Saltmarsh ecosystems: helping to tackle climate change and protect coastal homes - Media Release

Joint media release with
The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Minister for Environment and Water

Saltmarsh ecosystems: helping to tackle climate change and protect coastal homes - Media Release

New data has shown that saltmarsh ecosystems are protecting over 88,000 homes from storm surges, and sequestered about 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021.  

Saltmarshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tide.

This information comes from the second phase of the Australian Government’s National Ocean Ecosystem Account, released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Phase two has focused on carbon storage, gross carbon sequestration and coastal protection benefits of Australia’s saltmarshes, which are considered to be blue carbon ecosystems.

There are over 1 million hectares of saltmarsh in Australia, an area larger than Greater Melbourne.

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Drive with Anna Vidot - Transcript, ABC Canberra



ANNA VIDOT: Speaking of organisations that do a power of good in our community, for some of the most vulnerable people in Canberra, community legal centres are a vital service for accessing justice. Whether it was people who were caught up in the awful road [indistinct] saga, victims of domestic violence, public housing tents, First Nations people navigating the justice system, many of these clients are represented by not-for-profit community legal centres. 

Now, clearly there are also a lot of policy questions around all of this, and the laws that affect all of these kinds of issues, but for almost a decade, community legal centres that receive Commonwealth funding have not been allowed to lobby government or advocate for policy change or law reform. 

This dates back to a 2014 change when the Abbott Government restricted the right of these organisations to enter into public debate or criticism of the Commonwealth and its agencies, and that was a condition of their Commonwealth funding. 

Well, that's been scrapped, the Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has announced today, he says they're ending that what, he's called "censorship", of these community legal centres. 

Andrew Leigh is the Assistant Minister for Competition Charities, appropriately enough, when we're talking charities today, Andrew Leigh. Andrew Leigh, thanks so much for your time.

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Look overseas to see the virtues of more competition - Op Ed - The Australian

The Australian, Tuesday 29 November 2022

Earlier this month, the competition watchdog released its inquiry into digital services.

The report highlighted the massive market dominance of digital platforms, such as Google, which has a 94 per cent share of the search market. It recommended major reforms, such as a requirement that user interfaces are designed in the best interests of consumers, and a broadbased ban on unfair trading practices.

Since at least the days of Adam Smith, economists have spruiked the virtues of competition. Industries with plenty of competitors tend to deliver lower prices and more choice than sectors dominated by a single monopoly.

Yet over recent decades, the Australian economy has exhibited some worrying trends. The business start-up rate and job switching have declined, while market concentration and mark-ups have risen.

In considering what to do, there’s plenty we can learn from other countries.

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Supporting tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices - Media Release


Supporting tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices

The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to support tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices when guests contact them to book directly.

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh, today announced that the Government will commence consultation to understand if online booking platforms are restricting the ability of tourism and accommodation providers to set their own prices, and to identify if any action is required to address this.

If online travel agents use price parity clauses or similar restrictions, this could overwhelmingly impact smaller accommodation providers, particularly smaller individual operators who rely on online travel agents to market their products. 

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W D Borrie Lecture at the Australian Population Association Conference - Speech, Canberra

Health Inequalities In The Covid Pandemic: Evidence From Australia
Wednesday, 23 November 2022

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today, pay my respects to their Elders past and present, and commit myself to the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

It is my pleasure to be invited to talk at the Australian Population Association's 2022 Conference, and an honour to be giving the W.D. Borrie Lecture.

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Appropriations Bill Debate 2022 - House of Representatives - 22 November 2022

Appropriations Bill 2022
House of Representatives
22 November 2022

I am pleased to rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023, a bill which reflects on the contributions of the Albanese government in taking action on climate change; beginning to make some of the much-needed investments into housing; and recognising the importance of fixing up parts of our education system that are not working as well as they can. This is a budget which deals with some of the rorts and mismanagement that have been locked in under nine lost years of coalition government. It is a budget which makes an investment in Australians' future.

I want to talk about much of that, but I want to anchor it in the aspirations, interests and commitments of some young Canberrans. I want to do so through an interesting initiative, the Raise Our Voice Australia initiative. Raise Our Voice is a volunteer-run organisation that seeks to amplify diverse young, female, trans and non-binary voices to actively lead conversations in politics and in domestic and foreign policy. They've asked me to amplify the voices of young people from Fenner by reading their words in this parliament. So I'm going to begin my speech today with speeches from four young Australians, beginning with Amelie Toogood, nine years old. Amelie says as follows:

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Mornings with Adam Shirley - Transcript, ABC Canberra



ADAM SHIRLEY (HOST): There's been quite a bit of change since the Labor Federal government took the reins in late May. And it's true to say, in the case of the regulator of all charities in Australia, a new boss is in place. Susan Woodward has been announced as full time commissioner to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission for five years. Andrew Leigh is the Minister responsible. Dr Leigh, thank you very much for your time today.


