Business News Releases

Regional tourism and international education in the spotlight

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

The Subcommittee will hear evidence from the international education sector including higher education, ELICOS and VET representatives as well as from an international student tour business. Gold Coast tourism and events organisations will provide evidence to the Subcommittee as well as the Queensland Department of Tourism and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

The Chair of the Trade Subcommittee, Senator Deborah O’Neill said, "The public hearing on the Gold Coast will take the committee away from capital cities and shift the focus to tourism and international education sectors in regional locations."

Senator O’Neill noted the importance of "hearing from regional and non-capital city voices as these experiences and needs may vary from capital city counterparts".

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

Public hearings details

Gold CoastDate: Wednesday, 17 May 2023Venue: Anna Rose Room, TAFE Queensland Robina Campus, 94 Laver Drive, RobinaTime: 8:30am – 5pm (AEST)




Economics committee to hear from former ACCC Chair, economists and market design experts

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hear from a range of experts in competition law, experimental economics and market design on Thursday, May 18, via videoconference as part of the committee’s inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition and business formation.

Committee Chair, Daniel Mulino MP, said, “Innovative market designs have been shown to lead to life-changing, and even life-saving, results, so the committee is looking forward to hearing from pioneering economists in this field, including CalTech’s Professor Charlie Plott; UQ’s Professor Flavio Menezes and John Quiggin; and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Market Design (Professors Simon Loertscher and David Byrne, and Gary Stoneham)."

Dr Mulino said market design could lead to increases in quality of life while simultaneously providing better value for a range of government spending areas.

“A local example is a bus transport pilot for students attending the Northern School of Autism," he said. "Students were travelling up to two hours each way and missing classes. The long travel times increased the students’ anxiety, which led to increased tension among families.

“Market design economists used algorithms to devise a scheme that determined the optimal travel route; the optimal vehicle size; and the prices at which services were provided within the parameters of a maximum travel time of one hour each way. The result was happier children and families for no additional cost to government.”

Dr Mulino said 'matching markets' was another type of market design “and a great example is the kidney exchange system, which has saved many more lives following its implementation”.

‘‘Market design theory can be applied to Australia’s economy in a variety of ways — whether that be designing markets that are fair and efficient, mechanisms that encourage new entrants into the market and prevent collusion, as well as developing platforms and marketplaces that facilitate these transactions," Dr Mulin said.

Market design can also substantially improve procurement outcomes. This could be of direct relevance to a number of quasi markets that have been established for the provision of social services.

The committee has looked at a number of issues relating to market concentration and competition issues more broadly.

Dr Mulino said competition and merger law was another complex area, and the committee was looking forward to hearing from former ACCC Chair Professor Allan Fels AO and other competition law experts, including Professor Deborah Healey (UNSW) and Dr Rhonda Smith (the University of Melbourne) on their experiences and ideas for ways to improve competition, foster economic dynamism and increase productivity.

More details about the inquiry and upcoming public hearings, including the full terms of reference, are available on the committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Thursday 18 MayTime: 9.30am to 2.45pm AESTvia VIDEOCONFERENCE

The public hearing will be broadcast live at



Workforce Australia Employment Services Committee continues hearings

THE Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services will continue its inquiry at a public hearing in Canberra on Wednesday,  May 17, with a focus on First Nations peoples, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with experience of the justice system.

The committee will hear from peak and representative bodies and government agencies, as well as from organisations representing the social enterprise and social ventures sector.

Committee Chair, Julian Hill MP, said, "It's a myth that all unemployed people are ready to work or able to do the jobs available. In fact, the data shows a giant mismatch between what employers are seeking and the enormously complex caseload of unemployed people including skills gaps, disabilities and illness.

"There is strong evidence that the current system has failed to invest in people and is not adapted to their diverse needs, backgrounds, and circumstances," he said.

"Trotting out stereotypes of ‘dole bludgers’ who should just ‘get a job’ will get a headline but won’t actually change anything. Long-term unemployment won’t be reduced without understanding the actual experiences of people.

"Listening is critical so we can make recommendations for a future employment services system that meets the needs of all Australians. Many people argue that social enterprises can contribute much more to helping the most disadvantaged jobseekers to remain engaged and prepare for employment in the open market’.

Further information about the inquiry, including Terms of Reference, future public hearings, published submissions and hearing transcripts, is available on the inquiry website.

