Across the country we are continually challenged by the problem of illicit drug use, particularly among young people in regional communities.
Apart from the issues associated with crime and health, illicit drug use also has a much more significant impact. For those unemployed Australians of working age, the Coalition government’s primary focus is to help people get back into work.
Australia has a very generous welfare safety net, and the only way we can ensure it continues as such is to invest in initiatives that provide a pathway from welfare into work. Our government is committed to helping all Australians secure meaningful employment, and for many people drug use is a serious barrier.
As part of our efforts to tackle drug use, especially among those who are unemployed, the Coalition government has identified three locations around Australia to be trial sites for drug testing welfare recipients.
Our area is certainly not immune from this problem and I am hopeful that with the success of this forthcoming trial we will have the opportunity to broaden its reach to include local areas.
The Coalition government is continuing to implement a number of measures aimed at driving down power prices.
Over the past few months the government has been in discussions with the energy sector and this week the Prime Minister has called the eight biggest energy retailers in for talks about additional steps that can be taken to lower household and small business power bills. We will remain absolutely steadfast in making these companies deliver the best deal for families and ensure they don’t have to pay a cent more than necessary for electricity and gas.
Furthermore, our government is safeguarding the eastern seaboard’s power supply by boosting funding for the Snowy Hydro 2.0. This will put further downward pressure on power prices on the Mid-North Coast and ensure that, unlike some other parts of Australia, we will have a reliable energy supply to our region.
Just on a final note, government elections will be conducted on Saturday, September 9, for the Mid Coast Council area. This new local government area incorporates the former Great Lakes, Greater Taree and Gloucester areas.
While there are issues specific to local, state and the Commonwealth governments, there are areas where local councils will work together with both state and federal representatives to deliver the important infrastructure and services our community needs. I look forward to working with whoever is elected in the new council area to ensure our community continues to achieve our goals for the long term prosperity of our region.