Policies

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - the first Australians - as the traditional owners of this continent and acknowledge and respect their ongoing relationship with the land. 

What needs to be done:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations must be consulted and engaged with the process of developing Indigenous Affairs policy
  • Constitutional recognition to reflect the unique role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have in Australia’s past, present and future
  • Provide ongoing funding for “Closing the Gap” between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-indigenous Australians
  • In consultation with individual communities, develop micro policies and programs to better meet the diverse needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Ageing Population

Australia is a prosperous country built on the contribution of older Australians. Our ageing population deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. 

Australia’s ageing population is growing at a rapid rate which has major implications for our health system and our workforce, so we must ensure that government, and the wider community, assist our ageing population with their evolving needs. 

What needs to be done:

  • Pension - NXT does not support an increase in the pension age, but we do believe older Australians should be both encouraged and supported to be involved in the paid or community service workforce. For those who receive a pension, income tests should be relaxed further so that they can supplement their income without penalty. Community service volunteers should be automatically covered by a government funded insurance scheme.
  • Cost-of-Living - Utility cost increases should be pegged to be no greater than the CPI. Any increases above the CPI should be rebated to those on a government pension, or self-funded retirees who have reached the eligible pension age.
  • Aged Care - Government policy should encourage and deliver, where possible, affordable, comfortable and well-maintained retirement and aged care accommodation. Developers and providers of retirement accommodation must meet all existing government requirements, as well as be required to provide transition accommodation options for residents who may require low or high care facilities in the future. These transition options should be on, or adjacent to, the existing retirement estate.
  • Aged Care Workforce - As our ageing population grows, demand for labour in the aged care sector also increases so we need to encourage employment within the sector.
  • Dementia - The amount of people living with dementia continues to rise, and may become the leading cause of death in the near future, so we need to ensure that adequate funding is provided for research into the causes of dementia and preventative measures. 

Agriculture

Agriculture is a vital part, not just of the fabric of rural and regional Australia, but of the entire nation. 

With agriculture contributing $53.6 billion to the nation’s economy, and employing 314,000 Australians across the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (with huge multiplier effects), it is essential that it is encouraged to grow.

The $1 billion of farmer and government contributions to agricultural research and development (R&D) organisations needs to be effectively targeted to help improve the profitability of Australian agriculture through enhancing the skills and decision making of farmers.

What needs to be done:

  • Having strong competition laws that that can effectively deal with and penalise predatory abuse of market power from companies in the agricultural to retail supply chain. This needs to include a stronger ‘effects test’ than the government is currently proposing, divestiture powers to break up companies for gross abuse of market power, and quicker and more affordable access to justice.
  • Continue to push for clear country of origin labelling for food and ingredients, including clear labels that show the source country of imported products. The recent changes that came into effect in July 2016, while welcome, need to be improved upon and monitored for their effectiveness.
  • Scrap the punitive Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) charges on small exporters that destroy incentives to export.
  • Continue to push for urgent strong anti-dumping rules to prevent domestic industries being dumping grounds for imported produce, such as what happened with tinned tomatoes.
  • Encourage domestic investment in Australian agriculture through investment vehicles such as Australian superannuation funds.
  • Encourage immigrant arrivals, including those with needed skills and investment dollars, to settle in rural and regional Australia to address rural labour shortages.
  • Continue to support the full implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and ensure that it remains as a high priority for state and federal governments. The recent elevation of the implementation of the Plan to First Minister’s Level at COAG twice a year, and ensuring, for the first time, a separate and comprehensive cross-portfolio Senate Estimates process twice per year, are two significant accountability measures.  As part of that, we see the automation and upgrading of the barrages where the river meets the Coorong as a key part of modernising the river infrastructure to more effectively manage the interaction between fresh and salt water. States which were early adopters of water efficiencies must be acknowledged in any federal scheme.  Irrigators should be able to access federal infrastructure grants for value adding to agriculture more easily.
  • Support the export of livestock to countries who implement Australia’s strict ESCAS Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. However, our preference is to encourage the processing of livestock in regional Australia to grow industry and jobs. We understand that different markets exist and that will take time to grow.
  • Federal drought funding must require that state governments do not unreasonably impede the delivery of drought support.
  • Ensure the Federal Government implements the Seasonal Workers Incentives Trial, proposed by the NXT during the backpacker tax debate. This is a two-year trial for Australian job seekers to earn up to $5,000 doing seasonal horticultural work without impacting their income support payments.

