commercial Support Program

DEET Department of Employment, Education and Training

DFA Deferred Forest Assessment

DPIE Department of Primary Industries and Energy

DRP Drought Relief Program

ESL English as a Second Language

X III

0

0

o FBT Fringe Benefits Tax

0 FIS Financial Information Service

© 0FTA Fixed Term Arrangements

o GATT -General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade o 0 GBEs Government Business Enterprises o GDP Gross Domestic Product

0 0 HCFCs Hydrochloroflurocarbons o HECS Higher Education Contribution Scheme o IGAE Intergovernmental Agreement on the o Environment

0 IMS Intelligent Manufacturing Systems

o 0

JET Jobs Education and Training Program

o LEAP Landcare and Environmental Action Program • o 0 MCATSIA Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres o Strait Islander AffairsMFP Multifunction Polis 0o NEIS New Enterprise Incentive Scheme 00 NESB Non-English Speaking Background o • 0 NETTFORCE National Employment and Training Taskforce o NTIOC National Trade Investment Outlook Conferenceo OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and 0o Developmento PfD Partnership for Developmento PLO Palestinian Liberation Organisationo 0 POW Prisoner of War o PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder® R & D Research and Developmenta RAC Republic Advisory Committeeo REEP Regional Environmental Employment Programo 0 SAAP Supported Accommodation Assistance Program SBT Southern Bluefin Tuna 00 SIP Special Intervention Program o 0 SPCPP South Pacific Consumer Protection Program o SPP Specific Purpose Paymentso 0 TAP • Training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait o Islander Program© 0 TTE Tasmanian Timber Engineering 0 UN United NationsG WTO World Trade Organisation 0 0 0 G 0 0 CG G 0 O C GYTIYouth Training InitiativeXXIV

TOPICS

MABO AND THE

GOVERNMENT'S

RESPONSE 2

THE NATIVE

TITLE ACT 2

THE LAND FUND 2`

S OCIAL JUSTICE

E MPLOYMENT 3'

ABORIGINAL DEATHS

I N CUSTODY 4

THE STOLEN

GENERATION 4

RECONCILIATION 4'"

A ]O

JIGINAL T0 ;5 STR tI IT tSLAND rU AJFA1RS V a 0 0 0 0•• 0 I• Y 0 e 0 S e 0 0 I I 0 0 S 0 0 I S s 0 S S 0• 10 0 S 0 0 S I I 0. 0 0. 0. 4. S I a I 0 a 0 S 0 0 0 S 0• S 0 I I I 0 S I • • • 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 oil T

he Federal Labor Government has achieved far-reaching

reforms for Australia's indigenous peoples — laying the

foundations for a true and lasting reconciliation between

indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Cultural recognition,

heritage protection, land, health, employment and education have

all been given priority since the Federal Government came to

power in 1983.

• Following the High Court's historic Mabo decision the

Government has begun a reform process to respond to the

legal and moral issues affecting indigenous people.

• The Native Title Act was introduced to provide legislative

recognition of native title.

• The Federal Government has established a land fund to

help indigenous people establish and maintain a secure land

base.

• Specific programs have been introduced to reduce

unemployment and expand training and enterprise

opportunities.

• The Federal Government has set up a national inquiry into

the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

children from their families.

Ab:0_'hf'G,INAL

&.TORRES'STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS . • •

M A B O AND T H E

•

In June 1992, the High Court in its historic Mabo decision

G O V E R N M E N T' S : overturned the doctrine of terra nullius and recognised a form of R E S P O N S E : native title providing a new basis for relations between

•

indigenous and other Australians.

The Government has embarked upon a comprehensive three-stage package of reforms to respond to the legal and moral dimensions of the decision. The Native Title Act 1993, the indigenous land fund and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice measures — represent one of the most far-reaching and important packages of social justice reforms in e

•

Australia's history.

THE NATIVE The Native Title Act 1993 became law on 1 January 1994. It is TITLE ACT : the Government's legislative recognition of the right of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to claim native title.

The Native Title Act:

• establishes a regime to recognise native title including a framework for the validation of past land grants and for the future issuing of interests in land;

• establishes the National Native Title Tribunal;

• gives the States and Territories the power to establish their own bodies to handle native title matters, provided they adhere to national standards.

The Government's approach received important legal : . endorsement in March 1995 when the High Court upheld the validity of the Native Title Act in the face of a challenge from the West Australian Coalition Government.

THE LAND FUND : The establishment of the land fund by the Federal Government recognises that due to the nature of European settlement of Australia, only a small percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be able to prove native title.

• The land fund will:

• be governed by an Indigenous Land Corporation; • • provide a vehicle for indigenous people to establish and

0 maintain a secure land base;

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• become a self-sustaining resource through the investment of Government allocations over a ten year period;

• provide a high degree of public accountability.

SOCIAL JUSTICE The social justice measures comprise the third stage of the Government's response to the High Court's Mabo decision. They are an integral part of the process of reconciliation as Australia moves to tackle disadvantage in the lead-up to

2001.

The 1994-95 Budget allocated $3 million to the development of social justice measures and to fund further consultations with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and wider communities.

I NCREASING

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EMPLOYMENT :.

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Federal Government policy is aimed at reducing the dependency of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on welfare as outlined in the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy.

Working Nation recognised the high rates of unemployment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Special measures include:

• an increase in DEET labour market assistance to 26,000 places by 1995-96;

• a further $190 million in assistance to 25,000 people under the Training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Program;

• an additional 3,750 places in the Community Development Employment Projects;

• $12 million to enhance Community Development Employment Project management;

• an additional $108 million to be provided to ATSIC to expand and enhance employment and enterprise programs;

• $40 million to enhance the Training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Program (TAP) and provide more targeted places in Jobskills, LEAP and the Australian Vocational Certificate pilot projects.

A BO R I G I N A L

: The Federal Government has supported 338 of the 339

DEATHS I N : recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal CUSTODY : Deaths in Custody and has encouraged all levels of government to introduce reforms flowing from these recommendations.

• In responding to the Report the Federal Government has:

• committed $400 million over five years to counter the underlying disadvantage which results in the disproportionate rate of Aboriginal imprisonment;

• appointed Australia's first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner within the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. It's major task is to prepare an annual State of the Nation report on the achievement of social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

• funded the Australian Bureau of Statistics to undertake the first national survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide important new statistical information.

THE STOLEN : The Government has responded to the concerns of indigenous G E N E RAT 1 O N people by establishing a national inquiry into the forced removal : of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.

It has been estimated that more than 10 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people currently aged over 25 were affected.

The inquiry will examine the adequacy of laws and policies available to these people, including access to family records and assistance for family reunification. It will also look at existing practices relating to the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to make sure they are being looked after appropriately.

RE C 0 N C I L I AT 1 O N The basis for a lasting reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians has been laid with the establishment of The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, made up of 25 indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, was established to guide the reconciliation process.

:

This will include:

a continuing public awareness and education program to educate non-indigenous Australians about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, dispossession and disadvantage;

• emphasis on indigenous aspirations and human rights in a wide range of areas;

• • an assessment to determine if the reconciliation process would be enhanced by a formal document or documents.

The process is intended to profoundly change the basis of relations between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider community in the lead up to the Centenary of Australian Federation in 2001.

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TOPICS

MASS MEDIA 8

MULTIMEDIA 8

THE ARTS AROUND

AUSTRALIA 8

REGIONAL ARTS 9

CONTEMPORARY

MUSIC INDUSTRY

PACKAGE 9

ABORIGINAL &.TORRES

STRAIT ISLANDER

CULTURE 1 0

HERITAGE

CONSERVATION 10

OTHER REFORMS 1 0

TH A LTS

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T

he Federal Labor Government has given Australia the first national cultural policy in our history. Creative Nation recognises that all our lives are richer for an environment where art and ideas flourish. Creative Nation celebrates our distinctly Australian heritage and identity, preserving and enriching our national culture.

It also puts the stamp of Australia on the emerging communication technologies, providing creative content for multimedia and Pay TV. To support this artistic and intellectual growth, the Government is increasing funding for the Australia

Council and for a range of projects for film, television and multimedia.

Creative Nation establishes:

• an $80 million investment plan to support and develop Australia's multimedia industry;

• a $73 million package to fund commercial television programs and SBS productions;

• new funding arrangements for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra;

• a touring program, worth $11.7 million over four years to take the arts across the country.

HE ARTS.

9 0

MASS MEDIA o Creative Nation recognises that the mass media is the window on

the arts for most Australians. Film and television are vital in ® bringing art, ideas, music and drama to Australian families via ® the national broadcasters. The Federal Government has guaranteed three year funding in real terms to the national ® broadcasters, the ABC and SBS.

0 Initiatives include:

o • $60 million to foster the production and export of high quality programs by Australian commercial TV networks;

o • $13 million to SBS to encourage the production and export of feature films to reflect the diversity of Australian life.

Support for the Australian film industry has been guaranteed o with 3 year funding for the Australian Film Finance Corporation m to build on the success of Australian feature films like 'Muriel's © Wedding' and `Priscilla the Queen of the Desert'.

m

MULTIMEDIA o The development of new information networks means © international access to a vast number of information, educational o . and entertainment services. Australia can have a stake in this if we can build a vibrant multimedia industry. In Creative Nation

an $80 million investment plan was detailed including a new $45 ® million funding body to leverage private sector investment, a o series of Cooperative Multimedia Development Centres and the 0 Australia on CD program to showcase the best of Australia's o culture.

THE ARTS Under Creative Nation there will be:

AROUND

• increased funding of more than $25 million to allow the

AUSTRALIA

Q Australia Council to foster the development and export of

Australian culture;

• the establishment of the Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities;

m • a $14.4 million National Institute for Indigenous Performing Arts Training;

• a National Academy of Music Performance;

THE ARTS

S .

• investigation into the establishment of the West Australian

® Maritime Museum as a national centre of excellence in a maritime archaeology;

• increased funding to $2.5 million a year for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra which is now independent from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. State orchestras will ® continue to be administered by the ABC;

® • funding of $3.5 million over four years for the Australian Youth Orchestra which will be funded directly as a national cultural training institution.

REGIONAL ARTS s Australians in regional areas will benefit specifically from Creative Nation. It provides $11.7 million over four years to take ® the arts across the country. This includes a new program, Festivals Australia, which will bring high quality arts activities to

Australian regional festivals.

Touring to regional Australia is also encouraged under the ® Playing Australia program which has approved 169 grants totalling almost $8 million to performance artists. Visions of

Australia, the touring exhibitions program, has provided 78 grants totalling $1.6 million.

C 0 N T E M P 0 RA RY m Australia's contemporary music industry is a creative and MUSIC INDUSTRY dynamic sector of the economy, employing around 60,000 PACKAGE Australians. It is one of our most popular, accessible and

successful art forms, both domestically and overseas.

The Government has established an industry development e package to encourage the continuing development of our music industry. The six major record companies have agreed to invest m $270 million in our performers to create new export

opportunities.

® The package also includes moves to strengthen our copyright system through essential copyright boundaries, with improved payment for performers guaranteed by a new Performer's ® Right. To protect consumers, the Prices Surveillance Authority

will formally monitor the recording prices of the six major labels.

The Government also convened the first. national Contemporary Music Industry Summit to promote national development.

THE ARTS

0 0

a

ABORIGINAL &

0

In literature, art, music, theatre and dance, Aboriginal and Torres

T O R RE S STRAIT o Strait Islander culture forms our heritage and shapes our identity. ISLANDER C o Creative Nation set up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

CULTURE 0 Arts Board of the Australia Council and the National Institute o for Indigenous Performing Arts Training.

o m As well, the National Gallery of Aboriginal Australia is to be o a built in Canberra.

o The Distinctly Australian policy statement safeguards our

G

Aboriginal heritage.

: • Under the Return of Indigenous Cultural Property program,

0the Government committed $1.3 million for two national © projects involving the provenancing of ancestral remains and the cataloguing of 10,000 secret and sacred objects. A small grants scheme was also established to provide

o community organisations with funds to enable the return of 0 0 objects which have already been provenanced.

o • The Indigenous Cultural Heritage Protection Program has 0 C been established to protect and manage unique rock art o a 00

sites.

HERITAGE

0 0

o Australia has many buildings which have cultural and social

CONSERVATION

0 o value for the community, ranging from early convict buildings to

0immigrant hostels and historic urban streetscapes. Their o preservation is particularly important in regional areas, where the o restoration of heritage properties encourages regional tourism and a sense of identity.

0 To encourage people to restore properties, the Government has : 0 helped owners of heritage listed buildings through taxation

o rebates for conservation work.

© The Government has also restored Commonwealth owned 0 0 heritage buildings, including the National Film and Sound o 0

Archive and Old Parliament House.

OTHER

0

o Creative Nation provides further opportunities for cultural REFORMS 0

a tourism, to enhance the business management skills of the 0 cultural industries and to identify new tourist markets for o O cultural products. G o G Q G

An electronic transmission right has been introduced to protect

io

THE .ARTS.

• copyright material in the new communications environment. This

followed on from a range of copyright reforms and the three major reforms announced by the Government in 1993 — including simplification of the Copyright Act. .

The new communications networks will link galleries, libraries, museums and archives around the country to organise, preserve and communicate the material they hold.

The Educational Lending Right, an extension of the existing Public Lending Right Scheme, supports the creators and publishers of books held in educational libraries.

The Federal Government constructed a purpose-built exhibition space for the National Gallery of Australia to house major exhibitions.

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P P T 9

R CIT TU

1

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TOPICS he Federal Labor Government is investing $1 billion in

B U ► L D I N G BETTER Australia's cities through the Better Cities Program. The C I T I E S 14 initial commitment of $816 million has helped

communities in 26 areas around Australia. A further $250

MAJOR PROGRAMS I N NEW SOUTH million has been allocated in the 1995-96 Budget.

WALES 14

• Better Cities has generated 60,000 jobs and raised an

VICTORIA 15 additional $3.7 billion worth of investment from the

WESTERN private sector and other levels of government.

AUSTRALIA 15

• The redevelopment of public housing has transformed once

O U E E N S LA N D 16 depressed areas into active communities.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 16 • Better Cities is helping the environment through projects TASMANIA 17 like the recycling of waste water and efficient drainage

THE TERRITORIES 1 7

systems.

• Better Cities has decontaminated major areas of

Government land for housing.

• Better Cities has been responsible for more improvements to Australia's rail public transport system than at any other time in the post-war period.

• Better Cities has revitalised areas in our major regional centres of Townsville, Mackay, Newcastle, Geelong, Launceston and Bunbury.

IFS'-'" ^ ^• k . ^'.`^tgi :'F ra ' ^A^ '.^y a

"S-.. ,t + r ;' 'm _i-..-3

- .. - a "` a rp t+a'^ a,.YY iJ2.. t'"X^,.--;^c. ^ ^m.3". u.

BETTER CITIES

C a

0 0

B U I L D I N G

0

o Better Cities has significant benefits for the wider economy

B E T T E R CITIES a between $1.5 million to $4 million for every $1 million of Better m 0 Cities expenditure.

G o The new Better Cities Program will provide $200 million for

o capital investments in developing and renewing key areas of our 0©amajor cities. Among them: 0• the major international economic gateways such as ports 0o and airports and the corridors connecting them to theiro 0CBDs; Oo • areas facing substantial pressure from increasingo population, particularly along the coastline;a • areas of high social and economic disadvantage, includingo some of the older, larger public housing estates and theo Careas around them.a $100 million of this capital will be invested in key rail-baseda 0C0urban corridors in Queensland.M A J 0 R0a In New South Wales, the Newcastle waterfront is now aPROGRAMS © vibrant inner city precinct and a centre of commercialI N NEW SOUTH 0o activity and employment. 300-500 jobs have been generatedWALES 0 C in the area and housing is a key feature of the redevelopment m 0of the old dockyards including the refurbishment of ® Wickham School for housing and the building of 15 aged care oCunits and release of the Carrington site for 93 residential o 0 dwellings.m O The Better Cities investment in Ultimo Pyrmont will o encourage an extra 12,000 to 14,000 residents move too the area and a potential workforce of 44,000. Light rail o C will link the area with the Sydney CBD and already ® approval has been granted for 68 units of public housing0 and 113 units of affordable housing has been built ora 0 approved. 0o e Western Sydney is linking up with the new direct passenger rail o service between Campbelltown and Parramatta. There is a newa bus rail interchange at Blacktown and improvements too 0 Parramatta station. m o An Advanced Technology Park, which is being built in Eveleigh,o 0 0 0 Gwill generate 5000-6000 new jobs in the area. 14

MAJOR

PROGRAMS

I N WESTERN

AUSTRALIA

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M A J 0 R - In Victoria, in the Dandenong corridor — the fastest growing

PROGRAMS : area in Melbourne — Better Cities has funded a new railway I N VICTORIA : station and the full electrification of the Cranbourne-Dandenong line.

In the Plenty corridor, the light rail will be extended from Bundoora to Mill Park and many of the older psychiatric institutions in the area are being replaced with care facilities better located in the community. The resulting available land will

be progressively developed for housing to accommodate 6000 people. Better Cities is also involved in funding the Technology Incubator at La Trobe University to stimulate industry

development in the area.

Better Cities has upgraded the Melbourne to Geelong rail line. The Dalgety Woolstores in Geelong are being converted to the sixth campus of Deakin University and the Norlane public

e housing estate has been redeveloped to include a mix of public and private development. The Food Research Institute at Werribee is generating jobs and stimulating local industry and exports out of the region.

In inner Melbourne, the Kensington Army Depot at Lynch's Bridge is being redeveloped for inner city housing. Flood mitigation work on the Maribyrnong River is underway and public housing is being renewed at Hotham Heights in North Melbourne. Better Cities has funded a new City Circle tram service providing free public transport around the Melbourne

•

CBD.

In Western Australia, Better Cities has completed the Stirling bus-rail interchange as part of the new metropolitan rail line to Joondalup.

In East Perth, energy efficient technology is being used to redevelop 120 hectares of disused industrial land to create a mixed use area close to the Central Business District.

In Bunbury, Better Cities is building a new sewerage treatment works, and removing old port, railway, fuel distribution facilities and a waste water treatment plant and replacing them with new housing including the redevelopment of public housing at Carey

Park.

In Fremantle, Better Cities is upgrading sewerage, building new

BETTER CITIES

O 0 0 0

o

4

housing and recycling grey water.

m In inner Perth, prime land on the Swan river is being 0 0 redeveloped, including the conservation of environmentally

o Cdegraded river wetlands; new housing is being built next to the a Subiaco railway station and an inner city transit system is being 0 0 developed using smaller, cleaner diesel buses. (The diesel buses

o 0meet stringent emission standards, which make them more a environmentally friendly than traditional diesel and natural gas

Co

fuelled buses.)

0 0 A number of innovative sewerage and wastewater projects in

a 0Western Australia are being funded under One Nation in o 0 0 O

association with Better Cities.

M A J 0 R

O o In Queensland, Better Cities is funding a 46 kilometre extension

PROGRAMS

0 o of the Brisbane to Gold Coast rail link from Beenleigh to Robina,

I N 0 .J E E N S LA N D o Oa region with a forecast population growth of 195 per cent o 0 between 1986 and 2000.

4 o The Inala to Ipswich corridor has been earmarked for major 0 o urban renewal including public housing redevelopment,

institutional reform at Wolston Park and Challinor and the upgrading of infrastructure for the future industrial development 0 o

0

and residential enhancement of Carole Park and Goodna.

0 o In inner Brisbane, sewerage, drainage and water supply o infrastructure improvements are being made in Fortitude Valley, o G

Newstead, Teneriffe and New Farm as well as housing

C

development on the riverfront. C o In South Townsville Better Cities is developing areas adjacent to 0 the CBD, and in Mackay, a program for urban renewal is o C c 0

underway.

M A J 0 R

0 0 o In South Australia, Better Cities is revitalising the

PROGRAMS

0 o Elizabeth-Munno Para -area in the north by funding a new I N SOUTH o stormwater system, public housing redevelopment, a bus-rail AU ST RA L I A o 0 interchange at Elizabeth Centre and parklands. o 0 In the south of Adelaide, Better Cities is investing in the o Noarlunga Centre as a focus for services and employment. To

o Adelaide's west, the Federal Government is cleaning up the o 0 Patawalonga estuary and upstream catchment, and developing o C C G

housing and open space by decontaminating the Horwood

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Bagshaw and Mile End sites. In the north, areas of Elizabeth have been transformed and the Virginia pipeline waste water irrigation project has begun.

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M A J 0 R : In Tasmania, in Launceston, the railyards are being redeveloped

PROGRAMS : for housing and other uses, involving the decontamination and I N TASMANIA redevelopment of the 16 hectare Inveresk site and the Elphin showgrounds.

In Hobart, urban consolidation is occurring in Glenorchy, heritage buildings are being restored in Sullivans Cove and a new inner city residential precinct is being created around Lefroy Street as well as a major mixed use redevelopment on the Wapping site where heritage buildings will be retained.

MAJOR

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PROGRAMS IN .

THE TERRITORIES :

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In Darwin, four petroleum storage facilities are being removed

from Frances Bay to Darwin Harbour freeing up an area in the inner city for housing and parkland. Work has begun on the development of the new deep water port at East Arm Peninsula.

And in North Canberra, we have completed a waste water recycling plant at Southwell Park and 99 medium density dwellings in the inner north suburbs.

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1 ^ M ,, O N ► JWi . ALT - / S TA °r ' E',L A TEOMMS ci

TOPICS

LAW & JUSTICE

H EALTH

EDUCATION

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

CHILD CARE

HOUSING

PENSIONS

YOUTH

THE ARTS

ENVIRONMENT

I NDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

I NDUSTRY

PROGRAMS

ENERGY

RESOURCES

TOURISM

TRANSPORT

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE 21

OPEN & ACCOUNTABLE FUNDING 22

ustralia's Federal system of government, with its divided

constitutional responsibilities, requires considerable ooperation between all governments to work in the national interest.

The Federal Labor Government has worked with State Governments on a wide range of reforms from health and social services to competition policy.

The establishment of a national competition policy is a major achievement in Commonwealth/State relations delivering huge benefits to business and consumers.

Under the policy, all governments agree that Australia is one market, with one set of laws for all business activity. Agreed guidelines on pricing, the right of business to pay for access to costly essential services, and the rewriting of anti-competitive laws and regulations, are significant economic reforms.

Economic reform is also being introduced in sectors like gas and electricity, previously regarded as the sole responsibility of States.

Through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), State governments are cooperating with the Federal Government to establish competitive electricity market in south-eastern Australia. This involves linking the electricity markets of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

28

• The Federal Government provides the States with 42 per

cent of their total revenue — an increase in real terms of 29 ten per cent since 1983.

29

have been dramatic increases in payments i • in specific

29 areas. Federal Government funding to the States for social security and welfare has risen by 500 per cent; health is up by 120 per cent and housing and community amenities by 130 per cent.

COMMONWEALTH/ STATE FINANCES 20

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• Financial assistance grants to the States are now tied to

rises in inflation and population growth.

• Federal Government competition payments to the States (conditional on the implementation of national competition policy) will total $5.8 billion over the next eight years.

• Governments are working together to streamline and simplify the justice system, creating uniform laws on national issues. They are also working together in other important areas including health, education, child care, housing, youth, the environment, industry and transport.

COMMONWEALTH / : The Federal Government currently provides State Governments STATE FINANCES : with 42 per cent of their revenue and over the years has increased the real level of funding.

Since 1983, payments from the Federal Government to the States have increased in real terms by 10 per cent.

Health specific purpose payments (SPPs) are 120 per cent higher.

Social security and welfare SPPs are 500 per cent higher.

Housing and community amenities SPPs are 130 per cent higher.

In-1995, the Federal Government extended greater revenue • certainty to the States.

• The Federal Government has agreed to provide the States with a rolling three year real per capita guarantee on financial assistance grants, a major source of funding. This guarantee means that

• payments will be increased in line with inflation and will also be • increased in line with population growth. • The per capita payment is worth more than $1 billion to the

States by 2001, and almost $2.2 billion by 2005.

The Federal Government has also agreed to provide the States with a series of competition payments. These payments are conditional on the States implementing the national competition policy agreed in April 1995.

Over. the period from 1997-98 to 2005-06 the competition payments are expected to total around $5.3 billion.

. SPPs for the States are expected to be around $1.9 billion higher in 1998-99 than in 1994-95. The cumulative funding increase in

•

this period is estimated to be around $5.4 billion.

COMMONWEALTH/STATE RELATIONS_

9

o This extra funding is being provided at a time when the States

are in their best fiscal position for more than 30 years and when the Commonwealth is significantly tightening fiscal policy.

a

S P E C I A L o The Federal Government has frequently responded to requests A S S I S TA N C E a

0

for special assistance from all States and the Northern Territory.

© We have also provided significant assistance to a number of

0 States (Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern o Territory) through the waiving of debt owed to the o O

Commonwealth.

The Federal Government oversaw the transition of the Australian Capital Territory to self-government in 1989.

At the time of self-government, the Commonwealth guaranteed © a that funding for the ACT would be maintained in real terms for o O

the three years beginning 1988-89.

The ACT also received transitional funding to assist in its move to State-like funding levels. The level of transitional funding has ® been determined by the independent Commonwealth Grants Commission.

o _

In addition, the ACT has received special revenue assistance for

o the past four years, including an amount of $15 million in 1995-96.

The ACT did not assume any debts associated with the ® substantial assets it received upon self-government except for some debt on its public trading enterprises.

As well, the Federal Government has provided major assistance

4packages to South Australia and Tasmania to assist in economic © 0 restructuring.

0 o Tasmania received a $40 million capital grant in 1989-90 and an

increase in its global borrowing limit to get the budget back to a • 0 0sustainable base. c 0OIn April 1993, a special assistance package worth $600 million o was approved for South Australia to ease the financial burden® m caused by the `bail-out' of the State Bank of South Australia.o The Commonwealth has also provided a series of one-offpayments to States which have privatised banks or insurance 0o.G000companies. 2 1..

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OPEN & o The Federal Government has set up the National Fiscal Outlook, ACCOUNTABLE : an annual publication assessing the medium term fiscal outlook F U N D I N G ; of all governments. It helps governments and the public

understand budgetary pressures, and provides a sound basis for Commonwealth decisions at the annual Premiers' Conference.

In 1992 and 1993, there was major reform of the Loan Council arrangements requiring a much higher level of disclosure in government financing arrangements. These more transparent arrangements impose a higher level of discipline on governments so that their financing operations can be scrutinised by both the

:° public and the financial markets.

• • LAW & JUSTICE Since Federation, a confusing patchwork of conflicting criminal and civil laws has been created in Australia increasing administrative costs and inequalities across state boundaries.

The Federal Government is working with the States through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General to streamline laws and • regulations, and to create uniform laws on important national issues.

• e

There has been agreement on the development of a model criminal code.

The first steps to uniform laws of evidence have been taken, with the Commonwealth's new Evidence Act as the model.

National competition policy is being introduced in the legal profession.

There has been enactment of new complementary Commonwealth, State and Territory censorship legislation.

A classification scheme has been extended to computer games.

The Commonwealth and the States have agreed to legislate to deal with the circulation of banned or restricted material in the

• Internet:

There has been national agreement on international transfer of prisoners and work is being done on uniform defamation laws.

Female genital mutilation is to be outlawed in all jurisdictions.

Reforms are to be made to joint and several liability laws to

o alleviate the impact of unfair compensation claims on professionals..

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' A joint working party is preparing uniform gun laws, including . licensing, mail order sales, registration and sale.

The Federal Government has launched Safer Australia, with funding for local crime prevention programs run by a board with state crime prevention experts and State and local government representatives. The Federal and State Governments have cooperated in reviews of the efficiency of the Legal Aid

Commission.

HEALTH ; The Federal Government has worked consistently to improve funding of public hospitals, which has long been a source of Commonwealth/State tension. Funding issues include the extra pressure put on the public hospital system by the decline in private health insurance, state budgetary cuts to hospital funding,

and cost shifting by the States to the Commonwealth and private funds through the closure and privatisation of outpatient services.

• In June 1995, Health Ministers agreed to a new approach, emphasising the outputs of the public hospital system in terms of improved patient care. In future, Commonwealth funds will be tied to the achievement of agreed targets for inpatient and

outpatient activity and agreed waiting times for elective surgery and emergency treatment. The location of a service — in a hospital or in the community — will be decided on the basis of the best outcome for the patient. Funding arrangements will be

adjusted appropriately.

We have worked hard with the States to deliver health services • which meet individual patient needs. For example, we have integrated the Repatriation Hospitals with the state public hospital systems in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, so that

veterans continue to use the Repatriation Hospitals and also gain access to other hospital services, often closer to where they live.

• Through the Council of Australian Governments, in April 1995, agreement was reached to major long-term reforms of health and community services.

• The Federal Government. is also upgrading the Home and Community Care Program. Supporting frail and disabled people in their homes is a key priority. Ministers from all governments have now agreed to a package of reforms which will result in better outcomes for this group and streamline the relationship

between Commonwealth and State administrators.

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M'MO.NWEALTH/S,TATE RELATIONS

E D U C.A T I O . N The Government has spearheaded the move to a national system

of vocational education. It has put an extra $70 million a year into the national effort. Following agreement with the States in .1992, we set up the Australian National Training Authority, ANTA, to advise all governments on reforms they should make

towards national standards.

. As a condition of Commonwealth funding, all governments now make an annual evaluation of national and state training needs and prepare Training Profiles in consultation with industry and training bodies. ANTA evaluates the profiles before distributing Commonwealth funds, and then requires verification from the States.

The Federal Government supplements state funding for schools with Specific Purpose Grants. National schools issues are considered by a Ministerial Council, which produces an Annual National Report on Schooling. In recent years we have worked : cooperatively with the States to improve the education of

indigenous Australians, to raise the literacy levels of Australian school children, and to make sure that all schools have access to new information technology.

As part of the 1995 Australia Remembers, education kits were sent to every primary and secondary school in Australia. Youth Forums were also conducted in each State helping young

Australians understand the events surrounding World War II.

Since the Federal Government took financial responsibility for higher education in 1974, funding and the number of student places have increased. Since 1993, Commonwealth grants have been paid directly to higher education institutions. The Federal Government helps set higher education policy, objectives, priorities and overall funding levels. Joint planning committees and task forces make sure State needs and strategies are taken into account when national priorities and national policy are being decided.

A B O R I G I N A L 0 The Federal Government has led the way in tackling the severe A F F A I R S disadvantages suffered by Australia's indigenous people.

With the help of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) the Government coordinates the delivery of new programs and services to ATSI people.

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COMMONWEALTH/STATE RELATIONS

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Bilateral agreements with the States are being developed to make

sure that programs actually achieve what they are designed to do. ® At the Council of Australian- Governments meeting in December 1992, all governments signed up to a National Commitment to

deliver better services. We are working with the States to develop a set of benchmarks to measure the performance of the services ® we deliver.

For example, the first bilateral housing agreement, between the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory, was signed on 30 June 1995. Interim Indigenous Housing Authorities are being established in South Australia, Western Australia and New South ® . Wales.

We have restructured the Ministerial Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. MCATSIA will review the progress each year in services and program delivery.

CHILD CARE ® The Federal Government has increased the number of child care places throughout Australia. It has successfully negotiated National Child Care strategy agreements with State Govern-: ments for joint funding of new community based child care

services.

More than 55,000 child care places have been established under the national strategy since 1988, with another 23,000 to come.

® We are working with state and community representatives on the National Child Prevention Council to implement a national strategy against child abuse and neglect. This includes a

® community education campaign, research projects and national plans of action to prevent child abuse.

HOUSING ; The $816 million Better'Cities program is a continuing example of cooperation across the three tiers of government. It has changed the way planning and development work is carried out in urban areas.

® The Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement provides over $1 billion annually to the States for public housing and home purchase assistance. The CSHA is currently being revamped by ® Commonwealth and State Housing Ministers to make it more

performance-based. The new Agreement is due to commence in July 1996.

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GrO;lvtYlv,C'O N WEA-LTH /STATE RELATIONS

PENSIONS • In 1993, the Minister for Social Security reached agreement with

the States on Commonwealth funding for pensioner concessions. : All pensioners now have access to both Commonwealth and State concessions on essential services.

Because of the Commonwealth's offer to share the cost of •providing state concessions, State Governments agreed to extend e their concessions on energy, municipal and water rates, motor vehicle and public transport costs to all Commonwealth Pension

Concession Card holders. It was a breakthrough for pensioners.

YOUTH : The Federal Government has negotiated the Youth Protocol, a

: major agreement to give young homeless people across all States a better deal.

From January 1995, the Youth Protocol has provided improved • coordination of protective care, support services and income : support to young people. Under the Youth Protocol, homeless young people who seek income support from the Commonwealth

are referred to State and Territory welfare departments for assessment and support.

The Youth Protocol targets three groups of young homeless people at highest risk — those aged under 15; those in the legal care of a State or Territory; or those under 18 years and at risk of violence or sexual abuse. Most of the young people being helped are under 15 years of age.

THE ARTS . % The Federal Government is bringing the arts to all Australians, whether they live in the large capital cities or remote rural areas.

Since 1993, performing arts and exhibition touring programs have been extended to all States and Territories. Our new : Festivals Australia program brings a wide range of cultural • experiences to regional centres.

• In partnership with State governments, national cultural institutions are being established outside Canberra, including the National Academy of Music in Melbourne and the National Institute of Indigenous Performing Arts in Queensland.

Through the Cultural Ministers' Council, the Commonwealth is working with State and Territory governments on a range of conservation projects. We are also working together to make sure

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that our cultural heritage is not simply available to academic

elites. We have set up programs to give multicultural and indigenous people access to Australian archival material; we are encouraging libraries to use the superhighway to extend library audiences and we have set up pilot programs with the States to

.

foster the marketing and export of Australian culture.

E N V I R O N M E N T The Federal Government has always taken the lead on national environmental issues, even though this has sometimes resulted in conflict with State Governments. It recognises that in the long run successful protection of the environment is best achieved through cooperation.

The Federal Government was instrumental in negotiating the InterGovernmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE), signed in 1991. It establishes a set of principles and a cooperative framework for action on environmental issues.

It also establishes the National Environment Protection Council, a Commonwealth-State body dealing with matters such as national standards for air and water quality. The Commonwealth : and all States (except WA and Tasmania) have now passed

legislation establishing this Council . and are working to establish • national environmental protection measures.

• The protection of Australia's forest heritage is another issue : involving both Commonwealth and State governments. All governments have signed the National Forests Policy Statement. The Federal Government is working with the States to clearly

define areas to be reserved and to ensure the ecologically sustainable management of the areas outside reserved forests. A Wood and Paper Industries Strategy is being developed to encourage investment in downstream processing. The Prime

Minister has made it clear that the Commonwealth will use its export control powers to achieve significant progress from the States.

I N D U S T R I A L The Federal Government is moving the Commonwealth and State

R E L AT 1 0 N S : industrial relations systems closer together, cutting red tape and lowering the level of industrial disputes.

• For example there has been agreement with New South Wales and Queensland to integrate the Coal Industry Tribunal into the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. As well, Queensland

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COMMONWEALTH/STATE RELATIONS

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: agreed to pass legislation mirroring the Commonwealth's

Industrial Relations Reform Act, providing the same industrial relations system at both the State and Commonwealth level.

These moves build on earlier reforms allowing members of : industrial tribunals to work in both Federal and State jurisdictions. The tribunals are co-located in Queensland and South Australia and in some parts of Western Australia.

I N D U S T RY : The Government has set up several innovative partnerships with PROGRAMS : the States to make it easier for business to get assistance.

AusIndustry is a single gateway to over 500 Commonwealth,

o State and Territory business assistance programs. At this one stop shop firms can get three levels of service — information, advice . and referral and one-to-one client management.

Austrade works with all States to increase foreign investment by promoting Australia as an attractive investment location and by helping get projects underway. This includes the coordination of government approvals processes. Under one joint funding : program, companies can get help to verify the feasibility of new

investment and their export marketing strategy.

We have also set up the very successful Regional Headquarters program, which attracts the headquarters of foreign companies to Australian states.

E N E R G Y : Though the Council of Australian Governments, key structural reforms in the electricity, gas and water sectors have been made which will deliver benefits to consumers and industry.

The natural gas grid has been expanded, gas prices reduced , services have been upgraded and greenhouse gas emissions are : being reduced. Gas consumers and producers in every State and • Territory will be able to buy or sell gas on normal commercial

: terms. COAG has recently re-affirmed that free and fair trade in

m

gas throughout Australia will be established by 1 July 1996.

Similarly with electricity, reforms have already seen the start of a competitive electricity market in eastern Australia. A key : component will be an independent national grid through which competitive generators, distributors and consumers of electricity

can trade. Electricity industry reform offers the prospect of o 0

greater efficiency and industry competitiveness, lower electricity

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COMMONWEALTH/STATE RELATION

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m prices, greater customer- choice and improved domestic and

. international performance for consumer industries.

R E S O U R C E S o The Federal Labor Government is working with the States to ® develop mineral resources.

o For example the Commonwealth, Queensland and Northern ® Territory Governments have jointly participated in an infrastructure study group which included all the major mineral companies operating in the Carpentaria-Mt Isa mineral province.

This region, straddling Queensland and the Northern Territory, will earn up to $30 billion in export income for Australia over a ® 10 to 20 year period. The cooperative study is accelerating ® developments in the region by assessing and providing regional

infrastructure requirements including energy and water supply,

. transport and port infrastructure needs.

m A similar joint study with the West Australian Government is o planned for the Northern Goldfields region of Western Australia

. m

to develop major gold and nickel resources.

TOURISM We have moved with the States to set up Partnership Australia

• ® a major effort to coordinate the tourism marketing efforts of • m Australia overseas.

® The Partnership eliminates the costly duplication of services between the Australian Tourism Commission and the. m States and Territories , giving the best value for our marketing dollar.

Partnership Australia initiatives in 1994/95 totalled just over $29 million. A spin-off of this arrangement has been the increased cooperative funding by the industry itself.

In 1994-95 the industry contributed $11.3 million, the States and m Territories contributed $9.8 million while the ATC's contribution ® was $8.1 million.

TRANSPORT o Australia's national transport systems are being integrated. This

:: includes a national regulatory and charging regime for road transport, new national federal road funding arrangements and a national rail freight system —the National Rail Corporation.

Under One Nation, announced by the Prime Minister in 1992,

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$450 million has been allocated for strategic investment in the

national rail network including the completion of the

standardisation of the main rail line between Melbourne and

• Adelaide.

The Commonwealth, States and Territories have also legislated to substantially improve compensation levels for passengers involved in air accidents.

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TOPICS

ustralia is poised to capitalise on the communications

BROADCASTING 32 revolution. The Federal Labor Government is

T E L E C O MM U N I- establishing the right regulatory environment for the

CATIONS 32 widest access to the new services. We are working to extend these services not only to business users, but to schools, universities, POSTAL REFORM 34

community centres, hospitals, libraries and galleries, so that all

NETWORKED Australians benefit from the communications revolution. SYSTEMS 35

• Australia is taking advantage of sweeping changes in the

I NFORMATION S E RV I C E S 35 communications sector through involvement at every level

in new technological development.

• Radio, television and Pay TV services are expanding rapidly and funding has been increased for community broadcasting.

