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20 April 2015
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs, Member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris and the Member for Banks David Coleman today announced $496,500 to fix six dangerous black spots on local roads.
The approved projects are:
The projects were recommended by a panel of independent road safety experts.
The Australian Government's record commitment of $500 million to the Black Spot Programme in the 2014 Budget will fix more roads than ever before.
As a result of our additional investment, an extra 110 projects will be funded in New South Wales over 2015-16.
Based on the outcomes typically delivered by black spot projects, these extra projects are expected to save an additional 13 lives and prevent 671 injury crashes over 10 years, and deliver economic dividends of around $214 million.
Construction will commence on these projects soon and projects will be delivered during the course of the coming financial year (2015-16).
Further information and black spot nomination forms can be downloaded from: http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/blackspots/index.aspx
21 July 2014
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston to Lead Australia's Response to MH17's Investigation and Recovery Efforts
Air Chief Marshal (retired) Angus Houston AC AFC has been appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy and will lead Australia’s efforts on the ground in Ukraine to help recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed in the MH17 crash.
He will remain in Ukraine as long as necessary to complete the task.
Once the site can be accessed by international investigators, Air Chief Marshal Houston will coordinate Australia’s consular, diplomatic, disaster and crash site investigation response in Ukraine.
He will work closely with local and international authorities on consular support for the families of the Australian victims, on disaster victim identification and on the crash investigation itself.
The first priority will be to recover the remains of the victims and to secure safe and sustained access to the MH17 site.
In close cooperation with the Ukraine government, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and other international partners, Air Chief Marshal Houston will work to ensure a comprehensive investigation into the MH17 crash is swiftly underway.
To date, the Australian Government has deployed 45 officials to assist including 20 personnel from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 20 Australian Federal Police Officers, two Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators and three Defence officials.
The Australian Ambassador in Warsaw (who is accredited to Ukraine), a regional consular officer and embassy officials from Moscow, London and Warsaw, have also arrived in Kiev as part of Australia’s response team.
Other specialist teams are on standby for immediate deployment when access to the site is secured. A C17 military transport aircraft is on standby to depart for Ukraine.
The recovery, identification and repatriation process will be complex and will likely take a number of weeks to complete. This will be a difficult and painful period, and the families of the victims will have the Government’s full support.
Our thoughts continue to be with the families of the victims.
11 July 2014
The Government today officially launched the Restart programme.
Restart provides a $10,000 incentive to employers to hire and retain mature age job seekers aged 50 and over who have been in receipt of income support for six months or more.
The ageing population means increasing workforce participation is critical to our future prosperity, and the Government recognises that mature-aged workers have a valuable contribution to make to the workplace.
The Government’s Economic Action Strategy is aimed at getting the economy back on track, creating new opportunities and new jobs, and encouraging Australians to improve their skills and training and get into, or re-enter, the workforce.
The Restart programme – worth $524.8 million over four years – is just one measure aimed at getting more people into employment.
Other programmes include:
All of the Government’s policies are focused on getting more Australians into work – because the best form of welfare is a job.
27 June 2014
Australian elite and grassroots sport will be supported with $120 million in funding through the next year from July.
The Minister for Sport Peter Dutton today announced the Australian Sports Commission would provide the funding to national sporting organisations (NSOs) and directly to eligible elite athletes.
Mr Dutton said Australian teams and athletes had produced some excellent outcomes recently on the world stage.
"The Kookaburras gold and Hockeyroos silver at the World Cup in the Netherlands and three gold and two silver medals at the World Track Cycling Championships in Columbia augur well for Australia as we head to the Commonwealth Games next month.
"This funding will provide the crucial support our athletes and sports will need as we look beyond the Commonwealth Games to the next Olympics in Rio.
"More than $12 million - the largest amount of financial support ever - would be allocated to assisting around 650 athletes through the AIS Direct Athlete Support scheme.
"The Government acknowledges and values the importance of sport in the lives of Australians which is why we are doing everything we can to support our athletes and also provide opportunities for everybody to participate," Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton said nearly $20 million would be targeted to NSOs initiatives to boost participation in sport across Australia.
"This funding component for grassroots sport adds to the $100 million Sporting Schools initiative announced in the Budget which will provide 850,000 primary school age children access to sport.
"The health benefits of being active have been clearly articulated over the years and the Australian Government is urging all Australians to incorporate sport and activity in to their weekly routines to reap the rewards."
14 March 2014
Nickolas Varvaris MP, Federal Member for Barton, met with representatives from the Office of the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, the Hon. Darren Chester MP and defence officials today regarding community concern after the relocation of naval cadet base T.S. Sirius.
Together they inspected a site for possible permanent relocation of the base, the Rockdale Multi-User Depot at Beach Street Kogarah, as well as the fire-damaged site in Kyeemagh and the temporary 5 CSSB location at Banksmeadow.
Although it initially appeared that the Navy intended for Banksmeadow to remain as the Unit’s site, community concern has reached a crescendo over the past two months as these prospective replacement sites came to Mr. Varvaris’ attention.
