Business News Releases

Treaties Committee to consider Australia-US Space Launches Agreement

THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will hold a public hearing for its inquiry into the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America on 'Technology Safeguards Associated with United States Participation in Space Launches from Australia'.

The treaty aligns with Australia’s national interest to develop a space launch sector capable of meeting the growing demands for space launch. Australia has a unique geographical location which makes it strategically ideal for growing and commercialising the space launch sector. Currently, Australia exports the majority of its satellites to the US for launch by US companies.

This new agreement will allow US companies, universities, and government organisations to undertake space launching activities here in Australia, including the launch of Australian satellites on US launch vehicles. By providing legal and technical frameworks, this agreement guarantees the protection of US space technology launched from Australia. The agreement is consistent with Australia’s non-proliferation goals embodied in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Guidelines.

Committee Chair Josh Wilson MP said, “With the global space sector forecast to grow rapidly, this agreement will open new commercial opportunities for Australia’s space launch programs. The agreement will contribute to building a robust and sustainable space launch sector here in Australia, making us more attractive as a global launching hub.”

“Australia’s domestic policies and regulations have created an open marketplace that will allow countries from around the world to launch from Australia. By providing a reliable and responsible foundation for the United States to access space, Australia will strengthen an already well-established relationship, and will seek to leverage expanded launch activities into a growing Australian space sector.”

The program and more details about the inquiry are available on the committee’s website. The hearing can be accessed online.

Public hearing details

Date: Monday 13 May 2024
Time: 11:15 am approximately
Location: Committee Room 1R6

 

ends

Strengthening Australia's approach to trade negotiations: final report published

THE Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has released its final report into the Australian Government’s approach to negotiating trade and investment agreements, which examined how Australia can strengthen its approach to trade negotiations.

Australia’s trade and investment agreements reduce barriers to trade for Australian goods, services, and investment, creating well paid and secure jobs, improving Australia's economic resilience, and contributing to economic growth and increased living standards.

Throughout the inquiry the committee heard about the immense benefits of trade to Australia, as well as the need to ensure that agreements are genuinely in the national interest.

Committee Chair Steve Georganas MP, said, “Trade makes a significant contribution to Australia’s prosperity and our approach to negotiating trade and investment agreements has served us well. However, it’s evident to the committee that more robust processes to identify the impact of agreements on Australian jobs and industries would be highly valuable.

"We must continue to adapt and improve our approach to ensure that our participation in international trade is of the greatest benefit to all Australians.”

The committee’s report makes eight recommendations to strengthen Australia’s approach to negotiating trade and investment agreements including by:

  • Undertaking independent modelling and analysis of each proposed or under review agreement.
  • Establishing a consistent approach to evaluating agreements including conducting broader assessment of economic, social, and environmental impacts.
  • Seeking to include human rights, labour, and environmental chapters in agreements, that where appropriate contain specific references to relevant international standards.
  • Seeking to not include provisions in agreements that waive labour market and skills testing requirements or investor state dispute settlement provisions.
  • Pursuing the inclusion of provisions in agreements that protect and promote First Nations intellectual property.
  • Establishing a legislative framework to guide some elements of the negotiation of trade and investment agreements.

The committee’s final report builds on its interim report published on February 6, 2024, that made five recommendations focussed on improving transparency, accountability, and oversight in the process for negotiating Australia’s trade and investment agreements.

Throughout the inquiry, the committee held eight public hearings in Canberra, Melbourne and virtually, in addition to receiving 54 written submissions from businesses, unions, industry associations, government agencies, community groups and individuals.                                 

The committee thanked those who had taken part in the inquiry by providing written submissions and giving evidence at public hearings.

The committee’s final report can be found on the inquiry webpage.

 

ends

Tourism and international education in regional Tasmania

THE Trade Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade will hold a public hearing today in Launceston for its inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors.

The subcommittee will hear evidence from the international education sector, including universities and student representatives. The subcommittee will also hear from regional tourism and businesses organisations, the aviation industry, tourism operators, and representatives from the State Government.

Chair of the Trade Subcommittee, Senator Deborah O’Neill said, "The subcommittee is excited to learn how the education and tourism sectors in regional Tasmania were impacted and have recovered from COVID-19, and hear what opportunities witnesses have identified to further strengthen each sector."

Further information about the inquiry and program (here), are available on the inquiry webpage.

ends

Public hearings details

Launceston, Tasmania

Date: Wednesday, 1 May 2024
Venue: Rooms 4 & 5, Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston, 29 Cameron St, Launceston, TAS
Time: 9:00am – 5:15pm (AEST)

JCPAA public hearings for Defence Major Projects Report, Commonwealth Financial Statements, IT procurement

THE Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) will be holding public hearings today, April 24, for its inquiries into Defence major projects, the Commonwealth fianncial statements and information technology issues including the Federal Government's failed visa privatisation process.