• Telecommunications has been opened up to competition with lower costs and improved services for consumers. In 1993/94, the cost of international calls fell by 9 per cent and the price of domestic long distance calls dropped by 6 per cent.

• The local telecommunications equipment industry has annual sales of $4 billion — exports are expected to exceed $1 billion in 1995.

COMMUNICATIONS

BROADCASTING

TELECOMM-UNICATIONS

9 G 0

Broadcasting services are being diversified with the introduction 0 0 of new Pay TV services and the extension of national radio and O o television services.

O o Pay TV services started early in 1995. There are now more than

© 1000 licences allocated for microwave and cable services, and 10 0 © licences for satellite services. Rules have been introduced

o preventing major sporting events from being lost from free to air 0 television viewers. 0ao The Government will review the television broadcasting industry 0before 1997 to consider whether Australia needs a fourtho commercial broadcasting network and options for use of theo remaining free-to-air channel. The Government has confirmedthe national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, as Australia'spremier cultural institutions and guaranteed funding for them ino real terms for three years until 1997.o Since 1992, the Federal Government has invested $55.5 million0 extending ABC and SBS television and radio services to 132 a o country towns and regional areas. It has extended the ABC youtho network, Triple J to a further 19 regions, adding over two0 million potential listeners. Triple J goes to a further 25 regionso during 1995-96. By then another 3.7 million listeners will have Co the opportunity to hear Triple J. 0o The Federal Government has extended SBS radio to all capital0 cities and SBS Television to Darwin, Spencer Gulf North, North Go East Tasmania, Cairns and Townsville reaching an additional 1.1 Go million viewers. Another half a million viewers will soon be 0 added in the Wide Bay region in Queensland and 0o Richmond/Tweed regions in northern New South Wales.0o There has been a steady increase in the number of commercial Co radio and television services including a second commercial® service in Tasmania and services aimed at niche markets. For 0o community broadcasters, grants to the Community Broadcastingo Foundation have been increased by 32 per cent.C V 0 C o The more competitive market which has followed the end of 0 Telecom's monopoly has meant innovation and lower prices ina telecommunications. Competition has improved the quality of C o telephone services, resulting in a wide range of new consumer p and business products, and leading to reductions in the price of Co phone calls.0 2

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In a report to Government, Access Economics estimates savings to consumers from discounts and other price reductions offered by Telstra alone have been $450-$500 million a year. These savings arise from the significant cuts in call costs and charges.

In 1993-94 for example:

• international call charges dropped 9 per cent;

• the cost of domestic long distance calls was down by 6 per ® cent; . • mobile charges were down 7 per cent.

The telecommunications industry is now revitalised and poised for significant sustained growth. Already the Australian economy is reaping the benefits — the industry made purchases of Australian goods and services worth more than $3 billion in 1993-94. The local telecommunications equipment industry now has annual

sales of $4 billion. Exports by the telecommunications equipment industry in 1994 exceeded $850 million, an increase of 45 per cent over 1993, and are expected to exceed $1 billion in 1995.

On 1 August 1995, changes to the telecommunications industry were announced to take effect from 1 July 1997. The new policy framework involves far reaching changes which will benefit Australians and Australia's industries. It will guarantee a world-® class telecommunications infrastructure system. At the heart of

the reforms contained in the new framework are full and open competition. Australians are provided with up to date services at the most competitive prices:

• there will be a more onerous price caps regime placed on Telstra which requires that:

— local phone call charges to be kept at or below the current charge of 25 cents until 1999;

— the price of other residential services must decline in real terms by at least 1 per cent a year;

— public payphone prices will not be allowed to increase before 1999;

— overall prices for a basket of telecommunications services must fall in real terms by 7.5 per cent a year;

• • the retention of the universal service commitment is retained so that Australians living in rural and remote areas continue to have access to the basic telephone service.

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COMMUNICATIONS

00Oo Consideration will also be given to upgrading the 0O commitment to include additional services such as facsimileo Oand low speed data transmission; Oo • Government programs continue to help people with special Oo needs, for example Teletypewriter Relay Service (TTY) foro people with hearing disabilities. As well, the Governmento Owill continue to explore ways, such as InContact, for o Oincreasing access for low income earners; Oo • all carriers must continue to offer residential customerso untimed local phone calls within existing local call 0oOboundaries; Oo • there is a seamless, open-access regime so that Australians Oo can call any other user of the public telecommunicationso network irrespective of which carrier is providing the Oo services; 00 • all carriers provide privacy protection arrangements.a OThe Federal Government is committed to keeping Telstra in full o OOOpublic ownership. OOPOSTAL REFORM o Australia Post is being opened up to competition too — while O a making sure that Australia Post always provides a universal letter 0 0 O service at a uniform price. C0 0 The benefits are clear. The price of a normal postage stamp is o down in real terms - and Australia Post has promised to keep it O o O at 45 cents until 1997. O o The corporatisation of Australia Post in 1989 has seen a loss 0O turned into a profit, better quality services and the expansion of o O its retail network to meet customer needs. Oo O Australia Post has opened 95 new Business Centres and 43 licensed o Post Offices in metropolitan and rural Australia. Now some 54 per 00 cent of its retail outlets service rural and remote Australia. O 0O Service standards to rural and remote areas are being maintained. o O To ensure that Australia Post maintains its community service 0 obligations, the first three-yearly Parliamentary review isunderway, by the House of Representatives Committee ono O Transport, Communications and Infrastructure. The Committee o has visited people in rural, and remote areas in the Northern 0 O Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Southo O O Australia and Western Australia as part of the review. O 34

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N E TWO R K E D : Australians are enthusiastic about the new communications

S Y S T E M S : systems. Already 500,000 Australians have access to the Internet. They join some 20 to 30 million people globally in more than 50 countries. Estimates of growth are a huge 15 per cent a month — about 2500 more Australians with access each day.

The National Secretariat of the Australian Labor Party now has a Home Page on the Internet which provides Internet users with access to information about the ALP organisation, history and achievements, policy and resources, and news and information. The ALP's address is http://www.alp.org.au .

The Federal Government recognises that there is enormous potential for Australian producers to provide the creative content of the new services, putting an Australian stamp on the new technology.

: Open access to broadband cable (cable capable of carrying information at a sufficiently high rate to enable advanced : communications services to be offered) is crucial to the diversification and development of Australian content.

Broadband services are subject to access provisions by law, giving : a clear signal to the world that our new services are open to competition to promote diversity and Australian content.

I N F O R M AT I O N : The Federal Government has established a national strategy to S E RV I C E S ; introduce new information and community services to Australia, including a National Information Services Council to represent community views on the development of new services.

The linking of all Australians through Australia's 1400 public libraries to create a national information network was a major Creative Nation initiative. The Commonwealth will work with State and local Governments to allow all Australians to have greater access to information.

The new networks are about making Australian business more efficient through electronic commerce, increasing job opportunities, increasing opportunities for people all over

Australia to communicate more effectively, and developing • • Australian content.

The potential demand for content in the new multimedia environment also means international opportunities for • Australian content industries including film, music,

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literature and visual arts.

Creating Australian content will enable us to build Australian culture and enhance our international competitiveness through new export opportunities.

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TOPICS

CUTTING MONOPOLY POWER & PROFITS 38

STRI KING A BALANCE 38

THE COMPETITION POLICY REFORM AGENDA 39

THE AGREEMENTS 40

LOCAL GOVERNMENT 42

THE ROAD TO REFORM 43

S

ince 1983, the Federal Labor Government has transformed a complacent Australian economy — an economy which relied on commodity exports, politically determined tariff walls and a fixed exchange rate. The dollar was floated, the financial system was modernised, unfair and rort-driven tax laws were reformed and sustainable jobs were created in world-class competitive industries.

More Australians now have jobs than ever before — almost 2 million jobs have been created since 1983.

The economy is more robust, Australia is able to compete in the international arena and is less vulnerable to the whims of world scarcities, exchange rates and price shocks.

The economy is more sophisticated — manufacturing technologically advanced goods which compete with the best in the world. We are now almost 40 per cent more competitive than we were a decade ago, and our exports are growing faster each year than the rest of the world. We are taking advantage of the growing demand for our goods and services, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

The modernisation process is not over. The rest of the world is not standing still, and neither can we.

The national competition agenda is the latest step in the transformation of Australia's economy.

If we are to achieve the Prime Minister's target — to lower unemployment to around 5 per cent by the turn of the century -we cannot stand still. We must lower the costs of production, we must use our resources more efficiently, and we must produce more of what the world needs.

Competition is the key.

• The national competition policy is based on the 1993

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report by Professor Fred Hilmer following a comprehensive

inquiry. It removes the power of monopolies, gives consumers a better deal and delivers more jobs and better living standards.

• Competition reforms must embrace social welfare and equity issues; they must be economically sustainable; they cannot override awards and existing conditions and they must be in the interests of consumers.

Lazy, protected monopolies have no place in the Australian economy. They are• bad for efficiency and they are bad for consumers and workers who must pay inflated prices and endure poor service.

By exposing monopoly firms to competition, unjustified monopoly profits will be cut — protected fat cats cannot be allowed to prosper at the expense of ordinary Australians.

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STRIKING A o The Federal Labor Government has never accepted the notion of 0 BALANCE o competition for competition's sake. Competition is justified

0 Gwhere it delivers lower prices, more jobs, and higher living o standards. But competition cannot be justified if, for example, it o threatens public safety or breaches laws.

o In the Competition Policy Agreement, competition reform has 0 c been explicitly ruled out as a rationale for privatisation. The o GFederal Government has introduced competition into Telecom o and Australia Post without selling them off — and there have 0 G been enormous price gains for consumers. Some States are selling 0 Goff their electricity assets — others are not.

o The Federal Government's approach is not to slash and burn. It o seeks to balance the need for greater competition with the need 0 m to protect the interests of working Australians. The States agreed o C to participate in our reforms because, irrespective of their o political persuasions, they knew it was the right thing to do.

• © The Competition Principles Agreement signed by the

o G Commonwealth and the States spells out matters governments o must take into account. These include:

o • social welfare and equity — competition reforms must lead 0 o 0 to better price structures for consumers; C a C

• ecologically sustainable development — to ensure that a

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COMPETITION POLICY

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® particular reform does not harm the environment;

• industrial relations — competition reforms cannot override awards and legal safety nets;

• occupational health and safety — for example, a competing © firm cannot have access to a railway line if it is going to run unsafe trains;

o • regional development — governments must bear in mind the effect of reform on regional economies;

• the interests of consumers — it is pointless to introduce a competition reform if business captures all the benefits. Lower prices and better services for consumers are what

C competition policy is about.

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THE COMPETITION The national competition agenda, agreed between the Common-P O L I C Y REFORM 0 wealth and State Governments, is based on the 1993 report by AGENDA 0 Professor Fred Hilmer. It is the result of a comprehensive inquiry

established by the Federal Government in October 1992.

The policy consists of two parts.

• The Competition Policy Reform Bill extends the Trade Practices Act to all business conduct in Australia — to State Government businesses, to sole traders and to O m the professions. For the first time there will be one

set of business rules in Australia, creating investment o certainty. Price fixing and collusion will be illegal in all m States.

The Bill establishes two new national competition bodies, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission o (formed from a merger of the Trades Practices Commission and the Prices Surveillance Authority) and a new advisory

policy body, the National Competition Council. It also establishes new access and pricing arrangements. The Competition Policy Reform Bill had a start-up date of July 1, 1995. Complimentary legislation will be passed by ® the States extending the Trade Practices Act to their

jurisdictions. We are consulting with the States on appointments to the new competition bodies. At least one of the commissioners of the Australian Competition and

Consumer Commission will be required to have experience in consumer protection.

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o • Two Intergovernmental Agreements, the Competition

0

Principles Agreement and the Conduct Code Agreement C o have been tabled in Parliament and signed by the Prime

© Minister and all the Premiers. They will drive reform in economic activities which cannot be reached by the Trade Practices Act. G 0 O

T H E o The Agreements are crucial to competition reform. They cover a

AGREEMENTS m wide range of government activities which have grown up since c o Federation, and which have added to consumer and business o Gcosts. o They include:

0 • a commitment by governments to review regulations which o restrict competition. Telecommunications and aviation 0 o prices have fallen markedly since competition was

m 0introduced (around 20% in both cases), and there are many other opportunities to reduce consumer prices. For C example, in Western Australia the Potato Marketing Board

0 0has a list of regulations about the way potatoes should be o G grown and packaged. The regulations effectively bar

© potatoes from other States, and allow the Board to charge

Can inflated price for potatoes. If the restrictive regulations o were thrown out, the prices for consumers would fall by about 22 per cent. This would mean a saving of about

Co

$2.85 on a bag of washed potatoes in Perth; 0 • a commitment by governments to undertake a review O o process if they decide to privatise a public monopoly or

a introduce competition into a monopoly sector. We are

o determined not to repeat the mistakes made in Britain, o 0where monopolies simply transferred from public to private 0 ownership. The new private utilities often exploited their monopoly status with price hikes for consumers and large

salary packages for those at the top. Our review process will ensure that governments examine ways of splitting up • monopolies into their competitive parts, to prevent windfall o Cgains to business at the expense of consumers; G o • a system which will allow third parties to negotiate access

o to essential facilities. Large gains to the economy will come 0 0 from the new legal right of access. It is wasteful for

o Australia to duplicate large infrastructure projects like gas o GG00 pipelines, electricity grids and railway lines if the existing

40

I

COMPETITION POLICY

..

structure is not fully used. Under competition policy, private transport companies will compete to put their rolling stock on public rail lines, leading to price drops in

the cost of bulk freight. Power companies will sell across State borders, putting downward pressure on electricity prices. Electricity reform is worth around $2 billion a year. Potential competitors will be guaranteed access at a fair price, and the rights of the facility owner, public or private, will be properly protected;

• a prices oversight regime covering State and Territory : government business enterprises. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will continue to watch the pricing practices of the private sector to make

sure consumers are not exploited. In the past, the prices of : most State Government firms have been immune from : scrutiny — even though the price of electricity, gas, water and rail fares has a large impact on household budgets and

business costs. For the first time all government firms will be compelled to justify their prices to a pricing tribunal, whether it be their own state body or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission;

: • a commitment by governments to ensure no unfair advantages between government and private enterprises when they compete. Increasingly, governments are competing with the private sector to provide a wide range o of services — from road building and laundry services, to

publishing and mail delivery. It is not fair or efficient for government businesses to undercut their private competitors because they don't pay tax or are able to avoid obeying some regulations. In the future, governments will include all their costs when putting up a tender against a : private competitor.

But it is not fair or efficient for the public sector to be constrained either. In drawing up their costs, governments will need to take into account their special obligations — such as

those imposed by industrial laws and policies and freedom of o information laws. . What won't the new arrangements do?

• The new arrangements will not force any government to privatise a government business enterprise, or introduce competition to a restricted sector (including contracting out).

1 41 H

COMPETIT

a Q

o • They do not force or encourage governments to lower

safety, environmental or health standards. In fact, they

o require all governments to assess the public interest in

o reform proposals.

00

• They do not encourage governments to abandon or reduce

community service obligations. Competition has been introduced into Australia Post while maintaining the ® community service obligation of universal mail delivery at a

o standard letter rate — and the price of a stamp is down in real terms. Under the new competition reforms, community 0 © service obligations will become more transparent. If a

government monopoly is privatised, the community service obligation may be delivered by other means — it may be o made a condition of sale, or the government may pay the O o new owner an annual fee to continue delivery. For example,

0 part of the price paid by Optus for entering the telephone o market is a contribution to Telecom's universal phone O service.

o The competition policy reform package is not a device for reducing the wages and conditions of public sector ® employees. Erosion of wages and conditions do not constitute "benefits" in the Competition Principles o Agreement. 0a

• The competition principles will have limited relevance to

o many public sector organisations. Because the competition a principles only apply to significant business activities,

0 government schools and hospitals will rarely be affected. 0C

LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

Local government is established by State legislation, and o individual local government authorities are not signatories to the o competition agreements. However, the Australian Local Government Association is a member of the Council of

Australian Governments, and was involved in the drafting of the o legislation and agreements.

© The Competition Principles Agreement applies these principles to 0 local government and this is the responsibility of the State Governments.

Each State Government is to consult local government and a prepare a policy statement by June 1996 on the application of

o those principles to particular local government activities and functions.

42-

COMPETITION POLICY

F 0 0

THE ROAD TO

a

REFORM 0

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Economic reform involves transitional costs as well as long-term

benefits. But in the end the benefits for all Australians far

outweigh the short term costs.

However, it is unfair to expose some industries to reform, like the

metals and other manufacturing industries, while allowing others

to be protected.

Private sector workers bore the brunt of the costs of tariff

reduction. The public sector is being exposed to the new forces

for reform. Competition policy means that government firms

must perform more effectively or their services will be performed

by a more productive competitor.

The Federal Government wants the public sector to succeed and

be competitive. If we want better living standards and more jobs

for Australians we must bring reform to every part of the

economy — the public sector included.

Reducing tariffs led to job losses in some over-protected

industries, but the result is a host of new exporting industries,

and almost 2 million more jobs.

Economic reform may mean some jobs go, but many more are

created. Opening Telecom to competition meant initial job losses,

but thousands of jobs have been created by Optus, Vodaphone

and the telecommunications service providers such as AAP.

Telecommunications firms, including the major carriers, have

announced new investment projects totalling more than $20

billion.

At the same time, working families have been big winners from

the lower prices competition has brought. In telecommunications,

competition has delivered better services, new products and

cheaper prices. As soon as Optus entered the market, long

distance rates dropped — for example STD peak rates between

Melbourne and Sydney went down by 21 per cent.

Aviation reform brought air travel within the reach of ordinary

families for the first time. Since deregulation in 1990, average

airfares have fallen significantly (around 25%) on virtually all

routes, and the range of discount fares has greatly increased. The

community has saved around $100 million a year.

1 43 '-`I

COMPETITION POLICY

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44

CQNWUf AJ:E;Atft$

TOPICS he Federal Labor Government has campaigned vigorously

CONSUMERS AND for basic consumer rights — fairness, access to

F I N A N C IA L information, safety, honesty and quality. It has provided

PROBLEMS 46 effective and affordable remedies for victims of unfair trade PRODUCT SAFETY & practices and unsafe goods.

STANDARDS 46

The new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will

EDUCATION 47 act quickly to investigate emerging consumer problems, CONSUMERS AND THE particularly in areas which impact significantly on household ENVIRONMENT 47 budgets.

CONSUMER Access to justice has been improved through legal assistance to PROTECTION O B L I GAT I O N S 4,8

consumers in dispute with large corporations.

CONSUMER GROUPS 48 • The Government has helped set up free and independent tribunals to resolve disputes with banks, insurance companies and financial planners. The schemes are run • along the same lines as the Small Claims Tribunals. They

can award compensation to consumers of more than $50,000.

• Legislation to allow consumers to band together in a class action has been passed — a significant saving on legal costs.

• The Government has established a Superannuation Complaints Tribunal to investigate consumer problems with superannuation.

• A General Insurance Code of Conduct has been developed and so has a Code of Conduct for the life insurance industry.

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CONSUMER AFFAIRS

C C 0

G

CONSUMERS AND

. 0

o Since 1993, the Federal Government has developed a package of

F I N A N C I A L o measures to stop consumers getting into a financial crisis — and P R O B L E M S 0 o to help over-committed consumers get on their feet again.

G o

0

Among them:

C © • the allocation of more than $1 million a year for financial

a 0

counselling services;

• the introduction of a Code of Banking Practice which o Grequires lending institutions to clearly spell out the interest 0 rates and charges of the services and products they sell; C o • an investigation by the Prices Surveillance Authority into

o bank fees and charges and EFTPOS fees; • cooperation with the States to develop uniform national 0 0 credit laws enshrining fundamental rights and remedies in o all credit transactions.

© The Federal Government has provided $300,000 to the C o Australian Consumers' Association to establish a Comparative

Financial Information Service to help consumers select the retail o financial service which best meets their needs. G ® It has also amended the Privacy Act to limit the amount of

© personal information that can be stored by credit reporting

. o agencies. For the first time, consumers have enforceable rights of

0 0

access to, and correction of, their personal credit files.

PRODUCT S A F E T Y G o The Government is investigating new ways of setting product

AND STANDARDS safety standards which deal directly with the injuries sustained 0 O through particular products, rather than on an individual basis as

o is currently the case. The aim is to speed up the process of setting o mandatory safety standards and to have them apply to more 0 products. This will be particularly important under the APEC

o Gagreement to liberalise trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. C 0 Within Australia there are currently 18 mandatory product

o standards, the most recent being for exercise cycles which were

G

found to be causing serious injuries among young children.

0 0 The Government has also introduced product liability provisions

o Gto make it easier for people injured by defective goods to seek o compensation. 0 o 0 0 G

There is compulsory labelling for all cosmetics and the

46

CONS14,MER AFFAIRS

® Advisory Panel on the marketing of infant formula has been m established.

Through the Trade Practices Commission the Government has ® been working to eliminate misleading job advertisements and ® other scams which exploit consumers.

m

EDUCATION a In an increasingly competitive market place, consumers must know their rights and responsibilities, and where to get help.

. The Federal Government's consumer education includes:

• a program for ethnic communities, including the launch of ® the SBS `English at Work' and `For Your Information' series;

® • a joint project with the States to teach primary school children about informed consumer behaviour in the marketplace;

® • funding for the South Pacific Consumer Protection m Programme (SPCPP);

• pilot workshops to educate and empower indigenous consumers, including a major conference in Alice Springs in September 1995 where the coordinators of the SPCPP were m key participants. The Government has also assisted with

specific Aboriginal consumer education programs in South Australia and New South Wales.

The Government has also produced a number of publications and research papers, including The Retiring Consumer; On the a Death of a Partner; A Cashless Society; Consumer Product Labelling; Children and Advertising.

It also published Safe Toys for Kids which is a basic guide for ® adults on the types of toys which are safe for children of different a ages. There are Labor Community Information Guides on safe

toys which may be obtained from the National Secretariat.

C O N S U M E R S e The Government has developed guidelines for companies AND THE a making environmental claims to ensure they are not false and

E N V I R O N M E N T fl misleading.

o The Government has worked with the Trade Practices Commission and will continue to work with the new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to ensure strict

4

CONSUMER AFFAIRS

0 O 0

0 penalties for companies or individuals making false and

a 0 O O

0

misleading environmental claims.

CONSUMER

0 0

o The Government is working on specific measures to protect

P R O T E C T I O N consumers under the new competition regime agreed to by the OBLIGATIONS 0

O

Council of Australian Governments in April 1995.

0 0 Consumer Protection Obligations which deal with issues such as

0 0 the provision of information, redress mechanisms and standards

0 0of service are being developed as one way of ensuring consumers' 0 interests are protected in the reform of public utilities such as 0 0 O

water, gas, electricity and telecommunications.

CONSUMER © The Government provides annual funding to the Australian G R O U P S

0 0 0

O

0

O 0 O O O

O 0

0

O O

O

0

O

O

0

O

O

O

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0 0 O

O

O

O

0

- O

O O

O 0 O

O 0 0 O

Federation of Consumer Organisations (AFCO).

48

. .................................................................................... .

TOPICS he Federal Labor Government has built and maintained a

AUSTRALIA 'S D E F E N c E defence force to defend Australia against any armed RELATIONS WITH attack.

THE REGION 50

The Government is holding the defence budget at around 2 per

ALLIANCES 50

cent of GDP. In a fundamental change, Defence will operate on a

GLOBAL SECURITY 50 five year budget to improve long-term planning from 1996-97.

P E RS 0 N N E L 50 A strong local defence industry is vital for our independence and

WOMEN I N for the operational effectiveness of our forces. Under Labor,

THE AUSTRALIAN defence spending in Australia has grown from 83.3 per cent in DEFENCE FORCE 51 1980-1981 to around 90 per cent in 1995-1996. RESERVES 51

The release of two key strategic documents — the 1993 Strategic

D E F E N C E Review and the 1994 Defence White Paper Defending Australia

E Q U I P M E N T 52 set out a compelling framework for developing future defence DEFENCE AND needs.

AUSTRALIAN I NDUSTRY 52 • Regional relations have been strengthened through bi-

lateral training, exercises and cooperation in logistics and

DEFENCE AND THE

defence support.

COMMUNITY 53

• Alliances remain an important feature of our defence policy,

building on our close relations with the United States and

New Zealand.

• Australia is continuing to give strong support to United

Nations' efforts which promote global security..

• The Australian Defence Force's tradition of excellence is

based on its servicemen and women. Through its support

policies, the Government recognises the special demands

placed on members of the defence force and their families..

• The Federal Government has built an effective partnership

between Defence and Australian industry, an alliance which

is essential to Australia's security.

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DEFENCE

A G

A U S T RA L I A' S o Defence relations with our regional neighbours have been

D E F E N C E o strengthened with significant emphasis on bi-lateral training, R E L AT 1 O N S WITH o exercises and cooperation in logistics and defence support. 0 THE REGION 0

o Our defence relationship with Indonesia is the most important in

0 G the region and has been strengthened with annual Ministerial C o C

meetings.

C o We have re-inforced Australia's commitment to the Five Power C o Defence Arrangements.

® Australia has helped Papua New Guinea improve its national security and helped regional nations protect their valuable marine o Oresources through the Pacific Patrol Boat Program. C a 0

We are pursuing new directions with Singapore and Malaysia, both

o C 0

important regional defence partners.

0

A L L I A N C E S o Our alliance with the United States continues to be a key element

of our defence policy. The ANZUS alliance underpins the US 0 Gstrategic presence in the Western Pacific. 0 Anzus fosters Australian self reliance through intelligence co-0 0

operation, access to high technologies and training and exercises.

- p

o Australia has built on its strong historical, economic and cultural ties with New Zealand. Our two defence forces work closely

0• together on a range of bilateral exercises, training programs and o 00C exchanges.

0a

GLOBAL o The Federal Government has long recognised Australia's

0

S E C U R I T Y o responsibility to improve global security. Australia continues to give strong support to the United Nations. Currently Australia o has defence personnel serving in peace operations in the Middle East, Iraq, Sinai, Cambodia, United Nations Headquarters and 0 0

Mozambique.

0 The high international standing of Australian servicemen and o women has been further enhanced by their professionalism and o competence during recent peace operations in Rwanda and

a

Somalia.

P E R S O N N E L © Without people we could not defend our country. Australia's G o servicemen and women are professionals whose skill and 0 competence have brought international recognition. 50

DEFENCE

. .

.

® The Labor Government has promoted a working environment

. which provides equal opportunity and freedom from m discrimination or harassment.

o We also recognise that unique demands are placed on members ® of the defence forces and their families. In response the Government has developed:

• flexible support policies; • allowances to reflect the difficulties of service life; ® • an appropriate pay structure.

The Government is currently reviewing defence force personnel policy and procedures to achieve the best balance between evolving social standards and the needs of a high technology force comprising people with the best skills.

WOMEN I N THE ® The number of women in defence is growing through improved AUSTRALIAN employment opportunities.

DEFENCE FORCE

0 Since December 1992, women have been eligible to compete for

o some 90 per cent of Navy and Air Force positions and 67 per o cent of Army positions.

The number of women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has increased by over 1,000 since 1987.

The Federal Government wants women in defence to achieve

their maximum potential. It has:

• established a Defence Advisory Forum on discrimination;

• commissioned a study to identify cultural and institutional barriers which impede women's progress;

• begun an investigation into why more women in the ADF don't seek a longer military career.

RESERVES Reserves are a fundamental component of the total force. They represent more than one third of the total personnel strength of the Australian Defence Force and have a long and proud tradition of service to the community in peace and war. They link ® the ADF and the wider Australian community.

Reserves represent a large proportion of our defence capability. For example, they provide most of our specialist surgeons, they

•

are the basis of our Naval Control of Shipping capability, and the

51

:

Army's Regional Force Surveillance units. They have a specific role in the event of any `short-warning' conflict.

• The Federal Government is making changes to improve Reserve training, " to reduce separation rates and to improve the quality of recruits. The structure of the Army Reserve is also under review.

D E F E N C E ; Australia's continued security is linked to maintaining high-E CZU I P M E N T technology Defence Force requirements. New projects include:

• airborne early warning and control aircraft;

• replacement of the ageing Macchi lead in fighters and Hercules transport aircraft;

• new command, control, communications and intelligence networks;

• helicopters for our ANZAC frigates;

• minehunters;

• vehicles for the land force.

DEFENCE AND ; Defence dollars have enormous benefits for Australian industry. AUSTRALIAN ;

This financial year around 90 per cent of the Defence budget will I NDUSTRY be spent on facilities, equipment and goods and services in

Australia.

• In the last few years the $5 billion Collins Class Submarine and : $4.8 billion ANZAC frigate projects have fostered new technologies and skills in Australia and developed important industry infrastructure.

• The Minehunter project has given the city of Newcastle a high technology project which has boosted the local shipbuilding industry and is providing new opportunities for small businesses

• in the region.

• The Commercial Support Program (CSP) gives industry the opportunity to compete for contracts in areas once reserved for the military. This has generated $100 million in savings which have been redirected to high priority defence acquisitions and activities.

• Government policy continues to encourage Australian defence industry through a range of purchasing reforms and support for the export of defence products.

DEFENCE & THE

COMMUNITY

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.•

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.

. .

The defence of Australia requires close links between Defence

and the wider Australian community.

Support is available for our defence both in peace time and conflict. The Australian Defence Force provides major benefits to the Australian community through disaster relief, search and rescue, bushfire fighting and counter-terrorist support.

Defence plays an important role in Australian regional communities, injecting millions of dollars from personnel and infrastructure projects. For instance, Townsville currently houses 4425 service personnel and $22 million was spent on facilities at the base in the last financial year.

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514

TU[1

CQ ^ ^ O M Y

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TOPICS

he Federal Labor Government has transformed the

ECONOMIC GROWTH 56 Australian economy. Strong economic growth has been

accompanied by low interest rates, low inflation,

N C O M E & EARNINGS 56 increased competitiveness, a huge growth in employment and higher living standards. Australia is now more efficient and more EMPLOYMENT 56

competitive.

I NFLATION 57

Through Working Nation the Government has set new national

I NV E S TM E N T 5 7 goals guaranteeing a sophisticated and efficient economy, PRODUCTIVITY & underpinning a fair and cohesive society.

COMPETITIVENESS 58 Through its innovative superannuation policy, the Government is

NT E RN AT ION AL increasing the income of Australians when they retire, boosting TRADE 59

national savings and reducing our dependence on foreign capital.

SUPERANNUATION & NATIONAL SAVING "5 9 • The economy has grown consistently for 16 consecutive quarters. In 1994-95, 4.8 per cent growth was recorded. THE CURRENT

ACCOUNT • Exports have nearly doubled as a share of GDP since the

D E F E C IT 60

early 1980s and manufacturing production grew at its

AUSTRALIA'S fastest rate in 1994-95, since statistics were first compiled

FOREIGN DEBT 62 in the mid 1970s.

• 670,000 jobs have been created since April 1993.

• Superannuation fund assets have grown from $40 billion in

1983 to $186 billion in early 1995 and will be around

$365 billion by the year 2000.

T.HE ECONOMY

0 0 0

E C O N O M I C

0

o Australia's economy has been growing strongly for more than 4

G R O W T H © years. In 1994-95, 4.8 per cent growth was recorded — one of 0 the strongest rates in the OECD. In 1995-96 Australia's growth ® will be a sustainable 3.75 per cent.

Even taking into account the recession of the early 1990s, Australia's average growth performance has been impressive. Since 1983, annual economic growth has averaged 3.5 per cent

to March 1995. Average annual growth under the previous

0 Coalition Government was just 2.5 per cent from March 1976 to March 1983.

While previous Coalition Governments allowed the economy's

infrastructure to deteriorate and condoned inefficient business

and work practices, the Federal Labor Government has

restructured the labour market and made the tax system fairer.

We no longer hide behind politically driven tariff barriers, a fixed

exchange rate and a regulated financial system. We are now

stronger and more resilient and better able to run our own race

in the global economy. The settings are right for continued m © economic growth.

I NCOME & m Real wages and household incomes have increased while inflation E A RN I N G S ® has been slashed, leading to improved living standards. And while real wages have risen, real unit labour costs have fallen

- e helping Australian companies become more competitive.

0 0

Since June 1983, full time adult total earnings have increased in

o real terms by 7.2 per cent, and real household disposable income ® per capita has risen by an outstanding 20.9 per cent to June

0 1995.0 ^. The solid growth in real household disposable incomes has taken

place despite a 5.4 per cent fall in real unit labour costs from June 1983 to June 1995.

o This remarkable achievement was made possible by the Federal Government's Accord with the trade unions. Under the Accord, wage restraint has been possible because of improvement in the social wage and personal income tax cuts.

E MPLOYMENT © Since March 1983, the Federal Government has created more 0 0 than two million jobs (to August 1995). Over the last two years

Gemployment growth has been outstanding — in August 1995,

56

THE ECONOMY

. .

670,000 more Australians had jobs compared with April 1993.

New labour market programs are giving unemployed people the skills they need to find work.

I NFLATION Australia's rate of inflation has remained below 5 per cent for

almost 4 years — the longest period of sustained low inflation since the 1960s. In the year to June 1995, underlying inflation -: a better measure of the pressure in the economy for prices to rise — was just 2.5 per cent.

This Government has been able to achieve the historic breakthrough of low inflation in a period of high economic growth. The key to this success has been the Accord with the • trade union movement.

The benefits of low inflation include:

• improved price competitiveness for Australian companies;

• lower interest rates; • • higher real returns to business, and an ideal environment for business investment.

I N V E S T M E N T ; The Federal Government has strengthened business investment to underpin strong and sustainable growth.

In 1994-95, business investment grew by an outstanding 16 per cent. Investment is growing strongly because:

• • of downward pressure on interest rates;

• inflation is low and is likely to remain low;

• company profits are growing strongly;

• business confidence and industrial peace and cooperation are high.

Investment is also growing strongly because the tax regime encourages productive investment. The Government's ® considerable tax concessions for business include accelerated depreciation, the general investment allowance, the development

allowance, infrastructure bonds, research and development. concessions, and a reduced rate of company tax to 36 per cent. Together, these concessions will provide business with a benefit of approximately $3 billion in 1995-96.

57

CONOMY

0

PRODUCTIVITY & o The Government's substantial economic reforms have yielded

C O M P E T I T I V E N E S S° rises in productivity and international competitiveness. Hourly o labour productivity has increased by 24.4 per cent, and competitiveness was around 39 per cent greater in June 1995 than it was in 1983. 0

Since 1993, the Government has continued the drive to bring

competition to all areas of the Australian economy. In cooperation with State Governments, the Hilmer Review was m 0 commissioned to advise on how best to drive the micro-economic o reform agenda. As a result, Australia has a national competition policy from July 1, 1995.

For the first time there will be one set of rules for all businesses in Australia, 'including State government businesses and the professions. All will be subject to the Trade Practices Act. The Government is creating two new competition bodies — the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the National Competition Council.

For the first time Australia will operate as one national market, rather than nine disjointed economies. Overseas investors will no 0 longer have to grapple with nine competing sets of laws.

0 A new access regime for essential facilities will make the most o productive use of gas pipelines and electricity grids. Business o input costs will be lowered as all States embark on reforms of their water, electricity and gas authorities, and of rail and ports.

o Consumers' utility bills will fall too. As uncompetitive o regulations are thrown out, legal services and food bills will drop.

0 It is estimated that the national competition regime will 0 a raise GDP by 5 per cent, delivering savings to business and

o consumers of $22 billion a year — around $1500 a household.

The national competition policy will help maintain economic o growth and low inflation. Improved competitiveness and greater productivity will raise living standards and lead to long-term

sustainable employment growth.

® It should be noted that Coalition State Premiers have used the C o national competition policy as an excuse for increasing taxes and

o charges. These are clear abuses of the national competition policy 0 agenda. 0 0 0

1

, 58 ^

THE ECONOMY

C O

I NTERNATIONAL o Australia has become a more export-oriented economy. Since the

T RA D E ® mid 1980s, the ratio of exports to GDP has increased from over

14.8 per cent to 19.2 per cent in 1994-1995. This increase reflects the major structural changes occurring in Australia's economy as it becomes more open and internationally ® 0

competitive.

The composition of our exports is changing. In the mid-1980s, commodities were 65 per cent of our total exports and m manufactured exports were 16 per cent. Manufactured exports now represent 26 per cent and commodities have gone from 65

per cent to 44 per cent in 1994. More diversified exports mean Australia has greater protection against the fluctuations of international commodity markets.

In 1994-1995, exports of manufactured goods increased by 11

0

per cent. They have doubled since 1989-90.

C

S U P E RA N N U AT I O N a The Government has transformed the role of superannuation in

& NATIONAL 0 Australia. It is no longer simply a tax perk reserved for a SAVING minority of better-off workers.

In 1983 less than 40 per cent of employees had superannuation.

o In 1995 nearly 90 per cent of all employees have superannuation coverage. For women the increase is even greater: 24 per cent of o female workers had superannuation in 1993, by 1994, 85 per 0 o

C

cent had superannuation.

0 o Superannuation is the key to securing better retirement incomes.

It is also the key to boosting our national savings. By increasing ® national savings, Australia is investing in its own future and reducing its foreign debt.

® Saving for our Future, is the centrepiece of the 1995-96 Budget. 0 0 It includes: m

• Government support for the phased introduction through 0 industrial awards and agreements of an employee's

o contribution of 3 per cent of earnings to superannuation by the year 2000;

• 0 • payment of the second round of One Nation tax cuts directly

o into superannuation accounts, matching dollar for dollar the o contribution made by employees and the self-employed. The 0 Government contribution will be means tested and capped at 0 3 per cent of average weekly ordinary time earnings.

59

'

THE ECONOMY

0 0

T 0 Together with previous reforms in award superannuation an d the

0 superannuation guarantee, Saving for Our Future will mean o employees have 15 per cent of their earnings directed towards a their retirement saving from 2002.

0

Combined with the Federal Government's earlier award and

0 superannuation initiatives, the measures announced in Saving for o Our Future are expected to increase national saving by two per o cent of GDP by the year 2000, and up to 4 per cent of GDP by

0 2020. The Federal Government's superannuation reforms mean o that Australia will save the equivalent of more than an extra $20 0 © ion eac year in to ay s money. bi ll' eac d '

THE C -U R R E N T o The need to spend more on investment than all Australians save ACCOUNT is the cause of the current account deficit.

DEFECIT

m Australia is a resource rich nation requiring large amounts of capital to fund its development. Because the pool of available Australian funds is limited, we have traditionally imported

® foreign capital to help finance our investment projects. These o investment projects have created jobs, increased living standards o o for all Australians, and have helped generate the income - o

o necessary to make payments on the imported foreign capital. 0 0 o The current account balance is often reported as being the same

0 as the balance of trade. While the trade balance is part of the o current account, it is not the whole story: the current account not only records international trade, it also records international

0 income flows. For example, interest payments by Australians on o the foreign debt are recorded as debits in the current account; o payments by foreigners to Australians on our overseas o investments are recorded as credits. o 0 While the current account deficit has averaged 4 per cent of GDP 0 over the last five years, the trade deficit has only averaged o -

around 0.5 per cent. 0 o When all of the components of the current account are

0 added together, the balance is equal to the net inflow of foreign o capital to Australia. It is this capital inflow that fills the gap © between what we save as a nation and what we spend on 0 o investment.