Mr. Varvaris is hopeful that the Rockdale Multi-User Depot will have suitable space, storage and mutual benefits for all young people involved in the unit, joining Army and Air Force cadets in the same area.
Defence officials will now liaise with The Hon. Darren Chester MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, in order to reach an agreement regarding the site which would best suit the members of the T.S Sirius and the community.
“It is so important that the young cadets in my electorate have access to their programs, which are so instrumental in positive development in adolescence, skills growth and building the next generation of our defence forces. Hopefully the potential site in Kogarah can provide enough space for T.S Sirius as well as giving cadets the ability to interact with Army and Air Force cadets.”
11 March 2014
The Federal Member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris MP hosted the Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, in the electorate of Barton on Monday morning on a tour of local food manufacturer Frutex.
Prime Minister Abbott met with members of the local Magiros family at their Kingsgrove facility to familiarise himself with one of the largest manufacturing employers in the electorate of Barton.
In his tour of the facility, the Prime Minister and Mr. Varvaris determined the state and capability of locally-based Australian manufacturing and ascertained concerns for the impact of costs such as the carbon tax on their operations.
Both Prime Minister and Mr. Varvaris spoke with facility workers and managers about the capabilities and challenges of the Australian manufacturing operations today. He reiterated his support for a viable manufacturing sector and renewed his commitment to repeal the carbon tax to remove the cost burden from local manufacturers such as Frutex,
The owners of the local manufacturer stated the pressures that the carbon tax has had on their business including a dramatic increase in electricity bills.
Mr. Varvaris then organised for the Prime Minister to meet personally with the managing directors for twenty minutes before both Mr. Varvaris and the Prime Minister addressed the media.
Mr. Varvaris said that it was important that the Federal Government is listening to local manufacturers. “Manufacturing is an iconic and valued component of the Australian economy, a component of the market that employs many people of diverse and valuable skillsets. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for visiting our electorate and for his renewed pledge to axe the carbon tax. As the Federal Member for Barton, I’m proud to be part of his team fighting for the future of local manufacturing.”
11 March 2014
This morning, the Federal Member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris MP hosted the Hon. Sussan Ley, Assistant Minister for Education to engage with childcare directors from the local area in a childcare sector forum.
Prior to the forum, Assistant Minister Ley met with local childcare directors Stephanie Bruno and Eleni Wilson at their centre Barfa Bear to ascertain concerns for the operation of the childcare sector and tour the facility.
Mr. Varvaris then organised for the Assistant Minister to meet with childcare directors and managers in a two hour open forum where Mr. Varvaris and the Assistant Minister heard from representatives of long day care centres, out of school hours care centres, and family day care centres.
Participants who attended the forum expressed their concerns with the regulatory frameworks in place in the sector including the relevant weight and cost placed on centres due to the technical requirements of meeting the National Quality Framework.
Also discussed were the increasing demand for qualified staff due to stringent requirements for the qualification level of staff and the skyrocketing price for childcare and the impact that has on local parents.
Mr. Varvaris said that it was important that the Federal Government is listening to childcare providers. “Childcare is one of our most fundamental social investments as a federal government. Childcare which is accessible, flexible and of high quality are indispensable for the families in my electorate and the strains on the sector are real. I am grateful to the Assistant Minister for listening to those with experience of the sector and those closest to its challenges at our community forum today.”
4 March 2014
The Federal Member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris MP has made a submission to the Hon. Greg Hunt, Federal Minister for the Environment to look into the long-term health of the Cooks River.
Prior to the election, Mr. Varvaris met with local stakeholders to ascertain concerns for the Cooks River and found that water quality and salt marsh communities had been under threat for years.
Mr. Varvaris also proposed with the Environment Minister a proposal for the Green Army to launch an on-the-ground project at the Cooks River.
Areas listed in the Member’s submission to the Minister for the Environment include the Eve Street Salt Marsh near Arncliffe, the Turrella Reserve Salt Marsh, near Wolli Creek, the Cup and Saucer creek wetland.
Mr. Varvaris said that it was important that the Federal Government provided support to pre-existing community initiatives. “The Cooks River Alliance has been fantastic in advocating for increased water quality and the health of our wetlands over the past three years and the Federal government should lend a hand in fixing the water quality of this important river for future generations.”
27 February 2014
The House of Representatives Environment Committee will conduct an inquiry into streamlining environmental regulation, ‘green tape’, and one stop shops for environmental assessments and approvals.
Committee Member, Nickolas Varvaris MP, welcomed the referral of this inquiry from the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.
“Green tape, when it’s excessive, is a needless barrier to productivity without meaningful environmental improvement.” Mr Varvaris said. “Along with my colleagues in the Environment Committee, I am looking forward to the input of local organisations and stakeholders as to how these accumulated regulations can be simplified and made more effective.”
