The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has committed to probing the reason for Armidale’s high fuel prices following intervention by the Nationals Senator for NSW John Williams.
Following an approach by the Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, Senator Williams was set to question the ACCC during Senate estimates on Wednesday night but time ran out before the agency appeared.
Senator Williams met ACCC officials privately and made it clear their response to Mr. Marshall’s original approach, which he described as lame, was unacceptable.
He said there may be nothing untoward in the Armidale situation but until the regulator steps in and takes a look we will never know, and he looks forward to the ACCC report.
Senator Williams said Mr. Marshall should be congratulated for raising the matter on behalf of Armidale motorists and refusing to accept the initial brush-off by the ACCC.
The Federal government’s Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper is now available for public comment.
The Nationals Senator for NSW John Williams says the policy released by the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce MP is focused on increasing returns at the farm gate.
He said the Green Paper has been built from the ground up drawing on the valuable input from farmers and industry and community representatives.
“There are 25 policy ideas that comment is being sought on.
Amongst them are transport, communications, competition laws, access to finance and foreign investment.
The Green Paper also lists water infrastructure projects that have been identified as having potential for Commonwealth involvement.
Infrastructure Australia has queried whether a proposal to build a rail line from Yamba through the north to link with the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane line is feasible.
Under questioning from Nationals Senator John Williams in Senate estimates, the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Mike Mrdak said he had only seen media reports about the proposed project but had grave doubts about its success.
Senator Williams asked whether Infrastructure Australia was involved in any planning for the proposed line from Yamba through Grafton to Moree, known as the Pacific West Corridor, which a media report suggests will be completed by 2023.
Mr. Mrdak said his initial reaction was that it would be a very difficult project because of the capital cost and the low volumes of freight.
A project in the Hunter electorate has received funding through the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.
The Nationals Duty Senator for Hunter John Williams says a project called The Big Draw Singleton 2015 has been allocated $5,827.
Senator Williams said this will feature artist and children’s book author and illustrator Liz Anelli conducting drawing workshops with local primary and high schools and the general public.
He said the Federal government is keen to ensure that arts experiences are available for local people to enjoy in rural and regional areas like the Hunter electorate.