0 o

0

That's why the current account is not just about trade. It's also

o why we must lift our national saving performance if we are to 0 o 0 0 0

reduce the current account deficit.

0 6

I

THE ECONOMY

. .

More national saving means we need to borrow less money from

• foreigners.

The Federal Labor Government is responding to the need to increase national saving by:

• returning the Federal Budget to surplus in 1995-96 with the surpluses growing in . the years ahead. When the Budget is : in deficit the Government must borrow money to finance its spending. By returning the Budget to surplus, the pool of

investment funds available for Australian businesses is boosted;

• changes in the Budget which mean an increase in Government saving of 4 per cent of GDP by 1998-99, just three years away. In today's terms, that represents almost an extra $20 billion of Government saving;

• expanding and strengthening Australia's superannuation system.

Since 1983, Labor has progressively implemented a long-term program of economic reform. Step by step, we have strengthened and expanded the foundations of Australia's economy, building a more efficient and competitive economy while addressing the

shortage of national saving. The 1995 Budget, with its emphasis on national saving, is the latest instalment in this ongoing program of reform.

A superficial examination of the current account statistics does : not reveal the full extent of the progress that has been made in reducing the current account deficit towards more sustainable © levels. In 1994-95 the current account deficit was around 6

per cent of GDP, a level reached on three other occasions over the last 15 years (first in 1981-82 and again in 1985-86 and 1989-90).

However, despite the fact that the current account has peaked again at around the same levels as in the past, Labor is making the changes needed to reduce the current account deficit towards : more sustainable levels.

To judge the progress that has been made, it must be recognised that the present current account deficit is partly the product of an unprecedented conjunction of economic events.

For example, consider the differences between 1981-82, when John Howard was Treasurer and the current account deficit was about the same size it is now, and 1994-95.

61

THE ECONOMY

0 0

0 0

o • Economic growth was 4.8 per cent in 1994-95. In 1981-82,

o under Mr Howard, it was 3.1 per cent. Economic growth o has a strong short-term impact on the current account o deficit because high economic growth means strong growth p 0 0 in imports.

0 G • Business investment grew in 1981-82 by 12 per cent,

o 0compared to 16 per cent in 1994-95. 0 o • There was no drought in 1981-82. Farm product grew by O 0 20 per cent, whereas in 1994-95 it fell by 17.3 per cent,

0 o

3

with an obvious impact on exports.

o

• Our major trading partner, Japan, was enjoying buoyant o 0economic growth whereas in 1994-95 it was battling to o generate any growth at all. With almost zero economic

o growth in Japan, our opportunities to increase our exports o are reduced.

O o • Today world commodities prices are about 25 per cent G o lower than in 1982. Commodities such as coal and wheat

U o are a major part of Australia's exports.

a o • In 1981 we had massive barriers to imports — with very 0 high tariffs and quotas to keep imports at bay. Today tariffs a are greatly reduced and quotas have been completely 0 o

G

abolished.

G

That we have been able to absorb the combined impact of very

0 C

strong domestic growth, a drought, zero growth in Japan, together

© with substantially lower international commodity prices, but with G o the current account deficit at around the same level as in 1981-82

0 0

is testament to the progress that has been made in reducing the

o 0

current account deficit. 0 o But, the objective is not to eliminate the current account deficit a o altogether. A resource rich country like Australia with a relatively 0 0 small population would be foolish to deny itself the opportunity o Gfor the higher economic growth and greater prosperity that flow a from using the savings of foreigners to boost investment. The 0 C objective is to make sure this investment does benefit Australia

o C and that the foreign debt stabilises and falls as a share of GDP. 0 G A U S T RA L I A' S o For almost its entire history Australia has been an importer of FOREIGN DEBT a money (capital), using these funds to finance development. O 0 G Overseas funds come to Australia in a variety of forms — as

o 0 G

loans, as foreign investment in Australian companies, and as

62

I

THE 'ECONOMY I

6 p foreign investment in Australian property.

o As Australia becomes more open to the world, Australian funds are increasingly being loaned overseas or invested in overseas fl companies. A considerable sum of money is also being invested by Australian companies in their overseas operations. Because

profitable overseas ventures return income to Australia, Australian overseas investment undertaken today will help lower the current account deficit in the future.

o Taking Australian overseas lending into account, Australia's foreign debt is $180.5 billion.

Most of this debt — about 60 per cent — is private foreign debt.

Private foreign debt is debt owed by Australian companies. These companies use the money they have borrowed from overseas to 0 finance investment projects, and they are responsible for paying

the interest and principal on these borrowings. o .

Only a small fraction — about 4 per cent — of the foreign debt a is Federal Government debt. This reflects the fact that the Australian Government has not borrowed money in overseas markets since 1987.

Most of Australia's government foreign debt is State Government debt — together, the State Governments have a foreign debt of about $48.5 billion.

Another part of Australia's foreign debt — around $16 billion o is owed by companies owned by State and Commonwealth governments. Like private companies, these public trading

enterprises use their borrowings to finance investment projects that benefit Australia.

The best way to get a clear understanding of the size of the foreign debt is to compare it to the size of the Australian o economy. In September 1993, the size of the foreign debt relative o to the size of the economy was 42.6 per cent. Today it is 39.8 per o 0 cent. We are in a better position today to finance the foreign debt than at other times in the recent past. One measure of our capacity to o finance the foreign debt is given by what is called "the debt service ratio". This ratio shows what percentage of export earnings is needed to make interest payments on the foreign debt.

So it is a measure of whether or not we can afford to carry our debt. From a peak of 20.6 per cent in June 1990, the debt service ratio has declined substantially in recent years and now stands at

63

THE ECONOMY

D 0

0

D

11.2 per cent of our income.

O 0 Foreign borrowing has provided considerable benefits for the

0 D Australian economy. With our small population, we would not

0 Dhave been able to fully develop our industries without foreign © O capital.

Nevertheless, as we are now a more mature economy it is time for us to expand the pool of Australian funds for Australian

Ofirms to borrow. This means working to increase national savings. The Government is playing its part to increase national

o savings by returning the Budget to surplus and by expanding and O O

O O D

0 O

0

D D D D O O

D D

D D

D O D O O

O O

O

D -

strengthening Australia's superannuation system.

OO O O

O O O O

O O

O O O

0

O 0 O

O O O O O 0 O O

O O O

0 O 0 O

O O O

O O O O

64

TOPICS

VOCATIONAL TRAINING' 66

POST-COMPULSORY EDUCATION 66

A NATIONAL CURRICULUM 66

TRAINING PROGRAMS 67

ABORIGINAL EDUCATION 67

HIGHER EDUCATION 67

EXPORTING EDUCATION 68

EDUCATION NETWORK AUSTRALIA (EDNA) 68

SCHOOLS 68

NATIONAL GOALS 68

YOUTH TRAINING INITIATIVE 69

STU DENT ASSISTANCE 70

t'.. ^. S M A P I h c ^'"' I T A E [mJ A l l 0 N- ..

CANT41

, O

& TANtNG

EI

T

he Federal Labor Government is building a tiered

national education and training system giving Australia

essential `clever country' skills to underpin our growing

international competitiveness.

• In 1995, $768 million will be allocated by the Federal

Government in direct vocational education and training

funding — 13.4 per cent more than in 1994-95.

• This year the Federal Government will provide more than

$3 billion in supplementary funding to government and

non-government schools, with funding to increase by 10%

over the next three years.

• School retention rates are improving dramatically. In 1993,

78 per cent of 19 year olds completed Year 12 or a post-schooling qualification. By 2001, the Federal Government

aims to increase this to 95 per cent.

• More than half a million students receive help under the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme, totalling $1.6

billion.

• Currently the Federal Government spends $5 billion on

higher education, with a $16.5 billion allocation from

1996/1998.

i _ 65

EDUCATION & TRAINING

DDDD

VOCATIONAL.

0 D

o Vocational education reforms concentrate on matching industry

T RA I N I N G ® needs through the integration of on- and off-the-job training and ® the development of national standards and qualifications. Under this Government, TAFE is no longer considered a second-class m alternative to school and university.

a Reforms include:

• the historic 1992 agreement with State and Territory © Governments to establish the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) to co-ordinate technical and further o education across the country;

0 • doubling funding to ANTA, providing for an extra 35,000 o students in 1995 alone;

• a new Australian Vocational Training System (AVTS) to

a give school leavers and industry a comprehensive, Ostructured national system of entry level training for the first time. The system is aimed at the vast bulk of students and school-leavers who will not go on to university, and

© workers in employment who wish to upgrade their skills;

0 • access, through AVTS, to a national range of learning a pathways, combining education, training and work experience;

• nationally recognised and portable standards which lead to 0 D D D

nationally accepted qualifications and certificates.

P 0 S T- o By the year 2001, the Federal Government aims to have

C 0 M P U L S 0 RY o 95 per cent of 19 year olds completing year 12 or an initial EDUCATION e © post-schooling qualification, or to be participating in education

e D and training. e In 1993, 78 per cent of 19 year olds had completed Year 12 or o

DD

an initial post-schooling qualification.

A NATIONAL m Over the past five years, the Commonwealth has worked with C U R R I C U L U M D o the States and Territories on the development of Australian

0 D Curriculum Statements and Profiles for the compulsory years of

o schooling. The first edition has gone out to a large number of schools around Australia, and States are reviewing and

D D

D

redeveloping curriculum documents in response to this work.

66.

EDUCATION & TRAINING

GC 0

T RA I N I N G o The Australian Student Traineeship Foundation was established

PROGRAMS o in 1994 as a national, industry-driven body to develop upper O o secondary school-industry programs. Students will be able to

0 leave Year 12 with both an academic qualification and o a recognised vocational qualification. 0 o G

Over the next four years, the Foundation will receive $38 million

© including funding for off-the-job training for up to 5,000 o 0CC students by 1995-96.

A B O R I G I N A L o The Federal Government is improving opportunities in education, EDUCATION a employment and training for indigenous Australians. C o • The 1995-96 Federal Budget has responded to the 1994

o review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) education, chaired by Mandawuy Yunupingu. A o Commonwealth-State Ministerial Committee is now o considering a national indigenous education strategy.

o • The Budget also provides $133 million for programs such 0 o as Abstudy, the Aboriginal Education Strategic Initiatives

C Program (AESIP), Tutorial Assistance and Parents o Awareness Committees.

• $15 million has also been allocated over the next three o years to provide vocational education and training facilities

G

for ATSI people.

H I G H E R o The Federal Government provides over $5 billion a year to higher EDUCATION © education in operating grants for student places and for capital C a and research. The 1995-96 Budget provides $16.5 billion for the

0 G C

higher education sector over the 1996-98 funding triennium.

0 • 5850 additional student places have been provided in areas G 0 O of growing population and low participation rates in

o Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

• The Federal Government has boosted higher education 0 without imposing up-front fees for Australian o 0undergraduate students, and without increasing HECS. 0 o • More people are taking advantage of higher education. The o number of students in higher education has risen from 0 340,000 in 1.982 to over 600,000 in 1995 — an increase of 0 0 71 per cent.

67

EDUCATION & TRAINING

0 0 0

EXPORTING

0 O o Australian universities are exporting their services.

EDUCATION o • The number of overseas students we educate has tripled C o since figures were first kept in 1987. The value of U o Australia's education and training industry for overseas

0 students in 1994 was about $1.5 billion in foreign O o exchange.

GU

EDUCATION

V a Australia has the potential to develop a dynamic education

N E T W O R K

G o services industry, putting the Australian stamp on content here

A U S T RA L I A (E D N A)

O o and overseas.

C o

Labor has invested seed funding of $1.5 million for the 0 development of an Education Network Australia (EdNA). EdNA o will: G o • electronically link schools, TAFE colleges, universities and

0 other education and training providers across Australia and 0 the world; GC 0 • put Australian education on the information super highway. U0 0 G

S C H 0 0 L S

0

o Every year the Federal Government gives the States more than $3

o billion in supplementary funding to both government and non-0 government schools. We are working in a number of key policy

0 areas towards greater co-operation and a higher level of national G o consistency in schooling.

GG o The Federal Labor Government has worked to improve Year 12

o retention rates — from 36.3 per cent in 1983 to around 78 per 0 cent a decade later. O 0

O

NATIONAL

O 0

o The Federal Government has developed policies to:

GOALS o 0 • establish a national strategy for fairness in schools so

o that disadvantaged students achieve their learning o potential;

O 0 o • introduce courses in Asian languages and studies in C 0 Australian schools; G C• encourage the development of the key competencies — the Go eight essential skills to equip young people to adapt to the O o changing needs of the workforce of the future. O C GC68

YOUTH

TRAINING I NITIATIVE

EDU•CAT•ION & TRAINI`N ` •'C . .

: The key competencies are:

: • collecting, analysing and organising information;

• communicating ideas and information;

• planning and organising activities;

: • working with others in teams;

: • using mathematical ideas and techniques;

: • problem solving;

: • using technology;

• cultural understanding.

_

: Education policy is reducing long term unemployment. Long term unemployment for young people aged between : 15-19 years of age has fallen by 23.4 per cent since August, 1994.

The Federal Labor Government has made enormous efforts to equip young people with the skills they need for a changing workforce, by encouraging them to stay at school longer, and then through training programs.

From January 1995, Working Nation's Youth Training Initiative (YTI) will provide an additional 50,000 youth training places each year for 15 to 17 year olds at a cost of $660 million over four years.

The YTI provides:

• intensive case management so unemployed young people have early help to find a suitable work, training or • education placement; -

.

• a labour market or vocational training placement to those still unemployed three months after registering with the CES;

• a Youth Training Allowance to encourage young people to participate in education training or work experience opportunities.

Youth Homelessness continues to receive the Government's close attention with the emphasis on getting income support and social work services directly to young homeless people.

0

STUDENT

ASSISTANCE o

C 0 C 0 C 0 0

0

0 0 0 0 0 O

C 0

0 0

0 C 0

0 0

C

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0

0

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0

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C

0

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C G 0 O 0 0 0 0

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0 0 0 O 0 0 G C

As part of Labor's commitment to encourage young Australians

to complete their secondary education and go on to further studies, we provide financial support to students through AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY and Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC).

AUSTUDY and its Aboriginal counterpart, ABSTUDY pay living allowances and other benefits to students at school, TAFE colleges, private training colleges, the Open Learning scheme, universities and other accredited institutions.

Allowances are directed to those families most in need. A student personal income test is designed so that there is no need for students to work. The new AUSTUDY Supplement is an optional loans scheme with generous repayment arrangements for students who have limited access to a loan from commercial lenders.

Parents of younger students who do not live close to a Government primary school, or who are isolated because of disability, can receive boarding, correspondence and other allowances through the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) scheme. This scheme recognises the disadvantages faced by rural families.

Since the scheme began in 1988, there has been a 64% increase in the total number of students assisted. In 1994/95 more than half a million students received allowances at a cost of $1.6

billion.

The Federal Government is continually improving the delivery and coverage of student assistance programs.

Since 1993, better client servicing, more effective means testing, special attention to potentially homeless students, and the expansion of eligible courses, have promoted greater opportunities for all students in a changing learning environment.

U

.of

TOPICS

WORKING NATION 72

I T'S WORKING 73

WOMEN 73

MIGRANTS 74

ABORIGINAL & TORRES

STRAIT ISLANDER

PEOPLE 75

n 1993 the Federal Labor Government promised to reduce

the number of unemployed and to make sure the long term unemployed shared the benefits of economic recovery. It promised to create 500,000 new jobs during the term of this Government — a pledge which has already been exceeded. The

White Paper on Employment and Growth, Working Nation, announced in May 1994 recognises that people are our most valuable resource.

Working Nation is about developing a fair society where everyone has the opportunity to participate in the economic benefits of work. By creating a more skilled and flexible workforce, we are investing in our future prosperity. Quality education and training has become the right of all Australians.

• Since April 1993, vigorous employment growth has led to 670,000 new jobs.

• Australia is leading the OECD in the generation of new jobs.

• The Federal Government recognises that strong jobs growth is dependent on good economic management and has provided optimum conditions for business investment.

• The Federal Government has created the climate for jobs growth. It has cut corporate tax rates from 39 per cent to 36 per cent, provided a major boost to public infrastructure and introduced generous new tax incentives through One Nation.

• Funding for Working Nation has increased to $2.2 billion, giving the long term unemployed vital access to training and work experience.

0

0 0 O

W O R K I N G Funding for Working Nation has increased from $1.7 billion in

NATION © 1994-95 to $2.2 billion in 1995-96. Funding will be $2.3 billion

o in 1996-97 and $2.3 billion in 1997-98. This represents a record 0 level of commitment by an Australian Government to help the o unemployed.

m 0While the economic settings must be right for continued jobs o growth, economic growth alone is not enough. Working Nation offers the long term unemployed the training and work o experience they need to compete effectively in the labour market. G

•

The Job Compact. All people unemployed for 18 months or

o more receive a firm job offer. They also receive one on one case management tailored to individual needs, and access to © a range of labour market programs. 0

• To encourage private sector employers to take on the long-, term unemployed, the Job Compact offers generous

m subsidies, including the National Training Wage if training O is provided.

O

• To the end of June 1995, 184,500 Job Compact clients C o achieved an outcome which ceased their CES registration

O

and unemployment allowance payments. The majority of

0these found employment or moved into further education. G • The National Training Wage is a simple wage structure that 0 0 takes into account the loss of productivity flowing from the

o training process. It is paid by employers who offer training © Oon- or off-the-job. It is not confined to the long-term o unemployed. It boosts training and is a flexible response to o O employers' needs.

• New Work Opportunities is designed to help the 0 G unemployed in areas where there are few jobs. Local

m communities are helped to develop projects which meet real ® community needs.

o • Working Nation meets the recruitment needs of employers. The Federal Government has established 0 0274 one-stop shops for employers, to give them ready • • access to Working Nation initiatives and other labour

0 0 0

market programs.

• 0

a • Case management is about getting job seekers job ready,

o Cand delivering employers a better pool of potential recruits. o 00Cm Competition for case management is being introduced to

72

EMPLOYMENT

0

m

O

allow private and community organisations to provide

0 0 services.

m • Working Nation is expanding training opportunities. Over o c the four years to 1997 an additional $1.55 billion will be spent on more entry level training places. There will be an extra 50,000 places a year by the end of 1995-96 — an

o increase of 50 per cent over the 109,904 places achieved in m 1994-95. There will be more traditional apprenticeships

o and traineeships as well as structured training pathways in 0new areas like environment and community services. a • Working Nation establishes the National Employment and 0 Training Task force, NETTFORCE, to fast-track the

0 0 introduction of new traineeships, cut the red tape involved

0 and build employer support for additional entry level © training places. Industry training companies are set up 0 under the NETTFORCE umbrella to develop and promote

traineeships to meet industry needs. So far 22 are 0 operating. NETTFORCE has already won commitment for G ©

0 G 0

29,500 new places by the end of 1995.

00

I T'S W O IZ K I N G o These programs are beginning to have a significant impact. In the

m year to August 1995, long term unemployment fell 23.2 per cent © to 231,100 — the lowest level since November 1991. This is the o largest twelve month fall on record.

WOMEN o New screening and assessment arrangements for women at high m 0 risk of long-term unemployment make it easier and quicker for

m them to get labour market help. As well, those who move to 0 © activity-tested payments and who are at high risk of long term

0 0

unemployment are regarded as having the same unemployment

o duration as their spouses. Thus where their spouses are eligible

a

for places in the Job Compact their partners will also be eligible. 0 m Other Working Nation. benefits include:

• access to job placements through the Job Compact;

• access to labour market program places for those who fall p 0 outside the Job Compact; m 0 • individual assessment and early assistance to reduce the risk

0 • of becoming long term unemployed; 0 o 0 0 0 • expansion of places in the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme 73

P

C o for unemployed women wanting to establish businesses.

m We are also helping sole parents. The Jobs Education and

m Training Program (JET) will continue to provide education, ® training and work placements supported by personal guidance o and subsidised child care. The number of places available to JET participants will be maintained.

M I G RA N T S o Migrants from a Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) have m substantially higher rates of unemployment than the Australian © community generally.

® To tackle this problem it is essential to identify those migrant job o seekers who are most at risk.

a Migrants at high risk of long term unemployment are eligible for special intervention, including courses in literacy, numeracy and m English language. There has been a significant increase in funding to $130 million for English as a Second Language (ESL) under

the Special Intervention Program (SIP) — that's an estimated ® 32,000 ESL places in 1995-6 alone. Vocational training, Commonwealth-funded work experience and wage subsidy o . programs are also offered.

The Government has also:

• set up Community Awareness Teams as an information service for NESB job seekers and employers, comprising representatives from Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Greek and Italian communities;

• established six NESB specific pilot projects under the New Enterprise Incentives Scheme (NEIS) in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Specific Job Clubs for NESB people are being provided under Working Nation; •

established a nationwide network of 51 migrant liaison

® officers in the CES to work with employers and unemployed people in ethnic communities;

• set up Migrant Resource Centres to support migrants • establishing new businesses as part of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme;

• established Migrant Advisory Committees in every State m and Territory to provide feedback and policy advice to the Government and to provide information to ethnic communities about CES programs and services.

EMPLOYMENT

C 0 0 0 0 G

ABORIGINAL & o Without jobs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will

T O R R E S STRAIT o continue to suffer lower income levels and lower economic status 0 I S L A N D E R o than other Australians.

PEOPLE

p Under the Aboriginal Employment Development Policy, the 0 C Federal Government is helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait

o 0Islander people get jobs. It is: 0 o • strengthening participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait 0 o

G

Islander people in the arts, pastoral and tourism industries;

0

• working with peak mining bodies to increase employment

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

0 O • working with the Australian Chamber of Commerce with

o 0the appointment of industry advisers on Aboriginal and © Torres Strait Islander employment; 0 o • working with the ACTU in establishing Aboriginal

a o Employment Development Officers in the trade union m o movement;

0 • establishing Local Employment Promotion Committees in 0 0 15 locations around the country;

0

• working with local government bodies to recruit and train

0 o G

a targeted number of Aboriginal people for permanent jobs.

o Working Nation's Job Compact is already helping Aboriginal and a 0Torres Strait Islander people who have been on unemployment o benefits for more than 18 months. Case management of o individual job seekers is improving their employment and

Go training opportunities. o G Working Nation has introduced a range of innovative and

o 0

flexible programs designed for the specific skills and training o 0

needs of ATSI communities. Among them: 0 o • an additional $133 million in 1995-96 to the Aboriginal 0 and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) to expand © C employment and enterprise programs; C

m • a huge funding boost to specific ATSI training programs, including community development programs and more 0 targeted places in JobSkills, LEAP and Australian GVocational Certificate pilot projects; C © • new work opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait 0 G0 O

Islander people to develop work experience and skills while

75

EMPLOYMENT

a 0

o providing practical benefits to their local communities; 0 • a remote field service set up across the country, with DEET

officers visiting ATSI communities to help develop employment action plans. 0 o The Federal Government increased the number of Aboriginal and

® Torres Strait Islander people in jobs in 1994-95 by 1800 compared with the previous year. The Training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program (TAP) achieved over 9400

:

employment and training commencements in 1994-95. 0 O 0

0 0

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0 C 0

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- :;- "' WS1HAP NG HT: I1A

. ^ IO :i

Tfrti V ^ IT ; O ^^ T M M

P ^

EU

TOPICS

WORLD HERITAGE 78

OUR COASTAL AND MARINE ENVIRONMENT 79

GREEN JOBS 80

FORESTS 80

LANDCARE 81

LEADED PETROL 82

GREENHOUSE 82

THE OZONE LAYER 82

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY 82

ANTARCTICA. 83

WHALING 83

DESERTIFICATION CONVENTION 83

HAZARDOUS WASTE 83

WILDERNESS 83

NUCLEAR TESTING 84

S

ince its re-election in March 1993, the Federal Labor

Government has built on its record of achievement to

protect Australia's environment.

This Government recognises that its leadership at home, and at

the international level, is crucial to the protection of our unique

and fragile environment. Without this leadership, the productive

capacity of our soils, the survival of our biodiversity, as well as

our own health and standard of living would be left to chance. A

responsible national approach to the protection of our domestic

and global environment forms the basis of government policy.

• Australia is moving towards Ecologically Sustainable

Development, demonstrating that protecting the

environment can produce long-term and sustainable

employment for thousands of Australians.

• 35,000 `green jobs' will be created under Working Nation over the next four years.

• Over 2200 Landcare groups have been formed under the

National Landcare Program, covering around one third of

all Australian farms.

• Australia is giving top priority to ending all nuclear testing.

.

.

WORLD HERITAGE

..

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... .

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..

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Australia is now recognised internationally as a world leader in the management, protection and presentation of World Heritage areas. The Federal Government has been praised by the United Nations as having done more to implement the World Heritage Convention than any other single country.

This Government has made legitimate use of its constitutional powers, where and when necessary, to protect precious environmental assets. Its achievements on World Heritage since coming to office have included:

• preventing the flooding of the Franklin River in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area through the enactment of the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983;

• the successful nomination of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and stages 2 and 3 of Kakadu National Park and Shark Bay in Western Australia to the World Heritage List;

• the protection of the Daintree (Wet Tropics of Queensland) and Fraser Island through World Heritage listing;

• the return of Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks to their traditional Aboriginal owners. These two World Heritage Areas are jointly managed by traditional owners and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency. These joint management arrangements are now considered models for indigenous World Heritage management throughout the world.

Since 1993 the Government has:

• listed for World Heritage the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh in north west Queensland and Naracoorte in south east South Australia. The World Heritage areas of the Central Eastern Rainforests have been extended. We have listed the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as a cultural landscape;

• begun studies to assess the possible World Heritage values of the Lake Eyre Basin in South Australia, the Sydney Opera House in its context, the Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Australia's convict sites and Australia's sub-Antarctic islands;

• provided a rescue package for the Daintree Rainforest. $23 million is to be spent over three years to protect the

I THE ENVIRONMENT

p p

o environmental and tourist values of the Daintree area; p • invoked World Heritage powers to protect the Great m Barrier Reef World Heritage Area adjacent to the proposed p a Port Hinchinbrook development; p p o • made significant progress in working with relevant States to p

achieve consistent management and financial arrangements © for particular World Heritage sites. p p 0 OUR COASTAL o Protecting our unique marine and coastal areas is of immense

AND MARINE o environmental, economic, cultural and recreational importance to E N V I R O N M E N T o Australia. The Federal Government has launched the first ever p national coastal management policy Living on the Coast',

including a $53 million package to help protect Australia's 0 37,000 kilometres of coastline.

The centrepiece is a national Coastcare program, similar to a Landcare, to support community projects to protect or repair

p coastal environments, and encourage greater community involvement in coastal planning and decision making. Coastcare p o will also help Aboriginal communities manage coastal land and 0 sea areas under their control.

p Coastcare builds on Australia's first State of the Marine o Environment Report, published in 1995, and on Ocean Rescue 0 0

2000, a ten year national initiative to encourage marine

p p conservation. The Government has strengthened monitoring of ships inside the Great Barrier Reef, and moved to divert ship traffic to the outer o route outside the reef. The Government has also allocated $4.2

p million for a National Centre for Research on Introduced Marine o p Pests.

Federal Government decisions have protected fragile environments.

o • Mineral exploration or mining has been refused in

p

Shoalwater Bay.

• The Government has rejected the armaments complex for o Jervis Bay.

• Moreton Bay and Bowling Green Bay wetlands have been o p listed as International Wetlands of Importance. p p

• Creery Wetlands in Western Australia have been protected.

7`9

a=T_H E' ®iN;M EN T

_: > . _a s t z

• A National Wetlands Program, with a commitment of $3.1

: million in the 1994-95 Budget has been established. In the .1995-96 Budget, an additional $5 million over the next four years was committed to enhance and extend this • program.

•

GREEN JOBS As part of Working Nation, we have set up a new Regional

Environmental Employment Program (REEP) to create regional job opportunities by attacking regional environmental problems.

REEP will create up to 5,000 jobs in 1994-95 and 10,000 jobs in each of the following three years.

F O R E S T S Nowhere is the issue of ecologically sustainable development more hotly debated than in forests policy. The Government has worked towards the goals of preservation and sustainable management of our forest environments.

• The key to preserving these forests lies in the establishment of agreed national policies, which are followed not only by the Commonwealth but by the States as well. The Commonwealth is working with State Governments to ensure the implementation of the National Forest Policy Statement, and in particular the conclusion of Regional Forest Agreements. The Regional Forest Agreements will determine which areas of forest are required for reserves and ensure the ecologically sustainable management of

areas outside these reserves.

The Federal Government recently established the criteria for a National Reserve system designed to establish a world class forest conservation reserve system. The criteria include:

• a broad benchmark of 15 per cent of the pre -1750 distribution of each forest community to be protected • within conservation reserves;

• retention of at least 60 per cent of existing old growth • increasing up to 100 per cent in some cases for rare old growth;

• protection of 90 per cent or more wherever practicable of high quality wilderness;

• • recognition of the `off reserve management' to conservation

objectives.

•

Strategies to accelerate the process of protecting native forest

THE ENVIRONMENT

A

® areas that are likely to be required for the national reserve

system are currently being looked at. They include interim ® protection of these areas until Regional Forest Agreements are concluded.

o By the year 2000 export approvals will no longer be granted for woodchips from areas of native forest — unless those areas are covered by a Regional Forest Agreement.

a Federal Government policies mean a high value-added wood o products industry can operate on an ecologically sustainable basis outside the National Reserve system. Policy initiatives that will come out of the Wood and Paper Industries Strategy will

o mean Australia has a strong forest-based industry as well as a world class forest preservation reserve system. Guidelines have been established for consultations with affected businesses, workers and communities for the transition to a sustainable

® higher value-added industry based increasingly on plantation and re-growth resources.

LAN D C A R E m The Federal Government's National Landcare Program has been ® an outstanding success. There are now over 2,200 Landcare groups covering approximately a third of Australia's farms. The Government continues to provide substantial funding under the m program (over $400 million spent or committed) to develop

sustainable land management practices and promote habitat ® Cconservation. Since the establishment of the National Landcare Program in 1990, the Government has established several initiatives, ® including the Save the Bush, One Billion Trees and Waterwatch 0 programs, aimed at protecting and enhancing biological diversity. © These programs have increased awareness of the need to protect 0 our biologically diverse native flora and to preserve the ® waterways.

Since 1990, the One Billion Trees program has provided $7 a million to community groups and around $28 million to © Greening Australia to re-establish and maintain native trees and

m associated vegetation in areas throughout the country. Over the same period, the Government's Save the Bush program has ® provided $16.5 million for the protection, management and research into remnant native vegetation. Community groups have

received over $6 million under this program for activities such as

G0

fencing remnant native vegetation areas and the development of

THE ENVIRONMENT

0 0

G

o

a

educational materials.

O o By 1995, 30,000 people were involved in the Waterwatch

0 program which has provided $2.9 million since 1993 to establish o Gcommunity based water quality monitoring programs in all States o C C 0

and Territories.

LEADED PETROL G o Federal Government policy has reduced the health risk from lead

0 C in vehicle emissions. High lead levels cause intellectual

o Cimpairment in young children. C o C Since the National Lead Abatement Strategy began in 1994, over

half a million Australian drivers have switched to unleaded

o petrol. For the first time, sales of unleaded petrol now exceed o Cleaded petrol. Air lead levels in almost every area are now below o the safety levels recommended by the National Health and 0 C 0 0

Medical Research Council.

G R E E N H O U S E C 0 o The release of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory in

CSeptember 1994 showed that Australia would not meet its target o to stabilise greenhouse emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.

o In response to this, the Government acted by introducing a $65 0 Umillion package, Greenhouse 21C — a plan of action for a o sustainable future. This package provided $9.7 million to develop 0 cooperative agreements with industry to reduce emissions

0 Csignificantly and $7.5 million to expand the One Billion Trees o Program to act as a sink to reduce emissions. Support was also 0 o provided for the development of a renewable energy industry

0 0

program and a renewable energy Cooperative Research Centre. G 0 0

Current policies will bring us to within 3 per cent of our o C

Greenhouse stabilisation target by the year 2000.

THE OZONE o Australia continues to be a leader in the development and LAY E R

0 o implementation of international measures to protect the ozone 0 layer. Scientific reports show these measures are achieving good o results. The Government is currently amending the Ozone o Protection Act to establish controls on hydrochlorofluorocarbons 0 O 0 G

(HCFCs) and methyl bromide.

B I O L O G I C A L

0

o In June 1993, we became the fourth country to ratify the

Di V E R S I T Y o C O G

International Convention on Biological Diversity. Domestically,

82

THE ENVIRONMENT

0 0

0 the Commonwealth and all States (except Western Australia)

® have now agreed to sign the draft National Strategy for the a Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity. 0 0

A N TA R C T I C A

0

a Australia has obtained international support for a comprehensive

m environment protection plan for Antarctica. Mining in Antarctica

0 is now banned under the Madrid Protocol on Environmental o Protection to the Antarctic Treaty — a Protocol which Australia 0 o was instrumental in formulating, and which came into force in

1994.

Australia also conducts important research in Antarctica in fields including climate change and the ozone layer.

WHALING o The Federal Government had an important role in the decision by the International Whaling Commission to establish a Southern Whale Sanctuary. It will complement the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary and provide additional protection for whale populations in the Southern hemisphere. Australia continues to amstrenuously oppose Japanese `scientific whaling' in these areas. 0

DES E RT I F I C AT I O. N 0 In October 1994, Australia signed the Desertification Convention

CONVENTION which aims to combat desertification, especially in countries © experiencing serious drought or desertification problems. As an 0 0 affected developed country, Australia will help affected,

0 underdeveloped countries with advice, technology and expertise, 0 helping them formulate and implement effective and appropriate

0 domestic plans. 0

H A Z A R D O U S 0 The Government is amending its hazardous waste legislation to

WASTE 0 meet international obligations under the 1989 Basel Convention

on Transfrontier Movements of Hazardous Waste. Trade in a hazardous wastes destined for recycling and recovery operations will now be regulated to ensure it is safe for the public and the

environment.

W I L D E R N E S S

0

a The Government has completed the National Wilderness

a Inventory, which has earned international acclaim. The Inventory has been crucial in decisions on the future of important areas on Cape York such as Starcke and Silver Plains. $3.9 million was

8-3

THE ENVIRONMENT

fl 0 0 0

© allocated in the 1995-96 Budget to establish a wilderness

0 O 0 0

0

program to build on the Inventory.

OO

N U C L E A R 0 In August 1995, the Government responded to widespread

T E S T I N G 0 concern about the environmental impacts of French nuclear O 0 testing in the Pacific by convening a meeting of South Pacific

O fl fl Environment Ministers.

Q 0 The meeting issued a declaration which called on French

a OPresident Chirac to immediately halt the nuclear testing. It also 0 challenged him to accept full responsibility for any adverse 0 impacts, past, present or future, from French nuclear testing on flthe environment and health of the people of the South Pacific. 0 This challenge was repeated by all South Pacific Forum countries •0 at their meeting at Madang in September. An Australian

0 flparliamentary, delegation to France and other European countries 0 has put Australia's position on nuclear testing directly to the 0 0 fl O

fl O 0 0

0 fl

0 O 0 0 O O 0 O 0

0 O

fl fl O

fl fl

0 fl fl O 0 O

fl fl fl

O 0

fl

O 0 O

0 O

O'.

O O

fl O

O O

O

governments and parliaments of those countries.

84

TOPICS

THE SAFETY NET

FAMILY HEALTH

FAMILIES, AT HOME

FAMILIES AT WORK

EDUCATION

_; :5HaPl C,z°1.HEl ` NI Tillt^^I^ s.$ ^ M1a; ^ iI

amities shape our national character. They are the

86 source of our communities and the strength of our

nation.

87

87

The greatest help the Government can give families is a strong

economy, and policies which guarantee that the country's wealth 88 and opportunities are fairly distributed. 88 The Federal Government's social wage principles give families the

CHILD CARE 89 best in health, education, housing and child care and make

KEEPING FAMILIES Australia one of the fairest societies in the world. Labor protects TOGETHER 90 families through its income safety net. The Government supports

AGED & COMMUNITY

all families with children and gives special priority to the needs of

CARE 90 low-income families.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE • More than $12.5 billion dollars is provided in assistance to & CHILD ABUSE 91 Australian families with children every year. Over $1 billion is spent on child care.

• We are spending $779 million on vocational education -double the 1990 allocation.

• Retention rates at school have improved dramatically. Now

seven out of ten students complete secondary school

compared with three in ten in the early eighties.

• The health of all Australian families is protected by

Medicare. The Federal Government pays for 85 per cent of

most commonly required medicines.

• Federal Government policies have made housing more

affordable. 300,000 low income families receive rental

assistance annually.

FI

I„•"r# • .}1 f i - t ^ ie+^ ^. tt ' ^"" r _ - - ' r t..^' :'ei.N'3'v ,:. 8 . 5 ' i • .•

THE SAFETY NET

I FAMILIES I

In the last decade, the Labor Government has created almost two

million new jobs providing a substantial rise in living standards:

• since June 1983, real average earnings have increased by 6.9 per cent;

• real household disposable income has risen by an outstanding 40.4 per cent, reflecting employment growth.

The Federal Government wants all Australians to share in this prosperity. It recognises that some Australians are unable to find work, and others work in low paid jobs. These families need help. They get this help through the income safety net — one of the most efficient and targeted assistance packages in the world.

Through Labor's social security system:

• over $12.5 billion is provided in assistance to families with children each year;

• over $1 billion is spent on child care.

Key assistance measures include:

• a new non-taxable, means tested Maternity Allowance of $840.60 to be paid to low and middle income mothers from February 1996. Costing around $643 million, it will be paid to mothers at home and those in paid employment;

• a Parenting Allowance of $136 a week paid to low-income families and those on income support. These families also have access to Family Payment, Rent Assistance and a Health Care Card;

• a basic component of Parenting Allowance of $62.80 a fortnight to parents at home caring full-time for children;

• special help for sole parents through vocational counselling, education and training, job placement and child care through the Jobs, Education and Training (JET) program;

• an increase of $116 million for the Guardian Allowance (in the 1995 Budget) to help people bring up children on their own;

• a $500 million annual rental allocation to low-income families, including an increase in the last Budget of $88 million.

1 86

FAMILIES

fl 4 C

O

m

FAMILY HEALTH Family health is protected by Medicare. Before the introduction

of Medicare by the Federal Labor Government, two million

fl

Australians were unprotected — without any form of health

fl insurance. fl Medicare gives all Australian families access to high quality

p fl

health care whatever they earn.

fl fl

Through the Health Card system, those who are most in need

® receive benefits including:

p 0

• free dental treatment at public hospitals;

fl o • free optometrical consultations;

fl o fl

• cut price prescriptions.

fl Q The Government also pays 85% of the cost of most commonly fl prescribed drugs so that all families are protected from the

fl excessive costs of medicines.

