Category: Media Release

Keith Pitt urges Hinkler residents to donate blood

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today donated blood, and is urging local residents to do the same in the lead up to Easter.

Mr Pitt and two of his staff gave blood at the Australian Red Cross Donor Centre, at Bundaberg Base Hospital, this morning.

“It takes just an hour of your time, and each donation can save up to three lives,” Mr Pitt said.

“One in three Australians will need blood in their lifetime, and yet just three per cent of the population gives blood.

“Australia needs more than 27,000 donations every week.”

Mr Pitt said the Easter long weekend was a particularly challenging time on the roads for emergency service workers.

“Unfortunately, more traffic typically means more accidents and that’s why giving blood at this time of year is so important,” he said.

“I urge Hinkler residents to stay safe and put their blood – not their body – in a bag this Easter. One fatality is one too many!”

Mr Pitt encouraged Hinkler residents to support the Red Cross’ Easter Egg-straction blood drive.

“They need 81 more people to fill appointments at the Hervey Bay and Bundaberg donor centres over the Easter weekend.”        

To find your nearest donor centre, telephone 13 14 95.   

 

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Coalition keeps promise to veteran community

The Coalition Government has delivered its election promise to 57,000 military superannuants and their families.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said 556 local veterans, aged 55 and over, will benefit from changes to the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits scheme (DFRB) and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) schemes.

“From 1 July next year military superannuants will have their pensions indexed in the same way as age and service pensions,” Mr Pitt said.

“The fair indexation provisions will also extend to reversionary (widow) pensioners aged 55 and over.” 

“This has been a long fought campaign for equity, justice and fairness by the Australian veteran community.

“The Coalition promised our veterans a fair go before the 2010 and 2013 elections and now, with the passing of this legislation, we have delivered on our promise.

“The legislation recognises of the unique nature of military service and the sacrifices military personnel and their families make on behalf of all Australians.”

Mr Pitt said it was important the Government, on behalf of the Australian community, recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by military personnel.

He said Certificates of Appreciation were now available under the Saluting Their Service commemorations program, for those who served during the Second World War (both in the armed forces or as civilians on the home front), with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) Japan, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan and during peacekeeping operations.

They are also available as a lasting legacy to the family of deceased veterans.  Certificates can be requested by email Keith.Pitt.MP@aph.gov.au or telephone on 07 4152 0744. 

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Gallipoli ballot applicants to be notified from today

Hinkler residents who applied to attend the Anzac Centenary Dawn Service in Gallipoli in 2015 will find out in coming weeks whether they have been successful in the ballot.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said 42,273 applicants would receive initial email advice from today, with formal letters being sent in coming weeks.

The Australian and New Zealand Governments initiated the ballot process after the Turkish Government advised they had capped attendance at 10,500 people.

Mr Pitt said the fair, open and transparent ballot would enable 8,000 Australians and 2,000 New Zealanders to safely and comfortably attend 100th anniversary commemorations in 2015.

“Successful applicants will receive two tickets – one for themselves and one for a guest,” Mr Pitt said.

“More than 24 per cent of successful applicants are from Queensland. The oldest applicant is 99-years-old and the youngest is just 16.

“The overwhelming response is indicative of our respect and appreciation of the sacrifices made by those who served our country.

“I congratulate the applicants who have been successful in the ballot. Those without tickets may consider visiting Gallipoli on August 6 next year for the Battle of Lone Pine Centenary commemoration service.

“There will also be plenty of opportunities in Australia for people to pay their respects, with services and events being held right across the country.”

Mr Pitt said he looked forward to announcing the successful applications for funding under the Centenary of Anzac Local Grants Program later this year.

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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St Joseph’s receives Habitat Heroes Award

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today congratulated St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Bundaberg on receiving the coveted title of ‘Reef Guardian School’.

Each year five schools receive $1000 from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, in recognition of their positive on-ground environmental actions to help protect the Reef and its marine life.

“Reef Guardian School students are the future custodians of the Reef and this program is an important step in supporting their efforts and furthering their interest in caring for the environment,” Mr Pitt said.

“I congratulate the students and teachers at St Joseph’s on the great work they’ve been doing at Mon Repos to assist rangers, monitor rock pools and raise awareness of the importance of appropriate lighting during turtle nesting season.”

Mr Pitt was joined by State Opposition Environment Spokesman, Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett for a tour of the school.

“It was great to meet some of the participating grade 5 & 6 students, and their pet turtle,” Mr Bennett said.

“The Reef is facing challenges and all actions – big or small – are vital to the Reef’s future. Whatever we do today affects the future of our grandchildren, and I congratulate the school for taking positive steps towards a cleaner, better future.

“The former LNP government has a proud track record of protecting our reef and our endangered sea turtles.

“Everyone’s Environment grants provided some $12million to support practical environmental projects, including reducing light pollution on turtles nesting at Mon Repose Beach and improving water quality in the area.”

Catholic Education Assistant Director Schools Southern Region, Stephen Dale said, “The whole St Joseph’s community should be congratulated on their outstanding commitment to the environment.”