Specificall, the hearings cover the 2022–23 Defence Major Projects Report (first hearing). the Commonwealth Financial Statements 2022–23 (second hearing) and the failed visa privatisation process and the implementation of other public sector IT procurements and projects (continuing).

The details are:

Date:             Wednesday, 24 April 2024
Time:             8.45am – 5pm (AEST)
Venue:           Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House and by videoconference

Program:

Inquiry into the Defence Major Projects Report 2022–23
8.45am           Department of Defence
                            Australian National Audit Office

Inquiry into the failed visa privatisation process and implementation of other public sector IT procurements and projects
10.30am         Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
                             Australian National Audit Office
                             Workforce Australia IT System (Digital Employment Services Platform) and Apprenticeships Data Management System

11.15am         Department of Finance
                             Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
                             Australian National Audit Office
                             Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS)

12.30pm         Department of Finance
                             Digital Transformation Agency
                             Review and approval processes for IT systems

Inquiry into Commonwealth Financial Statements 2022–23
3.30pm           Department of Health and Aged Care
                             Australian National Audit Office
                             Potential legislative breaches relating to various benefits and services and significant finding regarding legislative compliance and legal advice

4pm           Department of Social Services
                             Australian National Audit Office
                             Late disclosure of information on income apportionment

4.30pm           Australian Taxation Office
                             Australian National Audit Office
                             IT Change Management policies and practices and other unresolved findings relating to pursuing debt and re-raises

The hearings will be broadcast live and will be accessible from the Parliament House website.

Details on the inquiries – including the terms of reference and submissions received – are available on the Committee website.

 

ends

PJCIS to review new declared areas bill

AT THE REQUEST of the Attorney-General, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced a review of the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Declared Areas) Bill 2024.

The amendments in the Bill would ensure the continuation of the declared areas offence in section 119.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The offence, which is due to sunset on September 7, 2024, is an element of the Australian Government’s efforts to stop Australians becoming foreign fighters.

The Bill would extend the offence for another three years, to September 7, 2027, and would also provide that section 119.3—the provision under which the Minister for Foreign Affairs can declare an area for the purpose of the offence in section 119.2—also ceases to have effect on September 7, 2027.

Chair of the PJCIS, Peter Khalil MP said, "The committee welcomes the referral of the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Declared Areas) Bill 2024. We look forward to receiving submissions from interested parties on the ongoing utility of the declared areas offences, which have been an important part of the Australian Government’s counter-terrorism efforts.

“Since the introduction of these offences, periodic review by this committee has ensured they are subject to ongoing parliamentary scrutiny and that the requirements of national security are constantly balanced against the rights of the individual," Mr Khalil said.

Submissions to the inquiry are invited by April 29, 2024.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

 

ends

Flood insurance inquiry hearings in western Sydney, the Hawkesbury and central-west NSW, May 7–10

THE House Standing Committee on Economics will hold public hearings in western Sydney, the Hawkesbury and the Central West from May 7–10 as part of its inquiry into insurers’ responses to 2022 major floods claims.

Committee Chair Daniel Mulino MP said the inquiry had heard from regulators, insurance companies and consumer advocacy and legal rights groups and, “Now we want to hear firsthand from the locals in some of the worst-hit regions.”

The committee will hold public hearings at Cabonne Community Centre, Molong on Tuesday May 7; Eugowra Bowling Club, Eugowra on Wednesday May 8; Richmond Club, Richmond on Thursday May 9; and at Mantra Parramatta, at Parramatta,  on Friday May 10.

The committee has recently held hearings in south-east Queensland, Lismore NSWMaribyrnong (western Melbourne) and regional Victoria.

The committee will next travel to Molong and Eugowra in central-west NSW, which were devastated by unprecedented flash flooding in November 2022. The committee will also hear evidence in Richmond from communities along the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, which was hit by back-to-back flood events in February 2020, March 2021, March, April and July 2022 – the worst flood since 1978 – October 2022, and again in April this year. The committee will then take evidence in Parramatta in western Sydney.

Dr Mulino said the committee would hear from affected councils, community organisations and businesses, which are being invited to give evidence at roundtable discussions. Organisations that wish to contribute can email their interest to the committee secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Expressions of interest are also sought from residents to give a three to four-minute public statement about their experience with their insurers. Dr Mulino urged people “with a story to share, and who are willing to go on the public record, to register – as soon as possible – their interest in appearing”.