Australian Made

Australians, and government in particular, should support Australian businesses and our quality Australian made goods because of the hugely beneficial flow-on effects to the Australian economy. The term 'Australian Made' should mean just that, so consumers can make an informed choice.

What needs to be done:

  • Labelling laws must be overhauled to provide consumers with truth in labelling as to the ingredients and their country of origin.
  • Introduce an Australian Made labelling category where 75% or more of the labour component to manufacture or assemble the product was undertaken by Australian residents.
  • A single federal authority should be formed to accredit the use of all 'Made in Australia' symbols.
  • Government departments should be required to procure a much greater proportion of Australian produced and manufactured products and services.
  • Have more effective anti-dumping laws to prevent below-cost imported goods flooding the market and destroying Australian jobs in the process. 

Aviation

A safe and strong aviation sector is vital to Australia's needs. Having our aircraft maintained in Australia is an integral part of ensuring high safety standards and trust in the aviation industry. 

What needs to be done:

  • There should be an Inspector General of Aviation that acts as an impartial watch-dog over all aviation regulators -  in particular CASA and the ATSB - to ensure that they operate in the public interest.
  • Implement recommendations from Senate reports on aviation and safety. 

Childhood Education

Australian families should have access to high-quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education, as well as affordable child care when needed. 

What needs to be done:

  • Enhance the policy focus on Early Childhood Education, given its critical impact on the stage of life where social and emotional development is most influenced.
  • Increase the existing child care rebate from $7,500 to $10,000 p.a. per child, indexed annually to CPI.
  • Federal funding for child care should favour centres run by local communities. 

Climate Change and Energy

Action is required to reduce carbon emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels and inefficient forms of energy generation. 

Australia is uniquely placed to embrace renewable energy resources. Government at all levels must play an integral role in leading a best-practice approach. It is about being smart and efficient for the benefit of the planet.

We support a 50% renewable (electricity only) target by 2030.

What needs to be done: 

  • Have an efficient and effective emissions trading scheme (ETS) based on world's best practice.
  • Australia needs to quickly move toward a cleaner and more affordable energy future. This will involve reduced reliance on economically unsustainable technologies.
  • Government policies need to facilitate innovative and job creating energy industry opportunities through research, adoption, education and manufacturing of new technologies.
  • Australian energy resources should be available to Australians before being available for sale to the rest of the world. An allocation for domestic use prior to export would also help lower the cost of energy for consumers.
  • Australian tax payer funded research into renewable energy and climate change needs to be made more easily available to Australian industry to ensure our competitive advantage in these areas is fostered.
  • The importation of substandard and unsafe products related to renewable energy and or climate change must be curtailed.

Cooperatives and Mutual Enterprises

Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises are a bedrock of communities around the country and have enormous potential to grow and play an even bigger role in Australian society. 

What needs to be done:

  • The Senate inquiry into co-ops, which was instigated by Nick, reported in March 2016 and is a useful starting point for the reforms needed to allow co-ops to flourish.
  • Government policies must be supportive of Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises.
  • Educators should include the Co-op and CME business model in their curriculum. 

 

Crime

All Australians have the right to feel safe as they go about their lives. 

Being tough on crime also means being tough on the causes of crime. Inadequate penalties not only insult victims and their families, they continue to put the community at risk. Substance abuse – a major contributor to violence and theft – must be tackled.

What needs to be done: 

  • Increase the transparency of plea bargaining and give victims a greater say in the plea bargaining process.
  • Legislation regarding the confiscation of proceeds from crime, particularly drug trafficking, needs to be more effective.
  • The mental impairment defence needs to be reformed as it is being abused in some cases.
  • Prisons should have more effective rehabilitation programs, rather than being a training ground for more hardened criminals. 

