GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

22 May 2015

After days of speculation and public lobbying by industry, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced on Thursday that the Government will not initiate an inquiry into the iron ore industry.

In his address to the National Press Club responding to last week’s Federal Budget,Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen reiterated that a Labor government would curb superannuation tax concessions.  Bowen also announced that Labor would support a number of budget measures announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey worth $2.4 billion in savings over four years.  Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated that his Government would not touch superannuation, marking it as a key battleground between the major parties in the lead-up to the next election.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews released the forensic audit into the Air Warfare Destroyer program, which highlights significant delays and cost overruns.  The Government will begin a limited tender process on 29 May seeking proposals to either assist ASC or strengthen its capability.  See the media release here.

In the latest Newspoll, Labor leads the Coalition 53:47 in the two-party-preferred vote but the PM has benefited from a budget lift, with his approval rating putting him ahead of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for the first time in six months.

Health Minister Sussan Ley appointed Professor Andrew Wilson as the new chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) for the next four years.  See the Minister’s media release here.

Jan Mason has retired as a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Finance.  John Edge is now acting Deputy Secretary of the Business, Procurement and Asset Management branch.

The QLD Parliament has endorsed Joanna Lindgren to fill the casual vacancy in the Australian Senate created by Brett Mason’s resignation.  Lindgren, a high school teacher, is the great-niece of the first indigenous member to sit in the Australian Parliament, Neville Bonner.  She will be sworn in on June 15.

Senate Budget Estimates takes place over the next two weeks in Canberra.  See the schedule of meetings here.

Federal (estimates), NSW, VIC, NT and Tasmanian parliaments sit next week.

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