The committee would like to hear about any of the following issues:

  • the experiences of policyholders before, during and after making claims;
  • timeframes for resolving claims;
  • obstacles to resolving claims;
  • insurers’ communication with policyholders;
  • accessibility, affordability and quality of hydrology reports and other expert assessments;
  • affordability of insurance premiums;
  • claimants’ experiences of insurers’ dispute resolution processes..

People who wish to make a public statement should email a one or two sentence summary of their experience to the committee secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They should write 'Public hearing' and the hearing location (Molong, Eugowra, Richmond or Parramatta) in the subject line and include the full name(s) for each person who wants to participate, as well as a contact number and email address.

Dr Mulino said not everyone may be able to be accommodated on the day.

“We know that in some of these places almost everyone has a story to tell," Dr Mulino said. "But for anyone who misses out or who wishes to provide information to the committee, there is still time to make a public or confidential submission, and/or complete our online survey.”

More than 400 people have completed the survey about their experience with their insurer. The survey is open until July 31 and is available here.

Submissions can be uploaded through this online link or emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until July 31, 2024.

Programs for the hearings will be posted on the inquiry website closer to the time. A live audio stream of the hearings will be available on the APH website.

For further information contact the Committee secretariat on 02 6277 4707 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Public hearings, May 2024:

Molong, NSW

Date: 7 May 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Cabonne Community Centre, 98 Bank St, Molong

Eugowra, NSW

Date: 8 May 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Eugowra Bowling Club, 5 Hill St, Eugowra

Richmond, NSW

Date: 9 May 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Richmond Club, 6 E Market St, Richmond

Parramatta, NSW

Date: 10 May 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Mantra Parramatta, Parramatta

For more information about the Economics Committee and its flood inquiry, visit its website.

 

ends

Committee to review proposed crime-related laws

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the committee) has commenced a review of the Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Omnibus No. 1) Bill 2024.

The Bill amends and clarifies the intended operation of provisions in various crime-related statutes, including by:

  • expressly authorising police, when executing search warrants issued under the Crimes Act 1914 or Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, to seize digital assets, such as cryptocurrency, including by accessing a person’s digital wallet and transferring its contents;
  • amending the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to extend the investigative and freezing powers that currently apply to financial institutions to also apply in relation to digital currency exchanges;
  • increasing the value of the Commonwealth ‘penalty unit’ from $313 to $330;
  • creating a position of Communications Security Coordinator in the Department of Home Affairs, with responsibility for certain telecommunications security functions currently assigned to the Communications Access Coordinator in the Attorney‑General’s Department;
  • amending information-sharing provisions in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 to enhance the ability of state-based oversight bodies for integrity agencies to receive interception information and interception warrant information from agencies within their jurisdictions.

The committee isd inviting written submissions to the inquiry by May 9, 2024.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

 

ends

Public hearings for two Audit Committee inquiries - Commonwealth Financial Statements and Failed Visa Privatisation

THE Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) will conduct the first public hearings on Friday April 19 for its inquiries on the 2022-23 Commonwealth Financial Statements and on the failed visa privatisation process and the implementation of other public sector IT procurements and projects.

Details

Date: Friday 19 April 2024
Time: 10am – 3.30pm (AEST)
Venue: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House

Program
Inquiry into Commonwealth Financial Statements 2022-23
10am-11.15am:       

Australian National Audit Office [IT and AI matters raised in the audit – roundtable]
Australian National Audit Office
Department of Home Affairs
Department of Finance
Digital Transformation Agency
Australian Signals Directorate
Department of Industry, Science and Resources
12.15pm         Break

Inquiry into the failed visa privatisation process and the implementation of other public sector IT procurements and projects
1pm           Australian National Audit Office
                  Department of Home Affairs
2.30pm      Australian National Audit Office
3.30pm      Close

The hearings will be broadcast live and will be accessible from the Parliament House website at www.aph.gov.au/live.

Details on the inquiries – including the terms of reference and submissions received – are available on the Committee website.

 

ends

Parliament examines digital transformation of workplaces

THE rapid uptake of automated decision making and machine learning in the workplace is the focus of a new inquiry launched today by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training

The committee wants to hear directly from workers, employers, software developers and providers, academics, employer groups and trade unions about the digital transformation of workplaces that is currently taking place across Australia.

Chair of the committee, Lisa Chesters MP said, "Following the committee’s recent work on generative artificial intelligence in the Australian education system, the committee is now turning its attention to examining the intersection between advanced digital technology and the labour market.