Defence

Australian defence policy must focus on the protection of our nation and creating stability in our region. 

We also believe parliament should be involved in any decision to deploy troops to conflict zones. Above all, Australia needs to be self-sufficient in defence resources.

What needs to be done:

  • Defence procurement must be overhauled to acknowledge the economic and strategic benefits of local manufacture.
  • Our defence strategy must be based first and foremost on Australia's needs. 

Disabilities

People with disabilities should be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live full and meaningful lives. 

What needs to be done:

  • The rollout of the NDIS needs to be carefully evaluated to ensure it has the maximum benefit for its clients.
  • Respite for those families with a disabled family member needs to be given greater priority. 

Education

Our vision is realising the full potential of education in Australia to propel all learners to be the best that they can be now and in the future so they can further their individual aims and assist in lifting Australia’s competitiveness and innovation.

We support transforming schooling to drive a new era of development and growth across the full range of expectations for 21st Century learning. We support building upon the strengths of our schools and driving and amplifying leading edge research-driven teaching in Australia.

Children should have the best start to learning through quality early childhood experiences that nurture and develop.

What needs to be done:

  • Implement and fully fund the Gonski reforms to address the inadequate and piecemeal approach to funding for our schools. Currently, schools in South Australia receive less Federal Government funding than if they were in any other state or territory. If this funding inequity continues, South Australian independent school students will receive on average $400 less in funding each year, increasing each year from 2017 compared to students in other states. This funding discrimination against South Australian schools and their students must be reversed as a matter of urgency.
  • Provide further support for students with special learning needs, including students with disability and high achievers.
  • All Year 7 students in South Australia should receive the same amount of Federal Government funding as Year 7 students in other states. Year 7 students in South Australia receive less Federal Government funding per year than students in other states and territories. This is because the Federal Government funds them at the primary school student rate even though all Year 7 students in Australia now use the Australian Curriculum.
  • A Senate inquiry into Australia’s education system should be established, with a particular focus on best practice in teaching and learning and how this can be supported by government funding.
  • Education funding should be tied to practical educational outcomes so that students of all ages and socioeconomic statuses have the best opportunity to achieve their potential and goals.
  • Maintain university fee regulation to ensure students from all backgrounds are able to access higher education as a way to address socioeconomic disparity.
  • Place greater emphasis on trade, work-ready and entrepreneurial courses from years 10+.
  • Ensure that the VET Student Loans scheme is properly implemented to minimise the amount of student disruption.
  • The Federal Government must consider extending the VET Student loan scheme to all Vocational courses that lead to good employment outcomes, not just those courses that operate within a STEM discipline or are on a two state skills needs lists. 

Employment and Workplace Relations

High levels of workplace participation and productivity are the key to achieving a strong and prosperous economy, particularly in the small business sector. This needs to be set in a framework of mutual fairness.

What needs to be done:

  • Reviews of the employment and workplace relations system should be ongoing to ensure our standard of living is maintained and small business – the engine-room of jobs growth – prospers.
  • Acknowledge and respect the role of responsible unions in the workplace to give a voice to workers who otherwise would face an uneven playing field. 

Environment

Clean air, clean water and preserving our iconic natural resources are fundamental to guiding what we do for our environment – not just for us, but for Australia’s future generations. 

What needs to be done:

  • Call on state governments to identify and preserve our best agricultural land as an investment in our future.
  • Review the applicability of California’s vehicle emissions standards to Australia.
  • Protect groundwater (aquifers, including the Great Artesian Basin) from any adverse impacts of mining and coal seam gas exploration.
  • Have an efficient emissions trading scheme based on the Frontier Economics scheme.
  • Have federal legislation to protect key environmental assets, rather than being dealt with on a state by state basis.
  • Maintain the right of environmental and community groups to pursue legal action under environmental legislation.

Family Violence

Australian families should be free from incidents of violence. Police and family violence services must properly protect and support survivors.