Public hearing details

Date              17 May 2023Time              8.45am – 3pmLocation      Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, Canberra                           and by videoconferenceWitnesses  Australian Council of Social Service                          Economic Justice Australia                          National Indigenous Australians Agency                          Department of Employment and Workplace Relations                          Coalition of Peaks                          Settlement Council of Australia                          Social Ventures Australia                          Social Enterprise Australia                          Justice Reform Initiative                          Western Australian Association for Mental Health

The hearing will be live broadcast via the Parliament’s Watch, Read, Listen website.



Audit Committee to examine Defence’s procurement of Hunter Class Frigates

IN RESPONSE to the significant findings in a recent Auditor-General report, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) has expanded the scope of its existing inquiry into the Defence Major Projects Report (MPR) to include a detailed examination of Defence's procurement of Hunter Class Frigates, one of the projects included in the MPR.

Chair of the JCPAA, Julian Hill MP, said, “This is a deeply concerning report by the Auditor-General into a critically important Defence project. Given the seriousness of the concerns the committee initiated this inquiry less than 24 hours after the tabling of the report, and has scheduled initial public hearings for Friday 19 May.”

The committee has also invited written submissions by Friday, June 15, 2023 and has requested submissions from the contractor, BAE Systems, as well as the British High Commission.

Further information about the inquiry, including the updated terms of reference, is available on the Committee website.



Diverse groups to talk migration pathways to nation building

BUILDING on recent public hearings in Melbourne and regional Victoria, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration will hold a series of hearings over the next week with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Beginning with hearings in Canberra on Friday May 12, the committee will then call witnesses for full days of hearings on May 16, 17 and 18 via videoconference.

For more information about this committee, you can visit its website.



AWU to push for critical minerals export tax as national secretary announces departure

THE Australian Workers' Union has announced it will move a resolution at the upcoming ALP National Conference that would commit Labor to "a tax on unprocessed exports of critical minerals and establish a production subsidy scheme to foster domestic refining, processing and component manufacturing from critical minerals".

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton will outline the union's new position in a speech to the Sydney Institute on Wednesday night.

Mr Walton has also announced today that after nearly seven years at the helm he has decided to move on from his role as national secretary. Mr Walton will stay on for the next couple of months to help handover and oversee the leadership transition.

"It has been a singular honour to lead the AWU and I'm incredibly proud of what our union has achieved by working together since 2016," Mr Walton said.

"We helped save the steel industry from the brink of collapse. We've celebrated inspiring industrial wins. We've helped improve conditions for vulnerable workers like fruit pickers. And we've had a positive impact influencing the national agenda, especially on energy prices and a fair go for manufacturing.

"Along the way we've modernised our processes and structures and our union is now growing strongly. I'm so pleased the AWU is today in great shape to continue the mission it started in 1886: fighting for a fairer deal for Australian workers."

Mr Walton also announced the AWU would begin a push for a new tax on the export critical minerals – such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earths – which are vital for the manufacture of renewable energy technology. Mr Walton will argue that the current free-for-all approach of raw mineral exports to China is compromising the national interest.

"We need to apply a significant, punitive tax on the export of raw critical minerals from Australia. And we need the revenue raised to be pumped directly back into subsidies for the manufacturing and processing on critical minerals onshore," Mr Walton said.

"Australia has been blessed with the world's most enviable supply of critical minerals, but simply digging these precious material up and loading them on ships is an incredibly limited way to view the opportunity.

"We lack a substantial national capacity to turn our critical minerals, like lithium, into anything useful. We are relying on the idea that we can just export these raw minerals to China and they will send us back the components and goods we need.

"But if Australia wants to make batteries that rival China’s do we think China will be happy to keep selling us the components we need? Do we really want to assume that we can keep digging up critical minerals, shipping them to China for processing, and China will just keep shipping them back to us to manufacture batteries? It’s not a bet I’d feel confident about.

"If we continue to just ‘let the market rule’ it will mean only one thing: Australia’s raw materials will be shipped off to China and China will be the only player in our region with the sovereign capacity to turn them into anything useful.

"The US is using its raw economic heft through the Inflation Reduction Act to force investment in its manufacturing capacity through subsidies. Australia is not in the same position to call the shots like this. But what we do have is a big chunk of the world’s critical minerals within our sovereign soil.

