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Biosecurity bill undermined by budget cuts

The Australian Greens said today that Government's efforts on biosecurity are undermined by their reckless budget cuts and lack of meaningful action on climate change.

"The Government has lauded the fact they've introduced their biosecurity bill to Parliament today, but they're ignoring the fact that their budget cuts are actively undermining Australia's biosecurity protections," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

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Senate opposes move to collapse biosecurity operations

The Senate has today backed an Australian Greens motion calling on the Government to rule out any push to integrate Australia's biosecurity operations into the new Australian Border Force Agency.

"The Senate has recognised the importance of well resourced, expert biosecurity operations in protecting Australia's biosecurity status and agricultural industry," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

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Country communities say Abbott Government failing on rural mental health

The Abbott Government's performance on rural mental health has been overwhelmingly condemned in a new survey of rural mental health workers, consumers and community activists.

The survey, conducted by Australian Greens spokesperson for mental health Senator Penny Wright, revealed widespread dissatisfaction with mental health services in rural and regional areas.

Only five per cent of respondents thought local services were enough to meet local needs and 97 per cent wanted government funding for rural and regional mental health increased.

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Greens urge cautious approach to developing Northern Australia

The Australian Greens said today that we need to take a cautious approach to development in Northern Australia, saying a priority must be placed on protecting the region's people, environment and diverse economy.

Speaking on the release of the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia final report, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Affairs said it was important that mistakes of the past were not repeated.

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Senate backs action on rural suicide, despite Nationals opposition

The Senate has called on the Government to fund targeted suicide prevention measures in rural and regional areas, backing a motion by Australian Greens spokesperson on mental health Senator Penny Wright.

However, the National Party voted against the motion - despite making an identical election promise last year.

Senator Wright said enthusiasm about the cross-party support for action on rural suicide, including a national awareness campaign, was tempered by the Nationals' surprising policy reversal.

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Addressing the Hidden Toll of suicide in rural Australia

I move that the Senate

1.      notes that a disproportionately high number of completed suicides and suicide attempts involve men in rural areas; and

2.      calls on the government to implement the key recommendations of The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia report of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee during the term of the 44th Parliament of Australia, including:

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Greens to oppose disallowance of mushroom, mango and onion levy changes

The Australian Greens have announced that they will oppose moves to disallow increases and amendments to the levies paid by mushroom, mango and onion growers when the matter comes before the Senate next week.

"The Australian Greens understand that increases and amendments to these levies are supported by growers and provide important investments in their industries," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.

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Is the Abbott government distancing itself from commitment to universal internet service?

Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications

Answers to Senate Estimates Questions on Notice

Budget Estimates Hearings May 2014

Communications Portfolio

Department of Communications

Question No: 536

Program No. 1.1

Hansard Ref: Page 113 (29/5/2014)

 

Topic: Universal service and cross-subsidy

 

Senator Ludlam: And so it is the end of May 2014 and you still cannot tell us what those estimates are?

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