What needs to be done:

  • The creation of a federal body which investigates the circumstances surrounding every fatal family violence incident, with a particular focus on systemic failures in the lead-up to each incident. Currently, police forces rarely undertake this level of investigation, which is allowing flawed systems to remain in place. Often law enforcement agencies have missed opportunities to intervene before a fatal incident occurs.
  • Advocate for uniform laws relating to family violence across all state and territory jurisdictions, to ensure equal protection regardless of where someone lives.
  • Create and fund an evidence-based national awareness campaign with a particular focus on the cultural environment which contributes to family violence.
  • Provide adequate funding for a coordinated approach to family and intimate partner violence including safe houses, counselling, case management and legal support to ensure survivors have a voice and can enforce their rights.
  • Rehabilitation of perpetrators to help reduce the ongoing harm caused by repeat offenders, and in turn reduce the damaging intergenerational cycle of this particular type of crime.
  • Creation and funding of a national education program in schools focusing on respect and safety in family and other interpersonal relationships.

Food Security

Australia needs a comprehensive strategic approach to protect, invest and grow our own food production resources. It is an integral part of our national security. 

What needs to be done:

  • Change competition laws to allow for the breakup of companies that abuse their market power in their dealings with farmers.
  • Establish a rural development bank that will make it easier for farmers to access finance.
  • Create incentives to invest in agriculture, including for our super funds.
  • Overhaul and implement truthful food labelling laws. Our current laws that allow imported produce to be passed off as Australian are costing our farmers jobs.
  • Scrap the punitive AQIS charges on small exporters that destroy incentives to export.

Foreign Aid

Foreign aid helps people in developing countries escape extreme poverty, improve health outcomes and helps increase regional stability. 

Through the provision of foreign aid, Australia is able to meet its obligations as a responsible global citizen and also benefits from a heightened level of prosperity and stability in the region.

What needs to be done:

  • Restore the $7.6 billion of aid funding cut by the Federal Government in the 2014 budget.
  • Work towards a foreign aid budget that represents 0.7% of Gross National Income, in line with Australia's commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. 

Foreign Investment

Australia needs a strategic approach to foreign investment, rather than the inconsistent approach we have now. Foreign investment would be much lower if there were greater incentives for Australians to invest in their own country. 

What needs to be done:

  • Adapt New Zealand’s foreign investment laws which clearly set out a definition of the national interest and have lower thresholds for foreign investment approval.
  • Lower the existing Foreign Investment Review Board threshold ($252 million) so that all proposed overseas transactions greater than $5 million are subject to greater scrutiny.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Farmers and consumers should have the right to say no to GMOs. 

Government has a role to play in supporting continued research into the long-term unknown effects of GMOs on both human and plant health. 

What needs to be done:

  • Ensure all GMO products are correctly labelled so consumers can make informed decisions.
  • Protect farmers who want their crops to remain GMO free by imposing stricter regulations and legal liability on those responsible for contamination.
  • Fund independent research on the long-term health and environmental effects of GMOs.

Government Accountability

Politicians must be open and up front with the Australian people. 

Government's primary role is to provide public infrastructure and services and to drive both national economic growth and personal growth. The public have the right to expect that governments will deliver services efficiently and fairly without unnecessary waste and duplication. Australians who speak out against corrupt practices deserve to be protected.

What needs to be done:

  • Establish a national anti-corruption commission.
  • Ensure politician entitlements and claims are reported in a timely and transparent way.
  • Implement national whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors that protect the informant and compensates them for any loss of income due to their actions.
  • Government services (federal, state, local) must be delivered quickly and efficiently and be fully accountable to the public.
  • Review duplicated services at a federal, state and local government level and determine the most appropriate entity to deliver these services.

Health Care

High quality, easily accessible health care is a fundamental right for all Australians. With an ageing population and rising health costs that outstrip the CPI, there needs to be a new approach that focuses on preventative health care. 