"That’s our leverage and we would be absolute fools not to use it. We know demand from the world for our critical minerals is astronomical. We have the power to create the rules under which they can have them. Treasury doesn’t have access to enough carrots to encourage the change we need here. We need to get out the stick."



Speaker brings Parliament to North Queensland schools

THIS WEEK, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Milton Dick MP, is in North Queensland to resume the flagship Parliament in Schools program.

With content tailored to their grade level, students will learn about federation, democracy and the Australian Parliament, as well as hear from the Speaker and their local member on what happens behind the scenes.

Over three days, the Speaker and the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) will visit:

  • Mossman State Primary School, Mossman – with the Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch on Tuesday 2 May,
  • Trinity Beach Primary School, Trinity Beach – with the Member for Leichardt, Warren Entsch on Tuesday 2 May,
  • Blackheath and Thornburgh College, Richmond Hill – with the Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter on Wednesday 3 May,
  • Crescent Lagoon State School, West Rockhampton– with the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry on Thursday 4 May, and
  • The Hall State School, Wandal – with the Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry on Thursday 4 May.

"Canberra is Australia’s centre of democracy – but not all Australian students will have the privilege of visiting," Speaker Milton Dick said.

"One of my biggest priorities is to increase the accessibility of civics education.

"What makes the Parliament in Schools program so successful, is the great teamwork with fellow Members of Parliament, the excellent support by the PEO and participation by such enthusiastic and engaged students.

"It is so important we empower school students with the knowledge, skills and values so that they can go on to be active and informed citizens.’

About the Parliament in Schools program

Launched last year, the Parliament in Schools program is a bi-partisan initiative to make civics education accessible to students regardless of their location. In collaboration with the PEO, the Speaker is visiting schools across Australia to bring parliament to them.

The program is an extension to well-established PEO onsite, digital and outreach education programs available to schools across Australia.

It also complements the existing PEO online and print resources that are curriculum-aligned, for Australian teachers and students.



Regional mobile infrastructure inquiry to hear from Indigenous communities, grain growers, miners and more

FINDING collaborative ways to fund improvements to mobile phone infrastructure services across regional and remote Australia will be the focus of the public hearings in Adelaide, Alice Springs and Perth this week.

The House Communications and the Arts Committee will also hear evidence from state and territory governments, Indigenous communities and First Nations media, business chambers, councils, health services, fire and emergency services and community groups on the impacts of unreliable mobile coverage.

The hearings are investigating how to improve the reliability in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia for its parliamentary inquiry into regional mobile carrier infrastructure.

Committee Chair, Brian Mitchell MP, outlined the majority of mobile infrastructure was not co-located, especially in regional areas. The committee wants to better understand why the rates of co-location for Australia’s major mobile providers dramatically decline as they move from urban to regional and remote areas.

The committee will be seeking views on whether co-investment is the best tool to encourage multiple telecommunications providers in regional areas to invest in and share ‘multi-carrier’ mobile towers to improve the range and reliability of their services.

Public hearing in AdelaideWitnesses: SA Department for Energy and Mining, SA Forest Products Association, Grain Producers SA, Outback Communities Authority, District Council of Mount Remarkable, emergency services and community groupsTime and date: 9:30am to 1pm ACST 15 MayLocation: Balcony Room, House of Assembly, Parliament of South Australia

Public hearing in Alice SpringsWitnesses: First Nations Media Australia, Indigenous Community Television, Central Desert Regional Council, Alice Springs Town Council, and community groupsTime and date: 8:30am to 12:15pm ACST 16 MayLocation: Spinifex Room, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, 82 Barrett Drive

Public hearing in PerthWitnesses: WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA Local Government Association, AHA WA, Bunbury business chamber, WA Country Health Service, WA Grains Group and Fortescue Metals GroupTime and date: 9:30am to 1pm AWST 17 MayLocation: CPO, Exchange Tower, 2 The Esplanade

The inquiry’s terms of reference and information about the Committee may be found on the Committee’s webpage.



Thinktanks, thinkers and tech the focus of competition inquiry hearings

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hear from strategic thinkers about competition on May 2 and from the tech sector on May 3, 2023 in two days of public hearings.

The hearings, part of the committee’s inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition and business formation, will be conducted by videoconference.

Committee Chair, Daniel Mulino MP said, "There is substantial evidence that Australia’s economy has become more concentrated. Research has found that wages tend to be lower when fewer employers dominate the market.