"Australian workplaces are changing the way they operate," Ms Chesters said. "The committee wants to understand what these changes mean for employees and employers, our workplaces and the way we regulate and govern our employment practices."

Of particular interest to the committee are the benefits and risks of automated decision making and machine learning in the context of work, the role of business software and regulatory technology companies, and how to ensure the safe and responsible use of these technologies.

The committee is welcoming submissions from interested individuals and organisations by Friday, June 21, 2024. More information on the inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on making a submission, can be found on the inquiry website.

ends

Submission deadline extension for Australia’s local government sustainability research

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport has extended the submission deadline by four weeks to May 31 this year for its inquiry into local government sustainability.

Chair of the committee, Luke Gosling MP said, "The committee recognises the importance of this inquiry to inform a deeper understanding of local government financial sustainability and service delivery obligations. The scope of the inquiry’s terms of reference covers a range of complexities across financial frameworks, skills development, labour hire practices, infrastructure, and asset management."

Mr Gosling said due to the high level of interest received to date, "the committee has agreed to extend the inquiry submission deadline by four weeks to Friday, 31 May 2024. The committee appreciates that many government and other organisations are keen to contribute to this important inquiry and is seeking to understand the challenges faced by local governments in servicing infrastructure requirements for their communities."

The committee is welcoming submissions from interested organisations and individuals by May 31. Further information on the inquiry, including the terms of reference and how to contribute, is available on the committee’s website.

 

ends

Flood insurance inquiry to hold hearings in Melbourne and regional Victoria, April

THE House Standing Committee on Economics will hold public hearings in Melbourne and regional Victoria from April 17–19 as part of its inquiry into insurers’ responses to 2022 major floods claims.

The committee will hold public hearings at:

  • Maidstone Community Centre, Maribyrnong – Wednesday 17 April
  • Rochester Shire Hall, Rochester – Thursday 18 April
  • Heathcote RSL Hall – Friday 19 April

Committee Chair Daniel Mulino MP said the inquiry had heard from regulators, insurance companies and consumer advocacy and legal rights groups. “Now we want to hear firsthand from the locals in some of the worst-hit regions.”

When the Maribyrnong River flooded on the night of October 13, 2022, it devastated more than 600 homes and businesses across the suburbs of Maribyrnong, Avondale Heights, Kensington and Ascot Vale, and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. It was the river’s third-worst flood on record – with Maribyrnong bearing the brunt of the damage.

Dr Mulino said the hearing on April 17 will hear from affected councils, community organisations and businesses, which have been invited to give evidence at roundtable discussions. Organisations that wish to contribute can email their interest to the Committee secretariat.

Expressions of interest are also being sought from residents to give a three to four-minute public statement about their experience with their insurers. Dr Mulino urged people “with a story to share, and who are willing to go on the public record, to register – as soon as possible – their interest in appearing”.

The committee would like to hear about any of the following issues:

  • the experiences of policyholders before, during and after making claims
  • timeframes for resolving claims
  • obstacles to resolving claims
  • insurers’ communication with policyholders
  • accessibility, affordability and quality of hydrology reports and other expert assessments
  • affordability of insurance premiums
  • claimants’ experiences of insurers’ dispute resolution processes.

People who wish to make a public statement should email a one or two sentence summary of their experience to the committee secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They should write 'public hearing' and the hearing location (Maribyrnong, Rochester or Heathcote) in the subject line and include the full name(s) for each person who wants to participate, as well as a contact number and email address.

Dr Mulino said the hearings may not be able to accommodate everybody on the day.

“We know that in some of these places almost everyone has a story to tell," he said. "But for anyone who misses out or who wishes to provide information to the committee, there is still time to make a public or confidential submission, and/or complete our online survey.”

More than 400 people have completed the survey about their experience with their insurer.

Submissions can be uploaded through this online link or emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until July 31.

Programs for the hearings will be posted on the inquiry website closer to the time. A live audio stream of the hearings will be available on the APH website.

Online survey: The survey is open until July 31 and is available here.

For further information contact the committee secretariat on 02 6277 4707 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Public hearings, April 2024:  

Programs will be posted on the inquiry website closer to the time. A live audio stream of the hearings will be available on the APH website.

Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Vic

Date: 17 April 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Maidstone Community Centre

Rochester, Vic

Date: 18 April 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Rochester Shire Hall

Heathcote, Vic

Date: 19 April 2024
Time: 9am (tbc)
Location: Heathcote RSL Hall

 

 

ends

Contact Us

 

PO Box 2144
MANSFIELD QLD 4122