Monday, 25 July 2011

Visit to Brisbane State High School

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of talking to Year 11 and 12 students at Brisbane State High School about their futures. We discussed the opportunities available in Australian’s foreign service and the importance of being involved in work that you’re passionate about.

If you are interested in working in foreign affairs then please visit or if you want to volunteer as part of our aid program then visit

I then answered questions from the students ranging from the impact of international economic instability on the Australian economy to global human rights challenges.

It was a great privilege to be able to spend time with these students in the heart of my Electorate.

A video of the press conference I gave at Brisbane State High School –


Monday, 11 July 2011

SEBCC Dinner

With students and some 50 local business people I discussed international business opportunities for the local economy on the Southside. Queensland’s sophisticated agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors are positioned to participate in an emerging global market and I am determined to make sure that everyone is aware of the opportunities.

I have always been an optimist about China's future and the future of the Australia-China economic relationship. I believe this relationship holds great economic opportunities for local businesses and industries here in Queensland. I further expanded on this at the launch of Australia-China 2.0       

If you’re a local business on the Southside, joining the SEBCC opens networking opportunities and the chance to showcase your business products and services, with further membership information available at -

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Homelessness: Making a Difference Together

Here’s my speech in Parliament this week about tackling the challenge of homelessness across the nation and on the Southside -

This government prides itself on delivering on its commitments, including those in parts of the country where the need for road infrastructure is great. This federal government now injects more effort there than any previous federal government and offsets what are often poor investment records on the part of certain state governments.

I congratulate the particular efforts of the then member for Swan, Kim Wilkie, who was elected to parliament with me in 1998. I am sure that this will be appropriately reported in the member's local newspaper now that he has raised it here.

Homelessness is one of the biggest challenges that we face in our community. I recently had the opportunity to experience sleeping rough as part of the St Vinnie's CEO Sleep Out. In fact, there were thousands of folk there bedding down on cardboard during that CEO Sleep Out across the county. Frankly, sleeping out and sleeping rough for one night pales into insignificance against what those who really sleep rough most nights, if not all nights of the week, around Australia go through.

Current estimates suggest that up to 105,000 people are homeless on any given night in Australia. Alarmingly, my own home state of Queensland has the highest number of people sleeping rough every night of the year, including some 300 people sleeping rough on the streets of Brisbane on any given night.

In an effort to offer some practical help, I recently launched a new initiative in my electorate. It is called 'My Community BBQ.' I have teamed up with two terrific local organisations, Micah Projects and West End Community House, to host monthly barbecues to directly support disadvantaged individuals and their families. Our first barbecue in May attracted 150 disadvantaged people from the local area.

Local organisations like MICAH and West End Community House are the backbone of homelessness support services in my community. Micah Projects are assisting the community barbecue by hosting this event at their Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre in South Brisbane. The centre provides essential services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Micah Projects are also leading the Common Ground initiative. Upon completion, the 146-unit development will be a sustainable housing solution for chronically homeless people and people on low incomes in Brisbane. It will complement existing housing services within the community that address homelessness—and we are seeing these Common Ground facilities rolled out across the country.

These currently include, in terms of local housing support services: community development; tenancy advice and advocacy; community meeting spaces; and local outreach services. They also include the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic, a free legal advice service and homeless person's health checks.

We are proud of what we are doing on the challenge of homelessness around Australia. I am proud of what we are doing to tackle the challenge of homelessness within my community of South Brisbane.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Funding Boost for More Doctors and Nurses on the Southside

The Government has invested some $900,000 to help support Queensland hospitals.

We have invested over $500,000 to support Mater Health Services and the PA Hospital to expand their local clinical training placements. Put simply, these investments will allow us to train more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals across the Southside.

This is a great result for residents of the Southside.

It’s important that we have locally based health professionals to provide high quality care for the community.

I understand how important it is for local community to have access to high quality healthcare. I am proud of the investments across Queensland. For Southside folk, we have seen recent investments including –

·         32 new specialist doctors for the Southside as part of a $356 million commitment to boost specialist doctors across the country.
·         $13 million for Greenslopes Private Hospital to establish a new clinical school, providing training infrastructure to support additional medical places including a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, 14 tutorial rooms and computer lab.
·         $2.4 million for the University of Queensland to expand multidisciplinary training at Greenslopes Private Hospital, creating 300 additional placements.
·         $7.5 million toward the Prostate Cancer Research Centre at PA Hospital.

By investing in these local health initiatives we are making a real difference.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Crackerjack Carnival

In its 37th year, the proceeds from the Crackerjack Carnival assist the Camp Hill Carina Welfare Association  in maintaining the Clem Jones Centre, which is widely recognised for its recreational facilities and engaging young people to participate in sports and leisure activities.

I dropped into the Crackerjack Carnival with local State Member, Steve Kilburn, to check out some of the festivities.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to attend the Crackerjack Carnival, I would tend to agree with the organisers who describe it as a mini ‘Royal Show’.

Steve and I tried our luck (or lack of luck) with several carnival games before stopping to watch the fantastic fireworks display.

I want to congratulate Steve Heald, CEO of the Clem Jones Centre, and the many other community members who make this such a successful event for another great event this year.