What needs to be done:

  • Government resources should be directed to maximising patient outcomes that involve enhancing local care and existing GP clinics.
  • Preventative health care must be an absolute government priority, with targeted funding to reduce chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. This should include comprehensive and effective public education campaigns.
  • Telemedicine should be expanded for regional communities to improve access to specialist medical care.
  • Medical practices should be addressed to ensure that quantity is pursued over quality.
  • The 30% private health insurance rebate should be reinstated to ensure greater participation and affordability. This in turn takes pressure off the public hospital system.
  • The Australian health care system should be subject to rigorous evidence based assessment to maximise efficiency.

Housing Affordability

A combination of local, state and federal government taxes and red tape have made housing less affordable, particularly for those trying to enter the housing market for the first time. This needs to be tackled head on. 

What needs to be done:

  • Form a housing affordability taskforce charged with delivering practical solutions to encourage greater home ownership.  The aim of this taskforce would be to examine relevant housing affordability levers and recommend measures to reduce tape and taxes and highlight innovative and cost-effective building and housing concepts.
  • Ensure Australian residents are not priced out of the housing market by foreign investors and speculators.
  • Modify negative gearing to encourage the creation of new affordable housing stock.

Immigration

Immigrants have played, and continue to play, a critical role in building Australia. 

What needs to be done:

  • We should continue to encourage safe and orderly immigration to Australia, in particular amongst younger skilled families and investors who will help drive economic growth.
  • A special category of visa should be created to encourage investors to settle in areas of low population and economic growth.

 

Innovation, Technology and R&D

Government must facilitate and bring together world class research and development, innovative thinkers, venture capital and a highly skilled, creative and diverse work force. This strong platform will revitalise Australia’s economic outlook by strategically growing the innovation and technology sectors.

What needs to be done:

  • Encourage universities, government agencies and companies to undertake research and development by increasing funding to align with other world leading countries.
  • Improve funding strategies to target specific research goals, increase focus on commercialisation and enable longer term research projects.

Live Animal Exports

It is important that strict controls are placed on live animal exports to ensure animals are treated in accordance with Australian animal welfare standards. However, our preference is to have Australian processing, and to export chilled meat where possible. 

Marriage Equality

Marriage is a formalised commitment that should be available to all people who wish it, irrespective of their gender. 

What needs to be done:

  • Remove all discrimination from the Marriage Act to ensure that all people, regardless of their sex or gender identity, have the opportunity to marry.
  • Churches and religious bodies should retain the right to decide for themselves whether to perform or recognise any marriage. 

Mental Health

Mental health is a significant issue affecting millions of Australians. Early intervention can reduce the impact of mental illness in the community and help people receive appropriate treatment and support to recover. Government must prioritise mental health.

What needs to be done:

  • Government must increase funding for preventative mental health measures and services that provide individual and family support within the community.
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol, needs to be considered as part of a wider approach.

Overseas Students

Overseas students play an important part in Australia’s economy. We need to focus on providing competitive world-class educational resources and encourage students to utilise their skills in Australia.

What needs to be done:

  • Both state and federal governments need to work with higher education providers to support them in offering high quality, flexible services that support industry needs.
  • Overseas students should be offered the opportunity to stay an extra 12 months in low population growth areas after completion of their studies and encouraged to apply for residency if they have needed skills or the ability to invest in our country. 

Penalty Rates

Penalty rates are an integral part of the industrial relations system and any variance to rates and conditions must be dealt with by the appropriate workplace relations tribunal (currently the Fair Work Commission). The unique challenges of small business should always be considered.

What needs to be done:

  • The Fair Work Commission should remain the independent umpire.
  • Small business* and the potential for increased youth employment should always be considered in any determination of weekend penalty rates.

* ABS defines small business as less than 20 employees. Fairwork Australia defines small business as less than 15 employees.

Population

A more even distribution of the population would allow regional areas to flourish and allow metropolitan cities to grow.

What needs to be done:

  • We should continue to encourage people to move to areas where there is low population growth.
  • Businesses and individuals who commit to moving to low population areas could be provided with tax breaks for the first two years to help them become established.
  • Actively seek skilled and business migrants and in particular those who have the means to set up and operate businesses in low population areas via a special investor visa category.