The Government recognises that preventative health care is the best form of treatment. It is: fl • boosting funds for immunisation to cover all Australian fl

children;

fl

• tackling the problem of youth suicide by establishing

support and awareness programs and training

fl

professionals, particularly in rural and remote areas;

fl

• undertaking an extensive anti-smoking education campaign, fl aimed particularly at teenagers.

p Over the past decade, we have significantly increased health funding and as a result Australian families are living longer, in better health. For example, compared with ten years ago, a one-

: year-old boy can now expect to live 2.7 years longer. His 30-year-w old mother, 1.7 years longer and his 65-year-old grandfather an fladditional 1.5 years.

O

F A M I L I E S ° In the last two years, more Australians than ever have been able

fl

AT HOME ©

fl

to buy their own homes.

fl a The housing industry has recorded high levels of activity but

flfl

without the usual boosts to inflation and hikes in house prices.

fl Federal Government policy means low income earners have © fl access to home ownership. We provided 56,000 home loans in

87

FAMILIES

fl fl

o the three years to 1993-94 under the Commonwealth-State

6 fl fl

Housing Agreement.

© Rental accommodation has been made more affordable through:

fl • the allocation of $500 million each year on rental flassistance for 300,000 low income families with children; fl e 0

• over $1 billion a year to the States for public housing;

fl o • the construction of community housing under the $200 fl fl

fl

million Community Housing Program.

flfl

F A M I L I E S o Many Australian families juggle the competing demands of work

AT WORK m

fl

and family and the Federal Government is helping them.

Equal pay, equal opportunity and maternity leave formed the o 0basis of our industrial reforms. Since 1993, the reform process 0

has progressed to include:

fl o • legislation to prevent dismissal on the grounds of family fl o fl

responsibilities;

o • strengthening of the award safety net to include unpaid fl fl fl

parental leave.

fl 0 Labor's new industrial relations framework, with its emphasis on

o workplace bargaining means workers and their employers can fl o negotiate innovative deals to balance the needs of work and

a © flfamily. 0 0 fl Industrial relations breakthroughs include: fl

• an ACTU test case which found that personal sick leave fl entitlements could be used to. care for sick family members;

O o • flexible roster arrangements to allow parents time to pick

G o

fl

up children from school or child care;

O

• family-friendly agreements including permanent part-time

D 0 fl

o

work, job sharing, career break schemes and child care. -0 fl

EDUCATION a Over the last ten years, the Federal Government has achieved a

o flmajor turnaround in educational opportunities for all young • o flAustralians. flaflToday: Capflflfl•more than seven out of ten young people complete 88

FAM'I LIE

O fl

o secondary school compared with three in ten in the early

fl

1980s;

0 • there are 600,000 students in higher education — an o fl increase of 70 per cent over the last decade; C • Federal Government spending on vocational education fl

totals $779 million — double the amount spent in 1990;

• we spend $1.6 billion on AUSTUDY and Assistance for 00 Isolated Children to help families keep their children at m Qschool and university. Drought-affected farming families fl

have special access to AUSTUDY;

O

• funding has begun for 6,000 new university places over the

fl fl

next four years;

• $15 million has been allocated to improve education in m schools and the expansion of early literacy programs across o fl fl

the country.

CHILD CARE © Working families need affordable, quality child care. Child care G also offers respite for parents (usually mothers) looking after

o fl young children at home. Child care gives parents choices about the way they combine work and family responsibilities. fl m Under the Federal Labor Government, the number of child care

o places and the level of financial help for parents has increased

flfl

dramatically.

flfl

We now have more than 5 times the places we had ten years ago.

m • During 1995, almost 400,000 families will use fl Commonwealth funded child care.

fl

• Almost 250,000 families will receive assistance with child fl fl

care fees.

O • More than 200,000 families are receiving the Child Care

fl Cash Rebate. fl • More than 800,000 families are receiving the Parenting

o Allowance (previously the Home Child Care Allowance).

• An additional 51,000 child care places, at a cost of $162 o -million annually, have been created for families in rural and

flflfl remote areas. fla • A range of taxation incentives have been introduced for4 flflflemployers to provide workplace child care. 89

FAMILIES

0 0 0

0

K E E P 1 N G

0 C

o To support and strengthen families the Federal Government

FAMILIES o has:

TOGETHER

C

o • substantially increased funding to more than 90 community a o based family support and financial counselling 0 a

organisations;

o

• doubled the number of places in family preparation 0 courses;

o • increased funding to help families from non-English C o

G

speaking backgrounds;

C o • provided new services for families in rural and remote

G o

G

areas;

a o • expanded adolescent mediation services and family therapy G 0 services in regional areas.

G 0 OWhere parental break-up is inevitable the Federal Government o makes sure that both parents support their children through the G a

G

Child Support Scheme.

G o Before the introduction of the Child Support Scheme, fewer than

a G30 per cent of children received maintenance. Today that figure o C G C

has doubled.

AGED &

0

o The Federal Government spends almost $3 billion a year on aged

COMMUNITY

C a care — an increase of 62 per cent since 1983.

CARE 0

o We know that older people want to live in their own homes, with

G independence and dignity. To help them do this we o a have: 0o • a comprehensive program for the carers of frail older C people, the chronically ill and the disabled;

0 o a

• expanded eligibility for the Carer Pension;

o • increased the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit; 0 C • recognised that women carers, often looking after aged

o parents, need access to educational opportunities, need to o Gmaintain links with the labour market and need more o 0

respite care;

a o • provided more than 215,000 older people with a Home 0

G a 0

and Community Care service each month.

90

R

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DOMESTIC .

VIOLENCE &

.

CHILD ABUSE ..

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.

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The Federal Government is working to make families safe.

It has:

• ensured access to crisis accommodation for victims of domestic violence;

• developed a national program to fund women's refuges;

• earmarked $50 million annually to be spent on services to help women and children escape domestic violence;

• allocated $2.6 million on new services in Queensland (Hughenden, Roma), South Australia (Goober Pedy), New South Wales (Gunnedah), Northern Territory (Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Darwin) and Tasmania (East Coast, Huon Valley);

• provided $12 million over four years for the National Prevention Strategy for Child Abuse and Neglect, involving all Australian governments in a community education campaign and a national research program;

• provided more than $5 million for a national pilot program of access handover and handover centres for the safe transfer of children;

• planned legislation to make sure the Family Court takes full account of violence orders when it makes decisions on children and property, protecting children from physical and psychological harm.

FAMILIES

• -

S

•

^ 92

r

p 0 7J ITG +^ I A F9 r p A IT R S^ 000000000 a00000*0*000*000**&00000 00 S00a*0*I 0 I 0 I 0 000000000*00I 00 I 00 0*.0000000*00000**041

TOPICS he protection of Australia's interests in a rapidly changing

A P E C 94 world underpins the Federal Labor Government's foreign

affairs policy. Since 1983, Australia has taken a

REGIONAL SECURITY

leadership role in international affairs, through direct

DIALOGUE - AS E A N 94 involvement in issues affecting national security, business and

political and cultural interaction.

I NTERNATIONAL CITIZENS 94 ` • Australia has established strong links with the Asia Pacific

I NDONESIA 95 region particularly through the economic forum APEC

(Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation). It led the way in

J APAN 95

setting. up APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum on

C I N A 95 security, laying the foundations of regional cooperation in

UNITED STATES 95 the Asia Pacific community.

VIETNAM 96 • Australia has given high priority to trade and economic

issues including the consolidation of APEC, the successful

CAMBODIA 96

conclusion of the Uruguay Round and the formation of the

SOUTH PACIFIC 96 World Trade Organisation.

I NDIAN OCEAN 9

Regional relations have been reinforced through the

EUROPE 97 appointment of a Commonwealth Minister for

Development Cooperation and Pacific Island Affairs.

• The Federal Government is vigorously pursuing

international human rights issues and strongly supports

global environmental initiatives.

• Australia continues to act as a catalyst in promoting

disarmament and is currently giving top priority to ending

all nuclear testing.

L,'^" ,.Sr .._:: :S * ^ . :k ,K e A ' r e .. :, .r - . -i. _ b.^ .c ^ , x r^^*tY .:

a

„„ > nl

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

. .

. .

A P E C

.

o APEC is a major force promoting regional trade and investment

liberalism and economic cooperation.

: Australia was a central player in bringing together regional leaders in 1993 and 1994 to adopt important economic reforms and mobilised support for the ambitious APEC free trade goal in 1994 and 1995.

R E G I O N A L : The Federal Government has played a central role in encouraging S E C U R I T Y : multilateral, regional security dialogue. Much of this work came D I A L 0 G U E to fruition in the first meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum in — ASEAN : 1994 and 1995.

I N T E R N AT I O N A L : The Federal Government has been a strong supporter of the C I T I Z E N S : international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations of the United Nations including substantial contributions to key UN : activities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

• The Government continues to push for UN reform, with : particular emphasis on peace building, preventive diplomacy and organisational reform.

• In 1995 we vigorously pursued Australia's Security Council candidacy for 1997-98.

Australia has:

• taken a leading role in the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. Australia's goal of completing the negotiation of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996 has been given sharper focus by the strength

of our opposition to resumed French nuclear testing in the Pacific;

• a respected record in pursuing international human rights;

• worked to promote indigenous people's rights, the rights of women and the development of national human rights institutions. We are a member of the Commission on Human Rights;

• given strong support to global environment initiatives in the field of climate change, desertification and the sustainable development of small island developing o 0 0 0 .

states.

94

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

0 O 0 O O

I N D O N E S I A o Australia's relationship with Indonesia is one of our most

® Cimportant. It has continued to strengthen and diversify, and is ® marked by rapidly expanding links across most areas of government and business activity. The added maturity of the

relationship allows Australia to pursue human rights issues o productively, particularly in connection with East Timor. Close

3 0

personal contact at all levels is now a feature of our relationship.

v 0

J APAN © Australia's bilateral relationship with Japan is one of our

o Ostrongest and closest. With the growing deregulation of the a Japanese market, trade ties have improved. At a political level, the deep level of trust and dialogue between the two countries o culminated in Prime Minister Keating's visits to Japan in o September 1994 and May 1995. Australia and Japan have G q worked extensively together on regional issues such as regional

0security and APEC and global problems such as UN reform, and

0

arms control.

00

C H I N A The strength of Australia's relationship with China was reflected

o by Prime Minister Keating's visit to China in 1993 and a highly successful business delegation visit in 1994 led by the Trade o 0

Minister.

0 m Australia is now in an excellent position to benefit from China's

o strong economic growth, with trade between the two countries up by more than 18 per cent in 1994.

0 The Government continues to raise human rights concerns at the © highest levels of the Chinese Government. Australia has a strong o stake in the continued prosperity of Hong Kong and firmly 0 G advocates that the rule of law continue after the colony returns

o Gto Chinese sovereignty in July 1997.

UNITED STATES o The Government continues to support a substantial US presence o in the region. We have been at the forefront of efforts to encourage the United States to see APEC as a central vehicle for managing its interests across the Pacific. The importance of a Australia's alliance with the United States for our national

security was reaffirmed in the 1994 Defence White Paper. The o 0Government has taken strong action to protect Australian 00C0 interests affected by US trade measures.

95

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

0 0 0

0

VIETNAM o The Federal Government has encouraged political contacts and

o dialogue on issues of importance to members of the Australian-Vietnamese community at the highest levels with Vietnam. We 0 0

are well positioned to take part in Vietnam's political and

C

economic integration into the region.

0

CAMBODIA o

.

Progress in Cambodia since the UN operationUNTAC) in 1992-C 93 (as a result of an Australian initiative) and , democratic o elections in May 1993, has removed Cambodia--as a source of Cregional tension and given the country the chance for a stable o 00G

future.

C0

SOUTH P A C I F [ C o Australia has its first minister with special responsibility for

o Pacific Island Affairs — a measure of the importance the Federal a CGovernment puts on fostering the development of our Pacific neighbours. G

Over the past two years we have strengthened our important

o relationship with the South Pacific region through:

o

• hosting a highly successful South Pacific Forum in Brisbane in August 1994, attended by all 16 Pacific Island leaders; G 0 • redirecting and refocusing Pacific regional cooperation. The

Brisbane Forum's theme "Managing Our Resources"

o produced a new emphasis on sustainable management, with 0Gassistance including: 0 0 O— active support to ensure a fair economic return for the o a

region's valuable tuna and other fisheries resources; 0 o — a Regional Code of Conduct for Forestry, to protect the

o f

region's precious and fast disappearing tropical rainforests;

C p • maintaining the scope and redirection of Australia's

0 0

assistance to PNG while contributing significant advice on o the direction of economic management; 0 o • the Bougainville Peace Conference in October 1994, 0 a through the contribution of logistical support for the South

0 0

Pacific Peacekeeping Force, deployed to Bougainville as o 0 part of the PNG Government's peace initiative; 0 • a quick and compassionate response to the Rabaul volcanico C C 0disaster; 96 -

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• establishing full cooperation with the people and authorities of New Caledonia in support of the Matignon Accords process — maintaining momentum towards genuine self determination;

• inaugurating the "Australia South Pacific 2000 Program" — for sports and culture to assist the region to participate in the Sydney 2000 Olympics;

• formally recognising the unique place of Australians of South Sea Island origin within the broader Australian society, enabling selected participants to travel to their countries of origin to renew cultural links.

I NDIAN OCEAN The Government is pursuing a "Look West" strategy to : strengthen Australian economic and other links through the Indian Ocean region and is promoting a variety of activities — commercial, academic as well as practical — to develop a greater

sense of regionalism.

EUROPE Europe remains important to Australia for economic, cultural and political reasons. Strong links have been fostered through the Prime Minister's visits to the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and The Netherlands. We are negotiating a Cooperation Agreement with the European Union to establish a framework for deepening our relations with Europe.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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TOPICS Aedicare is the linchpin of the Federal Labor

PREVENTATIVE Government's health care system, providing quality,

HEALTH 100 (fordable and accessible health care for all

Australians, no matter what they earn or where they live. HEALTH AUSTRALIA 100 WOMEN'S HEALTH 100 It is one of the best and fairest systems in the world and by the Government's careful containment of costs, health spending has CERVICAL CANCER 1 01

been kept at around 8.5 per cent of GDP, without compromising

BREAST CANCER 101 our high standards. Medicare provides medical and optometric AGED & COMMUNITY care and free treatment in public hospitals.

CARE 101

• Today more than 2 million people who had no health cover

RESIDENTIAL& in 1983 are protected by Medicare.

I NTENSIVE CARE 102 • The Federal Government pays around $6 billion a year for ` & ABORIGINAL medical services and around $4.5 billion to the States to T O R R E S STRAIT

I S LAN D E R run public hospitals.

HEALTH" 102

• An extra $1.5 billion has been allocated to the States over

PHARMACEUTICAL five years to upgrade public hospital services.

BENEFITS SCHEME 10 3 • Low income earners now have access to essential health

MENTAL HEALTH 103 services. For example, dental services are now available to

all health card holders.

PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY 10 3 ` The Federal Government has launched a new attack to improve

A BETTER DEAL the long-term health of Australians at risk. These include new

I N P R I VAT E preventative strategies targeting child immunisation, youth

I NSURANCE 104 suicide, teenage smoking, breast cancer and aged care.

HIV/AIDS 104

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HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES

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P RE V E N TAT I V E. o Australians have good health by world standards. We live longer,

HEALTH o healthier lives than we did twelve years ago. However the 0 o Government is concerned that too many Australians suffer

0 0 G

illnesses which could be prevented.

0 G A set of National Goals and Targets has been developed to

a Cachieve better health for all Australians by the year 2000. The o program encourages healthy lifestyles with special emphasis on

O o heart disease, cancer, mental health and injuries. 0 This major effort in preventing illness is reflected in Budget 0 Ospending. An additional $85.6 million has been allocated for new o p C

programs and existing immunisation and screening programs.

O

HEALTH o With a budget allocation of $18 million, Health Australia's first

A U S T RA L•I A o priority will be to reduce the deadly impact of tobacco on o CAustralians, especially young Australians. Smoking causes o cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Australia.

o Smoking also causes lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer 0 0deaths overall. By cutting out tobacco smoking, Australians can o G

radically improve their health.

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• o Childhood immunisation is being significantly boosted with the C o allocation of $24 million to the National Childhood

0 OImmunisation Program over the next two years. A National • o Childhood Immunisation Register will be set up to measure o immunisation coverage in Australian children and provide

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parents with an optional immunisation .reminder.

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• 0 CAs well, the Federal Government will increase funding for health o and medical research by $58 million over the next 4 years. C o O C

Funding for research has doubled since 1983-84.

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WOMEN'S HEALTH o Under Medicare, every Australian has access to free medical and

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hospital care but the Government is also very aware of the

a p special health needs of women. O o In 1993, an extra $30 million was directed over four years to the 0 o National Women's Health Program to encourage greater 0 0

sensitivity to the health needs of women. There is special o C emphasis on women from disadvantaged groups including • o women living in remote and rural areas, Aboriginal and Torres o Strait Islander women and women from non-English speaking o C U G

backgrounds.

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HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES`

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Through the National Women's Health Program, the

Government funds hundreds of health programs in. areas including sexual and reproductive health, the health of ageing women, emotional and mental health, violence against women, : occupation health and safety and the needs of women as carers.

C E RV I CAL Each year around 340 Australian women die from cervical cancer CANCER : despite the fact that around 90 per cent of cases could be

prevented through early detection. Over the next four years more than $42 million will be spent on the extension of the National Cervical Screening Program. Screening programs will be improved and a system introduced to remind women when their

next pap smear is due.

BREAST CANCER Breast cancer is one of the biggest killers of Australian women. This high mortality rate can only be reduced through the early detection and treatment of the disease. The Government is spending $240 million on a national screening program which will reach 70 per cent of women between 50 and 69 every two years.

In the past, there have been many different approaches to treatment of the disease, with varying outcomes. To give all women access to the most effective treatment, $15 million has been allocated to establish a national centre to develop standards

of best practice in breast cancer treatment.

Funding increases to the National Health and Medical Research Council and the establishment of the Kathleen Cunningham : Foundation will boost breast cancer research by raising funds in the private sector. The Government will match this dollar for

0

dollar up to another $1 million a year.

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AGED • & The quality of life of our ageing population is an important

COMMUNITY : priority for this Government. The Government spends almost $3 CARE : billion a year on aged care — an increase of 62 per cent since

1983. The Government wants to help older people remain in their own homes for as long as possible with independence and dignity.

For those who are frail, chronically ill or disabled, the Government has built a comprehensive program of support for o ... carers.

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We have:

• expanded eligibility for the Carer Pension;

• increased and indexed the Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit;

• given special support to women carers through access to educational opportunities so that they maintain their links with the labour market;

• provided more respite care to help carers;

• provided over 215,000 elderly people with a Home and Community Care service each month;

more than tripled our spending on all community care services since 1983.

RESIDENTIAL & Since the Federal Labor Government came to power, more than I NTENSIVE CARE : $ 1 billion has been spent on building new nursing homes and hostels. Every year around $2 billion is allocated to support • nursing homes and upgrade the care they provide.

• A national network of Older Australians Advisory Councils has been established to advise the Government on ways to achieve `healthy aging' and the Government is also working with industry, unions and consumers to increase the range of care choices for older people.

ABORIGINAL & The poor health of Australia's indigenous population is one of T O R R E S STRAIT the most serious challenges facing this country. I SLANDER Although the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

• people has improved in the last two decades, they continue to have the worst health of any identifiable group in the country. In some cases the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians has actually widened.

• The Government's goal is to make sure they get their share of mainstream health services — access to clinics and doctors, hospital beds, vaccination programs and medicines.

• The National Aboriginal Health Strategy, now the responsibility of the Health Minister, has been boosted by an extra $103

• million from the last Budget.

The Government is building a unified national approach to

Aboriginal Australians' health needs, providing $482 million on

primary health care and substance abuse programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.

P H A R M A C E U T I CAL : Every year, the Government pays out almost $2 billion so B E N E F I T S : Australians are able to afford essential but costly medicines. SCHEME •

Through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme the Government

pays 85 per cent of the cost of over 115 million prescriptions a year.

All Australians benefit, but through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, pensioners and other cardholders have access to safe, effective, affordable drugs. They pay a lower contribution rate on

pharmaceutical benefit items and receive free prescriptions once their annual drug expenditure exceeds $135.20.

MENTAL HEALTH ; People with mental health disorders need special help. The Government's National Mental Health Strategy aims to reduce reliance on inappropriate and outmoded institutional services through the strengthening of community care and support. It gives consumers a voice and works to remove discrimination and stereotyping of people with mental illness.

• The Government is spending $269 million to reform Australia's : mental health services. The States will get $189 million to help them restructure their services and $80 million will go to projects • of national significance.

•

PEOPLE WITH A The Government is determined that people with disabilities should D I S A B I L I T Y : be encouraged to realise their potential. The goals have been human rights, social justice and a better lifestyle through financial and social independence, access to Government programs and the

opportunity to participate fully in Australian life.

The Disability Discrimination Act, of 1993, protects people with disabilities from discrimination.

• • The Commonwealth Disability Strategy establishes a ten year framework for care and support and the Disability Reform Package gives access to appropriate employment services and a supported wage system. The Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service is being improved to help an estimated 40,000 people in

1995-96.

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The Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement has been implemented in all States, to rationalise funding and to build a cooperative framework.

Over the next four years, the Government will spend $42 million on improving employment services with an initial 650 places available through the Disability Services Program in 1995-96.

A BETTER DEAL Although covered by Medicare, Australians are able to choose to I N P R I VAT E pay for health treatment in the private sector. Increasingly there I NSURANCE : has been criticism of the cost of private health insurance and the •

shortfall between expenses and rebates. More and more • consumers are letting their insurance lapse.

The Government is introducing reforms to produce health insurance packages that are better value for money and increase competition.

These include giving private health insurance agencies the power to negotiate with hospitals and doctors, allowing people to insure for the full cost of their care. It should lead to lower premiums. •

They also include a Private Patients Charter of Rights, which will provide more information and an independent complaints mechanism for consumers. The Charter is designed to ensure • consumers get a better deal.

The Federal Government is acknowledged as a world leader for its National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Australia has been successful in containing the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is one of the few countries which can claim that the epidemic is relatively stable and contained.

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Q U S IiNG

.IISI.I

TOPICS

PUBLIC HOUSING 106

HOME PURCHASE 106

PRIVATE RENTERS 107

HOUSING & I NDUSTRY EXPORTS 107

ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER HOUSING 107

HOMELESSNESS 108

WOMEN ESCAPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 109

NEW HOMES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE 109

NEW HOMES FOR OLD 109

T

he Federal Labor Government is working to make sure all Australians have appropriate and affordable housing regardless of income or where they live.

For home owners, the Government's stable economic policy has delivered low inflation and low interest rates, making home ownership more affordable than ever before. At the same time,

the stock of public housing has been upgraded and $1.5 billion a year is allocated to private rental assistance.

• The Federal Government has increased public housing stock by over 137,000 units since 1983. By 1996, the total number of units is expected to reach 400,000.

• In the last three years there have been well over half a million new dwelling commencements.

• Low-income earners renting privately receive rent assistance totalling $1.5 billion annually.

HOUSING

000e0GP U B L i C HOUSING o Since the Federal Labor Government came to office in 1983, theo e total stock of public housing provided has increased by over 0 C137,000 units. Co Federal Government funding for public housing has increased thea number of new tenants housed from 35,000 in 1982-83 to0 e 54,000 in 1993-94. 3oeUnder the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement, the o Federal Government is giving over $3 billion to the States for e1o public housing for the three years to June 1996 with the resulto e that: e0 • the public housing stock has already grown by over C0 19,000 dwellings, an increase of five per cent and e o another 158,000 people have been placed in public e e e housing; Co • by 1996, this investment will help increase total public Goehousing units to an estimated 400,000.o e In the three years since the $200 million Community Housing o Program was established, two thousand units of community0 e housing have been built. By the year 2000, we will have doubled o e the amount of low-cost rental accommodation built by o community organisations, churches and local government, to0 G e25,000 dwellings.HOME PURCHASE 0 In the last two years, more Australians than ever before haveo e been able to buy their own home through policies delivering low a inflation, low interest rates, and record levels of home loan 0Ceaffordability.O Our deregulation of the financial markets has led to a moreo e competitive mortgage industry where home owners now have a o e greater choice in home loan products. e o In the last three years, the housing industry has seen dwelling ae commencements of 161,605; 178,111 and 164,000 — the highest o e levels on record. e o To ensure that Australians on low incomes do not miss out on e o the benefits of home ownership, the Federal Government hasprovided 56,000 home loans to low-income families over theo C three years ending 1993-94 under the Commonwealth-State o e Housing Agreement.106

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P RI VAT E Low income earners renting privately, receive rent assistance

RE N T E R S : through the social security system — a $1.5 billion program.

' This program has increased assistance to private renters by 400 per cent since 1985.

• In the 1995 Federal Budget, as part of the families package, the Federal Government further increased rent assistance by $5 per fortnight.

Minimum legislation standards are being developed to get national consistency in landlord-tenant arrangements across the States and Territories.

HOUSING AND Labor has acted to improve the efficiency and international I N D U S T RY competitiveness of the housing industry through a $13 million EXPORTS : Housing Industry and Urban Exports Strategy.

As further encouragement to potential exporters in the housing industry, the Government has developed an Urban Export Fund, which provides over $750,000 a year to help meet the cost of : marketing and tendering for overseas contracts by Australian

housing firms.

ABORIGINAL AND : The Federal Government is working to meet the challenge to T O R RE S STRAIT provide culturally appropriate housing in urban and rural areas, ISLANDER : with the guarantee of basic sanitary services essential to health H O U S I N G ; and community welfare.

Since 1983, $1.73 billion has been provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing through State Housing Authorities.

• Over 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing organisations have been funded through both the Housing Agreements and ATSIC.

• Currently, about 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households are housed through public and community housing.

• Over the last three years, over $300 million has been provided by the Federal Government through ATSIC for community infrastructure such as gas, electricity, sewerage disposal and • water.

• A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Strategy is being developed to ensure real improvements on the ground for

HOUSING

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Aboriginal people. The new Strategy will:

D o • pool housing and infrastructure resources from ATSIC and

D D Housing Departments; D • allow a new Aboriginal Housing Board to make decisions on how funding will be allocated in partnership with State

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Housing Authorities;

• develop strategic plans to be agreed by the Boards, the States and the Commonwealth Minister for Housing o Dintroducing a new element of self-determination, planning © and accountability into the administration of housing and

infrastructure assistance to indigenous communities.

An additional $84 million was provided by the Government in the 1995 Federal Budget to improve Aboriginal housing and • © infrastructure.

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H 0 M -E . L ES S N ES S m Since 1983, there has been a 300 per cent increase in investment

m in accommodation and related support for homeless people. D a The Federal Government created the Supported Accommodation

a DAssistance Program to ensure that homeless people would have o D the support they needed.

D o We have built on this strong record with:

• the introduction of a new piece of legislation — the D o Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1995 to help

0 D homeless people move towards greater independence and to e secure a decent quality of life;

• o • a new round of Supported Accommodation Agreements D o with the States and Territories under which the $180

0 million Supported Accommodation Assistance Program D(SAAP) will be delivered;

• the provision of an additional $20 million in the 1994-95 D o

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Budget to implement the new SAAP agreements;

D o • the introduction of case management (SAAP) and improved

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services for homeless people with mental illnesses;

• the $30 million Inner City Hostel Redevelopment Fund to o Dimprove the quality of accommodation in the large inner o city hostels in Sydney and Melbourne, the largest 0 D investment in these hostels since many were built in the last DDDDDcentury. 108

WOMEN ESCAPING :

In 1983, there was no Commonwealth program for funding

D O M E S T I C : women's refuges and only 100 refuges existed nationally. VIOLENCE :

Since then Federal Government policy has resulted in

• comprehensive assistance for women escaping domestic violence • including:

• 380 services specifically for women with $50 million in funding;

• improved services to women living in rural and remote areas with $2.6 million currently being provided for new domestic violence services for these areas.

NEW HOMES FOR The Federal Government has invested $100 million in the Youth YOUNG PEOPLE Social Justice Strategy and made available more than 2,000 new accommodation and support services for homeless young people.

The Government is developing a major National Youth Housing Strategy so that both the public and private sectors respond to the housing needs of young people.

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The Federal Government is improving older people's housing through the $610,000 New Homes for Old Program.

This will increase older people's access to a wider range of housing options and improve industry and government responses to the housing needs of older people.

So far, the program has funded three community information programs in Kedron in Brisbane; in Wollongong in New South Wales; and in Moreland in Melbourne, to increase awareness of housing choices for people.

The Social Security Financial Information Services Network is also providing information and advice to older people who want to change their housing arrangements.

HOUSING

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&MtGRATtON & T r T N IT C AN F: f: A I^ & S

TOPICS stralia is building a tolerant, multicultural society. Our

M I G RATIO N 11 ural diversity is now our greatest national asset. It did

Acuoitthappe by accident, nor can we take it for granted.

CITIZENSHIP 112

The Federal Labor Government's inclusive approach to social

M U LT 1 C U LT U RA t AFFAIRS 113 Justice and citizenship means everyone can participate fully in

Australian life. The annual Migration Program continues to

REFUGEE &

balance Australia's economic need for business and skilled HUMANITARIAN 113 migration with the social imperatives of family reunion. It also

B OAT P E o P L E 114

meets Australia's international obligations to offer humanitarian

SETTLEMENT & resettlement to people who are forced to flee persecution in their

ETHNIC AFFAIRS 114 homelands. Australia is resettling more refugees per capita than any other country in the world.

To encourage social, artistic and business contact with the rest of the world visa-processing systems have been reformed and a new, client-based approach to temporary migration has been introduced. The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

has undergone comprehensive restructuring.

• The Federal Government's immigration policy meets long-term social, humanitarian and economic need. It has also imposed tighter controls on illegal immigrants, reducing over-stay by 30 per cent.

• Citizenship is now offered to all eligible residents after two years and a major campaign is encouraging these people to take up citizenship.

• Community projects under the Community Relations Agenda are improving cultural harmony with emphasis on youth, the media, the police, the legal profession and local government.

• The Federal Government spends $155 million annually for English training for migrants.

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^I:V1MIGRAFT.-[

• ON ^ N IfC' "AFFAIR` ? ^ r ,: =. r

M I G RAT ION The Federal Government's immigration policy is based on healthy

levels of migration for economic, social, family reunion and

humanitarian reasons while meeting the long-term needs of the

Australian economy and society. It includes:

• major reforms to the business skills category to attract

migrants who can create jobs, make major investments in

Australia and stimulate growth;

• streamlined processing for international businesses

establishing regional headquarters in Australia;

• the introduction of electronic transfer visa processing,

cutting processing times at our airports to around 55 secs;

• tighter controls over illegal immigrants, achieving a 30 per

cent fall in the rate of over-stay, and an education campaign

encouraging employers to check the immigration bona fides • • of job applicants;

• reform of overseas screening to make sure people involved

in organised crime or major abuses of human rights don't

enter Australia;

• major reforms to ensure that women in violent relation-ships are not discriminated against in migration policy, by

expanding domestic violence provisions in the regulations,

and widening the scope of acceptable evidence of abuse.

C I T I Z E N S H I P Citizenship is the common bond which unites all Australians in

an inclusive, socially democratic society.

• The Federal Government has:

• offered citizenship to all eligible permanent residents after

two years, giving everyone the opportunity to be equal

partners in Australia's future;

• • introduced the Pledge of Commitment to make citizenship

• more relevant to modern Australia;

• conducted a major citizenship promotion campaign encour-

aging eligible permanent residents to think about citizen-

; ship and become full participants in Australian society;

• conducted the first major review of the Citizenship Act

since 1948, as the first step to updating citizenship to meet

the needs of a modern multicultural society.

^';_^ j • .- - . it l' . ', ZL^.o-` LSD '_

MULTICULTURAL

AFFAIRS

I MMIGRATION & ETHNIC AFFA

Australia's cultural diversity is the foundation of our economic,

social, cultural and political development as a nation.

So that all Australians benefit from our multicultural society the Government has:

• reviewed the National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia to bring it up to date and ensure that multiculturalism is central in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the Centenary of Federation in 2001;

• made principles of `productive diversity' (making full use of a multi-lingual, culturally diverse workforce) central to Government employment, industry, trade and arts policies;

• conducted the first study of Australia's 200 ethnic chambers of commerce and distributed details on CDROM database to all ethnic and mainstream business organisations;

• funded projects under the Community Relations Agenda which aim to improve community harmony, through youth, the media, the police, the legal profession and local government;

• hosted the world's first Global Cultural Diversity Conference to showcase Australia's achievements and share international experience.

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REFUGEE & Australia's commitment to refugee resettlement was strengthened H U MAN I TA RI A N ; in 1993 with increases in the Humanitarian Program intake, and the separation of the Humanitarian from the Migration Program. ® The Humanitarian program is universal and non-discriminatory,

m • based on genuine priority for refugees in need. The Federal Government has reformed humanitarian resettlement programs, with increased funding for relevant non-Government

® and ethnic community organisations, improved coordination of Government agency aid efforts, and improved services for victims

. of torture and trauma.

The Government has introduced a just, fair and efficient system of review of refugee decisions with the establishment of the Refugee Review Tribunal.

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MMIGRATION & ETHNIC AFFAIRS G 0 0

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BOAT PEOPLE o The interests of genuine refugees have been protected through

o legislation ensuring that illegal boat arrivals, who have already o been found to be refugees elsewhere, cannot access the Australian C 0 0

system.

G 0 C

The Government cut the primary decision processing time for

o Cboat people seeking refugee status to an average of five weeks. o Regulations have been introduced allowing for the humanitarian

o release of boat people from detention on compassionate grounds, o G O0 including age or ill health.

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SETTLEMENT & o Multicultural Australia is built on social justice, with equal access 0 ETHNIC AFFAIRS o to education, health care, the law, and an industrial safety net

G o

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guaranteed to everyone.

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The Government has:

G o

• increased funding for English language training for

a Cmigrants by around $40 million, spending around $155 o million a year with a special emphasis on job-seekers; C o • expanded the Translating and Interpreting Service to rural

o and isolated communities and introduced a national, easy o Gto use hotline; G 0 G•specifically targeted unemployed people of non-English

o speaking backgrounds with a range of measures in Working C o

O

Nation;

o

• increased funding for community groups providing services 0 Cto ethnic communities, from $3.4m in 1992-93 to $11.4m o C

in 1994-95;

G o • increased funding for Migrant Resource Centres by $2

o million in 1995/96 to help newly arrived migrants, 0 Gespecially those with special needs like refugees and the o unemployed;

O a • improved off-shore information about settlement for all G o

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approved migrants to Australia;

o • improved co-ordination of service for refugees who have m suffered torture or trauma; 0 introduced legislation to ensure that no Australian need live C o in fear of persecution because of ethnic, religious or

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cultural background.

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TOPICSEARNING & LIVINGSTANDARDS 116THE SOCIALSECURITYSAFETY NET 116THE SOCIAL WAGE 117A FAIRER TAXSYSTEM 118EMPLOYMENT 119 T

he Federal Labor Government's public policies are directed at making sure that all Australians share in the nation's economic growth. Reforms to the tax system, wide ranging labour market programs, and an internationally-recognised social support system have protected and improved the living standards of low and middle income earners.

Today we have a much fairer society than countries like the USA and Britain where the gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically over the past fifteen years.

• Real wages and household incomes have increased substantially. Since June 1983, full-time adult average weekly total earnings have increased in real terms — after inflation — by 7.2 per cent.

• Real household disposable income per person has risen by 20.9 per cent.

• Personal income tax cuts worth around $3 billion a year were delivered in 1993. Since 1983 there have been seven rounds of tax cuts.

I NCOME DISTRIBUTION

0000

EARN I N G S

0 O

o The real earnings of people in the top ten per cent of earners in

& LIVING a Australia have increased by only a little more than those in the

S TA N D A R D S

0 a bottom ten per cent. Australia continues to have one of the

0 0 fairest wage distributions in the developed world. The best-off 10

o 4per cent of Australian wage earners receive 2.3 times as much as o those in the bottom ten per cent (compared with 2.1 in 1981).

o But in the USA, the top ten per cent earn 5.6 times as much as o 4the bottom ten per cent, in the United Kingdom 3.4 times as o CGO

much.

THE S O C [ A L

C C

o Since 1983, the Federal Government has constructed a

S E C U R I T Y o sophisticated and flexible social safety net to counter cycles of SAFETY N E T o unemployment and to bolster low family incomes. Social security C o payments go to families most in need, substantially reducing

o hardship. This targeting makes it possible to make more generous 0 Cpayments and to index virtually all payments to inflation. 0 0 G

Since 1983 there has been a real increase in the base pension rate

0 of 12 per cent, and real increases in payments for children in the

o social security system of between 80 and 150 per cent (depending 0 Gon the age of children). Additional Family Payments have been o C

extended to low-income working families.

G o Rent assistance has been extended to unemployed people and to

o low income working families, with real increases in payments of 0 0 between 75 and 130 per cent.

0 G

Middle-income earners are supported too. For example, 81 per

a cent of all families now get the indexed basic family payment, 0 a

G

which cuts out at about $61,000.

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C

Most social security incomes have risen since 1983.

0 o • The income of a single pensioner renting privately has 0 0

increased from 8 per cent to 11 per cent above the poverty o G

line.

o • The income of a sole parent with two children renting O o privately has increased from 9 per cent below to 2 per cent 0 0 O..

above the poverty line.

0 • The income of an unemployed couple with one child, C o 0 renting privately has increased from 11 per cent below to 1 o per cent above the poverty line.

o U C 0

The Government is encouraging social security recipients to

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NCOME DIST

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provide for themselves and to supplement and improve their

C

basic payments. Expanded part-time opportunities in the labour

0

market, a reduction in poverty traps from the income test

arrangements, and policies such as the Child Support scheme and

0

the JET scheme for sole parents have all substantially increased

a the private incomes of social security recipients. Expanded C

superannuation coverage and the deeming arrangements on C

pensioners' financial assets will further boost living standards in

0

retirement.

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THE SOCIAL C

WAGE

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Federal Government policies have also significantly boosted the

level of non-cash benefits — the social wage.

The Government has built a much fairer society by investing in housing, education, health and child care services for all Australians.

Today all children, regardless of their economic background, can participate in secondary schooling and higher education. Today around 80 per cent of teenagers complete Year 12, compared

with only 32 per cent in 1983. More of those teenagers go on to university. The number of students in higher education has risen from 340,000 in 1982 to over 600,000 in 1995 — an increase of 71 per cent.

The number of funded child care places has risen from 46,000 in 1983 to 262,500 in 1995.

Two million people who had no health cover in 1982, and lived in fear of serious illness, are today covered by Medicare. All Australians now have access to high quality affordable health care. Health Care cardholders also enjoy free dental services and access to concessional pharmaceuticals and other health concessions.

Secure affordable housing gives low- income earners the prospect of higher living standards. In addition to cash payments for private renters, we provide over $1 billion a year for the building and maintenance of public and community housing, more than $50 million a year for youth and women's refuges, and almost $3 billion a year in services for older people.

The Government's superannuation policy is a vital component of the social wage. With award superannuation and the superannuation guarantee, retirement income prospects have been transformed. Superannuation is no longer simply a tax perk

1 1

I

NCOME DISTRIBUTION 0 0 0 0

o confined to a minority of higher income earners. In 1983 less

0 than 40 per cent of employees had superannuation — today that figure is almost 90 per cent. For women employees, the increased o coverage has been even more spectacular, rising from 24 per cent 0 a in 1983 to 85 per cent today.