Rates of business start-up and job switching have also declined, which is concerning because both are important factors in higher wages.," Dr Mulino said.

"Furthermore, over the past year alone, our economy has experienced a number of supply chain shocks, in part because of the war in Ukraine, which speaks to the importance of economic resilience.

"And competition is one way to build resilience – a diverse and dynamic economy is also a resilient economy that is better equipped to deal with unexpected shocks and adapt to the challenges of an uncertain world.

"In a nutshell, less competition is associated with higher prices, fewer new businesses, less consumer choice, lower quality, less innovation and, ultimately, fewer jobs and less growth.

"For all these reasons and more, it is really important that we set the scene and hear from economists and thinktanks from across the political spectrum about their ideas on a robust competition policy. We are fortunate to have in Australia a number of highly experienced economists who can provide this commentary," Dr Mulino said.

The committee will hear from several experts on Tuesday, including e61, the Grattan Institute, the Institute of Public Affairs, former ACCC chair Rod Sims, and UNSW economist Richard Holden.

On Wednesday the committee will hear from the tech sector, including the Tech Council of Australia, FinTech Australia and Microsoft.

"Given the extraordinary pace and scale of technological change and its impact on businesses in this country, we need to hear from those at the cutting edge about the opportunities and risks for competition in sectors such as banking, energy, and retail, as well as across the broader economy," Dr Mulino said.

"We need to fully understand how regulation can keep up with the disruption resulting from technological change while also not stymieing innovation."

More details about the inquiry and upcoming public hearings, including the full terms of reference, are available on the committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Thinktanks and economists

Date: Tuesday 2 May 2023Time: 11am to 4pm

Tech sector

Date: Wednesday 3 May 2023Time: 9am to 2.30pm

Both public hearings will be broadcast live at



Intelligence Committee supports passage of National Security Bill

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has presented its Advisory Report on the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No. 2) Bill 2023.

The Bill seeks to implement ten recommendations of the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community (known as the Richardson Review), and also makes two amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001.

The committee recommended that the Bill be passed, subject to the implementation of one committee recommendation, about clarifying the availability to ASIO officers of defences for certain national infrastructure related offences.

The committee received both public and classified evidence related to the proposed amendments to 13 Commonwealth Acts in the Bill, and found that all were reasonable and justified.

The amendments related to Richardson Review recommendations had been developed in line with that review’s findings and give effect to the reforms and efficiencies envisaged by those changes.

Committee Chair Peter Khalil MP said, "The committee supports improvements that allow the National Intelligence Community to undertake its important work without the encumbrances of outdated legislation or without the defences and exemptions necessary to protect their information, critical functions and capabilities.

"The Bill also considers principles delivered by Justice Hope 40 years ago, outlined in the review which highlight the importance of agencies being held accountable, operating in accordance with the law, with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms, whilst remaining politically impartial," Mr Khalil said.

The two amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 were considered by the committee and were supported in the committee’s majority report. These relate to the composition and quorum of the PJCIS; and to the requirements of ministerial directions given to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

Mr Khalil said, "The amendments to the composition of the PJCIS will allow for flexibility and an increased membership on the committee to engage in its important work.

"The amendments related to the most sensitive work of ASIS will require greater detail in ministerial directions, to ensure that appropriate ministerial oversight and accountability in relation to ASIS’ activities is maintained into the future."

Further information on the inquiry as well as a copy of the report can be obtained from the Committee’s website.



Hearings focus on advanced manufacturing in Australia

ON TUESDAY MAY 3, the Federal Parliamentary House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources will hold a series of public hearings in Melbourne in support of its inquiry into developing advanced manufacturing in Australia.

Stakeholders from Australia’s health, engineering and space industries are scheduled to appear, as well as representatives of Australia’s tertiary education and research sectors.

The committee will explore a range of matters, including the current level of advanced manufacturing in Australia, major international trends, and strategies to further develop capabilities in this area.

Committee Chair, Rob Mitchell MP said, “It is important to understand the opportunities that exist – and the challenges that our manufacturers face – for building capability in advanced manufacturing.

"This inquiry is seeking to identify opportunities to enhance Australia’s strategic growth and global competitiveness.”

The committee commenced its inquiry into developing advanced manufacturing on February 15, 2023.

Further information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, is available on the committee’s website:



Contact Us


PO Box 2144