GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

19 December 2014:

The political focus was firmly on the events at Martin Place in Sydney this week.  After news of the Lindt Café siege broke, Prime Minister Tony Abbott convened a meeting of the National Security Committee of Cabinet for briefings on the situation.  The Committee also met after the siege had ended on Tuesday.  In the aftermath, PM Abbott has announced a joint Commonwealth – NSW review to examine and make recommendations about a range of issues in the lead up to and surrounding the siege.  Led by the secretaries of the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, it will report back by the end of January 2015.  See the terms of reference here.

On Monday, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which revealed a budget deficit of $40.4 billion is now expected for 2014-15.  For further details see GRACosway’s brief here.

Elsewhere this week, the Government confirmed that the tax white paper process will now begin early next year.

The latest federal Newspoll shows no change with Labor continuing to lead the Coalition in the two-party-preferred vote 54:46.

In South Australia, counting has concluded in the by-election for the state seat of Fisher, with Labor MP Nat Cook securing victory.  The win gives the Labor Party 24 seats in the 47 House of Assembly.

In NSW, Planning Minister Pru Goward released the state’s new planning document – A Plan for Growing Sydney – to guide planning decisions for the next 20 years. See the plan here.

Also in NSW, Premier Baird has confirmed the Government’s intention to pursue the long-term lease of the state’s electricity network, confirming that 100% of TransGrid will be leased.  See the factsheet here.

In Victoria, Liberal Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has unveiled his shadow cabinet.  See the full list here.

This is the last issue of the wrap up for 2014.  We’ll return in late January ahead of a big year in politics, which will see Federal Parliament return on 9 February, and later, state elections in NSW (28 March) and Queensland (yet to be called; will fall before June 20). We wish you all a happy holiday season.

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