0 0 The 1995 Budget provided a massive boost to retirement

o 0 incomes, with direct payments by the Government to middle and o low income earners, matching employee and self employed contributions dollar for dollar. The changes mean that working © 0 people can look forward to much higher retirement incomes with o the age pension remaining as an essential safety net. 0

(In Britain and the USA superannuation coverage has plummeted.

m In the USA for example, private pension coverage for people o under 25 has dropped since the 1980s from 49 per cent to 23 per

0

cent.)

o In 1994, the social wage benefits from health, housing, child care

o and education were worth an average of $195 a week for a two 0 0 child family. These benefits are worth far more for lower income o 0 families, substantially reducing inequality in Australia. 0 o This Government currently spends nearly $30 billion a year on

the social wage. When Opposition Leader, John Howard was Treasurer he cut Federal social wage spending in real terms by 0 17.5 per cent for each person in the population. Since then, a Federal social wage spending has increased by 73 per cent per

000

person in real terms.

00

A F A I R E R Federal Government reforms mean the tax burden no longer rests

TAX SYSTEM o unfairly on low and middle income earners. Income tax cannot 0 o be avoided through salary packages which pay tax free home

0 a

loans, school fees, cars and holidays. The Fringe Benefits Tax o (FBT) means that all income is taxed, whether it is in cash or o kind. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has made sure that income • m cannot be disguised as tax-free capital gains.

m 0 In 1993-94, the Government collected almost $600 million in © CGT and in 1995 expects to collect nearly $3 billion in FBT. o There is increasing evidence that employers are cashing out 0 m

income previously delivered as fringe benefits, so that previously o a tax free perks are now subject to income tax. 0 o 0 The FBT and CGT have protected the tax base from abuse and

m

helped fund the cuts in income tax rates.

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: Personal tax cuts worth around $3 billion a year were delivered

: in November 1993. The marginal rate on incomes of $20,700 to : $38,000 dropped from 38 per cent to 34 per cent, and on : incomes of $38,000 to $50,000 from 46 per cent to 43 per cent. As well, a low-income rebate of $150 was introduced for those

on incomes below $20,700. These were the seventh .round of tax : cuts for personal income since 1983. Earlier cuts included dropping the lowest tax rate from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, and

raising the tax free threshold from $4,595 to $5,400.

EMPLOYMENT High, sustainable economic growth is the key to strong jobs : growth. But we now know that economic growth alone is not enough, particularly for long term unemployed people who historically are the last to find employment.

Working Nation is helping people who have been out of work for some time. In the year to August 1995, the number of people out of work for more than a year dropped by 23.2 per cent, and the number of discouraged jobseekers dropped by one third.

Since March 1983, over two million jobs have been created. Over the last two years employment growth has been particularly outstanding — today well over 670,000 more Australians have jobs compared with April 1993.

Since March 1994, Australia has out-performed the world's major economies in reducing unemployment. OECD statistics : show that from March 1994 to June 1995, Australia's unemployment rate fell by 2.1 per cent compared with 1 per cent

in Canada and the USA, and 1.2 per cent in Britain.

Jobs growth has been achieved with workplace reform and an industrial safety net. The award system protects wages for low income earners. As the Economic Planning Advisory Commission points out, Australian awards and minimum wage arrangements : have meant that we have not developed a group of working poor

as has happened in other countries. This Government has boosted productivity and employment growth, and as a result, : real earnings are now growing across all wage levels.

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TOPICS

he Federal Labor Government has reformed Australian

THE ACCORD 122 workplaces, in a climate of cooperation and consultation.

Increasingly companies, management, workers and unions

ACCORD VIII 122

are working together to create a new workplace culture based on

WORKPLACE consultation and consistent improvement.

BARGAINING 123

With the introduction of the Industrial Relations Reform Act

FAIRNESS 124

1993, workplace bargaining has spread rapidly and is producing

OCCUPATIONAL dramatic gains in productivity and better paid and more secure HEALTH & SAFETY 125 jobs for workers.

FUTURE DIRECT 10 N S 125

• Underpinned by the Accord with the ACTU, Federal Government industrial relations policy has meant a better deal for workers through lower taxes, Medicare, Family Assistance measures and increased spending on child care, education and public housing.

• The Accord has brought a new era in industrial harmony — the number of disputes has fallen steadily every year since 1984.

• As part of its industrial relations package, the Government has introduced a national superannuation policy. This national private savings plan will significantly increase our savings and boost retirement incomes for all Australian workers.

LEA " s ^L F^ ^3 :P ?a ^^ .," ^ 3v_

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THE ACCORD : Fundamental to this reform has been the Federal Government's Prices and Incomes Accord with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). The Accord has:

• reduced industrial disputes to record low levels and encouraged a new workplace culture of cooperation rather than confrontation. The annual number of disputes has fallen every year since 1984. In 1994, the lowest number of industrial disputes for a calendar year was recorded since the data was first collected in 1940;

• provided significant increases in the social wage and given workers and their families a better deal through lower taxes, Medicare, Family Assistance measures and increased spending on child care, education and public housing;

• given Australian workers access to superannuation for the first time;

• provided a wages policy which has increased household disposable income, locked in low inflation and created almost two million new jobs between April 1983 and May 1995;

• created a safer and fairer working environment, including better pay for women, and help for those with family • responsibilities;

• introduced a managed system of workplace bargaining : which is fair to workers and which allows companies to • become internationally competitive;

• made certain that all Australian workers have access to • basic minimum entitlements in relation to minimum wages, parental leave, equal pay for work of equal value, minimum redundancy standards and protection against

• unfair dismissal.

ACCORD VIII Accord Mark VIII — `Sustaining Growth, Low Inflation and Fairness' — agreed between the Government and the ACTU on 22 June 1995 — is a framework for four years of low inflation, high growth and high productivity.

• The objectives of Accord Mark VIII are:

• • the creation of over 600,000 jobs;

I

NDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

0 .

• continued low inflation to ensure sustained economic

prosperity with the new Accord contributing to an

underlying rate of inflation of 2 to 3 per cent on average

over the course of the cycle;

• maintenance of living standards through four safety net

adjustments over the next four years — $8 in 1996 and three further adjustments of $9 to $12 per week between : 1997 and 1999. For low paid workers the range will be $11 to $14 per week;

• guaranteed better income for all workers through the introduction of a phased 3 per cent employee superannuation contribution by the year 2000. The employee contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by the Government for low and middle-income workers;

• endorsement of a new maternity allowance, currently : $840.60, paid to women on the birth of a child. About 85 per cent of women will be eligible for the payment. The

Government will review the Allowance during the life of this Accord with the aim of improving it as economic and budgetary circumstances permit.

W O R K P L A C E : The Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993 entrenches workplace B A R G A I N I N G : bargaining as the centrepiece of Australia's industrial relations system underpinned by an award safety net. Workplace bargaining encourages management, workers and their unions to

work together to develop ways to improve productivity. Workers can participate in workplace negotiations, knowing their award wages and conditions — like annual leave, sick leave, superannuation, parental leave and redundancy payments cannot

be cut. This is achieved by the application of the `no disadvantage' test.

Between October 1991 and the end of June 1995 almost 5,000 workplace agreements covering over 1.5 million employees or around 60 per cent of Federal award workers, had been ratified by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Plenty more

are in the pipeline. These agreements cover all industries.

• Workplace agreements have led to improvements in the way work is being done, more flexible working arrangements and greater flexibility in pay. Companies now have the flexibility they need to become internationally competitive — the only flexibility they

•

don't have is to reduce wages and overall employment conditions.

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. L RELATIONS 0 0

0 G

o Federal Government programs, including the Australian Best

• 0 G Practice Demonstration Program and the Workplace Bargaining

o Program, are helping companies, unions and workers to get the o know-how and skills they need to develop workplace agreements

0 G

and become internationally competitive.

F A [ Et N E S S o Federal Government industrial relations policies are founded on o 0the principle that all workers deserve a fair deal. The aim is to o achieve both the best and fairest economic outcomes for o . 0GAustralia. As part of this strategy the Government has: o

• built effective safeguards into workplace bargaining to o prevent workers from being disadvantaged. There is no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual

o preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, o 0family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political 0 c

opinion, national extraction or social origin; 0 o • given workers who are genuinely unable to secure

G o improvements in wages and conditions through enterprise

0 Ubargaining access to appropriate safety net adjustments. o Award wage rates are themselves periodically updated to C o maintain their relevance;

• extended the Sex Discrimination Act to cover new awards 0 and certified workplace agreements so workers can take o action through the Sex Discrimination Commissioner if 0 o

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their award or agreement discriminates against them;

0 a • extended the award safety net by guaranteeing workers

0 G

protection in relation to minimum wages, equal pay for

o G

work of equal value, termination of employment and

o G

unpaid parental leave;

C o • extended the Affirmative Action Act (which encourages

0employer-supported, equal employment opportunity o programs for women) to large private schools and charities and given the Affirmative Action Agency the protection of C 0 G G

legislation;

0 a • developed a comprehensive strategy to ensure that a Australia's social, legal, employment, education and o training, industrial relations and community service systems 0 G U

better suit the needs of workers with family responsibilities;

0 • provided funding through the Workplace Bargaining a C Program to increase the effective participation of immigrant 124

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workers, women and people with family responsibilities in

the workplace as part of the move to workplace bargaining;

• developed the supported wages system for people with disabilities, opening up job opportunities;

• supported the introduction of parental leave, special family a leave and a maternity allowance;

Q • established a number of Working Women's Centres to provide advice to women on work related matters.

OCCUPATIONAL ® Occupational health and safety is a major problem facing the HEALTH & m Australian community. Each year it is estimated 2,700 people die SAFETY a as a result of work related injuries and disease, costing the

, Australian economy billions of dollars and causing significant a personal tragedy. The Federal Government is tackling these issues m ® by:

• developing and introducing national occupational health and safety standards in key areas;

a • commissioning an Industry Commission inquiry into the m cost and practice of occupational health and safety in Australia;

• compiling the first national statistics on workplace injuries and disease providing a clear picture of the extent of the problem;

• moving to reform Australia's system of workers' . m compensation through the development of national consistency across States and Territories.

F U T U R E The major emphasis of the Federal Government's industrial

D I R E C T I O N S m relations policy towards the year 2000 will be on:

• helping management, unions and workers gain the skills to develop workplace agreements which produce more rewarding and secure jobs, and more competitive and profitable businesses;

• spreading the new workplace culture of co-operation and the development of the competitive edge into every Australian workplace;

• ensuring that the living standards of all workers are

125

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USTRIAL R^LATIOONS

maintained and improved, that workers are better able to

blend their work and family responsibilities and that vulnerable workers, particularly women, migrant workers and young people, are protected from exploitation;

• continuing to guarantee that no workers will be disadvantaged in enterprise bargaining, a commitment not given by the Federal Coalition.

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PHARMACEUTICALS

MARINE I NDUSTRIES

TEXTILES CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR

I NVESTMENT PROMOTION & FACILITATION

GOVERNMENT REFORMS

AUSINDUSTRY

r .r 5SHAP'ING TH WAATIYON'

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I1 NDUTY, 2 S` C I 1 ► 1 C. & T C f1 N LOGY

TOPICS ore than 94 per cent of Australians in the workforce

SCIENCE & have jobs in our manufacturing and services

TECHNOLOGY 128 •ndustries. While these industries no longer rely on the

I NDUSTRIES OF THE protection of tariff walls, the key to making them more FUTURE 130 competitive and increasing employment, is to make them still

I NFORMATION

more productive and innovative.

TECHNOLOGY 130 The Federal Labor Government has developed a far-reaching PASSENGER MOTOR industry policy which is essentially about two things — building VEHICLES 131 competitive firms to produce innovative and high quality goods

131 and services and creating a competitive environment in which these firms can flourish.

13 2 Recognising the significance of small businesses as Australia's largest employers, the Federal Government is working to make 132 them more competitive, through its stable economic policies and practical help and financial support.

• Australia is rapidly becoming a `clever country'. The 13 2 Federal Government has increased support for science and technology to $3.2 billion per year. 133

• Since 1993, tax concessions worth around $1.5 billion for 133 R&D have been granted and businesses have received $119 million in research and development grants.

• Manufacturing is recording remarkable growth. Last year manufacturing production grew by 12.2 per cent.

• The services sector has also displayed strong growth. Exports of services have grown at the rate of approximately 12 per cent per year over the past 2 years.

• In the next 5 years, exports in the growth industry of infor-mation technology and telecommunications are projected to reach at least $10 billion per year by the year 2000.

0

I NDUSTRY, SCIENCE &

TECHNOLOGY 0 O C

0 O

SCIENCE & o To achieve the huge jobs growth outlined in Working Nation,

TECHNOLOGY o and reduce unemployment to around 5 per cent by the turn of o the century, Australia must be more innovative in its

0G

manufacturing and service sectors.

® O Federal Government policies mean Australia is now poised to o become the premier location for science, technology and o C

engineering in the Asia Pacific region.

C o

C

In particular the Federal Government has:

0 © • increased support for science and technology to $3.2 billion

o per year, including a permanent increase in funding for C•major research agencies, like CSIRO; G 0 • at a total cost of $845 million set up 61 co-operative

o research centres, where outstanding researchers from 0 universities, industry and CSIRO collaborate in world-0 o breaking investigation;

© • spent $400 million this year on other research centres, such G o as DSTO, and funded $500 million worth of R&D

0 o programs to maintain the new momentum of Australian

0 firms in R&D.

0 0

Effective research and development is essential if Australian firms

o are to design new products and services which compete with the 0 o best in the world. The Federal Government has fostered business

0 Cinnovation with more than $63 million in grants since 1993. It o has also lowered the thresholds for the generous 150 per cent 0 o R&D tax concession, to make sure that business has every

a C

opportunity to develop new products.

0 G

Australia is world-renowned for its research capability. But in the

o O

past too many Australian breakthroughs were lost to overseas o 0 developers. o The Federal Government is:

o • making sure that industry knows what our scientists are 0 doing. In its first year, our Technology Access Program has o Gchanged the way academics look at collaboration with o 0

industry;

0 ® • taking a leading role in the International Intelligent 0 O Manufacturing Systems (IMS) program, a group of the

o Gworld's leading manufacturing nations. IMS gives us up to a date access to advanced manufacturing • technologies, so

128

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s _

that Australian companies and research organisations can

be involved in international consortia;

® • helping to commercialise Australian research breakthroughs by providing grants for research projects, tax concessions for research and development and venture capital for commercialisation. Many major technology commercialisation projects are now up and running, spanning the pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural, ® information technology and advanced manufacturing

sectors;

• providing concessional loans to support small firms

attempting to commercialise technological innovations. For example, a small innovative company, Tasmanian Timber Engineering (TTE) employing 37 people, received a loan of $100,000 to support its production of quality kit homes for

the Japanese market. The loan will help TTE build a

® market-demonstration, demountable home which can be assembled in 1 to 2 days. According to the Managing Director, Mr Chris Ward, the loan package means that TTE will be able to commercialise the product quickly. The firm's Japanese partner estimates that the export demand could see the expansion of TTE creating 200 new jobs;

• encouraging firms to market the technologies which will be in future demand. For example, Australia's exports in health service industries could reach $2.4 billion per year, and the boom industry of environmental management is expected to be worth $600 billion per year on a global ® scale by the year 2000. To make the most of this, the

Federal Government has established a health industry development forum and an environmental management industry network, getting researchers together with private firms to develop export strategies, and showcasing our technology and capabilities in Europe and Asia;

• developing the Multifunction Polis (MFP) as a regional showcase on how to meet the challenges of living in the 21st century. The MFP now focuses on commercial technologies, such as environmental techniques which can be exported as services from Australia, particularly to the Asia Pacific region;

• revitalising Woomera as a space centre by involving the Japanese and German Governments in the joint development of two major space projects.

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& TECHNOLOGY 0 0 0 0

I N D U S T R I E S 0 F

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o Australian industry is ready take on the global marketplace

THE FUTURE o through planned and phased tariff reductions. The Federal o Government's tariff policy is reducing the costs of export 0 0 industries and developing efficient enterprises by exposing them

o 0to international competition. 0 o G The dismantling of the old tariff barriers has led to a

o 0

revitalisation of Australian industry.

o Manufacturing industry is recording remarkable growth.

0 Manufacturing production grew by 12.2 per cent in the 12 o 0 months to September 1994, the highest growth since we began o keeping statistics in 1974. Those goods are contributing to our

o current account — we are selling 10 per cent more manufactured o 0 goods overseas every year. Gp0Services production is up too, by 6.3 per cent during the last o year, and we are selling more services overseas every year.0 a Services now account for almost 23 per cent of our total exports.o At the same time, our economic policies have seen a surge in0 Cemployment of more than 339,000 in these two sectors in the o CCyear to March 1995.I N F 0 R M A T ION0o. o In the next five years, information technology andTECHNOLOGY o telecommunications exports are projected to reach $10 billionper year, with R&D from Government programs reaching $350o million in 1994 and 300 Australian firms benefitting from 0 o 0 technology transfer.o Partnerships for development between overseas and Australian IT 0 companies are being fostered. In the past two years, four majoro world players have entered into partnerships with Australiana companies — Panasonic, Siemens, Motorola, and British 00 Telecom. 0 0O There are now 60 overseas companies working with more than 0 300 local companies and universities providing access to 0 o technology, equipment, management expertise, and global 0V distribution channels.o In 1988, IBM signed a Partnership for Development (PfD)o agreement, increasing levels of investment in local research ando development and export activity. IBM is now one of Australia's 0G top exporters of elaborately transformed manufactures, exportinga C G 0$554 million worth of products and services last year. 130

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IBM's manufacturing plant in Wangaratta reported a $50 million increase in exports reaching a record high of $420 million in 1994. It employs 600 highly skilled local employees and is a world-class; high technology manufacturing operation.

Since signing a PfD in 1988, IBM has now totalled $3.0 billion in exports.

The PfD program and related Fixed Term Arrangements (FTA) were introduced in 1987 to encourage information technology and telecommunication companies to invest in longer term, strategic and commercially sound activities in Australia.

Some 23 corporations have PfD agreements and 42 are involved in FTAs, representing a boost in exports and R&D of around $8 billion.

•

P A S S E N G E R : The Australian car industry is becoming more competitive each M 0 T 0 R : year. The Government has continued the Export Facilitation

VEHICLES : Scheme to encourage car manufacturers and component

manufacturers to increase exports. When the Government : introduced its car plan, in 1984, exports were less than $400 : million. They reached $1.54 billion in 1994. This climb is

continuing with exports conservatively projected to reach $2 billion by the year 2000. The rise reflects the improvement in : quality and price in Australian made cars.

® All local vehicle manufacturers have increased their local investment — the most significant being Ford with its $1 billion • investment for the new Falcon, Mitsubishi investing $500 million for Magna replacement and Toyota's $420 million new plant at

Altona in Victoria. Overall, the Government's policies have, since 1993, led to new investments worth well over $2 billion in the • •

automotive industry.

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PHARMACEUTICALS

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Since 1993, our Factor(f) scheme has boosted the pharmaceutical

industry's R&D, its manufacturing activity, and its exports.

Participating companies have achieved $1.4 billion in additional exports, $1.14 billion in additional domestic value-added activity, $323 million in additional research and development and $598 million in additional investment.

Major plant expansions have occurred. As well, significant new pharmaceutical discoveries have included Glaxo and FH

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I NDUSTRY, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

0 0 C

o . Fauldings manufacturing and marketing the pain-killing drug

0 Kapanol for world-wide release and the development by CSL Ltd 0 0 of a number of new or improved vaccines including Triple O o Antigen, hepatitis B, influenza, Q-fever, Rota virus and papilloma

U 0 vaccines. 0000pM A R I N E o The Government is working to develop Australia's emergingI N D U S T R I E S o marine industries — shipbuilding, offshore engineering, seafood 0o production, marine science and technology. Production of marine 0G industries was valued at more than $21 billion with exports ofo C$6 billion annually in 1993. 0a The Australian Marine Industries and Science Council is Co developing a marine industries development strategy.Co Australia leads the world in the production of fast aluminium• o ferries, worth $220 million in export sales in 1993-94, too GEurope, China, Korea and Japan. A shipping industry task force o is investigating options for capitalising on our design capabilitieso to develop bigger markets for fast cargo carrying ships used ino 0OGAustralian and Asian trade. 0TEXT I L E S , 0 0The TCF industry, which once relied on tariff protection for its CLOTHING ' & o survival, has made substantial progress through restructuring andFOOTWEAR o is ready to compete on the world stage. Exports of TCF products0 Care now worth $600 million per year and the industry forecasts o Oexports of $2 billion per year by the year 2000. Go The Federal Government's $45 million TCF Developmento Package will equip the industry to carve out a significant export0 p market by improving management and leadership skills, buildingo customer focus, increasing quality and establishing networks to C o C Gexpand exports.I N V E S T M E N TOU o Major projects worth $6.5 billion are currently being assistedP R 0 M 0 T [ O N & a with facilitation, and since 1993 major projects worth $860I LITATION FAG a million have been established including ICI's Moomba to Sydney 0 a ethane pipeline and Coflexip's undersea pipe manufacturing 0 0O plant. D 0O The Government's Regional Headquarter's Marketing Program has attracted 60 RHQs to Australia since 1993. Total investment is 0 o 0 0 GCestimated at over $1.6 billion and has generated over 5534 jobs. 132

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NDUSTRY, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY .. Major firms which have announced Australia as their RHQ site include Novell, IBM, Simon Carves, Thomson CSF, and British © Telecom.

GOVERNMENT The Government is now directing its purchasing power to R E F O R M S ® support Australian firms committed to international competitiveness. This is a change from simply encouraging local suppliers to fostering Australian industry development.

A major reform of Customs is underway to increase the emphasis on trade and industry assistance and to achieve a more efficient organisation. Service is already improving with a one stop advice

shop for commercial clients

The Federal Government has boosted Australia's aerial surveillance capacity by almost 200 per cent to better protect our ® coastline. New surveillance contracts will allow continuous operations to be conducted out to 300 miles offshore and

increased coverage of our southern coastline.

A U S I N D U S T RY New opportunities will open up for business as the delivery of Government business assistance programs is updated.

o Auslndustry, a nationwide series of shopfront offices, will provide a single entry point to more than 500 Commonwealth, State and Territory programs.

Auslndustry provides a single Hotline, allowing access from m anywhere in Australia.

o Auslndustry's business improvement services will flow to 4000 companies a year, through the use of the Hotline and the one-on-one client managers.

By the end of the decade 15,000 companies will either enter ® export markets, develop import replacement capacity or become

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international suppliers, as a result of AusTndustry assistance.

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LAW! R1:Of

TOPICS he rights of all Australians are paramount — with an

FAMILIES & emphasis on those with the greatest need including

THE LAW 136 families on low incomes, women, indigenous people, the

REFORMING THE disabled and people from a non-English speaking background. LEGAL ` SYSTEM' 13 7 For those rights to be effective, all Australians must have genuine REFORM OF access to the justice system. Increasingly, many Australians feel BUSINESS LAW 138 that the justice system is too expensive and too remote. CENSORSHIP 139 The Federal Labor Government is responding to this with a four-

HUMAN RIGHTS 140 year, $160 million strategy to reform the Australian justice

A SAFER AUSTRALIA 141 system.

The Justice Statement impels legal institutions to acknowledge their primary purpose — that is, to deliver justice to all people equally, regardless of who they are, where they live or how wealthy they are. This will be achieved through reforms to courts, the legal profession and legal assistance structures.

Reform across the legal system is reaching families, business, and consumers making Australia a fairer and safer place.

• The Federal Government is making access to the law simpler and cheaper. It is expanding legal aid and encouraging the private sector to be more competitive and responsive.

• It has introduced the option of contingency fees (no-win, no fee)

• The Prices Surveillance Authority is examining legal fees and Commonwealth court fee scales will be reviewed.

• There has been increased funding for marriage and relationship courses and mediation is being encouraged as an alternative to costly court action.

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I LAW REFORM

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FAMILIES & o The Justice Statement supports families through a range of

THE LAW a community-based support services to help families cope with

© crisis and to resolve disputes before they get to the courts. These 0 are programs designed to help the vast majority of Australians a o who do not qualify for legal aid yet are not wealthy enough to 0 a afford litigation. The Justice Statement provides:

O0 a • increased funding for courses in marriage and relationship O o education. Places in family support programs, relationship

p skills training, adolescent mediation and family therapy Oo have also been increased. Rural and regional Australia get O55 new services; 0o • resources for mediation services, offering parting couples a0 cheaper and less intimidating alternative to court action for Oo resolving differences. These moves accelerate the shift in thea Family Court away from litigation to mediation and0 counselling, and also increase the number of community-based family mediators; Gao • new procedures linking the Family Court and domestic Oo violence orders. We are setting up a pilot program of safea handover centres for children, and a new program to train Oo community workers in family violence. A new national 0o network of specialist women's legal centres, one in eachState and Territory, will deal with the issues that mosto concern women, including family violence.o The 1975 Family Law Act, introduced by the Whitlam 0o Government, remains one of the most important social policy 0 reforms of the era, removing the allocation of blame from Oo divorce proceedings and making it much less traumatic for Oo families to get on with their lives. OO© Two decades later the Federal Government has given the Family 0 Law Act and its operations a comprehensive overhaul. O Oo • The terms custody and access, with their connotations of0 ownership, are being removed from the law. They are being 0 o replaced with language dealing with parental responsibility 0 to make it clear that the interests of children must comeo first. This will include measures to ensure appropriate O o arrangements for contact with extended families. O O o • Provisions dealing with property distribution are being© amended to recognise the non-economic contribution of Oa women. New provisions will make it clear to the courts GCO136

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• LAW, REFORM

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that the starting point should be 50-50, with ample scope

to depart from that depending on the circumstances.

• Pre-nuptial agreements have been recognised with provisions that ensure they can be set aside when the agreement, for example, has been made under duress.

• New simplified divorce application forms make it much easier for couples who have no problems with arrangements for children or dividing up property to handle the case themselves. They will not need to go to the • expense of hiring a solicitor.

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REFORMING THE LEGAL SYSTEM

The Justice Statement is responding to the widespread loss of

• confidence in the administration of justice.

The greatest barriers to justice come from the enormous expense of legal action. The Justice Statement attacks costs on many fronts.

Access to free advice will be increased with the creation of nine new community legal centres. There will be more resources for the environmental defenders network, specialist services for children and youth, and a national human rights and discrimination law centre. Legal aid commissions get new resources for family and civil cases and to expand their legal advice services.

For Australians who do not qualify for legal aid, reforms to the private sector will lead to a more competitive, less costly and more responsive legal profession.

• For the first time clients will have the option of contingency fees — where lawyers take a case on a `no-win, no-fee' basis. `No-win, no- fee' will be available in federal matters, except in family or criminal cases.

• There will be an end to lawyers' advertising restrictions in federal jurisdictions. Those lawyers will be required to inform clients about the likely costs of proceedings and other less costly alternatives for resolving disputes.

• The Prices Surveillance Authority is to examine legal fees across Australia with the results widely publicised.

• Lawyers are to be subject, for the first time, to the Trade • Practices Act, as part of the Government's national competition agenda.

131

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• There is to be a comprehensive review of Commonwealth

court fee scales to ensure that the high costs are justified by technology and practice.

The effectiveness of our courts is based on their reflection of democratic values. The Justice Statement outlines action to make courts more accessible and judges more accountable:

• judges and court staff are to take part in gender and cultural awareness programs, to make them more sensitive ® to the values of Australia's multicultural and egalitarian society;

• Commonwealth courts and tribunals will be subject to a charters of access and service;

• the Family Court's services are to become more accessible ® to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and more resources are to be devoted to the training of specialist Aboriginal language interpreters for the courts;

• for the first time, proceedings in the Federal Court are to be televised in a pilot program to give people a better understanding of how courts operate.

.

REFORM O F o An efficient market for raising equity capital is essential. BUSINESS LAW Confidence in Australia's equity markets was seriously damaged by a few greedy operators in the 1980s.

While many of these operators have been prosecuted, the most important task has been to develop a regulatory system which ensures such excesses can never happen again while ensuring o maximum flexibility for legitimate business activity.

Businesses have the certainty of uniform rules throughout m Australia administered by a single regulator, the Australian Securities Commission.

The Federal Government has improved confidence in the integrity of the business environment.

• We have established a new system requiring the prompt o disclosure of all market sensitive information by companies with publicly traded securities. Administered by the Australian Stock Exchange and enforced by the Australian

Securities Commission, this scheme will make it much more difficult to run insider trading scams.

138

CENSORSHIP

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• The Corporations Law Simplification Project has simplified

the way the law is presented, eliminating unnecessary red tape and helping business people, particularly those in small business, to understand their rights and obligations. By mid 1996 virtually all companies except those with publicly-

traded securities will be operating under a fully simplified law.

• A new regulatory scheme for collective investments will govern the operation of schemes ranging from cash management and property trusts to horse racing syndicates. The existing two-tier scheme of fund manager and trustee

made it unclear just who was responsible for investors' money — contributing to some major losses. The old scheme will be replaced with a single responsible entity.

• Further significant reforms to the Bankruptcy Act include measures controlling the transfer of property prior to bankruptcy and strengthened powers for trustees. Outdated language in the existing legislation will be updated.

• The Justice Statement reduces costs to business with a $1.7 million, four-year program to simplify and improve legislation. There will be an increased emphasis by the Australian Securities Commission on the needs of the

"smaller end of town" and extended on-line access to an upgraded data base of all Commonwealth laws, rules and regulations.

Australia's censorship regime is based on two principles — that adults should be able to make their own decisions about what they see and read and that parents should be able to make informed choices about what material their children should see. The system of classification, rather than prohibition, is now being

used as a model by many other countries around the world.

The Federal Government has ensured that the classification system keeps pace with changing technology and remains sensitive to community standards.

• A new Classification Act has replaced a rickety legal framework, based on ordinances and regulations, to prevent smart operators trying to find loopholes.

• The Act extends the classification scheme to computer games. The most violent and explicit games are refused

139 1

LAW REFORM

HUMAN RIGHTS

0G o classification. Milder material is rated at a higher level than

the corresponding film and video material, in response to concern about the interactive nature of games. Parents can o now make informed choices of games for their children. 0 a

o • Research into the playing of computer games is being

o carried out. A new regulatory regime based on the © classification system will deal with the display of offensive o material on on-line computer services.

0 0

o The advancement of human rights is central to the Federal

a Government's social justice philosophy. The Human Rights and ® Equal Opportunities Commission, the Sex Discrimination Act, ® the Racial Discrimination Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the Privacy Act are all evidence of that commitment. The

o Government has built on that recently by:

o • explicitly outlawing discrimination on the ground of potential pregnancy and discrimination on the basis of the ® identity of one's spouse, except in limited circumstances, through amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act. The

onus of proof for indirect discrimination is being reversed o to require employers to show that discriminatory practices are necessary and reasonable;

• moving against the anti-homosexual laws in Tasmania by guaranteeing the right of privacy for all Australian adults in their consenting sexual activity through the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act;

0 • creating specific criminal offences to deal with threats or o incitement or other conduct likely to lead to violence on C o racial grounds as well as civil remedies for extreme

0 behaviour in public which offends, insults or intimidates C a another person because of their race, colour or national or

o ethnic origin, by proposing the Racial Hatred Bill. No-one in Australia should have to live in fear because of their o ethnic background or the colour of their skin; 0Ca • protecting children from sexual abuse by Australians 0o travelling overseas. Under the Crimes (Child Sex Tourism)o Amendment Act, Australian tourists who sexually exploito the children of other nations may be prosecuted under Uo Australian law. The Act also makes it an offence toorganise, incite or profit from the sexual abuse of children GC0 overseas. 00C140

LAW REFORM

0

A SAFER o The Justice Statement establishes a "Safer Australia" program to

A U S T RA L I A ® identify crime problem areas and develop strategies to reduce crime. In addition the Justice Statement:

® • establishes a National Missing Person's Bureau with $1.2 million over four years to build on the work of State and ® Territory police to find missing people;

m • works towards a national, uniform criminal law by the o centenary of Federation. By 2001, those accused of federal offences will be dealt with under the same principles — no o longer will people charged in different States and Territories ® be treated differently from one another. The first stage of

legislative reform, the Criminal Code Act 1994, contains Chapters 1 and 2 of the new criminal law — the principles of criminal responsibility.

o The Federal Government has rewritten the laws of evidence, to improve the quality and cost of justice in Australia. The Evidence Act 1994 gives clarity and certainty to the rules of evidence. By removing unnecessary restrictions on evidence put before courts, the new Act makes it easier, simpler and cheaper to prove many facts in court proceedings.

Model legislation which balances the requirements of law enforcement agencies for effective investigative powers and the © rights of suspects to individual privacy and dignity has been developed. The Forensic Procedures Bill contains a

comprehensive scheme for obtaining forensic samples in criminal ® investigations with improved safeguards and accountability standards for police.

To protect taxpayers' dollars from theft, stringent fraud control measures have been introduced across all Government _ o ® departments and agencies. The Australian Federal Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions have also sharpened their focus

on the detection and prosecution of fraud against the © Commonwealth.

o A strong copyright regime has been established to foster and encourage creativity and the development of vibrant intellectual property based industries. The Copyright Act will be simplified a and amended to respond to changing technology. The

information superhighway has implications for copyright protection. The Government is looking at this as a matter of urgency.

141

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LOCAL

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he Federal Labor Government recognises the need for strong, responsive local government. It gives local authorities $1 billion each year in financial assistance for essential community services like roads, waste management, housing and the environment.

Another $350 million is spent to maintain roads within local council areas.

An additional $15 million will be spent on upgrading Northern Territory roads.

A program to make local libraries "information hubs" is being funded through the Local Government Development Program.

• Local authorities are being helped to protect and manage sensitive coastal areas with $8.5 million in Commonwealth funding.

• Local government housing programs currently receive $12.7 million through the Community Housing Program.

• Planning and development processes have been improved with Federal Government funding for computer systems in 50 local councils.

To improve the performance of local government across the country an additional $48 million will be spent over the next four years under the new Local Government Development Program.

Under this program, local government will develop benchmarks to measure and compare the performance of local councils in areas including road maintenance, community services and waste management.

The Federal Government is also encouraging local government to

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become a player in national decision making. Local government

is now an official member of the Council of Australian

Governments, along with all State and Territory Governments

and the Federal Government.

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TOPICS he Federal Labor Government's overseas aid policy

RELATIONS I N THE recognises that it is in our own national interest to be an

REGION 146 active participant in the development of our region, while

at the same time helping the world's poorest people achieve HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE 146 sustainable development.

AID FOR WOMEN 146 • In 1995-96 the Federal Government has funded the most

THE INTERNATIONAL ambitious aid program ever — $1.56 billion — to help give PERSPECTIVE 147 a fair go to people who are very much worse off than we

SOUTH AFRICA 147

are.

• Australia's aid program is now $208 million larger, in real PALESTINE 14 7 terms (1994-95 dollars), than in 1989-90, and well above

ENVIRONMENT 147

those of most OECD countries as a proportion of GNP.

WHAT ARE THE

• The aid program brings substantial benefit to Australia RESULTS? 147 90 per cent of our aid program is spent on Australian

goods and services.

• We are spending $160 million annually under the aid program on environmental measures.

OVERSEAS AID

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RELATIONS I N

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o • Our development programs are concentrated on our near

THE It E G I O N o neighbours, the developing countries of Asia and the

o Pacific, where more than half the world's poorest people 0 0 live.

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• 0 A major health program aimed at eradicating or reducing a 0malaria, polio, tetanus and HIV/AIDS in our region is e underway. There is increased emphasis on providing

o basic services to poor people — so that they can o 0participate in economic growth — through better education o and better health, with clean water supplies, better

o nutrition, improved agricultural methods, access to o 0family planning programs and involvement in local a affairs.

C o • We have launched a four-year $130 million "population

o initiativ ", making family planning choice available to poor 0 0women wishing to control their fertility.

H U M A N I TA R I A N O © • Australia has always responded effectively, compassionately

R E S P O N S E

0 o and generously to humanitarian crises world wide. In

0 0Rwanda, for example, Australia was one of the first a countries to respond. $39 million in aid was provided by G a the Federal Labor Government to Rwanda and Burundi,

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and another $30 million was provided in donations by

o individual Australians. This made us one of the three a 0 highest contributors per head of population in the world.

AID FOR WOMEN o • The Australian Government has directed special efforts 0 0 towards the education of women and girls — because the o education of women and girls results in greater o productivity, lower population growth and better health 0

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and nutrition, and because they are often the most in need 0 0

of help.

0 o • It has helped families — providing assistance in areas C o where Australians have special skills such as education, 0 0

health care and agriculture. Families have also benefited o through the establishment of conditions for sustainable economic growth by assisting essential infrastructure 0 O

and services in the region — including roads, transport, o 0 telecommunications, legal and administrative a O 0 O O

systems.

146

OVERSEAS AID

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T H E

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0 • Through its aid program, the Federal Government has I N T E RN AT I O N A L a contributed to peace and democracy in the world, PERSPECTIVE particularly through targeted assistance programs in South ® Africa and Palestine.

SOUTH AFRICA Funding of $41 million was provided over the period 1986-87 to 1993-94. Key features were:

• economic policy and planning;

• • electoral assistance; . • support for the media.

P A L E S T I N E Following the historic signing of the Declaration of Principles of ® Interim Self-Government Arrangements by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1993 the Government announced a three-year $15 million pledge to ® Palestinians, for the years 1993-94 to 1995-96. An additional

$2.5 million per year was announced in the 1995 Budget.

® • Focus of the program is on the provision of social services, infrastructure, employment generation and income generation.

E N VI RO N ME NT ® Over $160 million (up from $120 million) is being spent annually under the aid program on environmental assistance activities, ranging from water and sanitation, cleaner energy, a forestry, coral reefs, environmental urban planning, pollution

control and climate change.

WHAT ARE THE a For recipient countries, the aid program has helped to: RESULTS? • reduce poverty and improve living conditions for millions;

• reduce percentages of poor people;

• increase participation in education, especially by women and girls, improve health, lower child and maternal ® mortality and increase life expectancy;

• assist economic growth, particularly in the emerging economies of Asia, to the point where aid can be phased • out;

I 147

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OVERSEAS AID

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o • raise awareness of human rights, equity and environmental

0 0 issues.

00 o

For Australia, the aid program has: 0 0 • helped us establish good relations with our neighbours, O o maintain peace and stability in the region, and fulfilled our c o responsibility as a citizen by helping others in great need;

0 o • expanded our trade opportunities by promoting broad-

based and sustainable growth in developing countries. As m these countries grow, so too does their capacity to trade •0o and their demand for Australian exports; a 0 o • provided substantial benefits for Australians — ninety

o percent of Australia's $1.56 billion aid program is spent on o Australian goods and services. This opens up export 0 0 opportunities for Australian firms and producers;

0O o • directly benefited Australian producers. For example, every

• o year the aid program purchases, at market prices, wheat

0 and other grain from Australian farmers to use as food aid. O The aid program thus provides, on average, $1,142 to

every registered wheat farmer in Australia, and $7,105 to 0 every rice grower. Again, in China the $285 million spent C 0 on aid over a 12 year period has generated over $838

o million in actual or anticipated follow-on business. 0 G C

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he Federal Labor Government has helped transform Australian agriculture into an innovative, responsive and diversified industry, with increasing emphasis on value-added products for the world market.

