Weekly Wrap Up

25 June 2021

Highlights  

  • NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet delivered his fifth State Budget this week. For more information on the 2021-22 NSW Budget, please see our dedicated analysis here.
  • South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas delivered his final Budget as a member of the SA Parliament. For more information on the 2021-22 SA Budget, please see our briefing note here.
  • The Morrison Government established a new Simplified Trade System Taskforce that will work to improve productivity and review international regulations. The Taskforce will be led by outgoing CEO of the Digital Transformation Agency Randall Brugeaud.
  • Trade Minister Dan Tehan advised that the Government will introduce legislation to Parliament to give Export Finance Australia (EFA) expanded powers to provide equity finance to transactions that benefit national interests.
  • The Australian Government commenced a dispute resolution process in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s imposition of significant tariffs on Australian wines.
  • The Senate voted to disallow Government proposed changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011, which would enable ARENA to fund carbon capture and blue hydrogen projects.
  • Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston introduced legislation to Parliament to implement the Government’s response to a number of recommendations in the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s [email protected] Report.
  • Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed the State’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young as the new Governor of Queensland. Dr Young will be sworn in on 1 November.

Barnaby Joyce returns as Deputy PM

Ahead of the last sitting week before winter break, the Nationals voted to return Barnaby Joyce as leader. Joyce was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday and retained the key Nationals portfolio of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development – a Cabinet reshuffle is expected in the coming days. Since being elected, the Deputy PM has reiterated his positioning on net-zero emission policy, arguing the case for the continuation of Australia’s lucrative carbon-intensive export industries. Joyce also remains committed to ensuring farmers are compensated for any costs related to reducing Australia’s environmental footprint.

The ideological divide in the Coalition was evident over the sitting week, as the Nationals sought to overhaul the Government’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan by amending unrelated legislation that would establish an independent Inspector-General of Water Compliance. Initially unsuccessful in the Senate, Nationals Whip Damian Drum proposed the reforms in the House as well. This led to a lengthy debate and the amendments were ultimately withdrawn. Parliament has now suspended for the winter break and will resume the first week of August.

Sydney lockdown

In response to growing concerns that the virulent Delta strain of COVID-19 is spreading  further through the State, the NSW Government imposed a number of restrictions in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour. Key measures include mandatory mask-wearing in all indoor public places, limited attendance at gatherings and measures to reduce movement in hospitality venues. Subsequently, all states and territories have implemented border restrictions. Premier Gladys Berejiklian was apprehensive to order a lockdown, a decision that was supported by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. However, due to an increasing number of cases spreading through public venues, residents and workers in the local government areas of City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverly and Randwick must follow stay-at-home orders from midnight tonight until midnight Friday 2 July.

Elsewhere, Victoria continued to gradually ease restrictions and National Cabinet agreed to a revised vaccine rollout, including that Pfizer will be the recommended choice for under 60s.

Looking ahead

The Tasmanian Parliament will sit next week.

Click here for information on Finance, Resources & Energy, Infrastructure, and Health updates.

 

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