Chamber of Commerce news June

Dear Chamber,

Great news this week with the Far North's unemployment dropping to 8.9%, down from 12.4% two months ago; it shows the region is recovering and rebuilding.

With the drier conditions upon us, there is great deal of government stimulus work now underway, including school upgrades, road improvements and social housing developments. These projects have been critical to creating and supporting jobs in the region while the private sector has been in retreat during the tough economic conditions.

Another positive sign is that more domestic and international flights are coming to Cairns.

I've been working hard to attract new flights to Cairns; the government has provided additional marketing support and is undertaking long sought after aviation regulatory reforms, and we are seeing positive results.

The latest tourism data shows Tropical North Queensland has outperformed the rest of Australia, increasing its share of domestic overnight tourism expenditure by 4% at a time when spending has remained flat at a national level.

Many small businesses are still feeling the pain of the global recession so it is important we remain focused on long term efforts to diversify the local economy into industries like mining, marine and education.

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Australia's first paid parental leave scheme was passed yesterday in Federal Parliament. This is long overdue and brings Australia into line with the rest of the developed world. It's a major win for working mums and dads, who have been waiting for decades for a national paid parental leave scheme.

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I helped launch the first 'spoke' of the Cairns GP Super Clinic which is now operational at Woree.

The Woree Family Medical Centre is the first official spoke of the Cairns GP Super Clinic, a $5 million Australian Government initiative being delivered to the local community. Read more...

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I've dropped by a few local schools in the last couple of weeks, including Peace Lutheran College and Caravonica State School, and toured their brand new facilities built under the government's economic stimulus plan.

The feedback from teachers and parents has been overwhelmingly positive about these projects. Tony Abbott is putting local school upgrades like these on the chopping block which would greatly hinder the Far North's economic recovery and leave teachers and students without the facilities they need and deserve.

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The government's economic stimulus has also funded the upgrade of the Smithfield roundabout, north of Cairns. Work is currently underway on this very busy 'black spot' and is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks.

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I had the pleasure of attending the Cooktown Discovery Festival over the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Congratulations to all those who had a hand in organising this great community event. I, like many others, had a wonderful time.

Also, hats off to the organisers of the Festival of the Knob – from all reports it was a great day!

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The Attorney General for Australia, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, will be in Cairns soon and I'm arranging a breakfast function on Monday 28th June. If you're interested in attending, please contact my office.

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More news can be found at www.jimturnour.com.au.

Sincerely,

Jim Turnour
Federal Member for Leichhardt