• Australia's rural exports are expected to rise by 27 per cent with the creation of an extra 200,000 permanent jobs following the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and reforms of our manufacturing and service industries.

• Sensitive land use is being encouraged through a range of programs like Landcare and the Rural Adjustment Scheme — demonstrating that good environmental practice is good farm practice.

• Rural communities suffering the devastating effects of drought are receiving a compassionate and comprehensive package of Commonwealth drought relief totalling $600 million.

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TOPICS

WORLD TARIFF REFORM 150`

AGRIBUSINESS 150

STRUCTURAL-REFORM 150

DROUGHT RELIEF 151

DROUGHT PLANNING 152"

THE ENVIRONMENT 153

REACHING OUT 153

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

• •

WORLD TARIFF • Tariff barriers are falling following the historic achievements of R E F 0 R M : the Uruguay Round and APEC. As world markets open, our

rural exporters are ready to capitalise on their increased competitiveness.

• It's calculated that the total agricultural package negotiated in the Uruguay Round will be worth about $1 billion to the farm sector. But the agreement also brings new responsibilities. Our own import restrictions must be soundly based.

The Federal Government is restructuring the meat and livestock, grains, horticulture and tobacco industries to respond to international conditions.

A G R I B U S I N E S S : Australia's production of high quality, clean foods gives it a world-beating export edge. The Federal Government is working with industry to promote these products, particularly in the Asian market.

° Agrifood is now Australia's largest industry, valued at more than $48 billion annually and employing more than half a million Australians. Annual export earnings total $12 billion.

Our rural sector is ready to take advantage of the enormous demand for processed foods, particularly in Asia.

• Australia currently earns $3.7 billion from processed food exports, an increase of $1.6 billion over four years — an increase of 76 per cent.

• We are on target to boost these export earnings to $7 billion, by the year 2000.

• Innovative rural exporters are being encouraged with more than $20 million in the last two years to develop

• management and marketing skills in 470 Australia-wide projects.

STRUCTURAL Agriculture has been made more competitive by the Federal R E F O R M Government's vigorous micro-economic reform agenda.

Through the Council of Australian Governments, the Federal Government has introduced reforms in the electricity, gas and water sectors, with benefits for both consumers and industry.

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

. .

: These reforms include:

• enlarging the national gas grid, reducing the cost of gas, : providing better services and reducing greenhouse gas o . emissions;

• promoting free and fair trade of gas products between gas : consumers and producers in any State;

• the establishment of a competitive electricity market in eastern Australia from September, 1996;

• an independent national electricity grid, encouraging competition among generators, distributors and consumers of electricity.

Other structural reforms include:

• putting government business enterprises on a more rigorous commercial footing to provide better value and more responsive services;

• agreement with the States to establish a national competition policy, opening up domestic markets.

DROUGHT R E,L I E F ; The impact of the drought on Eastern Australia has been severe. Farmers, their families and rural communities have all suffered, in human, social and economic terms.

The Federal Government moved quickly to give help where it was most needed.

• A landmark National Drought Policy was finalised with the : States in 1992. Based on self-reliance and effective risk- it recognises that farmers need to make their own decisions based on risk-assessment but where the

effects of the drought are beyond what farmers could reasonably be expected to be prepared for, Commonwealth assistance will be provided.

• In 1994, two drought packages were introduced bringing : our total commitment to $600 million since the drought took hold in 1991.

• From October, 1994, farming families hit by exceptional drought were able to seek Drought Relief Payments (DRP).

• By August, 1995, over 10,000 farming families had received DRP. The payments are equal to the Job Search

151

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

000Go Allowance and only non-farm assets are taken into account0G under the assets test. O0OGOther support measures included:00 • removal of the farm assets test (at a cost of $6.5 million)o for all farmers in exceptional drought seeking AUSTUDYo 0for their children; Go • automatic eligibility for Family Payments and Health Card-Oo benefits for farm families receiving DRP;o • dollar for dollar funding of the Farmhand public appeal ato Ga cost of $9.6 million; C© • additional $4 million for rural social and financial Co counsellors, increasing their numbers to 100.The Federal Government also spent a total of around $80 millionon interest rate subsidies for farmers in drought exceptionalo Ocircumstances areas.CThe maximum annual limit for Rural Adustment Scheme support o was doubled to $100,000. The maximum cumulative limit over Go0five years was increased from $100,000 to $300,000. C0DROUGHT ® In December 1994, the Government adopted measures toPLANNING Gencourage farmers to plan and prepare for drought. CmCThese included: C0 • an investment allowance for spending on fodder, watero storage, water conveyancing and minimum tillagem equipment;o • an improved Farm Management Bonds Scheme, whichGincreases the investment component from 80-100 per cent, o no withholding tax on withdrawal and an increase in thea Gdeposit limit from $80,000 to $150,000; Go • increased funding for regional strategies in drought-proneo 0 areas;m • extensions to the Farm Household Support Scheme.We have also made it easier for farmers, their families and theiro O employees to use Jobskills and Jobstart programs to develop o Landcare projects. And an additional $14 million has been oG allocated through Landcare to stop resource and environmentalo 0 Gdegradation in drought areas. 152

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

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• •

T H E m The drought has highlighted the national problem of land and

ENVIRON MENT :• water degradation. ® Each year, environmental degradation costs the country $600 ® million in lost agricultural production. The hidden cost is the m insidious destruction of family farms.

To counter this, Landcare and the Rural Adjustment Scheme are m fostering more sensitive land use. • o DLandcare has been an outstanding achievement since the Federal o Government launched its Decade of Landcare plan in the early

•

1980s. The figures speak for themselves.

• In 1985 there were 75 Landcare groups. Today there are 2200 with a membership of more than 40,000 people. • • Today nearly 30 per cent of all Australian farmers are ® Landcare members. •

• By 1997-1998, Landcare funding by the Federal

•

Government will total more than $770 million.

• C

REACHING OUT . The Rural Communities Access Program brings together a range

Dof policy measures, designed to support rural communities.

With 1994/95 funding of $12.6 million, programs include.

® Countrylink, Business Advice for Rural Areas, Telecentres and

• • • • • • • • • •

• •

•

the Rural Access Program and Rural Counselling.

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TOPICS n the drive to make Australian business more competitive, theP U B t I C SECTOR Federal Labor Government has also set about transforming theREFORM 156 public sector. Government services are now provided moreTHE PUBLIC cheaply and efficiently, while dividends to the Government haveSERVICE 156 grown.WORKPLACE The Australian Public Service plays an important role in Australia'sREFORM 157 economic and social life and has led the way in workplace reformPURCHASING and equality of opportunity.REFORM 157 • The public sector has been opened up to reform; competition AUSTRALIAN MADE 158 has been introduced increasing productivity and loweringcosts to consumers. For example, Australia is now thecheapest place in the world to make an international phonecall.• The culture of the public service has changed, throughenterprise bargaining, placing emphasis on customer service.• The Federal Government is using its enormous purchasingpower to `Buy Australian', supporting local industry andcreating jobs.

PUBLIC SECTOR

0 0 0

PUBLIC SECTOR

0 O

o The major area of change has been the reform of government

R E F 0 R M © business enterprises, or GBEs, to ensure they operate efficiently G m and offer world-best services at competitive prices. GBEs have

0 been required to present corporate plans, and to report on their o financial performance. The Federal Government has given GBEs o more freedom to manage, but at the same time made them more 0 C accountable.

© m The Commonwealth owns the the two largest GBEs in Australia o — Telstra and Australia Post — with combined revenue of over o $12 billion annually. Telstra and Australia Post are proof of the

0

transformation of public sector businesses.

o Productivity of workers in Telstra has more than doubled, while that of workers in Australia Post has increased by 27%. At the o C

same time, dividends paid to the Government have increased.

G o By introducing competition into monopoly markets, such as

telecommunications, the Federal Government has reduced prices

Oand improved customer services. O 0 C Australia is now one of the cheapest places in the world to place

o 0

an international call. Telstra has:

o • reduced its prices between 1989-90 and 1993-94 by 16 per U o

0

cent in real terms;

G

• doubled labour productivity and increased payments to the

0Government by more than 60 per cent since 1990-91. G Australia Post has:

0 • frozen the cost of sending a standard letter at 45 cents o by 1997, the price will have remained unchanged for half a o C

decade.

G ® Reforms in the domestic and international aviation industry have

0 0

resulted in about a 20 per cent drop in average domestic fares

o since deregulation.

THE PUBLIC

O 0

o A third area of reform has been to change the culture of the

S E RV I C E o Australian Public Service to emphasise results and service for

o C clients. Career structures have been modernised, greater authority

given to managers, and performance more closely scrutinised. ® Technology has also been used to bring fundamental changes to

0

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the way the public sector works.

T56

PUBLIC SECTOR

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o Services to Australians have improved as a result of these

reforms.

• More than 90 per cent of individual tax returns lodged ® electronically are now processed within 14 days.

• Passports now take only six working days to issue.

® • A streamlined visa clearance system has cut down the ® processing time for short-term visitors.

• Direct payment of social security payments into bank ® accounts gives beneficiaries fast and convenient access to their money.

W O R K P LACE Enterprise bargaining has been the basis for industrial reform in REFORM o the Australian Public Service. Productivity improvements have paid for wage increases and the introduction of a series of "family friendly" work practices, such as job sharing and

parental leave. Public servants are setting the example for the m technological work practices of the future, by securing an • industrial award for home based work.

Meanwhile the Public Service Act is being rewritten to remove

0

outdated and inefficient personnel management practices.

P U R C H A S I N G ® Because of its size, the Commonwealth is in a strong position to R E F 0 R M achieve considerable costs savings in the purchase of goods and

services for the public service.

The Federal Government has made significant changes to the way m assets are managed, leading to significant savings for the taxpayer.

® For example:

• Commtel, a body set up to help Commonwealth agencies to better use telecommunications, is on track to save an estimated $30 million per year;

• Australian Estate Management has helped the Government reduce the cost of constructing new buildings, almost halved the annual repair and maintenance bills and delivered savings to the Budget by rationalising the office estate;

® • DASFLEET, the Government's supplier of vehicles, has

L s 157

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secured purchase discounts several percentage points above

any state government or private fleet. DASFLEET also

supports the Government's industry objectives by buying

Australian manufactured vehicles almost exclusively.

The Government's $12 billion annual purchasing budget plays a

key role in the development and maintenance of Australian

industry and in the creation of jobs and opportunities for young

school leavers.

In response to a Parliamentary report, Buying our Future, the

Government has made significant changes in its purchase of

goods and services to provide more opportunities for local

industry.

The major reforms introduced include:

• the preparation of Industry Impact Statements for

purchases of more than $10 million;

• industry-development performance clauses in major

contracts, with sanctions to apply to companies which fail

to meet their industry-development obligations;

• the Endorsed Supplier Scheme which gives extra support to

Australian suppliers of information technology and major

office machine products.

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The Federal Government has already provided more than $16

million to support the Australian Made campaign, to fund

advertising, public relations and research. Our funds have

generated a net sales benefit to manufacturers of more than $185

million.

Smaller companies are encouraged to use the Australian Made

logo. Exporters are encouraged to use it in overseas markets.

In 1995, another $2.5 million has been allocated for the

promotion of Australian Made products.

Advertising in the coming year will be timed to coincide with

peak retail spending periods and with Australian Made month in

October 1995.

158

WLFGIT

,^ ONAL

D VDLO A 4 NP9

T

he Federal Labor Government's regional development strategy reflects the economic diversity of rural and metropolitan regions. It also recognises that it is the people living in regional Australia who are best equipped to assess their needs and priorities.

• Under Working Nation, the Federal Government has allocated $150 million to help regions exploit their own economic development opportunities.

• So far 28 regional development organisations have been established.

• Working Nation establishes regional best practice and leadership training programs, as well as projects to demonstrate to other regions outstanding economic success stories.

• In 1994-96, the Federal Government is providing $30 million for regional infrastructure projects to help maximise their economic potential.

Since 1983, Labor's policies and programs have made the Australian economy more internationally competitive.

Economic and social development in a regional context is a key part of this continuing strategy.

The Federal Labor Government has also recognised that economic policy decisions have a special impact on Australians living in regional areas.

That is why Labor followed through on its 1993 election commitment to establish the Kelty Taskforce on regional development — to give the Government advice on the long-term directions for regional development.

Establishing a Department for Regional Development and a

RI

Minister for Regional Development added strength to the

• Government's policy development process.

• The Government's approach to regional development is based on listening to a wide range of regional leaders' opinions through the Kelty Taskforce and other community consultations.

• The Government's regional development strategy was announced in Working Nation in May 1994 and the regional development program to assist regional communities was introduced in July 1994.

The $150 million regional development program has five components based on Best Practice principles.

• The regional structures, strategies and projects component provides assistance to regional development organisations.

• The regional strategic infrastructure component assists regions to make more efficient use of existing infrastructure, set priorities for regional infrastructure and put in place infrastructure projects.

• • The management and skills enhancement component provides information and advice on Best Practice approaches for regional development practitioners.

• The other two components relate to improving program delivery and partnerships between levels of government.

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n 7 June 1995 the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, outlined to the House of Representatives the

Government's preferred position that Australia should

become a republic by the year 2001.

This is an edited version of the Prime Minister's speech.

AN AUSTRALIAN REPUBLIC

- THE WAY FORWARD It is the Government's view that Australia's Head of State should be an Australian — that Australia should become a republic by the year 2001.

'AUSTRALIA'S HEAD OF STATE SHOULD BE AN AUSTRALIAN'

On April 28 1993 the Government established a Republic Advisory Committee to prepare an options paper which would describe the minimum constitutional changes necessary to create a Federal republic of Australia.

The Republic Advisory Committee was chaired by Mr Malcolm Turnbull and comprised Dr Glyn Davis, Miss Namoi Dougall, the Hon Nick Greiner, Dr John Hirst, Ms Mary Kostakidis, Miss Lois O'Donoghue, the Hon Susan Ryan and Professor George Winterton.

They consulted widely throughout Australia, carried out their work with dedication and energy and delivered to the Government and to posterity a most valuable document.

Since the release of the Report, the idea of an Australian republic has come to occupy a central place in our national political debate.

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A REPUBLIC

In the process many Australians have come to favour a Republic.

Just as many, perhaps, now believe it is inevitable.

Many may regret the prospect of change and be unsure about the means by which it can be achieved, but recognise that sooner or later we must have an Australian as our Head of State. That one small step would make Australia a republic.

Governments can wait for opinion to force their hand, or they can lead. They can wait for the world to change and respond as necessity demands, or they can see the way the world is going and point the way.

We are approaching the 21st century and the centenary of our nationhood. As never before we are making our own way in our region and the world. For us the world is going — and we are going — in a way which makes our having the British monarch

as our Head of State increasingly anomalous.

The people of modern Australia are drawn from virtually every country in the world. It is no reflection on the loyalty of a great many of them to say that the British monarchy is a remote and inadequate symbol of their affections for Australia. And we can

be equally sure that in the 21st century the British monarchy will become even more remote from even more Australians.

It is not a radical undertaking that we propose.

In proposing that our Head of State should be an Australian we are proposing nothing more than the obvious. Our Head of State should embody and represent Australia's values and traditions, Australia's experience and aspirations. We need not apologise for the nationalism in these sentiments, but in truth they contain as much commonsense as patriotism.

It is a small step, but a highly significant one. The Government believes that at this stage of history it is a logical and essential one. And it can reflect that stage in our history. An Australian Head of State can embody our modern aspirations — our cultural diversity, our evolving partnerships with Asia and the Pacific, our quest for reconciliation with Aboriginal Australians, our ambition to create a society in which women have equal opportunity, equal representation and equal rights. In this decade we have a chance which few other countries have; in

declaring ourselves for an Australian republic we can give expression to both our traditions and our current sensibilities and ambitions.

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. e Each and every Australian should be able to aspire to be our

Head of State. Every Australian should know that the office will ® always be filled by a citizen of high standing who has made an ® outstanding contribution to Australia and who, in making it, has enlarged our view of what it is to be Australian.

® WE INTEND TO ASK THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE IF THEY WANT AN AUSTRALIAN REPUBLIC WITH AN AUSTRALIAN HEAD OF STATE.'

We therefore intend to ask the Australian people if they want an Australian republic with an Australian Head of State.

The change we propose has very limited implications for the design of Australian democracy. It is the so-called `minimalist' option. All the essential Constitutional principles and practices

which have worked well and evolved constructively over the last ® hundred years will remain in place.

® These proposals represent the Government's preferred position. We do not suggest that it is the only position and not open to m change. But it is a position reached after careful consideration of the Advisory Committee's report, and we believe it to be a wise

position that will stand the test of time.

`Commonwealth' is a word of ancient lineage which reflects both our popular tradition and our Federal system, and we propose ® that the Australian republic retain the name `Commonwealth of Australia'.

Under the proposals the role of the House of Representatives and the Senate will remain unchanged, as will the role and powers of o the States. We will still be a Federation. In virtually every respect, our governmental arrangements will be exactly the same as they

are now; the day to day handling of national government will ® remain with Ministers led by the Prime Minister; the Cabinet will continue to deal with the major issues; and Ministers will continue to be responsible to Parliament and the Australian

people.

o Our membership of the Commonwealth of Nations headed by The Queen will not be affected.

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a ' THE PRESIDENT WILL PERFORM O o ESSENTIALLY THE SAME FUNCTIONS AS

0 THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL' OOOOO0 None of these things will change, but we will have an Australian Oo as our Head of State, and we propose that he or she be describedo by the term `President of the Commonwealth of Australia'. Oo The President will perform essentially the same functions as the 0 Governor-General. As with the Governor-General, except in the Oo most exceptional circumstances, these functions will be carried0 out on the advice of the Government of the day. Oo A significant element of the Head of State's role is symbolic; 0 performing ceremonial duties around the nation and abroad. Oo This is the public aspect of the office: the means by which theo Head of State represents Australia and, by his or her example 0 and encouragement, provides national leadership. O0 The Head of State will also continue to perform the formal Oo administrative duties given to the Governor-General byo legislation and which are undertaken on the advice of the Federal 0 Executive Council. The Head of State's duties here include 0o formalising government regulations and appointing public O0 officials. Oo The Head of State will assume the Governor-General's O 0 constitutional duties, most of which are, by convention, Oo performed in accordance with the advice of the government ofo the day. These include summoning and dissolving the House of 0 Representatives and the Parliament as a whole and issuing writs Oo for Federal elections. The Head of State will also take over the Oo Governor-General's role as titular Commander-in-Chief of the 0 armed forces. OOo In line with actual practice, we propose that the Constitution beo amended to make clear that the Head of State will exercise these O o constitutional duties on the advice of the government of the day. 0 O O O o 'THE HEAD OF STATE WILL RETAIN THOSE O o VERY FEW POWERS.... WHICH IN THE MOST0 EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES MAY BE• O a EXERCISED WITHOUT, OR POSSIBLY O o CONTRARY TO, MINISTERIAL ADVICE.' O 0 O O O164 :.:

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o Finally, the Head of State will retain those very few powers now

0 held by the Governor-General which, in the most exceptional circumstances, may be exercised without, or possibly contrary to, o Ministerial advice.

These are so-called reserve powers. The Republic Advisory Committee identified these powers as: the power to appoint the Prime Minister; the power to dismiss the Prime Minister and ® therefore the government; and the power to refuse a request by

the Prime Minister to dissolve one or both Houses of the Parliament.

The Committee made the point that there are a number of principles or conventions underpinning our Westminster style of government and the practical operation of our Constitution. a These principles, which are not currently set out in the o Constitution, determine whether the circumstances exist for the

Governor-General to exercise a reserve power and what action ® would be appropriate.

Theoretically, it would be possible to fully codify or write down ,, o these conventions, assuming one could foresee all the © contingencies they might be required to meet. No doubt a great ® many people would like to see the Head of State's discretionary,

or reserve, powers tightly defined — as they are, for example, in p the Irish Constitution — so as to oblige the Head of State to act in accordance with express rules in the Constitution, or Ministerial advice, in all circumstances.

The advantage of codifying the conventions, whether in whole or o in part, would be to bring a degree of clarity and certainty to the options open to a Head of State in different situations.

'PROBABLY IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE DOWN ® OR CODIFY THESE POWERS...TO FIND GENERAL COMMUNITY ACCEPTANCE AND o COVER EVERY POSSIBLE CONTINGENCY'

However, after careful consideration, the Government has formed the view that it is probably impossible to write down or codify these powers in a way that would both find general community acceptance and cover every possible contingency. As the system evolves there needs to be some capacity to respond to o circumstances quite unforeseen today. Tightly defined rules can . themselves have unforeseen consequences.

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o Were we to try, by Constitutional amendment, to set down

0

precisely how the reserve powers should be exercised by the U o Head of State, those amendments, even if intended to be

0 otherwise, could well become justiciable — that is capable of 0 being adjudicated by the High Court of Australia and required to G o be adjudicated by the High Court.

0C o Hence, codification would be likely to result in fundamental C o change to our system of government and alter the status of the

0 High Court in relation to the Executive and the Parliament. O o Over time, Justices of the Court could well be drawn into O o arbitrating purely political disputes whose resolution should

o ultimately be in the hands of the electorate. The Court would o thus be exposed to public pressure and, in the inevitable event O o that a party to a dispute was unhappy with its resolution, the

o standing and impartiality of the Court could be called into Go question. CG0 For these reasons the Government believes that, on balance, Ca whatever the immediate attraction of this course might be, ito would not be desirable to attempt to codify the reserveo powers; and that the design, processes and conventions at Oo present governing their exercise by the Governor-Generalo should be transferred to the Australian Head of State without0 alteration. G O0 We are aware that with this option, there is a risk that Australian 0o governments may occasionally find themselves in conflict with ao Head of State who exercises political judgment without regard to0 the conventions. We are also, of course, conscious of the 0o possibility of a repetition of the events of 1975, when ao government possessing the confidence of the House of0 Representatives was denied supply by the Senate. But the 0o question of the Senate's powers over supply is a very differento issue from that of establishing an Australian Head of State. It is 0 an issue that deserves to be addressed, but it doesn't need to be 0 a addressed at the same time. GOo If the reserve powers are to be given to a new Head of State, it iso critically important that the authority and source of the Head of 0 State's power is consistent with the national interest and the 0o continued effective operation of our political system. C o There has been considerable debate in the community about how 0 o the Head of State should be chosen. As things now stand, theo Governor-General is appointed by The Queen acting on the soleo advice of the Prime Minister. O 0166

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' MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE THE PRIME

: MINISTER SHOULD NOT HAVE SUCH • EXCLUSIVE POWER IN APPOINTING AN AUSTRALIAN HEAD OF STATE.'

It is clear that most people believe the Prime Minister should not have such exclusive power in appointing an Australian Head of State. The debate is principally between those who support popular election and those who favour election by the : Parliament.

The desire for a popular election stems from the democratic : sentiment which all Australians share. However, the Government has come to view that if a new Australian Head of State were to be elected by popular mandate, he or she would inherit a basis of

power that would prove to be fundamentally at odds with our • Westminster-style system of government.

It should be recognised that a Head of State, whose powers derived from a general election, would be the only person in the political system so elected. His or her powers would be nominally much greater than those of all other Commonwealth office holders, including the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, who are, without exception, indirectly elected via large elected parties. With a popular elected President, potential would exist for the representative and democratically elected parliamentary chambers, the repositories of the diffuse power of the Australian

democracy, to be gradually diminished, while the embodiment of the nation and great powers were vested in one person. That would constitute a very dramatic — and undesirable — change to a system which all of us agree has served us well.

Whatever differences of opinion may presently exist about the most desirable mode of his or her election, there is a consensus that the Head of State should be, in some sense, `above politics'.

'THE HEAD OF STATE SHOULD BE AN • EMINENT AUSTRALIAN, A WIDELY RESPECTED FIGURE WHO CAN REPRESENT

THE NATION AS A WHOLE.'

With this the Government agrees. The Head of State should be an eminent Australian, a widely respected figure who can

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0 0 O

• represent the nation as whole. This in fact has been the character

0 of the role of the Governor-General and it should be protected o 0and retained in the role of a Head of State. 0 a p

Popular election guarantees that the Head of State will not be

a above politics — indeed it guarantees that the Head of State will o 0 be a politician.

0 0

We therefore propose, as the Republic Advisory Committee

o a suggested, that the Head of State be elected by a two-thirds majority vote in a joint sitting of both Houses of the

O Commonwealth Parliament on the nomination of the Prime o Minister and the Cabinet. Such a joint sitting would be a unique 0 occasion, bringing together all the political parties, and both

o Houses of the Parliament, in a spirit of bi-partisanship and p 0 cooperation. Obviously, before the vote was taken the non-

o government parties would have to be consulted to ensure that the 0 a 0 candidate had their support.

o It would be impossible for any government to dictate the a Coutcome of this process. A two-thirds majority vote of both • o Houses would require bi-partisan support and ensure that the • o Head of State had the blessing of all the major parties. The RAC

a 0 report makes the point that a two-thirds majority in the present o parliament would require the votes of 40 more members than the C o Government presently has. In fact, no government since World

0 War II has enjoyed a two-thirds majority. 0 0 0

A Head of State appointed by both Houses would be subject to

. o removal by both Houses if it was the opinion of a two-thirds O majority that his or her conduct was inappropriate. This is why,

0 Vgiven the difficulties of codification and given that we believe o that conventions governing the reserve powers will in large 0 o measure need to remain with the Head of State, it is imperative

0 G

that his or her mandate does not flow from popular election, but o 0 from the representative power of the House of Representatives o 0

and the proportional power of the Senate. 0 o The other brake on any wilful or misguided behaviour by a Head • 0 0 of State is that the process of removal should not be contingent on

o 0

a specified set of facts or circumstances or conditions. The joint o sitting would be unconstrained in its actions or in its decision by

G 0

being able to consider squarely the behaviour of any incumbent.

0 0

A further inhibition to misguided or inappropriate behaviour is o 0 the proposal that either House may, by simple majority, initiate a o 0 a 0

joint sitting to remove or censure a Head of State.

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00 ® The Government believes that, taken together — the authority

0 and source of the Head of State's powers coming from the o Parliament, removal by the same means as appointment, and the P o capacity to censure — these elements provide effective counter-

m weights to the substantial authority vested in the Head of State o through the reserve powers. G o In addition, in the light of the events of 1975, any Head of State

a determined upon a course of action would do so in the knowledge that he or she would be confronted with the weight of o public opprobrium, and will be at pains to ensure that every 0 o course of action is both warranted and capable of being

0 defended. 00m0e0o THE TERM OF OFFICE FOR THE HEAD OF a 0 STATE (SHOULD) BE FIVE YEARS AND... a 4 HEADS OF STATE BE PERMITTED TO SERVE 00ONE TERM ONLY.'Oo The Government proposes that, consistent with the convention0 for Governors-General, the term of office for the Head of State 0a be five years, and that Heads of State be permitted to serve one m term only. GTo prevent any attempt to influence Heads of State by offers of0subsequent employment, we propose that outgoing Heads of State not be permitted to accept remuneration from theCommonwealth in addition to their pension until five years havepassed since their departure from the office.As an additional step to ensure that the office of Head of State iso not politicised, the Government proposes that serving and formero parliamentarians — Commonwealth, State and Territory — beexcluded from candidature until five years have passed since theirdeparture from parliament.o It is not our intention that the Government's proposal shouldo affect the Constitutions of the Australian States. It would be up © to each State to decide how in future they would appoint their 0o respective Heads of State. It is reasonable to expect that if the Co Australian people opt for an Australian Head of State, the States o would follow suit. But the question would be for each State to Go decide.0 In this regard, we were interested that a committee commissioned 0 01691

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to examine the issue by the West Australian government concluded that, if the minimalist approach proposed by the Republic Advisory Committee were to be adopted, the position of the States within the federation would not be substantially

affected.

The Government is ready to have senior Commonwealth Ministers brief State governments on the proposals and we sincerely hope that all State Premiers will make constructive contributions to the public debate.

The Government puts forward these proposals to provide a basis for considered public discussion. The Australian Constitution cannot be changed in any way without a referendum, and to succeed at a referendum a proposed change must win the agreement of a majority of voters in a majority of States and a majority of voters overall.

'PUT THE QUESTION OF A REPUBLIC TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE SOME TIME IN 1998 OR 1999'

The Government proposes to put the question of a republic to the Australian people some time in 1998 or 1999. Acceptance at the referendum will mean that Australia can be a republic by the

year of the centenary of Federation, 2001.

Before the referendum, there will be extensive consultation with the people of Australia. But it should be clearly understood that nothing we can devise in addition to the due democratic processes will match those processes in the information they provide, the debate they stimulate or the power they give the people. The passage of the Referendum Bill through both Houses

of the Commonwealth Parliament will be followed by an extensive campaign in which arguments for and against a republic will be put. And the people's vote — and the people's vote alone — will decide the issue.

In short, the Constitution requires that the Parliament, the nation's representative and deliberative body, alone can formally determine the proposals to be put to the people in a referendum. At most, any suggested convention can only be a consultative device and, in obvious ways, an elitist one.

There have been calls for a constitutional convention, but the

A REPUBLIC

C 0

limitations of that procedure should be understood.

® There were six Constitutional Conventions between 1973 and 1985 followed by a Constitutional Commission. It is not unfair m to say that they were unproductive. And any future convention m not limited to the issue of the republic and Head of State, would

be a convention going over the same old ground as all the others ® before it.

' HERE, WE ARE ATTEMPTING A MODEST CHANGE TO THE CONSTITUTION'

a Some people have drawn comparisons with the constitutional conventions of the 1890s, but there is an essential difference between those and any current proposals. Here, we are attempting a modest change to the Constitution — in the 1890s they were attempting to write it. And among the things they

wrote was the requirement that any change to the Constitution © must be submitted to a referendum. That is the democratic obligation we are under today.

o The detail of the changes we propose may at first glance obscure the meaning of them.

The meaning is simple and, we believe, irresistible — as simple and irresistible as the idea of a Commonwealth of Australia was ® to the Australians of a century ago.

The meaning then was a nation united in common cause for the common good. A nation which gave expression to the lives we ® lead together on this continent, the experience and hopes we share as Australians.

WE ARE ALL AUSTRALIANS. WE SHARE A

0 CONTINENT. WE SHARE A PAST, A PRESENT AND A FUTURE. AND OUR HEAD OF STATE S HOULD BE ONE OF US.'

m The meaning now is still a product of that founding sentiment ® it is that we are all Australians. We share a continent. We share a past, a present and a future. And our Head of State should be one of us.

171

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TOPICS he resources sector is a key part of the Australian

COAL 174 economy. Domestically it accounts for 6.2 per cent of

total GDP and around $30 billion in export income.

MINERALS, OIL & GAS 174 Australia is a world player in the highly competitive international

FORESTS 175 investment environment for mineral exploration and

development. We are also a major exporter of mining technology,

FISHERIES 176

services and equipment.

The Federal Labor Government has created optimum conditions

to ensure that Australia's resource sector maintains its

international competitiveness and continues to grow.

• In 1993-94 the Australian mineral sector recorded exports

of $30 billion and a ten per cent increase in capital

expenditure.

• Australia is the world's leading coal exporter generating

$7.2 billion in 1993-94 and expected to rise to over $8

• billion in 1995-96.

• Current major projects include Mobil's $1 billion upgrade

of its Altona refinery and ICI's $300 million investment in

the Moomba to Sydney gas pipeline — generating 1000

j obs.

RESOURCES & ENERGY

0 0 0 0 C

COAL 0 The Federal Government is committed to the further

o Odevelopment and growth of a competitive, secure and profitable o Australian coal industry — based on consultation and C 0 0 C

cooperation between government, business and unions.

0 G Australia is the world's leading coal exporter and coal remains

o GAustralia's largest export earner — 145 million tonnes o generating $8.2 billion of income in 1995/96. Between 1981-83

o under the Coalition Government the comparison was 56 million o 0tonnes and $3 billion in earnings. C o G

During 1995 the Federal Government:

0 0 • announced the response to the Taylor Study which is the G

o basis for reforming the industry and the development of a

new cooperative culture. The Government and industry o 0now have a clear strategy to generate continued strong growth of the Australian coal industry based on improved C a international competitiveness, industrial relations and

O 0 0

access to world markets;

0 • announced as part of the 1995-96 Budget, the Coal C o Australia Promotion Program (CAPP), which is a major

o component of the strategy, and provides up to $12 million 0 over the next four years for continued growth and ® a expansion;

• emphasised the importance on value adding in the coal o industry. Many companies and consortiums are already working on value adding. The strategy is to link coal sales a with the supply by Australian industry of related technology

— from exploration to construction of power stations; 0 o • integrated the Coal Industry Tribunal (CIT) with the

0 G O

C C

Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).

0C

MINERALS , OIL o One Nation supports the resources sector through improvements

& GAS o to the taxation regime, liberalised foreign investment rules and 0 o G the abolition of export controls on iron ore.

0 o The Federal Government's reforms in the petroleum and gas • 0 industries have created a robust market and an internationally a G competitive environment. 0

o • 1993-94 was another record export year for the Australian C o 4 a 0 0 mineral sector with capital expenditure increasing by 10 per 174

RESOURCES & ENERGY

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cent and exports rising to $30 billion.

o • Investment in petroleum exploration in Australian waters in 1994 was maintained at near record levels of $350 million.

• Mineral exploration expenditure in Australia increased 31 per cent in 1993-94 to $792 million.

® • Production from the $600 million Griffin oil field, with reserves of 130 million barrels, commenced early in 1994.

• Exports of liquefied natural gas from the North West Shelf gas project increased in 1994 contributing $1.5 billion of valuable export income.

• The $290 million McArthur River lead/zinc mine which a will yield around $200-300 million in annual export income was commissioned.

• ICI announced investment of $300 million associated with the construction of a pipeline to transport ethane from Moomba in South Australia to Sydney. This will generate 1,000 jobs and boost Australia's balance of payments by $1

billion over the next decade.

• Government participation in a project with the Australian o alumina industry will improve access to the Russian 0 o market, calculated to bring $400 million per annum in

export income and substantial new investment in Australian alumina refinery capacity.

F O R E S T S a The Federal Government has developed a National Forests Policy providing support for a national framework for the protection and use of Australia's forests. This statement has been agreed to by all State and Territory Governments.

Forest policy includes:

• Regional Forest Agreements, under the National Forest Policy Statement, to define areas to be reserved and to m ensure the ecologically sustainable management of the areas outside reserves;

• the development of a national forest industries strategy to restructure the industry and to foster a positive environment for investment in downstream processing based on sustainable managed forests and plantations;

• the establishment of a Forest and Wood Products Research

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o and Development Corporation in conjunction with the

0 0 forest industry for research and development in forest

o Oproduction and processing; U o • the development of Australia's future plantation resource O o through further funding for the Farm Forestry Program and

the North Queensland Community Rainforest o Reforestation Program; 0 o • giving unemployed youth training and work experience in G a the Plantation Program, including plantation establishment

o and management techniques, under the Landcare and a 0Environmental Action Program (LEAP); O o • the promotion of commercial plantation development

0 0 on cleared agricultural land and, where possible the

o integration of plantations with other agricultural land CoCuses; Op • the introduction of the Deferred Forest Assessment process 0o to establish areas which may need to be set aside for a • o future reserve system. With the agreement of the States it• 0 will also give interim protection for these areas pendingo completion of regional forest agreements. The DFA processo will also establish those areas which will be available for0 logging; C0 • the reduction, from 1996, in the export of woodchips from a o native forests not covered by regional forest agreements or 0o where significant progress towards an RFA has not0 Goccurred. Exports will be reduced by 20 per cent per o annum to nil by the year 2000;0 o • the establishment of a Commonwealth Government unit to 0 o monitor compliance with woodchip export licence 00 GG0conditions. 0 0F I S H E IZ I E S a The Federal Government is playing a significant role in theo development of the fishing industry at the same timeo acknowledging that Australian fisheries are a common property• a resource to be managed for the maximum benefit of the people0 0 of Australia. 0o 0 Australia's fisheries are being developed in an ecologically o sustainable . manner so that management regimes safeguard the 0O G OO0long term viability of our resources.176 ,.

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® Achievements in fisheries include:

® • the introduction of legislation, at the industry's request, to raise money for an export promotion program for the international promotion of wild caught prawns. The legislation is expected to raise $500,000 per annum;

• the commitment of $952,000 over 4 years (a joint government-industry program) to develop an industry-led, quality review team to identify challenges facing the o seafood industry. Included in this is a proposal to establish

a formal mechanism to deal with seafood quality issues;

• the commitment of $500,000 to a National Fishcare Program to protect fish resources and habitats, fostering ® broader community ownership in the care and management of fisheries and aquatic habitats;

• the introduction of a new bilateral fishing access agreement with Japan in December 1994. Japan will pay an access fee of $4.225 million for the 1995 season;

• the clarification of the role of the Commonwealth in the development of Australia's aquaculture industry and the establishment of a unit in the Department of Primary Industries and Energy (DPIE) to implement the Commonwealth's responsibilities under the National Strategy on Aquaculture in Australia;

• the development of the Convention for the Conservation of m Southern Bluefin Tuna formalising the existing voluntary management arrangement between Australia, Japan and New Zealand, the main SBT fishing countries;

• the development and implementation with industry of a o new cost recovery policy and charging arrangements for Commonwealth fisheries;

• the publication of a book `Marketing Names for Fish and Seafood in Australia'. It aims to reduce confusion in the seafood industry, particularly among consumers, arising from the broad diversity of marketing names now in use. It

. will also help protect consumers from deliberate or inadvertent substitution of species.

177

RESOURCES & ENERGY

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TOPICS_

BUSINESS

ASSISTANCE 180

WOMEN IN BUSINESS 180

EXPORTING SMALL BUSINESS 180

THE BEST BUSINESS

CLIMATE 1 81

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mall businesses are Australia's largest employers, providing jobs for around three million Australian workers — about half the Australian workforce.

Small business is benefiting from low inflation, lower interest rates and strong economic growth. These strong economic conditions provide a solid foundation for a range of small

business initiatives in Working Nation.

The Federal Labor Government is working to develop world-class, innovative and export-oriented firms by increasing management skills and networking, and encouraging innovative projects. As well, practical assistance and financial support is

being given to exporters, including better access to finance and to Government purchasing.

• The Government is reducing the compliance costs of small business by exempting many business costs from FBI and simplifying the Corporations Law.

• The role of women in small business is under review to develop strategies to help them as owners and managers.

Currently, women make up nearly half of all business owners.

• A small business unit is being established within the

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to look at small business Trade Practices issues.

SMALL BUSINESS

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o Auslndustry, Bishelp and Business Licence Centres are practical

ASS I . S TA N C E © examples of the Government's business assistance programs. P o Under Working Nation, more than 60 Auslndustry offices have

D been set up around the country providing information on o Dindustry improvement programs. e ExportAccess, which is administered by Austrade and delivered o through a network of key business and industry organisations, is

o developing a comprehensive package of training and practical o Passistance to small and medium sized enterprises which may o P

require specialist help to develop successful offshore activities.