“Being an effective steward of the environment is an important aspect of the holistic education provided in our Catholic Schools. It is also important for students to experience practical ways that

they can help make the world a better place and I know they enjoy making a difference,” Mr Dale said.

Mr Pitt said representatives from the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority would visit St Joseph’s in the near future to see their work first hand and to formally present them with the Habitat Heroes Award certificate.

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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Pitt delivers $12,000 for local veterans groups

Hinkler veterans and war widows will undertake a series of bus trips, aimed at reducing social isolation, with Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today announcing funding for two local organisations.

Mr Pitt said the Extremely Disabled War Veterans of Australia, Central and North Queensland Association would receive $6,600 through the Veteran and Community Grants Program to run bus trips across the region.

The National Servicemens Association of Australia (Qld) Incorporated Bundaberg will receive $1,371 to purchase computer equipment and software for the production of a newsletter.

They will receive a further $4,155 to operate a series of bus trips for local veterans and widows.

Mr Pitt greeted (National Servicemens Association) participants as they boarded the bus in Bundaberg this morning, to wish them a safe and enjoyable journey.

“Today’s tour will take passengers to Biggenden, Goomeri and Bjelke-Petersen Dam,” he said.

“The dedication and hard work of organisations like these ensure veterans and their families are provided with community care, access to resources and social interactions like these bus tours.

“I congratulate both organisations on their successful applications. The grants made to these and other organisations around the country recognise the Australian community’s appreciation of those who served.”

A Veterans’ Affairs Officer from the Sunshine Coast Veterans’ Access Network will be available to answer questions about the complete range of benefits and services at Bundaberg RSL on Thursday March 20, between 10am and 3pm. To request an appointment telephone 1800 555 254.

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814        

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Audio signs tell tales of region’s history

Residents and visitors to the region can now listen to stories about Bundaberg’s fascinating history following the installation of new interactive audio signs.

Under projects funded by the Australian Government’s ‘Your Community Heritage’ program, audio signs are being placed at six local historical sites including Mon Repos, the Barolin Nature Reserve, Barolin Homestead and Boolboonda Tunnel.

Environment and Natural Resources portfolio spokesperson Cr Danny Rowleson said the weatherproof signs helped to promote the importance of understanding and appreciating history.

“By pressing buttons on the signs, visitors can listen to short factual stories and get a better understanding of what life was like in the early days of settlement.”

“This is the first time that detailed historical information has been available at each site.” 

“Using a combination of old photos, memoirs, extracts from early newspapers and interviews, the audio signs recreate the sounds and voices of those times.”

The stories are also available on Council’s website for people who are unable to visit the sites.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he was delighted the Australian Government was able to support such an important community heritage project, contributing $285,000.   

“The completion of this project ensures the preservation of this interesting part of Bundaberg’s heritage for future generations and visitors to the region,” Mr Pitt said.

“We’re glad we could work with Bundaberg Regional Council on such an innovative and interactive approach to the preservation of our important local heritage.”

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Area manager Peter Wright said that two of the signs are being installed at the Mon Repos Conservation Park.

“Mon Repos has major heritage significance as a place where Bert Hinkler conducted early forays into flight, the site of the heritage listed South Sea Islander Wall and the site of a telegraph station connecting Australia to the rest of the world by cable to New Caledonia.”

“The signs will enhance the experience of visitors to Mon Repos and help educate the public about the importance of maintaining our links to the past”.

Two of the six signs have already been installed, with the other 4 to be installed in the coming weeks.  The exact locations are:

  • Mon Repos Conservation Park, Mon Repos (South Sea Islander Wall and Bert Hinkler)
  • Turtle trail, Barolin Nature Reserve, Bargara (Woongarra Tramway and Cable Station) – already installed
  • Barolin Esplanade, Innes Park (Barolin Homestead)
  • Tunnel Road, off Gin Gin – Mt Perry Road (Boolboonda Tunnel

The audio stories can be heard on the internet under the “Bundaberg Stories” section of the Bundaberg library webpage

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Intersection works commence on Bruce Hwy south of Childers

WORKS kicked off today on an $8 million federally-funded project to upgrade three intersections along the Bruce Highway just south of Childers.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the project would play an important part in improving safety and efficiency along this stretch of the national highway.

“More than 6,500 motorists – including many heavy vehicle operators – use this section of road every day so we are acting to improve safety at these locations,” Mr Truss said.

“These works will cater for growing traffic volumes, especially during peak periods, by extending the dedicated right-turn lane at the Lucketts Road intersection and installing traffic signals at the Goodwood Road intersection.

“To cater for these new signals, the Butchers Road intersection will also be moved a short distance south to ensure safety is maintained for turning vehicles.”

At the sod turning today, Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the original scope of works involved removing all right-turn access at the Lucketts Road intersection in accordance with a 2010 coroner’s recommendation.

“We have listened to the community and we have come up with an upgrade which will see all traffic movements remain in place at the Lucketts Road intersection, while still achieving the desired safety outcomes,” Mr Pitt said.