The terms of reference provide for the committee to inquire into and report on the impact of ‘green tape’ and issues relating to environmental regulation and deregulation. The inquiry will have particular regard to:
13 January 2014
Older Australians who reside in Barton have just received a boost of $1,352,227 for support and care services, allowing them to remain living independently at home thanks to an Australian Government investment said Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris MP.
Mr Varvaris said the funding was part of a $240 million investment under the Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) program.
“Services may include nursing care, cleaning, meals or transport. This extra funding will allow for existing services to expand or even create new ones in identified priority areas of need in Barton,” said Mr Varvaris.
“These services are essential to older people staying safe and well, and remaining connected to their community and in control of their own lives.
“The Australian Government have always been big believers in that older Australians should have the support and care they need to continue to live at home for as long as they choose,” said Mr Varvaris.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield said the Commonwealth HACC program provides critical basic maintenance; care and support services where most people prefer to receive it – in their own homes and communities.
“We have made sure a large portion of the funding is going towards services that meet each region’s most pressing needs.
20 November 2013
With the “Giving Season” only around the corner, Federal Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris MP is encouraging those in his electorate to spare a thought for troops who are unable to be home for Christmas by sending them a gift.
Mr Varvaris said that Australia Post is providing free delivery for individuals wishing to send care packages to Australian Personnel currently serving overseas.
“A care package is simply a nice gesture to let our troops know we are thinking of them and we appreciate their commitment to our country,” said Mr Varvaris.
“If you wish to send a care package it is best to include basic necessities; for example deodorant, shaving cream and tinned food.
“For those who want to send a care package but are short on time may like to consider donating money to the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund.
“This Christmas I urge all in the community to dig deep and support our serving men and women,” said Mr Varvaris.
For more information on Christmas Care Packages please email firstname.lastname@example.org
18 November 2013
Tuesday 12 November 2013 marked the opening of the 44th Parliament and the swearing in of the new Federal Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris MP.
Mr Varvaris said he was privileged to be sworn in as the new member for Barton and is determined to hit the ground running.
“The people of Barton elected me to represent them and their concerns, it is a job I won’t be taking light-heartedly,” said Mr Varvaris.
“I certainly will be striving to deliver results for the people of Barton to the best of my ability.
Mr Varvaris highlighted the condition of the Cooks River and the rollout of the NBN, as issues he will be fighting for.
“I have had numerous calls from members in the business community regarding the need for the NBN in the Barton Electorate,” said Mr Varvaris.
“The current internet service in the various CBD’s in my electorate is archaic and unreliable, adding strain to local businesses, educational and health institutions.
“The condition of the Cooks River has been an ongoing issue that many residents have raised with me; they are disappointed with the river’s current condition due to apparent neglect” said Mr Varvaris.
Mr Varvaris said that his office is open for business and is willing help anyone who requires his assistance.
15 November 2013
Federal Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris, has met with the Minister for Communications, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra this week to discuss the rollout of the NBN in Barton.
Mr Varvaris said he requested a meeting with the Minister after speaking with members from the local business community and correspondence he received from the Mayor of Kogarah City Council, Cr Stephen Agius, promoting the benefits of an earlier rollout through the Kogarah CBD and Rockdale.
“Kogarah CBD is home to the largest health precinct in NSW and is identified as a major educational and financial hub,” said Mr Varvaris.
“Access to faster, affordable and more reliable internet would be an obvious asset to these businesses who are finding the current system slow and unreliable.
Mr Varvaris said Minister Turnbull indicated that NBN Co’s ranking of priority areas is currently underway and that they will take into account the needs of Barton when the ranking is completed in Q1 and Q2 of 2014.
“The Government has a clear policy for a faster, more affordable rollout of the NBN and is currently examining ways to ensure the rollout is as efficient and as cost-effective as possible.
“The aim is that all households and businesses should have access to broadband with download data rates of between 25 and 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by the end of 2016.
“By the end of 2019 the Government expects the NBN to be complete and download data rates between 50 and 100 Mbps to be available,” said Mr Varvaris.
Mr Varvaris said that he would remain in contact with the Minister’s office to ensure that Barton received the vital piece of infrastructure.
22 October 2013
Federal member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris MP is throwing his support behind a major campaign in the electorate to entice members of the community to shop with local small businesses during November.
“This month I am encouraging those of the Barton electorate to shop with and give something back to the many thousands of hard-working local small business operators who give our community its character,” said Mr Varvaris.
“Small business is the backbone of Australia’s economy and I am certainly committed to the long-term prosperity of small business.
“Our shops and cafes create thriving local communities, local jobs and a booming local economy. It is a virtuous circle where everyone benefits.”
Mr Varvaris said the Shop Small campaign began as Small Business Saturday in the United States and now four years later it has taken off.
“The campaign offers incentives to customers and offers to small businesses to help kick-start the sector in the lead up to the Christmas period.
“It will run through November, with the aim of making it the biggest shopping month for small business.
“My family and I will certainly be showing our support for the campaign by thinking small when we shop and I hope those the Barton community will do the same,” said Mr Varvaris.