Predatory Gambling

Targeted gambling reform is required. We have the world’s highest per capita gambling losses and level of problem gambling. Our governments are totally out-of-touch with the overwhelming community desire to rein in the damage caused. 

What needs to be done: 

  • With pokies being the biggest cause of problem gambling, the immediate implementation of the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for $1 maximum bets per spin and $120 in hourly losses (compared to $10 per spin and $1200 an hour) is required.
  • Challenge the major parties to conduct a referendum on implementing $1 maximum bet reforms.
  • Ensure the Productivity Commission regularly updates its gambling research.
  • End micro-betting on sports events, which can lead to corruption and match fixing in sports.
  • Remove ATMs from venues with poker machines.
  • Overhaul outdated online gambling laws, to take into account the impact of emerging technologies.
  • End sports betting ads during games.
  • The Commonwealth needs to develop an approach to wean state governments off their $5 billion a year of gambling taxes. 

Privacy Protection

The privacy of ordinary Australians needs to be protected against potential abuse from businesses and governments. It is particularly important that sensible reform is enacted to regulate the continued growth of online data collection. 

What needs to be done:

  • Amend the Privacy Act to remove the exemption given to political parties ensuring they meet the same requirements as individuals, businesses and other groups.
  • Amend the Privacy Act to prohibit betting agencies from engaging in direct marketing to prospective customers.
  • Amend the Privacy Act to ensure that all Australians must provide informed, written consent before their personal information can be disclosed to third party and overseas entities (e.g. banks and telcos outsourcing to overseas data and call centres).
  • Ensure metadata collection only occurs following the issuing of a warrant by an Australian court that deems the collection to be necessary to prevent or investigate serious crime or terrorist activity.

Regional Australia

Regional centres around Australia present a prime opportunity for both investment in development and economic growth.

What needs to be done:

  • Encourage industry and educational institutions to invest in regional Australia via incentives, helping to boost both the economy and increase education pathways.
  • Encourage immigrant arrivals to settle in rural and regional Australia first.
  • Encourage tourism and the arts to refocus on the regions.
  • Economic incentives for families living in regions.
  • Call upon the Federal Government to revisit the recommendations proposed in the 2013 House of Representatives report into ‘Fly in, Fly out’ workforce practices in regional Australia.
  • Greater incentives for renewable energy in regional areas to boost manufacturing.

Refugees / Asylum Seekers

Genuine asylum seekers must be treated with dignity and compassion.

The bipartisan support for off-shore processing, in order to discourage dangerous boat journeys to Australia, should be matched with an increase in the humanitarian intake. However, priority should be given to timely (preferably within 12 months) resettlement to appropriate countries, working together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Above all, Australia must play a key role for an orderly regional solution to this crisis.

What needs to be done:

  • Depending on the outcome of the assessment, individuals must either be returned to their country of origin where safe and practical to do so, or settled in another country with the co-operation of the UNHCR.
  • Government must ensure the safety and security of refugees in offshore processing centres, including timely health and mental health care.
  • International agencies such as the UNHCR, Red Cross and media organisations should have access to any detention centres.
  • Whistleblowers must be protected for speaking out.

Religious Freedom

People of religious faith should be able to practice their religion without persecution. This important right carries with it the mutual obligation to respect other faith-based beliefs (and those who do not believe) and not incite violence or discriminatory behaviour, or harass or use coercion tactics.

What needs to be done:

  • We should look at implementing French laws giving protection to the vulnerable for psychological coercion.
  • There needs to be ongoing multi-faith dialogue to encourage tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others.

Small Business

As Australia's largest employing sector, small business makes a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. 

What needs to be done:

  • We should continue to encourage all Australians to develop their own niche and/or nurture and grow their own enterprises.
  • Government must play an integral role in fostering small business growth and in doing so, reduce bureaucratic obstacles.
  • Targeted tax breaks for small businesses during their first two years of operation.
  • Payroll tax exemption for businesses with up to 15 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Streamline access to and processing of government services for small business.