SHIRLEY: How clear a break are you trying to make from the way the charities regulator was run in the last nine years?

LEIGH: Well, it's a big break from the former head of the charities commission, a bloke called Gary Johns, who had made his name largely as a charities critic before being appointed by the Liberals to head the charities commission. His appointment was snuck through in the hours following the same sex marriage vote, largely in order to cover some of the statements he had made, including describing Indigenous women as ‘cash cows’. This appointment is quite different. He said when we came to office, we would do an open call for nominations and then have an independent panel that would select the head of the charities commission. That independent panel was the head of Treasury, the head of Finance and the first head of the charities commission, Susan Pascoe. They came forward with the recommendation. I was pleased to accept that recommendation. And that's Sue Woodward, somebody with enormous connections, respect and knowledge of the charity sector.

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Susan Woodward to head Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission - Media Release


Susan Woodward to head Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Today I announce the appointment of Ms Susan Woodward AM as the full-time Commissioner to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for a five-year period commencing on 12 December 2022.

The Albanese Government believes in the value that charities bring to our economy and society, and respects their role in our democracy. The charity and non-profit sector comprises around one-tenth of employment, and a significant amount of GDP.

The ACNC is the independent national regulator of charities, and works to support a strong, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector. It is vital for Australia that the ACNC be headed by an experienced leader, who commands broad respect across the Australian community sector.

Ms Woodward has extensive experience in the charities and not-for-profits sector. Since 2015, she has been the Chief Adviser, Not-for-profit Law at Justice Connect. She has previously served in senior roles in the Australian Government and the ACNC and is a recognised legal and regulatory expert. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for her significant service to the not-for-profit sector, to fundraising and to the law.

Ms Woodward’s appointment continues the Albanese Government’s strong record of identifying capable women for senior public sector roles.

The Albanese Government thanks Deborah Jenkins for her contribution as acting ACNC Commissioner for the past few months.

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Warren Hogan Memorial Lecture - Speech

Warren Hogan Memorial Lecture: Economic Dynamism: A Global Perspective
University Of Sydney, School Of Economics
Wednesday, 2 November 2022


I acknowledge the Gadigal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

Thank you to the Sydney University School of Economics for hosting today.

I have fond memories of my first-year economics class in Merewether in 1991.

In the seat next to me was my friend Justin Wolfers – now a professor at the University of Michigan, and co-author of a major first-year textbook.

Last month, I gave a talk to Justin’s Economics 101 class at the University of Michigan, reflecting on the power of economics in public policy.

It's a lesson our first-year Sydney University lecturer embodied.

In 1991, he was just another dashing macroeconomics lecturer, but Yanis Varoufakis would go on to enter the Hellenic Parliament, and serve as one of the most significant finance ministers in Greek history, attempting to help navigate his country’s economy through the 2015 debt crisis.

He had quite the influence on his students – my parliamentary colleague Chris Bowen, who delivered the 2019 Lecture, is another student of this era (Bowen 2019).

At that time, the School of Economics was a mere 69-year-old whippersnapper.

It’s hard to believe it celebrated 100 years in July.

Congratulations to Garry Barrett for your leadership of the school, as well as your pioneering microeconometric research, especially on inequality.

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Charities consultations conclude in Darwin - Media Release

Joint media release with
The Hon Luke Gosling OAM MP
Member for Solomon


The nation’s largest charity consultation reached Darwin yesterday, as the Albanese Government meets with charities across the country to discuss how to rebuild their role in communities.

Over the past generation, Australia’s community bonds have frayed as people have become less likely to join, volunteer and participate in community activities.

And for nearly a decade, the previous government downplayed and discouraged the expertise of charities and non‑profit organisations, and our communities have paid the price.

Yesterday’s Darwin Community Building Forum highlighted that Northern Territory charities are vital for vulnerable Australians and rebuilding community connections.

They deliver critical legal support, health support, and support conservation, land care, and closing the gap.

The forum also highlighted that Northern Territory charities are resilient and innovative, having found new ways to engage supporters and volunteers.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.