NEW PROTECTIONS FOR AUSTRALIA’S WORLD CLASS MARINE PARKS

An additional 2.3 million kilometres of Australian waters will be managed under a world-leading system of marine parks for the first time, as five new management plans come into effect from today.

This brings all 60 Australian Marine Parks, covering some 3.2 million square kilometres, under protection – the second largest network of managed marine parks in the world.

The new management arrangements cement Australia as a leader in marine protection and provide certainty for marine park users. These parks strike the balance between outstanding conservation outcomes and securing the future of Australia’s sustainable fishing and tourism industries.

To assist industries and communities transition to the new management arrangements, the Government has announced an adjustment package of $35 million.

The package will include:
Direct assistance to those affected commercial fishers with a recent history of fishing in Australian Marine Parks as they transition their business to the new operating environment;
Grants to help marine users and industries engage in marine park management, including a sub-component of up to $2 million for infrastructure to provide recreational and charter fishers as well as other tourism operators with secure moorings; and
Support to encourage uptake of vessel monitoring systems.

Through the grants program, there are great opportunities for all marine users to engage with managing these amazing places for future sustainability.

Industry consultation will soon commence on the fishing business assistance program.

Further information about Australian Marine Parks is available via www.parksaustralia/marineparks.

NEW FOOD LABELS PROVIDE MORE CLARITY FOR SOUTH WEST CONSUMERS

People in the south west will now have more clarity and less confusion about the food products they buy.

Consumers will now be able to look to the familiar kangaroo symbol for clear and accurate information on if the food was made, grown, produced or packed in Australia, or in another country, with the new country of origin labelling requirements for food now mandatory.

Member for Forrest, Nola Marino said, ‘The Australian Government had successfully delivered on community expectations that food labelling should provide a true statement about the product’s origin.

“Australian consumers were rightfully concerned about unclear and confusing food labels.”

“The Government addressed those concerns by implementing significant reforms to food labelling,” Mrs Marino said.

“Australian farmers and producers will see the benefits with consumers able to identify and choose to buy Australian products.”

“I commend the many businesses that adopted the new labelling before the end of the transition period. This shows their willingness to provide consumers with more meaningful information about product origin.”

Nola Marino said the new labels offer consumers in the south west accurate information so they can make educated choices about the food on their tables.
“They will now find it easier to choose products that match their preferences.”

The food labelling reforms commenced on 1 July 2016 after consultation with the Australian community and businesses. Australian consumers made it known that they wanted clearer and more meaningful food labelling, so they could make more informed choices about the food they buy.

Businesses were given two years to transition to the new arrangements. The transition period ended on 1 July 2018. Most food products sold in Australia must now meet the new labelling requirements. Stock in trade provisions minimise the need to relabel products labelled before 1 July 2018.

Consumer information can be found on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

Businesses looking for more information should visit the ACCC and Business.gov.au websites.

Life-changing breast cancer medication for South West patients

A life-changing breast cancer medicine listed by the Turnbull Government on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be available for South West patients from July 1 this year.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the investment of $703.6 million by the Government will mean that more than 3,000 Australian patients with inoperable or metastatic hormone receptor positive breast cancer will benefit from the 1 July listing of ribociclib (Kisqali®).

“Hormone receptor positive tumours are the most common form of breast cancer and account for most of the deaths from the disease,” Mrs Marino said.

“By inhibiting two proteins that drive the growth of tumour cells, ribociclib — used in combination with other drugs — will slow the progression of inoperable and metastatic breast cancers in some patients.

“This medication would otherwise cost patients around $71,820 per year but under the PBS patients will cost $39.50 per script while concessional patients will pay $6.40 per script.”

The independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended the listing of Kisqali.

The Committee is by law and in practice, independent of Government in its deliberations. By law the Federal Government cannot list a new medicine without a positive recommendation from this committee.

“The Turnbull Government’s commitment to the PBS is rock solid,” Mrs Marino said.

“Together with Medicare, it is a foundation of our world-class health care system.”

Grants for South West volunteer organisations

Member for Forrest Nola Marino is calling on South West community organisations to apply for grant funding supporting the efforts of their volunteers.

Mrs Marino said the Turnbull Government is providing $20 million worth of grants valued between $1,000 and $5,000 to not-for-profit organisations.

“The grants can be used towards the cost of essential items that help make the work of South West volunteers easier, safer, and more enjoyable, such as equipment, training, transport and background screening,” Mrs Marino said.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community and by continuing to help each other and work together, we are building a stronger and safer region.

“I encourage all South West not-for-profit organisations to apply for the Volunteer Grants round to assist our volunteers and encourage volunteering.”

The Volunteer Grants round is expected to open in August.

For more information, visit the Department of Social Services’ Community Grants Hub website on https://www.communitygrants.gov.au/ to subscribe to updates on the application process.

Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund now open

Member for Forrest Nola Marino is announcing applications for grants of up to $1 million to assist South West small publishers to stay competitive in today’s changing media environment are now open.

The Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund will provide up to $16 million in grants per year over three years to support the growth and continuation of quality public interest journalism in Australia.

Mrs Marino said the grants provide small publishers with a fantastic opportunity to remain at the cutting edge.

“These grants will open new doors for small publishers and help them keep up with the changing media environment,” Mrs Marino said.

“I strongly encourage South West small publishers to apply.

“The media industry is undergoing a huge transition period and regional and small publishers are feeling the pressure from new and emerging digital platforms.

“These grants will help relieve that pressure by providing extra funding to help them compete.”

Funding is available for projects such as purchasing or upgrading equipment and software, developing apps, business activities that drive revenue and readership and training.

The Fund was announced as part of the Government’s comprehensive 2017 Broadcasting and Content Reform package and will be administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority who will run competitive funding rounds each year.

Applications for the current round of funding close on 27 July 2018.

To submit an application or find out more about the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund visit: acma.gov.au/theacma/innovation-fund-for-regional-and-small-publishers