D

There has been increased support for the Australian Made

o Campaign to maintain the image of the Australian Made logo o Pand consolidate consumer attitudes and spending behaviour.

WOMEN I N e

P

Women are playing an increasingly important role as owners and

B U S I N E SS © managers of small business, contributing significantly to 0 Australia's economic growth. Women now represent nearly 50 per cent of all business owners and 70 per cent of business• o D

start-ups.

P o Recognising that this is an important new area for policy P o making, the Government commissioned a Literature Review of

0 PWomen in Small Business which was completed in July 1995. D Q D This review examines the contribution that women make as

0 owners, managers and decision-makers of small business, to o D Australia's business and economic environment.

© The Government is strongly supporting the establishment of the

DAustralian Council of Businesswomen. With the assistance of the P Government, businesswomen and their organisations have

o initiated efforts to cooperate more effectively, and ensure that 0 P they have a stronger voice and more visibility with government,

n Pbusiness networks, the media and the community generally.

EXPORT I N G

D a Internationally, the Government is working to ensure that world

S MALL BUS I N E S S P o competitive Australian small businesses can access new regional

o and global markets. And, small businesses will continue to o Dbenefit from trade opportunities through the GATT and APEC. P © P APEC will continue to provide Australian business with a host of o P P P

new opportunities to share in the growth of the world's most

180

SMALL

BUSINESS:

• •

dynamic region. Reflecting the role that Australia has played in creating a better environment for small and medium enterprises in the APEC region, the Australian Government recently hosted the second APEC Small & Medium Enterprise Ministers' Meeting in Adelaide.

• • A major private sector conference was held in tandem with this event — over 700 private sector delegates attended representing each of the 18 APEC economies. This provided Australian small businesses with opportunities to establish new contacts and

•

networks throughout the region.

•

T H E B E S T : The Government has tackled the compliance costs of small

B U S I N E S S : business by exempting many business costs from FBT, and by

C L I M A T E simplifying the Corporations Law with expected savings for the average small business of $2,000 a year. However the legislation to simplify the Corporations Law was blocked by the Coalition • at the end of June 1995 and the anticipated savings have been

deferred for at least a year.

The Government has also established a program that places Australia at the forefront of world research into small business activities. The Australian Small and Medium Enterprise Database will collect research information on the experiences of : particular firms over time. This information will allow the

Government to target small business policies more accurately and effectively.

• In September 1995, the Government released a package for small business, `Creating a Better Business Environment'. The package establishes a strong framework for a fair and equitable, competitive environment for all businesses in Australia, and

• particularly small businesses. As part of the package, the Government will strengthen the Trade Practices Act to improve standards of business conduct, and establish a Small Business • (Trade Practice) Unit within the Australian Competition and

: Consumer Commission to provide a focus for small business Trade Practices issues.

The package responds directly to concerns raised by the

• small business sector in relation to the exploitation of small businesses who have been held to economic ransom by larger • ® businesses. It is another indication that the Government has • listened to small business and has responded in a clear, positive

• •

way

181

SMALL "BUSINESS

0 0 D

0 The Government's industry policy directions reflect the

importance placed on the small business sector and our desire to see small businesses achieve their real potential. D

D

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TOPICSFAMILIES 184WOMEN 184UNEMPLOYEDPEOPLE 185PENSIONERS 185PEOPLE IN CRISIS 186PEOPLE WITHSPECIAL NEEDS 187 ustralia has one of the most cohesive and fair societies in

the world. The Federal Labor Government cares for amilies, unemployed people, pensioners, people with disabilities and people in crisis. Under this Government, Australia will never become a society divided between the `haves' and the

`have nots'.

Our social security system has become a model for other countries.

Through careful targeting, self-help measures and comprehensive entitlement checks, families, the unemployed, pensioners, people with disabilities and people in crisis have been able to get higher payments without increasing total costs.

• The Federal Government's social security `safety net' protects all Australians. Each year the social security system provides $11 billion to families with children through benefits including the Parenting Allowance and Family Payments.

• Pensions are indexed twice-yearly against inflation. The real value of pensions has increased by 12 per cent since 1983.

• Since April 1993, 670,000 new jobs have been created, and measures introduced to help the unemployed find jobs.

I

SOCIAL SECURITY

0 0 0

0

F A M I L I E S o Families today have special needs as they juggle the competing

o demands of home and work. The Federal Government has built 0 0 on the existing Family Payment system to give families choice

0 0 0

and flexibility.

m E • The Federal Government provides over $11 billion annually

o 0in the Social Security Budget alone for assistance to families o with children, particularly through family payments of up 0 0 to $45 per week for each child under 13 and $58 per week

0for each child aged 13-15.

G a • It puts up to $140 a week into the pockets of low-income 0 o families and families on income support with the Parenting

o Allowance. These families also have access to Family GPayment, Rent Assistance and a Health Care Card.

o • It provides a basic component of Parenting Allowance of 0 o almost $63 a fortnight to parents at home caring full-time

G o

O

for children.

O o • Sole parents receive continuing support in recognition of

• their special needs. Sole parents have access to vocational o counselling, education and training, job placement and 0 o child care through the Jobs, Education and Training (JET)

G 0 program.

O

0 • The Government rent assistance program provides $1.4 C o billion annually to social security recipients and low-income

•

0

o

G

working families in private rental accommodation.

G o • From February 1996, a means-tested Maternity Allowance,

0 C

equivalent to 6 weeks worth of Parenting Allowance o C C C (currently $840) will be introduced for most mothers. 0 C

WOMEN o Around two-thirds of age pensioners are women, as are most 0 o Family Payment recipients and sole parents. The Federal o O

Government has supported women through:

C • the establishment of the Child Support Scheme; C C • the introduction of the Widow Allowance for women who o become widowed on or after their 50th birthday and who have no recent workforce experience; G

• cashing out the with-child rate of the Dependent Spouse

0 V Rebate (paid to the breadwinner in the form of an income • o GG• tax rebate) and the introduction of the Parenting Allowance

184

SOCIAL SECURITY

(paid to the primary caregiver at home looking after . children);

• splitting unemployment payments 'for couples, with half paid to each member of a couple;

o • the planned introduction of the Maternity Allowance.

U N E M P L O Y E D m The Federal Government is helping unemployed people into PEOPLE training and work. It has created 670,000 jobs since April 1993.

It has also:

• increased incentives for people to take up available work opportunities, including part-time or casual work, as this 0 often leads to full-time work;

• introduced an `earnings credit' scheme and relaxed restrictions on voluntary work, self-employment projects and co-operative business developments. Research shows that these often lead to full-time work opportunities;

• introduced a lump-sum advance so unemployed people can 0 obtain up to $500 or $1000 against future income support o payments for use in improving their job prospects;

• introduced greater obligations for unemployed people to maintain their search for work and to do everything they can to increase their chances of getting a job;

• introduced a Mature Age Allowance which recognises that o many older long-term unemployed people have greater difficulty retraining or finding new employment.

PENSION E Et S m The Federal Government believes that pensioners are entitled to a live with dignity, have a secure income and access to appropriate ® support services. To support this it has:

• continued twice-yearly indexation of pensions against inflation;

• continued the long-standing commitment, achieved in 1990, • ® to maintaining the age pension at 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. This means that the real value of the pension has increased by 12 per cent since 1983;

• continued to adjust pensions for inflation 12 weeks after • o the CPI reference period, the shortest time ever achieved;

° 185

SOCIAL SE

0 0 C

o • expanded the deeming arrangement to ensure

0 pensioners get a proper return on their bank accounts 0 o and other financial investments in a simple fair C arrangement;

C O

o • introduced the Home Equity Conversion Scheme to provide

0 concessional loans of up to $7,500 secured against the o equity in a pensioner's home; GG o • given all pensioners access to Commonwealth and State C o fringe benefits from 1993 and introduced a Commonwealth

G o Seniors Health Card for other low-income retired people in

0 1994; COO0 • assisted pensioners to maximise their income which Co in turn reduces their reliance on Social Security. 0a Superannuation arrangements will ensure that0 future generations of pensioners have more income oftheir own; Oco • expanded the Financial Information Service (FIS) which Cprovides pensioners with important information about howo investments affect their pension and fringe benefits, and to Co assist with basic taxation inquiries. GG0eCPEOPLE I N o The Federal Government is aware of the plight of people in 0C IZ I S I S o0hardship. It has: Go • established Community Service Units for older homeless© people, and Youth Service Units for homeless young people,o Cto provide access to income support payments as well as o referral by social workers to appropriate State-provided 0C C support services; mC • established protocols with State welfare departments so o homeless children under 15 and State wards have access toappropriate State-provided services, with recourse to 0G Commonwealth income support payments only ino 0 exceptional circumstances; m © • provided assistance to people affected by the January C 0 1994 Sydney bushfires through the Disaster Relief 0C Payment;G • provided assistance to farming families seriously affected byC C GGdrought.186

SOCIAL SECURITY

Y C

0

C

PEOPLE WITH m People with disabilities are among the most disadvantaged

S P E C I A L N E E D S o jobseekers and they need secure income support if they are to o gain independence. The Federal Government has: C a • introduced the Disability Reform package, aimed at

o providing education, training and employment

Oopportunities for people with disabilities; C o • introduced the Disability Wage Supplement, aimed at c o encouraging employment of people with disabilities; m o • provided access to the Employment Entry Payment and the

m Education Entry Payment and allowed people with disabilities to retain their Pensioner Concession Card for 12 0 o

0

months after entering employment;

fl

• continued to improve the Mobility Allowance which helps

o people who cannot use public transport without substantial 0assistance, while they are in training or in their search for work; 0

o • continued to provide the Special Benefit payment to people

0

in extreme hardship who do not qualify for any other

GCC

0

O C

C

0

0

G G Q a 0

G

9 a

0

Social Security payment.

187

SOCIAL SECURITY

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11818

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TOPICS

port is a vital part of Australian life. The Federal Labor

SYDNEY OLYMPICS 190 Government is encouraging Australian sport at every level

E L I T E — from toddlers through to our elite Olympic athletes.

DEVELOPMENT 190 Federal Government spending on sport and recreation is now more than ten times higher than it was in 1983 — funding has AUSSIE SPORT 191

increased from $14.5 million in 1982-83 to $145.5 million in

WOMEN IN SPORT 191 1995-96.

DISABLED SPORT 191 The Government's Sports Policy "Maintain the SAFETY IN SPORT 192 Momentum" is putting $293 million over four years into

SPORTS the Australian sporting scene — to develop our future

DEVELOPMENT 192 champions and foster an enthusiasm for sport among all Australians.

• In 1995, the Federal Government gave grants worth $57 million to national sporting organisations to help them with coaching, junior development and international competition.

• The Australian Institute of Sport, responsible for the development of Australia's elite athletes, has a total budget of $38.5 million. This compares with $4.5 million in 1983.

• The Government has increased direct athlete assistance with residential scholarships for 500 athletes in 21 sports at the Australian Institute of Sport.

• In the lead up to the Sydney Olympics, the Federal Government is spending $135 million preparing our athletes and $150 million on facilities at Homebush Bay.

• Hundreds of thousands of Australian children are participating in the Aussie Sport program, with special emphasis on primary school children.

si

SPORT

0

S Y D N E Y o Sydney's successful bid for the 2000 Olympics has already been a

OLYMPICS o huge morale boost to Australian athletes and sparked a new C © interest in sport among school children.

00 o The Federal Government provided $5 million towards Sydney's

o bid. As well as regular budget allocations, an extra $150 million will be allocated over three years for the development of sporting © infrastructure at Homebush Bay and $135 million will be

0 committed to Olympic athlete preparation over the six years o leading up to the Sydney Games. Gu 0

E L I T E o In gearing up for a successful Olympics in Sydney, the Federal

0

D E V E L O P M E N T o Government is building on the successes of "Maintain the

0 C

Momentum".

G o

Australia's 1994 Commonwealth Games results were the best for o 0any country in any Games — 87 gold medals — more than o England, Canada and New Zealand combined. An independent

a review of the Australian Sports Commission concluded that all 0 44 sports analysed had improved or maintained their m international standing since the start of "Maintain the O

m Momentum".

0 o The Federal Government has established the National Elite

0 Sports Council, a forum of the Australian Institute of Sport o (AIS) and the State Institutes and Academies of Sport, to G o coordinate activities for elite athlete development across the

0 0 country.

C

Australia has an ambitious program of direct athlete

o G

assistance.

O o • We now provide residential scholarships to the AIS to over

0 0

G

500 athletes in 21 sports.

o • 22 sports have AIS residential programs and many others 0 C benefit from National Training Centre camps, expanded

o o sports science and sports medicine services, Athlete o Career and Education services and Intensive Training 0 U Centres.

G o • In 1994, through the Australian Athlete Scholarship

a O Scheme, we supported 489 athletes — a record number, o reflecting the increased number of Australian sports people n C C

who are world ranked.

GGG1 90

SPORT

m

A U S S I E SPORT 0 The innovative Aussie Sport program makes sport an important

e part of children's lives.

The $5 million Aussie Sport strategy begins with programs for ® three year olds at home and runs through to sports leadership programs for 20 year olds. Primary school children play a variety 0 of sports with modified rules so they learn to enjoy sport as well m as learning safe skills. Aussie Sport is now played in 96 per cent o 0 of Australian primary schools.

o In 1994, the Federal Government launched a new National Junior Sport Policy, offering guidelines for those responsible for 0 the development, organisation and conduct of sport for young Australians. These guidelines include encouraging non-

competitive sport and recreational activities.

Aussie Sport has captured the imagination of other nations too. ® It is now being copied and adapted in New Zealand, South Africa, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

0

WOMEN I N ® The Federal Government is keen to see women playing more

S P 0 RT a sport and is working to overcome longstanding barriers to the

promotion of women's sport. This includes:

® • `Invisible Games', a report highlighting the biases in media coverage of women's sport;

® • `Focus on Marketing and Management', a series of seminars

0 providing training to sportswomen and administrators of o women's sport in media, management and o 0 0 m

marketing.

DISABLED SPORT o Opportunities for disabled people to take part in fitness and o sporting activities are being improved so that they get the 0 support they deserve.

• In 1994 we introduced "Willing & Able", a program to o encourage people with disabilities to participate in physical education and sport.

• The Federal Government has provided $670,000 to the

0 Australian Paralympic Federation for the preparation of o athletes for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta and other

0 0 0 0 0

international. competitions.

191

•

In the past two years, 48 athletes with disabilities have been awarded AIS scholarships.

SAFETY I N SPORT The Federal Government has helped the major water safety organisations develop a national water safety strategy. It has promised safety organisations $1.7 million a year, for safety • equipment and facilities.

• Australia continues to be a world leader in preventing the use of drugs in sport, both at home and internationally. Funding for the Australian Sports Drug Agency was increased by 17 per cent in the last Budget. In October 1994, the Government signed an historic, antidoping agreement with China, which will enable the

Chinese to use Australia's experience to increase the effectiveness of its own testing programs.

S P O RT S : National sporting bodies will receive $57 million in direct and

D EVE L O P M E N T indirect grants in 1995 for administration support, coaching projects, international competition and junior development.

A record 25,000 coaches in 90 sports were accredited in 1994 under the Australian Coaching Council National Coach Accreditation Scheme, bringing the total since 1980 to 150,000. The National Officiating Program has been introduced to promote the role of coaches and umpires and to provide better • training for them.

• The Federal Government has introduced the Volunteer Involvement Program to help develop the volunteer and club base and the Mature Aged Sport program to encourage older Australians to become involved in sport.

TOPICS

PENSIONS 194

NON-PENSIONER RETIREES 195

SUPERANNUATION 196

L . n^s .w m

I I Ai it Nr ` I H iE NVAI I .l (.)

N _

S'UJ , ) . ' Ry e. 1 . ` 1 I 0 M , L.

RJTflUMNT EMCOMi

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T

he Federal Labor Government's retirement incomes policy is based on providing an adequate age pension for those in greatest need — and at the same time investing in superannuation to improve the standard of living enjoyed by older people in their retirement.

Saving For Our Future builds on more than a decade of reform in retirement incomes by the Government to achieve fair and sustainable outcomes for older Australians.

The Government's retirement incomes policy will always provide' an adequate age pension. It will continue to provide a secure safety net for those in greatest need while encouraging better

retirement incomes through superannuation.'

Those who can provide for themselves in retirement are encouraged through special incentive measures.

• Since 1983, the age pension has increased by 12 per cent in real terms, and since 1990 has been maintained at a rate of

around 25 per cent of average weekly earnings.

• Retirees with private incomes may be eligible for part-payment of pensions and other concessions have been

extended to them including the Commonwealth Seniors

Health Card. The assets test has been eased.

• Superannuation is set to dramatically improve retirement incomes. For example, a couple in their mid 30's on

average incomes, will receive retirement incomes which are

75 per cent higher than the age pension.

• In 1983 less than 40 per cent of employees had superannuation. Today nearly 90 per cent are covered. For

women employees the increase has been from 24 per cent

to 85 per cent.

PENSIONS

Since March 1983, the age pension has increased by 12 per cent in real terms.

The Australian Labor Party's long standing commitment to provide a pension equal to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings was achieved in April 1990 and has been maintained since then.

There have been a number of `ad hoc' increases in the pension, over and above the twice yearly indexation of pensions. The most recent `ad hoc' increase was in January 1993.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation under the previous Coalition Government, when pensions fell by 2.3 per cent in real terms between December 1975 and March 1983.

All pensioners who receive the maximum rate of pension have paid no tax since 1990.

Commonwealth and State fringe benefits for pensioners on services such as transport, electricity and water were extended to all pensioners in 1993.

The Financial Information Service (FIS) has been expanded to give pensioners information about how their pensions are affected by investments. In the 1995-96 Budget measures were announced to provide help through FIS for pensioners who are considering moving to more suitable accommodation. FIS will also conduct financial seminars for pre-retirees and age pensioners to encourage people to maximise private income in retirement.

In 1994, the Home Equity Conversion Scheme was introduced by the Federal Government to give concessional loans of up to $7500 secured against pensioners' equity in their homes. These loans allow age pensioners to borrow against their equity in their

home to improve their standard of living in retirement. From 1996, pensioners will also be able to obtain an advance on their pension of up to $500.

Pension income testing arrangements are being simplified. From July 1996, the bank deeming arrangements will be extended to all financial investments, replacing the former assessment of unrealised capital growth on shares and other investments. Under

the new arrangements, the first $30,000 ($50,000 for couples) of financial investments will be `deemed' to earn 5 per cent as income. The amount over $30,000 ($50,000 for couples) will be deemed to earn 7 per cent and the actual income earned will not

be counted.

194

NON - PENS I O N E R

Over recent years the Federal Government has introduced

R E T I R E E S : incentives to encourage people to provide for themselves in

retirement with substantial improvements for retirees with private income.

Retirees can now continue to get some pension until private income exceeds about $20,180 if single and $33,675 for a couple.

. In April 1993 pensioner concessions were extended to all pensioners so that anyone with just one dollar of pension receives full pensioner concessions.

For those retirees without any pension at all, the Federal Government has extended the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to lower income retirees. The Seniors Health card offers a range of health related concessions such as pharmaceuticals at concessional prices, hearing aids through the Australian Hearing Service and access to the Commonwealth Dental Health Scheme.

The assets test on the pension has been eased, so that retirees with higher levels of assets can claim some pension. Retirees can now claim some pension when their assets (excluding the family home) are below $231,750 (single homeowner) or up to $440,500 (non-homeowner couple).

• Many non-pensioner retirees have also benefited from : superannuation tax concessions and the seven rounds of tax cuts since the Government came to office in 1983.

• The lowest income tax rate has been reduced from 30 per cent (under the previous Coalition government) to 20 per cent under Labor. Non-pensioner retirees have benefited from the latest tax cuts — delivered ahead of schedule in November 1993 and targeted at the middle income levels of many non-pensioner retirees.

• The Federal Government's 1995-96 Budget provided additional support for carers. Eligibility for the carers' pension is being extended to people who are caring for non pensioners, subject to an income test and assets test (income of $61,020 per annum and assets of $559,250). This means that people caring for severely handicapped, non-pensioner retirees may be eligible to receive the • carers' pension.

• Changes to the pension income test will also make it far simpler for retirees to assess the impact of their private income on their eligibility for a pension. The changes will also provide further

SUPERANNUATION

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incentives for retirees to maximise their private incomes. This is because earnings above the deeming rates will not affect pension levels. Some retirees may find that they become eligible to receive a part pension under the new deeming rules.

The Federal Government's simplification of the pensions income test will make it much easier for non-pensioners to assess their eligibility for a Commonwealth Seniors Health card. More non-pensioners may become eligible for the card as a result.

The Federal Government has transformed superannuation.

Superannuation has been progressively developed from its early role under the Coalition as a tax advantaged form of remuneration for a minority of generally better off workers, to become a key component of the Government's retirement income policy.

Superannuation coverage has been vastly improved through the introduction of award superannuation, which was a key element of the 1985 Accord between the ACTU and the Government.

The introduction of the Superannuation Guarantee arrangements in 1992 extended superannuation coverage even further, and set a timetable for progressively upgrading employer contributions.

In 1983, less than 40 per cent of employees had superannuation. Today through the Government's reforms nearly 90 per cent of employees have superannuation.

The increase in coverage for women employees has been even more spectacular, increasing from 24 per cent in 1983 to 85 per cent today.

With such a high proportion of employees now covered by superannuation, retirement incomes will become increasingly substantial, relative to working life incomes.

The measures announced in Saving for Our Future build on the Government's achievements since 1983.

From 1997 the Government will support the phased introduction of employee contributions through awards. For the majority of Australian workers the Government will match their contributions dollar for dollar.

Together with the existing superannuation guarantee arrangements, this will lift superannuation savings for a person

SUPERANNUATION & RETIREMENT INCOMES

_ a

® on around average earnings to a minimum of 15 per cent of their 0 wages.

Under the Government's current superannuation guarantee ® arrangements employers with an annual payroll in excess of $1 a million must contribute 6 per cent of their employees' earnings to superannuation. For those with payrolls of less than $1 million

per annum, the current contribution rate is 5 per cent of m employees' earnings. Employer contributions will rise progressively to 9 per cent of employee earnings by 2002.

The decision to pay the second round of One Nation tax cuts into the superannuation accounts of employees and the self-employed is targeted at low to middle income earners. The Government will match contributions up to a limit of $1000 per annum for workers earning less than around $46,000, phasing

out at around $65,000.

For a couple on average earnings, now in their mid thirties, the Government's superannuation measures will deliver retirement incomes 75 per cent higher than the age pension. For their ® children joining the workforce in the next decade, retirement

incomes will be more than double the age pension.

The age pension remains a cornerstone of Government retirement income policy. Many people will continue to need access to an adequate age pension. However superannuation together with the age pension will ensure that all Australians have an adequate © income in their retirement.

O •

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TOPICS

LOWER TAX SCALES 200

TAX REVENUE AS

A PERCENTAGE

OF GDP 200

REACHING OUT TO

I NDIVIDUAL

TAXPAYERS 200

A BETTER DEAL FOR

BUSINESS 201

CUTS IN PERSONAL

TAX RATES SINCE

1983 202

TAX X REF

F

O 7

M

p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 e* Y& 0 s a ®i 0 0* Y 0 Y e* 0 s e e a w e a 0 0 a 0 0 0 a 0 s 0 m 0 r r 0 0 0 e 0 0 0 0 0 a a 0 0* 0 0* 0* 0 0 0& 0 a 0 0** e a 0 e 0 e• .TI

T

he Federal Labor Government has made the taxation

system fairer and more efficient. Tax cuts have been

directed to low and middle income earners. Company tax

has been cut, and tariffs progressively reduced, giving business an

internationally competitive tax regime. We are now the second

lowest taxing country in the OECD, lower than Japan and the

United States.

The Government is tackling one of the major issues facing all

taxpayers — the complexity of the tax laws, and the costs of

complying with them. Personal taxpayers and business are

benefiting from a range of new policies designed to make the tax

system fairer and simpler.

• In November 1993, tax cuts worth $3 billion a year were

introduced — the seventh round of cuts in personal tax

since 1983.

• The second round of One Nation tax cuts are being paid

into the superannuation accounts of low to middle income

earners.

• The corporate tax rate has been reduced from 46 per cent

to 36 per cent.

• Exploitation of the tax system has been reduced through

the introduction of the Fringe Benefits Tax and the Capital

Gains Tax.

• Taxpayers rights have been protected through the

appointment of a Taxation Ombudsman and the

establishment of the Small Claims Taxation Tribunal.

TAX REFORM

0 0 0 0

0 C

LOWER TAX o The Federal Government delivered personal tax cuts in

SCALES a 0November 1993 worth around $3 billion a year. C o The marginal rate on incomes of $20,700 to $38,000 dropped 0 o from .38 per cent to 34 per cent, and on incomes of $38,000 to

o $50,000 from 46 per cent to 43 per cent. In addition, a low o income rebate of $150 was introduced for those on incomes 0 o below $20,700. This was the seventh round of tax cuts for

0 0 personal income since 1983. Earlier cuts included dropping the

o Glowest tax rate from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, and raising the o C tax free threshold from $4595 to $5400.

G o The second round of One Nation tax cuts are being paid into the

o superannuation accounts of low to middle income earners. The 0Government will match contributions up to a limit of $1000 per year for workers earning less than around $46,000 phasing out

0 o

at around $65,000.

o This Government has reduced the corporate tax rate from 46 per C 0 0

cent to 36 per cent and introduced an imputation system to

o prevent the double taxation of dividends. The Government

0 o

continues its tariff reductions worth over $3 billion in 1994-95.

o The Government is determined that all taxpayers pay their fair 0 4 share. It has protected ordinary wage and salary earners by legislating against salary packages which avoid income tax. The

o Fringe Benefits Tax and Capital Gains Tax are crucial reforms 0 Cwhich have protected the tax base from abuse by those on high o incomes. The revenue from these measures has helped fund the cuts o in income tax rates. By targeting welfare payments, Australia is able 0 G

to maintain a comprehensive social security system with one of the o C C

lowest tax to GDP ratios (28.5 per cent) in the developed world.

0 0

TAX REVENUE A S p Country Total Tax

A PERCENTAGE o Australia 28.5

OF GDP (1992) Britain 35.2

o Japan 29.4

a United States 29.4

o OECD 38.8

c G 0

REACHING OUT o Since 1993, the Government has opened up the tax system to give a T O INDIVIDUAL o better deal to ordinary taxpayers in their dealings with the Tax Office. TAXPAYERS o • We have created a Tax Ombudsman to deal with disputes

o between taxpayers and the Australian Taxation Office O C 200

(ATO). Taxpayers can take complaints about the Tax

Office to the Tax Ombudsman and know that they will be dealt with fairly and honestly.

• We are establishing a Small Claims Taxation Tribunal to create an economical review process. People with less than $5000 in dispute, pay only $50 for a speedy review of their claim. No lawyers are necessary.

• The Government is sponsoring the development of a Charter of Taxpayers Rights, which will set out the rights of all taxpayers in their dealings with the Tax Office, and in turn, the duties and obligations of Tax officers when serving the public. The Charter will be finalised in the second half of 1995.

A BETTER DEAL • The Government has embarked on the first rewrite of the

FOR BUSINESS income tax laws since 1936 involving the rewriting of 5000

pages of law in plain English. Already the substantiation rules for work-related expenses have been redrafted in simpler terms. The new law is half the size, with many : arcane provisions thrown out completely. The entire body

of income tax law will be rewritten and restructured by 1997, making compliance simpler and cheaper.

• • Simpler Sales Tax. One new sales tax law, of one-third the volume, has replaced 11 Assessment Acts.

• Simpler FBT rules. After wide consultation with industry, the Government has streamlined the rules for calculating Fringe Benefits Tax on car parking and entertainment, and exempted many items, such as late night taxis, lower priced car parking, laptop computers and mobile phones.

• Small business advisory groups are advising the Tax

• Commissioner on ways of simplifying the records they keep. Other groups have been set up to help ethnic groups, and a taxation course has been written with TAFE to help people setting up a new business.

• • Tax Concessions for business. The Government has introduced specific new tax concessions to foster business innovation. The tax concession for R&D has been extended to small business, and the rules for pooled development

funds updated to make it easier for small and medium business to access capital.

n•' .•s,r' " ..tYM..`

:

CUTS I N : 1983 FROM 1 JULY 1989

P E R S O N A L : Income Range Rate (%) Income Range Rate (%)

TAX RATES : $0-4595 0 $0-5100 0

SINCE 1983 : $4595-19500 30 $5100-17650 21

$19500-35788 46 $17650-20600 29

$35788-and over 60 $20600-35000 39

$35000-50000 47

FROM 1 NOVEMBER1984 $50000-and over 48

Income Range Rate (%)

$0-4595 0 FROM 1 JANUARY 1990

$459-12500 25 Income Range Rate (%)

$12500-19500 30 $0-5100 0

$19500-28000 46 $5100-17650 21

$28000-35000 48 $17650-20600 29

$35000-and over 60 $2060035000 39

$50000-and over 47

FROM 1 DECEMBER 1986 Income Range Rate (%) FROM 1 JANUARY 1991 $0-5100 0 Income Range Rate (%)

$5100-12600 24 $0-5400 0

$12600-19500 29 $5400-20700 20

$19500-28000 43 $20700-36000 38

$28000-35000 46 $36000-50000 46

$35000-and over 55 $50000-and over 47

FROM 1 JULY 1987 FROM 15 NOVEMBER 1993 Income Range Rate (%) Income Range Rate (%)

$0-5100 0 $0-5400 0

$5100-12600 24 $5400-20700 20

$12600-19500 29 $20700-38000 34

$19500-35000 40 $38000-50000 43

$35000-and over 49 $50000 and over 47

F

T°OU ^I,S 1

TOPICS

STRATEGIES FOR GROWTH 204

PROMOTING AUSTRALIA 204

TOWARDS THE 2000 OLYMPICS 205

1996 - THE FESTIVALS OF OZ 205

BOOSTING I NVESTMENT 206

I NDUSTRIAL RELATIONS REFORM 206

ustralia's tourism industry continues to grow. Record

numbers of tourists are travelling here, with 3.4 million isiting our country in 1994 — three times as many as in 1983.

Tourism brings immediate economic benefits as well as long term growth. The Federal Labor Government's economic reforms are providing the competitive basis for the huge expansion of Australia's tourism industry. Reforms in taxation, industrial relations and transport have been crucial spurs to industry

development.

• Tourism now contributes 6.6 per cent of GDP and employs 500,000 people.

• In 1994-95 tourism generated export earnings of $12.3 billion — up from $2 billion in 1983.

• In the year 2000, 6.3 million tourists are expected to visit Australia, generating up to $21 billion in export earnings.

The industry is forecast to create 160,000 new jobs in the ten years up to 2003.

v 4 203

.

.

S T RAT E G I E S FOR : Aviation reforms have provided an enormous boost to the

G R 0 W T H : tourism industry contributing to a 13.5 per cent increase in the

number of international scheduled services in the year to November 1994, and an expansion in charter flight programs to Australia.

The seating capacity of flights to Australia increased by 136 per : cent from 1982 to 1994.

: Aviation reform has brought air travel within the reach of ordinary families for the first time, so that domestic tourism has increased too. Since deregulation in 1990, average airfares have fallen significantly (around 26 per cent from September 1990 to March 1995) on virtually all routes, and the range of discount fares has greatly increased. We have benefited too, from the entry of Ansett onto major Asian routes under the Government's multiple designation policy.

We are spreading the economic benefits of tourism to regional Australia through a $42 million package of rural and regional : development initiatives. .

Specific programs include:

• the Regional Tourism Development Program, providing $23 • million over four years to 1996-97 to improve the capacity of regional Australia to attract international and domestic tourists;

• the National Ecotourism Program providing $10 million over four years to 1996-97 to assist in the implementation of the National Ecotourism Strategy;

• • $4 million (over four years) for the Rural Tourism Program encouraging the development of rural tourism experiences;

• $4 million (over four years) for the Backpacker Program supporting growth in this high yield market;

• • $1 million to develop a strategy to encourage cruise shipping in Australian waters.

P R 0 M 01 I N G Promoting Australia in the world's tourism markets is one of our A U S T RA L I A key roles.

Since 1982-83, the Federal Government has increased funding for the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) eight fold to a record

TOURISM`

$80 million in 1995-96.

An additional $2 million in funding was provided to the ATC in 1993-94 to establish Partnership Australia, coordinating the efforts of the Commonwealth and States and Territories in

marketing Australia overseas to help deliver greater value for our

marketing dollars.

The tourism industry is being helped to market itself overseas

through the Export Market Development Grants Scheme. This

was extended to include single service tourism providers from 1

July 1994 at a cost of approximately $21.5 million over three

years.

. .

TOWARDS THE The Federal Government is investing $100 million over the next 2 0 0 0 OLYMPICS ® three years in a new global television and print campaign to sell Australia as a holiday destination.

The ATC recently launched a new series of advertisements in 10

® countries to boost tourist numbers in the lead-up to the 2000

® Olympics.

© This is the largest advertising budget for tourism promotion in

the history of Australian tourism. The campaigns will be seen by

an estimated 500 million consumers, and will highlight

® Australia's diverse natural and cultural attractions.

In conjunction with these campaigns, a new global logo to brand

Australia overseas has been launched. It will create a strong o national identity for Australia, symbolising the style and spirit of m ...

Australian tourism.

1 9 9 6 — THE m The Federal Government is promoting 1996 as the year to

FESTIVALS O F O Z "Experience the Festivals of Oz" in a major new campaign to attract international visitors.

The promotion will be used to build awareness of Australia in

o the major markets of Japan, Europe, North America, Asia and

New Zealand.

a Government research shows that more than 60 per cent of

potential overseas visitors would like to attend a local festival or

fair during their holiday. Already the Australian Grand Prix

attracts thousands of international visitors each year.

m Australia has a remarkable range of festivals, from celebrations

,^z 205

. ..

m.. .

0

.

0

0 . .

m .

m

0 .

.

. .

TOURISM

O 0 C

0 of indigenous culture to arts, multiculturalism, music, sports,

0 C country life and food and wine. These events will be used as a

o drawcard, boosting tourism and employment in regions beyond © the traditional gateways. They include the Melbourne Cup,

o Moomba, Festival of Perth, Canberra International Balloon

0

Festival, Outback Muster and the Beer Can Regatta.

B 0 0 S T I N G

0

a The tourism industry is gearing up to handle the large number of

I N V E S T M E N T

G o

0

tourists expected to visit Australia in the years ahead.

m To help industry in its investment efforts, the Government has

o established the Tourism Forecasting Council. This Council, with o Crepresentatives from the tourism and investment industry, will o 0

improve the quality of statistical information available to

a

O

investors.

I N D U S T R I A L Tourism is a twenty four hour a day, seven day a week industry

RE L AT I O N S a Owhich requires a well trained and flexible workforce. It is

R E F 0 R M a dominated by small businesses with over 80 per cent of

O 0 operations employing fewer than 20 staff.

o The tourism industry directly employs some 500,000 people and o 0is expected to generate around 160,000 extra jobs in the ten o 0

years to 2003.

0

The Federal Government's enterprise bargaining reforms are

o providing the tourism industry with the opportunity to develop 0 O enterprise agreements tailored to the needs of specific enterprises.

C

These reforms have benefited employers through improved

m operational flexibility and have led to better conditions for o. o employees. For example, flexible rostering arrangements allow 0

0

hours to be `banked' so employers can roster staff according to

0

work demand. Award classifications, linked to skill requirements

o and competency-based progression through award levels, have

C O

encouraged on the job training and career advancement.

0 The tourism industry has benefited significantly from :0 Government assistance to enterprise bargaining agreements. a Under the Work Place Reform Program, in the period to June 1994, over $1 million was allocated to the tourism industry to

o help employers and unions adopt workplace reforms. A further o $800,000 has been directed to the industry through the 0 C G C

C 0

Workplace Bargaining Program.

206

. TJ

TOPICS ver the past decade the structure and emphasis of

T RA D E Australia's exports have changed dramatically. We

PERFORMANCE 208 have moved from a country relying primarily on its

commodity exports to a country with a strong manufacturing NEW DIRECTIONS I N WORLD and services export base.

TRADE 209

With the emergence of new markets following the Uruguay

WORLD TRADE Round, the establishment of the World Trade Organisation and ORGANISATION 209 the historic APEC Leaders' meeting in Indonesia, Australia has A P E C 210 become a significant player in the global market place.

TRADE The Asia-Pacific region has become an increasingly important

PROMOTION 210

destination for Australian goods, taking around 78 per cent of

MEETING THE EXPORT our total exports, compared with less than half in 1984. CHALLENGE 211'

While these new markets are very important, the Federal Labor

THE FUTURE 212

Government is als o determined that our traditional markets are not overlooked.

• Economic reform is working. Australia is 39 per cent more competitive than it was in March 1985. Since 1993, real exports have increased by 14.4 per cent.

• Export earnings reached $87 billion in 1994-95, 144 per cent greater than 10 years earlier.

• Manufactured goods now account for one third of our merchandise exports. Our fastest growing exports are high value-added.

.

T RA D E : The Federal Government's micro-economic reform agenda, stable

P E R F O R M A N C E : macro-economic policy, and flexible industrial relations framework are paying off — we are now 39 per cent more competitive than we were in 1983.

• The Government has pursued an ambitious trade policy gaining access to overseas markets for Australian exporters. We have worked to create an export-oriented culture so that our firms can capitalise on their increased competitiveness. As a result, Australia's exports are growing faster than those of the rest of the world.

• Australia's exports have increased 10 per cent in real terms since 1993.

• This tops off a decade where Australia's 'export volumes have grown by 6.7 per cent a year — compared with the world at 5 per cent.

• Australia earned $87 billion in export earnings in 1994-95 • — up from $35.5 billion in 1984-85.

• Australia's efficient infrastructure, modern labour force and

stable economic policies are making us a more sophisticated exporter. No longer do we rely on commodity exports, where prices are at the whim of world cycles.

• Exports of manufactured goods now account for one-third • of our merchandise exports following a rise of 11 per cent

in 1994-95 to $22.3 billion.

• Our fastest growing exports are high value-added. For example, in 1994-95, computer exports increased by 20 per cent to $1.15 billion and processed food has increased by more than 50 per cent in just 5 years.

• Our strongest export sector is elaborately transformed manufactures. They have more than doubled since 1989-90 and increased by a further 10 per cent in 1994-95 to $15 billion.

• We are moving rapidly into the export of services — in fact • faster than the world average. Services exports exceeded 23 per cent of our total exports in 1994-95, up from 16 per cent in 1984-85. Services in this expanding sector include

education and health services, banking, finance, transport and telecommunications as well as advisory and technical services for businesses and tourism.

r

TRADE ... An Australian Bureau of Statistics report on international trade in services released in May 1995 showed that financial services exports more than doubled to $424 million between 1989-90 and 1993-94; legal services almost doubled to $116 million and exports of computer software reached almost $400 million.

