GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

5 June 2015

As the Government continues to talk tough on national security, the latest Newspoll has seen Prime Minister Tony Abbott overtake Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister for the first time in fourteen months. While the Coalition primary vote has lifted by one point to 41 per cent, the Government still lags Labor 48-52 on a two party preferred basis.

Bill Shorten has given in-principle support for the Government’s proposed citizenship laws, however has called for more detail. Having initially denied Mr Shorten a formal briefing on the matter, the Prime Minister’s office has now relented and agreed to brief the Leader of the Opposition in the coming weeks.

Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced two new review panels to drive greater efficiencies in the Health portfolio. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce, to be chaired by the Dean of the Sydney Medical School Professor Bruce Robinson, will examine the efficacy of some 5,500 services listed on the MBS. The Primary Health Care Advisory Group will review options to provide better primary care when and where people need it. See media release: Establishment of expert groups to shape a healthier Medicare

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the official cash rate unchanged at 2.0% for June, following its decision to cut the rate by 0.25% in May. See media release:Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

Politicians of all stripes gathered on Friday to mark the state funeral of former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner. Current state Premier Daniel Andrews along with former premiers Brumby, Bracks, Kennett and Cain all paid their respects. Federal Labor representatives included Bill Shorten, Simon Crean and Senator Kim Carr.

The NSW Government secured the passage of its Poles and Wires legislation through the Upper House on Wednesday following negotiations with the Christian Democrats. The passage of the legislation allows for the funding of the Government’s ambitious $20 billion Rebuilding NSW plan, which formed the central plank of the Coalition’s election campaign.

NSW Premier Mike Baird announced Rob Whitfield will commence his appointment as the new Secretary of the NSW Treasury in July 2015. Mr Whitfield joins the Treasury from Westpac where he began his career as a graduate in 1986. See media release:New Secretary of NSW Treasury appointed.

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