Subcontractors

Over the past 10 years the building and construction industry has contributed approximately 10 percent of Australia’s GDP and accounts for nearly the same proportion of employment. However, over the same period the construction industry has experienced nearly one quarter of all insolvencies in Australia. There is a culture of non-payment of subcontractors in the construction industry, as well as serious allegations that phoenixing activity has become an acceptable way to make a profit.

What needs to be done:

  • Implementation of all of the Senate Economics Committee’s recommendations in their report on insolvency in the construction industry.
  • Uniform legislation for a security of payments regime, and rapid adjudication processes in the commercial construction industry.
  • Close the legal loopholes that allow phoenixing activity to take place.

Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation

With one of the highest levels of substance abuse in the world, we need a total revamp to ensure those with a problem can access help. We must develop programs and an Australia wide culture that seeks to minimise addiction in the first place.

What needs to be done: 

  • Treat personal drug use as primarily a health issue, rather than a criminal issue, with well-funded rehabilitation programs - including mandatory rehabilitation in certain circumstances.
  • Develop programs and an Australia wide change in culture that seeks to minimise addiction in the first place.
  • Explore innovative ways to disrupt and minimise the drug business model.
  • Enable the ability of the public to simply and safely “inform” on dealers to significantly reduce any localised interest in dealing and cut off the sale and revenue elements of any drug based business model.
  • Current resources should be focused more on prevention and rehabilitation.
  • An increase in spending is required to establish better access to rehabilitation clinics along with a clear transition into skills and job training.
  • Drug trafficking legislation should be modified to allow authorities to rapidly and simply seize assets of those involved in trafficking and distribution.

Superannuation

Encouraging a nest egg for a comfortable and secure retirement is what superannuation policy should be about. That should include greater certainty and a bigger say in how superannuation funds are managed. 

What needs to be done: 

  • Overturn the unacceptable 7-year delay to increase the superannuation guarantee from 9.5% to 12%.
  • Overhaul the superannuation industry to increase transparency, end fee gouging and require that investment choices are made under increased checks and balances.
  • Superannuation funds must be required to hold an annual general meeting where members are entitled to ask questions as to how their fund is performing and how it is being administered.
  • Tax-breaks for superannuation must be re-calibrated so the greatest benefit is directed to those with the least savings, and a reduced benefit is enjoyed by those with very high superannuation savings. 

Terrorism

There is no excuse for terrorism. Such acts of violence cannot be justified in any circumstances. It is incumbent on community leaders and government to denounce and take action to prevent all acts of terrorism and to keep its citizens safe.

What needs to be done:

  • Ensure government has sufficient power to deal with terrorists in a way that is effective and not counter-productive.
  • Put adequate resources into counter radicalisation strategies, so young and susceptible people are not brainwashed by extremists.
  • Extremists that groom susceptible people for acts of violence need to be locked away.
  • Rather than stripping Australian citizenship of dual nationals involved in terrorism, which could allow them to retaliate against Australians overseas - they need to be brought back to Australia and locked up for community safety.

Utilities

Ideally all essential utilities (electricity, water, gas and NBN) should be owned by the public. Current rules need to change to have a greater focus on the rights of consumers and small businesses.

What needs to be done:

  • There should be an option for all new utility proposals (such as generation and network assets) to be community owned (or owned through a co-operative).
  • Change the National Electricity Market rules and enhance the power of the Australian Energy Regulator to rein in the wasteful and costly gold-plating of electricity assets that consumers end up paying for. Over time this will have a greater impact on reducing electricity prices than any other single measure.
  • Price increases should be set at no greater than the CPI.

Water Security

The existing national framework must be strengthened.  Water security is vital to the national interest.

What needs to be done: 

  • Storm water harvesting – which is more efficient than desalination – must be fast-tracked.
  • States which were early adopters of water-efficiencies must be acknowledged in any federal scheme. Irrigators should be able to access federal infrastructure grants for value-adding to agricultural produce more easily.
  • Wasteful practices throughout the Murray-Darling Basin must be addressed as a matter of urgency to ensure a fair distribution of water rights across the entire system.