A study into services exports called `Intelligent Exports and the Silent Revolution in Exports' released by the Prime Minister in ® 1994 found that the demand for Australian service exports could generate an additional $18 billion in revenue during 1993-1998

creating an additional 109,000 jobs. Most service exporters are ® small new firms developing Asian markets.

NEW DIRECTIONS : The increasing liberalisation of world trade offers new I N WORLD TRADE opportunities for Australian exporters and greater prosperity for Australian workers.

.

WORLD TRADE m Australia invested enormous effort in the Uruguay Round of the 0 R G A N I SAT I O N General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was finally signed off in 1994. 111 participating countries agreed to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The WTO is the most far reaching trade agreement ever concluded and will significantly increase access to overseas ® markets for Australian firms. It will increase global economic activity and in the longer run deliver Australia an estimated $5

billion additional exports each year.

The Cairns Group of fair agricultural trading nations, established ® by the Australian Government in 1986, and chaired by Australia since that time, played a vital role in ensuring a fair and m successful outcome for the smaller economies in the final

outcome of the Uruguay Round. For the first time agriculture will be subject to effective, multilateral disciplines, including agreement to reduce subsidies. A good start has been made at ® improving access and correcting domestic support policies and

export subsidy policies which have corrupted world agricultural trade.

The Government will continue to maintain pressure on the G7 ® countries to keep agricultural reform firmly on the international agenda. The G7 countries consist of the USA, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany.

As well as cutting tariffs on most industrial products, the GATT

2.09

TRADE

0 0 0

o has brought trade in services — the fastest growing sector of

0 O

world trade — under multilateral rules. This offers Australian

exporters improved opportunities in areas like q telecommunications, financial services, insurance and business Q a a

and professional services.

aO

A P E C a

0

An essential element in the Federal Government's efforts to

a achieve more rapid economic growth and employment is to 0 a increase Australia's links with the dynamic Asia Pacific region.

Some 75 per cent of our exports now go to this region, compared o with 65 per cent in the early 1980s. APEC, an Australian o initiative, is now the leading vehicle for economic cooperation in

Q the Asia Pacific, and is removing obstacles to more rapid growth in the region. The Prime Minister led the drive to secure regional trade liberalisation at the historic APEC Leaders' meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1994. The achievement of free trade and investment in APEC provides greatly increased opportunities for m Australian exporters.

The prospects for Australian trade and investment in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) should a increase through the development of formal links between the o ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the Australia and New

0 o

Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER).

0

T RA D E o The Government has placed a greater emphasis on trade

P R O M O T I O N 0 promotion activities so Australian businesses can win their share 0 of the new markets. Most of Austrade's operational expenditure

m is now spent overseas with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific aregion. aSince 1993, the Government has worked hard to improve trade o access, and to provide commercial analysis so that small and n medium business know about emerging market opportunities.

4500 Australian small and medium sized enterprises operate in overseas markets. These enterprises generate around $6.5 billion o a year in international turnover and sustain about 40,000

0 domestic jobs. Our trade promotion activities help Australian businesses exhibit their products and services and establish vital o contacts and networks in overseas markets.

o The Australian Government has hosted the National Trade and fl fl Investment Outlook Conference (NTIOC) — where information

fl 000

and ideas are exchanged to develop new global business

21

TRAD1

. .

a opportunities for Australian companies. It is also an opportunity to showcase the export capabilities of Australian industry and ® highlight Australia as a competitive investment location.

o Over the past two years, Australia has launched major promotions involving the business community in the key markets of Japan and Indonesia. In Indonesia alone, exports generated a within the first two months of the Australian promotion were

estimated to be worth $180 million with a further $230 million a almost finalised. In March 1995 Australia was the official partner country at CeBit, the world's largest annual information © technology and telecommunications exhibition.

o The Government is working to change the outdated image of a Australia as simply an exporter of raw materials. Market

. Australia, a team drawn from governments, industry and trade unions, is promoting a contemporary image of Australia as a © supplier of sophisticated goods and services, such as communications and environmental technology. In 1995, the first e phase of Market Australia's major campaign was launched — the

promotion of Australia's hi-tech capabilities — in the vital markets of Indonesia, China, Thailand and the Republic of m Korea. ...OM E E T I N G The Australian Trade Commission (AUSTRADE) is Australia'sTHE EXPORT export marketing and inbound investment. promotionC H A L L E N G E organisation. It is a statutory authority established by the Federalo Government under the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985.Austrade's prime responsibility is the development andimplementation of programs for the encouragement, facilitation© and promotion of the export of Australian goods and services.Since 1993, Austrade has played a crucial role in assistingbusiness throughout the Asia Pacific. It is now a major part ofAustralia's overseas posts to help Australian firms take advantageof trade and investment opportunities. The Government hasstrengthened Austrade's presence in the Asia Pacific, and openednew Austrade and consulate offices in China, Vietnam and® Central Asia. Austrade gives business access to the majoroverseas players and important government decision makers. It® provides high quality economic and commercial intelligence.Austrade had a significant role in successfully marketing $4.8® billion worth of exports in 1993-94 — and in creatinginvestment back to Australia of another $465 million.211

0

0 0

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0 0 0 0 0

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0 0 0 0 0 0

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0 0 0

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0

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

For small and medium firms, our Export Market Development

Grants have proved an enormous success in encouraging them to

j ump the first hurdle in trading overseas. The scheme pays a

proportion of their costs in export promotion. More than 70 per

cent of grants are directed to companies with 25 or fewer

employees. In this year alone, we will pay about $211 million to

more than 3400 exporters.

Over the past decade, approximately $1.4 billion has been paid

out in Export Market Development Grants to small and medium

sized businesses. A recent review of the Export Market

Developments Grants Scheme showed it was achieving its

objectives by encouraging greater export promotional efforts by

small businesses. It was also shown to be generating returns

through additional exports of up to 25 times the grants paid.

We have extended the scheme for five years, and made

i mprovements to increase its effectiveness. The introduction of

`export readiness' criteria, to be evaluated by Austrade, will make

companies better prepared for export through more effective

strategic planning. Companies with major gaps in business

planning will be encouraged to get help through other

Government programs if appropriate.

The Federal Government has also committed $14.4 million over

the next four years to the Export Access program, to provide

training and advice to small and medium sized firms wishing to

export. This program has been moved to Austrade to ensure

potential exporters have the greatest access to the broadest

possible range of export assistance measures through the one

export agency.

0 0

THE FUTURE 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

In the face of major changes in the international trading scene,

Australia must have the flexibility to respond and take advantage

of emerging opportunities. The Federal Government has

embarked on a program of wide ranging reviews to secure the

right policy framework for investors and exporters through to

the next century. Among them:

• `Winning Markets: Australia's Future in the Global

Economy', was launched by the Prime Minister in June

1995. It positions us to build on the achievements of the

past decade and sets directions for the next five years so

that Australia can become in every way a global trading

nation winning new markets. Winning Markets sets out

1 212

I

TRADE

.

where the Government can add value in three broad areas

— securing market access and opportunities for Australian goods and services; providing value-added services to assist the efforts of exporters and potential exporters; entrenching • an export culture;

• the Winning Markets strategy also establishes a number of practical ways that Government can assist small and medium sized businesses. One example is the introduction of a new Austrade Client Services policy, which includes providing free services for new and potential exporters to : encourage more Australians — especially small and

medium sized firms — to win business for Australia;

• `Looking West', a strategy to develop our relations with the Indian Ocean region. It recognises that there are enormous opportunities for Australia, not just to our north, but also • to our west. In March 1995, the Australian Trade Minister

was the first Federal Minister to visit post-apartheid South Africa, leading an Australian business delegation representing the mining, engineering, housing, telecommunications and education sectors. In October : 1995 Australia is co-hosting the South Africa Housing

Export Initiative conference. South Africa is also a focus market for the 1995 National Trade and Investment Outlook Conference;

• United States Review — while Asia has most of our new markets — and the markets with the greatest potential for us — the United States continues to be a large and sophisticated market destination. The review will ensure that we maximise the potential'of our relationship with this traditional trading partner.

213

TRADE

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O O O O O O O O O O O O O

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214

TOPICS

AVIATION 216

ROADS & ROAD TRANSPORT 217

RAIL 217

THE WATERFRONT 218

SHIPPING 219

S YAPiNc^:^IaN ; :h NATIC^.h

I0 0 0 0 0. 0 0 0 S 0 0 S i 0 a 0 0 0 S S S 0••• S S a S 0• S 0 S 0 0 0 S 0 0 0 0 S 0 S 0• S 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S S S 0 0•• 0•• 0 0 0 S S S a 0 0 S 0• 0 S S • • 0 .1

TI

T

ransport reform in road, rail, aviation and waterfront infrastructure has contributed significantly to development and growth in the Australian economy.

Operators, businesses and consumers have all benefited from the reforms introduced in all sectors of the transport industry.

• Since 1983, the Federal Labor Government has spent $18.5. billion on road funding.

• In the 1995-96 Budget, $2.5 billion was allocated over the next three years for the National Highway.

• In an important rationalisation of the transport system, Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne has been linked by a standard gauge rail line.

• Airfares have fallen in real terms by 22 per cent and $2.8 billion has currently been allocated for airport capital works programs.

TRANSPORT

0O000

AVIATION o Aviation is an integral component of Australia's transport

o infrastructure. The Federal Government's reforms of the domestic 0 aviation industry have led to a dramatic fall in airfares — in real

terms by 22 per cent. International visitors continue to grow — © Oin 1993-94 visitors increased by 13 per cent. o a During 1994, Ansett became Australia's second international o O

carrier, increasing competition and flights to the expanding Asian

o 0

region.

o In 1994, with the approval of the ALP National Conference, we 0 announced the leasing arrangements for all Federal airports. A o regulatory regime will prevent abuse of monopoly powers, limit

a foreign ownership, and safeguard safety and environmental standards. Competition between airports will benefit consumers q 0

and help our fastest growing industry — tourism.

a o The Federal Government has continued the $2.8 billion airport

o capital works program. Brisbane will soon have a new Air Traffic 0 CControl Centre, as well as the new international passenger o terminal. Tullamarine Airport will get a new Air Traffic Control

0 o

Centre and a $60 million car park.

o The new parallel runway at Kingsford Smith Airport was opened 0 0in November 1994. To help residents affected by the third o runway, a $260 million noise management program has been o introduced as well as a number of noise abatement measures. 0 0

Construction of the second Sydney airport at Sydney West is

o being accelerated at a total cost of $980 million including road o linkages. Now, jets will be able to use Sydney West in time for 0 0

the Sydney Olympics.

U 0 Since 1988, major airport capital works have included a $300

o million international terminal extension at Sydney Airport, a new o $55 million international and domestic terminal at Darwin, a © 0new $22 million domestic terminal at Alice Springs and $130 o million for terminal redevelopment at Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, o

0

Coolangatta and Hobart. . 0 o In 1995, the CAA was replaced with two separate authorities. 0 G

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority was established as an o G independent statutory authority, to guarantee the safety of the o travelling public. Airservices Australia was set up with 0

0

responsibilities for airways, air traffic control and rescue and firefighting services. O m 0 Australia's outstanding record of aviation safety will be 216

TRANSPORT

. .

.

maintained with a one third increase in Commonwealth funding

for aviation safety to $34.6 million in 1995. Insurance cover for Australian air travellers was trebled to $500,000 in 1994. It will ® be mandatory for operators to be insured against the new

..

liability limit.

ROADS & ROAD The Federal Government has allocated $18.5 billion to road TRANSPORT m funding Australia-wide since coming to office in 1983.

® In the .1995-96 budget, the Government continued this ® commitment by announcing funding for the National Highway of $2.5 billion over the next 3 years with $840 million allocated in 1995-96. The Government has also announced $727.4 million

for untied funding to State and Local Governments this financial ® year.

Priority road projects have been accelerated including Melbourne's Western Ring Road, the Sydney Newcastle Freeway, ® the Great Eastern Highway Western Australia, Tasmania's Bass Highway, South Australia's Mt Barker Road and the Victoria

Highway in the Northern Territory.

The Government's concern about the impact of heavy freight m vehicles on urban roads and the environment has resulted in the construction of ring roads and freight routes which link highways

and industrial freight generating areas. Examples of such roads are the Gateway Arterial Road in Brisbane, the Roe Highway in o Perth, the Western Ring Road in Melbourne and the Orbital Road in western Sydney.

Reform of the heavy vehicle sector has accelerated. A single set of heavy vehicle regulations will soon be in place. No longer will a transport operators have to face a complex maze of conflicting State regulations.

RA I L Following the Prime Minister's One Nation Statement in 1992,

® the Government has overseen historic changes in the rail sector. o For the first time since Federation, Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne will be linked by a standard gauge rail line.

The Government's One Nation rail project has resulted in $453.5 million being spent on the main interstate rail network. This investment in track work, bridges and freight handling capacity and reliability has reduced the time taken to carry freight

.

between Brisbane and Perth by approximately 14 hours,

217

TRANSPORT

000Co Melbourne to Perth by 8 hours and Sydney to Adelaide by 7 00 hours. 000 The handling capacity of Australia's largest container terminal,o 0the Port of Melbourne, was substantially improved by the $23 o million One Nation upgrade to the rail terminal at Dynon. This 00 work also included construction of a $5 million road linking theo 0Port and the rail terminal. Oo0Intermodal transport at the Port of Melbourne has been o strengthened and turn around time for trucks has been reduced.o Similar capital expenditure at the ports of Brisbane, Adelaide ando GFremantle has improved port access and competition between the o Gports. Co The National Rail Corporation, established by the Federalo Government in 1991, now moves 40 per cent of the freighto 0carried on land. Improved reliability, expanded capacity and o upgraded terminals have increased National Rail's market shareo by 10 per cent since 1992. National Rail's increasing share of thea 0freight-forwarding business will continue to contribute to o reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.Uo The Government, through the One Nation rail project has also 0o spent $12 million upgrading the Indian Pacific passenger train.0 e Australian National Railways which is owned by the a Commonwealth Government, recently upgraded the Ghan 0 o passenger train which travels between Adelaide and Alice Springs0 C C G 0increasing passenger loads on both services. C CTHE W A T E RF R O NT 000Waterfront reform since 1989 has seen productivity more than © 4 double and ship turn around reduced by half. Ports are a vital o link in developing export markets and continuing reformsO strengthen those links. C 00 Waterfront reliability, and emphasis on the interface between o 0 ports, road and rail services, is now saving Australian industry o 0 and consumers over $200 million per year. 0 o For the first time since the introduction of containerisation, 0O significant capital investment in the order of $350 million will beo 0 undertaken by the industry. 0o 0 Second and third generation enterprise bargaining agreements are a being finalised with productivity improvements and security ofG employment. For the first time in many years, new jobs wereo C O created on the waterfront in 1994.218

TRANSPORT

0 0 0 0 0

S H I P P I N G Shipping reform has gathered pace. Reforms to equip our

international shipping fleet to compete on equal terms with its 0 international competitors are being introduced. Taxation

o concessions, accelerated depreciation and access to a generous Ships Capital Grants scheme will assist shipowners and seafarers m bridge the competitive gap with the international fleet.

Shipowners and maritime unions have also agreed to other

o changes which will see further crew reductions, stability of employment, targeted training and workers compensation 0 0 reforms. 0 On the strength of these reforms already one shipowner has 0 ordered a new vessel. Further orders will follow.

o The Government has taken a leading role in international forums to eradicate the "Ships of Shame". Now, one in two foreign 0 vessels calling in Australia are inspected, up from one in three in 0

1992 substantially reducing the threat from ship borne and

0 accidental pollution to coastal waters. 0 0 Protection of the Great Barrier Reef remains a high priority. New

routes through the Reef are being charted and compulsory ship's m 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0

0 0

0

0 0

0 0

pilotage introduced allowing for safer shipping.

•.

219

TRANSPORT

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HEALTH & COMMUNITY CARE 222

AGED CARE 222

YOUNGER VETERANS 223

BENEFITS 223

AUSTRALIA REMEMBERS 224

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL 2'24

A

11 Australians recognise the great sacrifices made by our war

veterans. Now, as they grow older, the Federal Labor

Government wants them to have the best care — the best in

health services, housing and income support.

The Federal Government works closely with ex-service

organisations, medical groups, carers and families to provide the

care our veterans need. There is special emphasis on aged care

services, benefits, accommodation and the health needs of Vietnam

veterans.

• The 1995 Budget allocates $50 million to veterans, with $20

million for accommodation for war widows.

• The Federal Government has introduced the Repatriation Private Patients Scheme which gives veterans priority health

care at public and private hospitals.

• Community aged care services have been provided to enable veterans to live independently in their own homes.

• The Government is spending an additional $24 million on services for younger veterans.

• To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World

War II, $9 million was allocated to special events across the

country.

VETERANS' AFFAIRS

C 0 0 0

HEALTH &

0O o Most veterans and war widows are now aged over 65. They have

COMMUNITY o specific health needs. To meet these the Federal Government has: CARE O a • introduced the Repatriation Private Patients Scheme, in

O o conjunction with the integration of the Repatriation

0 O Hospitals, providing priority medical care at local public

o 0hospitals and nominated private hospitals; O o • improved veterans' access to local hospitals and medical O o

O

centres, rather than making them travel long distances for

o O

treatment;

o

• developed the Joint Ventures Scheme to promote a Oindependence and healthy living. This covers a range of o activities including home and garden maintenance, meals, O o

O

day clubs and transport;

O.•provided nicotine patches at a concessional rate to veterans o Cwith war related disabilities; 0 a • established a Rural Satellite Scheme to keep doctors O a informed of the latest medical developments including post

O a traumatic stress disorder, dementia, wound management

0 OOO

and incontinence.

AGED CARE

O0 o' O

A $50 million package (in the 1995-96 Budget) underpins the

o Government's commitment to veterans. It clearly defines how the O o Department of Veterans' Affairs will care for veterans as they 0 0 grow older. Currently more than 17 out of every 20 veterans are o 0

aged over 65. By the year 2000, 13 out of every 20 will be over 0 0 75 years old. 0 o The Budget package builds on the Government's long-term C, 0

planning for veterans. It includes: O o • $20 million over the next five years for aged care o 0 accommodation for veterans and war widows; 0 o • access to community aged care services to allow veterans to 0 o 0 live independently in their own homes for as long as possible; O o • measures to make it easier for veterans to use their Defence 0 O

Service Home Loan entitlement for retirement village or o O `granny flat' accommodation; O o • changes to the Health Care Entitlement Card system to give O 0 O 0 0 0

140,000 veterans access to better health care services.

222

VETERANS

AFFAIRS 000OTo reduce confusion and make treatment simpler, the 0C number of Health Care Entitlement Cards will be reduced o Cfrom four to two from the beginning of 1996; 0o0•extension of chiropractic services to entitled veterans;a • exempting ex-POWs from paying fees for nursing homeo care in recognition of the extreme hardship faced by 0o000veterans who were POWs. 00YOUNGER © The Federal Government has allocated an additional $24 millionVETERANS o for younger veterans, including a substantial research project 0oCexamining their physical, social and vocational needs. Co Vietnam veterans will receive special care. The FederalGovernment has accepted the findings of an independent report,o Clinking a range of cancers to herbicides like Agent Orange. For o the first time eligible Vietnam Veterans will be able to claim 4oacompensation for certain war-caused health problems. As well: Oa • a national centre for war-related, post-traumatic stressa Gdisorder (PTSD) has been established at Heidelberg o Hospital to develop the best treatment, collate international Oo and Australian research and to accredit private and public0 G0PTSD programs around the country;• the Vietnam Veterans' Counselling Service will receive ao 0$2.5 million boost in resources; CaC0•a Vietnam Veterans' mortality study is being conducted.m B E N E F I T S o The Federal Government is continually upgrading and improving 0 o O veterans' benefits. G © New measures include:• the decision to pay the spouse of a service pensioner, whobecomes widowed or separated, a service pension at theo 0 higher standard or single rate, instead of the married rate; C • the payment of the Income Support pension to war widowsand widowers by the Department of Veterans' Affairs• 0 rather than the Department of Social Security; 0 o • compensation entitlements for merchant mariners and theiro 0 • dependents, equivalent to those available to veterans under o0 0the Veterans' Entitlement Act.223

VETERANS' AFFAIRS

A

G

A U S T R A L I A o This year we have honoured our veterans through Australia

R E M E M B E R S o Remembers 1945-1995 — a pageant of events commemorating 0 o C the end of World War II.

0 o All Australians are being given an opportunity to remember those

0 0 who served in the armed forces, those who died and those who

o worked so hard at home to fuel the war effort. Australia 0 a Remembers celebrates the heroism and sacrifice of Australian

0 o

servicemen and women in their battle for peace.

0 0 A total of $9 million was allocated for commemorative events in

o Ccities, suburbs and country towns across Australia. These o 0 included:

C o • major commemorative services to mark VE Day and VP

G o

Day — the end of the war in Europe and the Pacific;

o

• ceremonies marking the contribution of specific groups o 0 including prisoners of war, women, merchant mariners and o C

Aborigines;

C o

C

• supply of education kits to all Australian' schools;

o • a program encouraging young people to meet and learn the 0 o

G

veterans' stories;

o

• the legislation of Anzac Day as the National Day of 0 0 Commemoration; 0 • special funding of $20,000 for every Federal electorate for 0 o community based activities like victory balls, concerts, 0 o 0.

exhibitions of war-time memorabilia and sporting events; G a

0

m

• veterans' reunions.

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL

0

o The Australian War Memorial symbolises the spirit of Australia's 0 0 war veterans. 0 0 0 Over the next three years, the Government will spend $13.2 G o million on the Memorial and commemorative programs© including: 0 0 o • $8 million for maintenance, restoration and refurbishment G 0 of the Memorial; 0 0o • $2.5 million to be spent over four years to redevelop the o Memorial's Pacific War Gallery; G Oa . • a joint Kokoda Memorial Project being developed by the 0 0 224

VETERANS' AFFAIRS

Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments, recognising the significance of the World War II campaign in New Guinea.

VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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226

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TOPICS

AT WORK 228

J OBS & TRAINING 228

WORK & FAMILY 229

AT HOME 229

CHILD CARE 230

EDUCATION 230

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 231

HEALTH 231

J USTICE & EQUALITY 232

T

he past decade has been one of great progress for Australian women. The Federal Labor Government is building on its historic equal opportunity reforms to improve opportunities for women — at home and at work.

Tougher anti-discrimination laws, better education, a more flexible industrial system and a huge boost to child care, are giving women new choices in their working lives.

There is more help for women at home with direct financial support, expanded playgroup and occasional child care places, and opportunities to study without being tied to daily attendance

at school, TAFE or university.

Australia is becoming a fairer and more compassionate society, where women of all ages and from all backgrounds are offered real choices and equal opportunities.

• Of the 1.5 million jobs created in the past nine years, 63 per cent have been for women.

• In 1983, only 24 per cent of working women had superannuation. Today 85 per cent are covered through the Federal Government's Superannuation Guarantee Levy.

• The Government provides $4 billion annually in income support for non-working spouses in two parent families

with children. The Basic Parenting Allowance provides up

to $62.80 a fortnight direct to the caregiver. Spouses of low

wage earners receive up to $140.10 a week under the

Parenting Allowance.

• In 1983 there were 46,000 child care places — by 1995 the

Federal Government had created an additional 262,500

places.

OMEN

A

0

AT WORK p The gap between men's and women's earnings has been

o significantly narrowed although there is still work to be done to • o achieve equal pay. Wages for women in full-time, non-managerial

0 jobs rose from 86 per cent of men's earnings in 1980 to 92 per 0 o cent in 1994.

0 O

o . Through the Accord, women workers have access to training,

o skills and careers. Parents can now get unpaid leave to look after

o newborn babies. Piece-workers and other home-based employees o have improved award and legal protection. Basic employment O a conditions like maternity leave, sick pay and superannuation are

0 protected under the new system of workplace bargaining. 0O o Historically Australian women have had relatively low retirement o incomes because few had the benefits of superannuation. In O 0 1983, only 24 per cent of working women had superannuation.

o. Today, through the requirements of the Superannuation Guarantee levy, 85 per cent of working women have O o superannuation to give them financial security in retirement.

O o Measures announced in the 1995/96 Budget, mean women will

a be better off in their retirement. The Government will match the 0 employee contribution of low and middle income earners to O o considerably boost the retirement savings of this group of people,

O o a significant proportion of whom are women.

00a.0J OBS & TRAINING o Today women make up almost 43 per cent of the labour force.Of the 1.5 million jobs created by the Federal Governmentduring the past nine years, 63 per cent have gone to women.Oo Women are the main focus of the Jobs, Education and Trainingo (JET) program which provides education, training and work 0Oplacement, supported by personal guidance and subsidised child o care. In 1993-94, 53,000 people, most of them sole parents, were O a given new skills and jobs by JET.o Since March 1989, 242,885 JET clients were interviewed by aJET Adviser — 97,780 found places in labour market programs,0 53,474 clients undertook further education, and 65,275 JET O e O clients found jobs.o Under Working Nation's marketing strategy, women are actively 00 encouraged to register with the CES so they are eligible for o labour market assistance such as case management, job search 0 o 0 Oplacement and training.

WOMEN

.....

WORK & FAMILY Choice .for parents, whether or not they care full time for children or combine work and child care responsibilities, is Government.policy. The Government encourages employers to be more flexible and to recognise that valuable employees often have important family responsibilities.

Through enterprise bargaining we are already seeing remarkable changes. Workers and leading companies in the finance sector, -hospitality and communications industries are introducing family-friendly strategies like permanent part-time work, job : sharing, flexible working hours, team work, parental leave,

family leave, career break schemes and employer-sponsored child o . care measures. In the 1995-96 Budget a new, non-taxable Maternity Allowance : was announced — available from 1 February 1996 and

equivalent to six weeks of Parenting Allowance, which is currently $840.60. The allowance, at a cost of $643 million over : four years, represents a landmark achievement for women because it recognises that the majority of women do not receive

paid maternity leave.

The Guardian Allowance, which assists people, mostly women, to bring up children on their own has been increased by $116 million over four years.

.Rent Assistance to families will be increased by _$88 million over. the next four years. Primary carers, largely women, in low income families will receive an extra $5 a fortnight.'

AT H.O ME _ :. The Federal Government recognises that in many families, one caregiver who is usually the mother, chooses to stay home to care for children.

In September 1994, the Government introduced the Basic Parenting Allowance, now up to $62.80 a fortnight, which is paid directly to the caregiver.

From July 1995, spouses of low wage earners and pensioners • with dependent children under 16 are entitled to a new Parenting Allowance of up to $140.10 a week. The allowance recognises

the importance of caring work and provides increased choice for parents .who balance work and family responsibilities.

With the introduction of the Parenting Allowance, the Government will pay $4 billion in income support to non--

229:

WOMEN

O00Oo working spouses in two parent families with children. These 00Cfamilies may also receive the Basic Family Payment.

CHILD CARE o In 1994, about 46 per cent of women with children below school m age, and about 58 per cent of women with children of school © age, worked outside the home. To support working parents, child 0 G care has been made more accessible and affordable. C o

Since 1983, Australia's child care program has expanded almost o Gsix-fold, from a mere 46,000 places. By March 1995, the Federal o Government had provided an additional 262,500 child-care places. We are well on target to meeting the Prime Minister's o promise to fulfil the demand for work-related child care by 2001.

Child care measures in the 1995-96 Budget include the o establishment of more flexible child care services in rural and

a remote areas, more Family Day Care places and funding for O : innovative pilot programs for the care of school-aged children. 0 0 An extra $17 million for more services to care for children with

additional needs, will benefit 36,800 families.

This is on top of previous initiatives to make money available for occasional child care centres. Funding for playgroups has more

Gthan doubled, from $700,000 in 1992-93 to $1.5 million in 0 1995-96 and 50,000 additional families will be assisted over the ® Onext three years. o With the introduction of the Childcare Cash Rebate in July 1994, 0 child care has been recognised as a legitimate working expense. o For the first time all working families are eligible for a cash 0 o O

0

rebate for child care expenses.

0 G

EDUCATION o The Federal Government's investment in the education of girls

has led to new career opportunities for an entire generation of o . young women. In 1980, fewer than four out of every 10 girls C ® completed Year 12, but today more than eight out often girls

stay on to finish 12 years of secondary education.

0 Women now outnumber men in higher education. In 1993, 53 per cent of students in higher education were women compared o C

with 46 per cent in 1982.

O o The Government is working to overcome barriers to girls'

0 education by encouraging curriculum reform, eliminating sex-o 00 based harassment and changing the social, physical and cultural

230

WOMEN

..

environment in which girls learn. Much of our effort has focused on encouraging girls to study non-traditional areas such as maths and science, improving their options for future employment.

The Government set national targets to increase the proportion of women studying engineering to 15 per cent and other non-traditional subjects to at least 40 per cent by the end of 1995.

Both young and older women have embraced the new opportunities opened up for them. Approximately half of all law and medicine graduates are now women, and for women who

have difficulty studying on campus, the $52 million Open Learning initiative has countered the barriers of remote location and family responsibilities.

.

V I O L E N C E ; Violence against women is one of society's most serious problems AGAINST which can only be changed by legislation and education.

WOMEN :

: The Federal Government has allocated funding for a comprehensive program to prevent violence which includes community education, a sexual assault law reform project and

•

the collection of national data on violence against women.

• . The Government's Supported Accommodation Assistance

Program funds 1670 services for people in crisis. Of these, 320 are specifically funded for women escaping domestic violence.

Since 1987, the Government has provided nearly $11 million for community education programs to help eliminate violence against • . women. National research in 1995 showed that community attitudes to

violence against women have changed markedly over the last 8 years. People support the issues being brought out into the open and know that violence is a crime.

Preventing violence in our communities will continue to be a major priority of the Labor Government.

.

HEALTH ; While every Australian has access to free medical and hospital care under Medicare, women have special health needs.

In 1993, an extra $30 million was allocated over four years to the National Women's Health Program to make the health system more responsive to the needs of women, particularly women from disadvantaged groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women from Non-English Speaking

231

0

C

o Backgrounds and from rural and remote areas.

e O o Each year around"340 Australian women die from cervical cancer

despite the fact that around 90 per cent of cases could be o prevented through early detection. The 1995-96 Budget provides G new funding of $42 million over four years to extend the

® National Cervical Screening Program. It will improve the quality of screening programs and introduce a system to remind women when their next pap smear is due. 0 m Breast cancer is one of the biggest killers of Australian women,

and one of our highest priorities. Early detection is essential, and o the Federal Government's new $240 million screening program 0 : will reach 70 per cent of women between 50 and 69, every two

G a years.

Women with breast cancer have historically received very 0 different medical treatment, with varying outcomes. More than O m $15 million has been allocated to establish a national centre to

0 o develop standards of best practice in breast cancer treatment.

Funding to the National Health and Medical Research Council has been increased and the Kathleen Cunningham Foundation © has been established. The Foundation will boost breast cancer research through fundraising in the corporate and charitable

sectors. The Federal Government will match those funds dollar for dollar, up to another $1 million a year.

We are forging new health paths in other areas too: O • $9 million has been allocated to the Alternative Birthing

© Services Program which is designed to provide women with greater choice in the way they give birth; 0 ® • the Family Planning Program receives more than $14 G

million annually to operate through a network of

3

community and non-Government organisations. It gives

women and girls the information and clinical help they need to deal with sexual and reproductive issues. Since 1983, Labor has provided over $110 million to the Family

Planning Program.

e

J USTICE & The Sex Discrimination Act and the Affirmative Action Act have E QU A L I T Y o been strengthened and extended to protect the rights of women 0 to work to their full potential, without discrimination and harassment.

The Federal Government has also established the Australian Law

232

WOMEN

. •

Reform Commission Inquiry into equality before the law.

The Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Family Court of Australia are developing gender awareness programs for members of the judiciary and other decision makers.

As part of the National Women's Justice Strategy, the Government has established a network of women's legal centres around Australia. •

In June 1992, Prime Minister Keating presented Australia's second report to the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination

• against Women. In November 1993, Australia was commended by the committee for placing the same emphasis on women's rights as all other human rights.

At the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, Australia played a leading role in encouraging other countries to adopt strategies which will advance the status of women.

• • •

•

• • •

• • • • m '

• • • • •

233

WOMEN

234

. =1

♦

,.: _ ^.STHAPINGE ._7rfi;,rTI-'N ^Tl^0N^r° ^^.^ ,ra _... ^< - ^-,^>._

YOUTH

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TOPICS ustralia's future rests on the shoulders of our young

EMPLOYMENT 236 people. If we are to succeed as a nation, we will need all

f their creativity and passion and labour. We will need

EDUCATION

young Australians to be fully engaged in Australian society.

TRAINING 236

COMMUNICATIONS 238 The Federal Labor Government's economic and social policies are as important to young people as they are to other Australians HEALTH 238

often more so. Young people have benefited from Australia's

ABORIGINAL & economic growth and the consequent generation of jobs. Young TO R RE S ST RA t T people use the free medical and hospital care offered under ISLANDER YOUNG Medicare. Young people rely on the award protections provided PEOPLE 2 39 by our industrial relations system. HOMELESSNESS 239But the Federal Government also recognises that youngAustralians have special needs and interests. The Government'syouth policies are directed at helping young Australians fulfiltheir potential.• The number of 15-19 year olds looking for full-time workhas fallen from 158,000 in 1983 to 91,400 today.• The Government has allocated $660 million over four yearsto the Youth Training Initiative.• Between 1982 and 1995, the number of students in highereducation increased from 340,000 to over 600,000.• The number of young people completing secondaryeducation has more than doubled, from 36 per cent in 1982to 75 per cent in 1994.

D 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

YOUTH

9 0 0

O

E MPLOYMENT o Providing young people with meaningful jobs has always been

0• one of the principal aims of the Federal Labor Government's © employment strategy. Since the election of the Government in 1983, the number of 15-19 year olds looking for full-time work o 0has come down from 158,000 in 1983 to 91,400 today. 0 o The Federal Government's $9 billion Working Nation program,

D introduced in May 1994, is the largest commitment ever made by e Q an Australian government to employment and training,

© 0particularly for young people.

• ® Under Working Nation, the Government has allocated $660 o million over four years to the Youth Training Initiative (YTI), an. early intervention strategy for unemployed 15-17 year olds. It involves intensive individual case management, access to all o labour market and vocational training programs, and the Youth

Training Allowance, which provide income support for young people in approved education, training or job search activities.

Other young people have access to the Job Compact, which o assists people over 18 years old who have been on unemployment allowances for more than 18 months. Its core feature is the guaranteed offer of a job.

And in the twelve months to August 1995, the number of long a term unemployed young Australians declined by a third.

The National Training Wage has been introduced to boost the level of training and work opportunities available, particularly 0 0 G 0

for young people.

p The Government has established Youth Access Centres (YACs) in o more than a hundred locations across Australia. Several mobile o YACs operate from four wheel drives, caravans and small vans in ® rural and remote areas. YACs provide information and advice to e 0young people, primarily on employment and education issues, o . but also on money, accommodation, legal assistance and health 0 0 C O

0

problems.

• E DUCATION & o The Federal Government knows the key to Australia's economic

T R A! N I N G o future — and one of our great comparative advantages — is the C o nation's education system. Labor has placed unprecedented O 0 0

emphasis on education policy.

• o Commonwealth expenditure on higher education has been

00

increased by 63 per cent in real terms. Higher education spending

236

YOUTH

°

® will reach $16.5 billion over the period 1996 to 1998. The i number of students in higher education has grown rapidly . from 340,000 in 1982 to over 600,000 in 1995. ° W The Federal Labor Government has renovated Australia's

vocational education system, and has doubled spending on vocational education and training since 1990: from $344 million to $780 million. In 1992, agreement was reached with State and Territory Governments to establish the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA).

° The introduction of the Australian Vocational Training System in 1994 gives young people, for the first time, a comprehensive ® national system of entry level training. The AVTS provides a national range of learning pathways combining education,

training and work experience.

w The Federal Government has expanded the number and variety of traineeships to make them more relevant and attractive to young people. Last year apprenticeships and traineeship

° commencements as a proportion of the 15-19 year old population were higher than in any of the previous three ° decades. °

One of the Government's most successful training programs • . has been the Landcare, Environment and Action Program. ° More than 30,000 unemployed 15-20 year olds have been provided with formal training and practical

° experience on projects of environmental or cultural significance.

The Commonwealth now contributes more than $3 billion ° annually to Australia's schools — an increase of 43 per cent in real terms on the 1983 position. School retention rates have also ®. been radically improved — from 36 per cent in 1982 to 75 per ® cent in 1994. °

By the year 2001, the Government intends that 95 per cent of 19 year olds will have complete Year 12 or an initial post-school a qualification, or will be participating in formally recognised

°

education or training.

® The Australian Student Traineeship Foundation was established in Working Nation to promote a broadening of senior school education. The Foundation is developing links between industry

4 and schools so that students can combine their studies with

. work-based learning. °

°

237

YOUTH

S 6

The Government provides financial assistance to students under

• the AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY and Assistance for Isolated Children schemes. More than half a million students now receive income support — a fivefold increase from 1983.

The Federal Labor Government wants young people interested and engaged in Australian history and democracy. In the 1995 Budget, the Government allocated $25 million over four years for

a civics and citizenship education program. For the same reason, the Government ran youth forums throughout the Australia Remembers Commemorative year.

COMMUNICATIONS The Federal Government is determined that Australia exploit the ® opportunities offered by the information highway. Our young people — who are most conversant with the new technologies — will be the key to the development of the Australian information

industries.

d Australian students deserve to have access to the information highway. Labor has invested seed funding of $1.5 million for the development of the Education Network Australia (EdNA). EdNA will electronically link schools, TAFE colleges, universities and other education and training providers across Australia and the world.

. a Over recent years, the Federal Government has established Triple

e J as the national youth radio network. During 1995-96, the Government will extend Triple J's coverage to a further 25 regions across the continent.

HEALTH Most young Australians take advantage of the free medical and hospital care offered through Medicare. The Federal Government has also developed policies to deal with health issues that

. particularly concern young people.

The Government recently announced a $13 million package to curb the rate of youth suicide.

The first priority of Health Australia, an $18 million, 3 year m program announced in the 1995 Budget, is to reduce the deadly impact of tobacco, especially on young people.

The Federal Government is acknowledged as a world leader for fl its National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Australia has been very successful in containing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

238

YOUTH

a .

:

ABORIGINAL AND The training for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Program T O R R E S STRAIT : provides employment assistance to young Aboriginal and Torres I SLANDER YOUNG : Strait Islander people. In the 1995 Budget, the Government PEOPLE increased the number of places allocated specifically to

: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in mainstream : labour market programs to 26,000 places in 1995-96.

: In order to increase the participation rates of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in education and training, the Aboriginal Education Program was established in 1990. Under this program, the Federal Government provides supplementary tutorial assistance, and allows schools to offer `Homework Centres' to students who don't have adequate study centre areas at home. The Federal Government also funds school based committees of parents, to run projects which encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to remain in school

..

and participate in education.

.

HOME L E S S N E S S : The Federal Government has developed the Homeless and `At : Risk' Youth Action Package to reduce the incidence of homelessness amongst young people. The Government provides carefully targeted assistance to homeless young people and those

at risk of becoming homeless. The aim is to break the cycle.

The Federal Government has established Youth Service Units, which provide income support and other assistance to homeless young people.

239

YOUTH

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