Works will generally be carried out between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday, with every effort being made to avoid disruptions during peak periods.

Motorists are asked to be patient, drive to the changed conditions and obey all signage while these works are under way.

Hazell Bros Group Pty Ltd has been awarded the project contract, which is expected to be completed in late 2014, weather permitting.

MEDIA CONTACTS: 

For Mr Truss: Brett Heffernan 0467 650 020
For Mr Pitt: Larine Statham 07 4152 0744

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Minister visits Bundaberg hospitals and schools

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt have today visited local hospitals and schools to hear about some of the work that is being done to improve health and education outcomes for indigenous Australians.

Senator Scullion and Mr Pitt toured the construction site of the new Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) in Bundaberg. The IWC is a community based provider of a range of health, community and family services across the Wide Bay Burnett region.

“Co-locating all of IWC’s services in one central hub will offer local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people holistic support,” Senator Scullion said.

“Having viewed the plans, I expect this impressive facility will play a big role in closing the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Hinkler.”

The pair also visited Bundaberg East State School, where a civic reception was held with Brisbane Lions AFL players Daniel Rich and Simon Black.

The reception is part of a two day Community Camp being held right across the region, including events such as an indigenous Auskick clinic at Bundaberg PCYC.

“Bundaberg East State School was devastated by the 2013 floods, and it’s great to see Brisbane Lions players and AFL Wide Bay taking an interest in their recovery,” Mr Pitt said.

Earlier in the day, Senator Scullion and Mr Pitt were joined by Member for Dawson George Christensen and Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital to learn more about the next stage of development in central Queensland.

Senator Scullion and the Nationals MPs met with Mater staff and viewed plans for patient accommodation units in Bundaberg and Rockhampton, two additional operating rooms in Rockhampton, as well as two additional operating rooms and one procedure room in Mackay.

MEDIA CONTACT: Larine Statham (Keith Pitt) 0427 653 814
Rosa Gagliardi (traveling with Minister Scullion) 0418 890 787

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Agriculture Minister hears first hand from Hinkler farmers

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today met with industry bodies to discuss the issues that are important to local farmers.

Mr Joyce and Mr Pitt met with representatives from Isis Canegrowers, Bundaberg Canegrowers and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG).

Mr Joyce and members of The Nationals Partyroom toured Macadamias Australia and Farm Fresh Fine Foods.

“It was great to see how local produce is being processed and marketed, to make Australian-made products the first choice for many of the world’s largest and best-known food manufacturers,” Mr Joyce said.

Mr Pitt said he was absolutely delighted to host The Nationals Partyroom in Bundaberg.  

“The Partyroom’s visit to Hinkler is a clear demonstration of The Nationals commitment to regional Australia,” Mr Pitt said.

“It is a unique opportunity to discuss matters that are important to Hinkler farmers, such as electricity prices, red tape, biosecurity and labour.   

“This visit is also an opportunity to show the rest of the country that, after a tough couple of years, Hinkler is open for business.”

Mr Pitt encouraged locals to make a submission on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, which will outline where this nation takes its agriculture sector.

“Late last year the Coalition released the terms of reference for the White Paper, signalling the start of the 12 month process,” he said.

“Achieving a stronger agricultural sector will lead to higher farm-gate returns, more jobs, more investment and stronger regional communities.”

 To find out more visit www.agriculturalcompetitiveness.dpmc.gov.au

Media contacts:

JOYCE: Gerard McManus 0477 391 580

PITT: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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Government delivering on employment election commitments

Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt have met with key stakeholders in the Bundaberg community to discuss how the Government is taking action to get more people into work.

During today’s visit to local Job Services Australia Provider, IMPACT, the Assistant Minister said the Government had already started delivering on its employment election commitments.

“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that any Australian who is capable of working can get a job,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“We are currently reviewing every aspect of the Job Services Australia system to strike the right balance in flexible service delivery with an aim to implement a streamlined, more effective system from 2015.

“The key goal of the Job Services system is to get more people into work and it is organisations like IMPACT that are making this goal a reality.” 

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he and Mr Hartsuyker had also met with members of various local Chamber of Commerce groups to discuss the Coalition’s plan to deliver a stronger economy with more jobs.

“The unemployment rate in our area is one of the highest in the country, and I am thankful that the Minister could make time to hear from locals and to outline how the Government is working to get more people into work,” Mr Pitt said.  

“Our Government will help job seekers into work by introducing a number of programmes, including a Job Commitment Bonus payment of up to $6500 to encourage long-term unemployed young Australians to find a job and remain off welfare.

“The Government will also introduce a Seniors Employment Incentive Payment which will provide a business with a payment of up to $3250 if it hires a job seeker

aged 50 or over, who has been unemployed for at least six months and is receiving income support.”

For further information on Job Services Australia www.employment.gov.au.

Media contact:

Minister Hartsuyker’s Office: Greg Pierce 0408 532 785

Mr Pitt’s Office: Larine Statham 0427 653 814         

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