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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Immigration: We can choose our skills, but we can't choose our family

Whilst boat arrivals, asylum seekers, skilled permanent and temporary programs and even students have kept immigration featured in our politics and newspapers, family migration receives little share of public debate. This is intriguing as family migration is a bigger part of permanent migration than official planning levels would lead us to believe. Migration Program planning levels fluctuate according to the political, social and economic imperatives of the government of the day. In the mid-1970s, the planned annual intake reached a low of 50,000 places and gradually climbed to the 1988 peak of 145,000 and then reduced to 80,000 by 1993. As can be seen ... Read more...

Of Airports and High Speed Trains

The discussion of a High Speed Train (HST) along the east coast of Australia has rumbled on for decades. But now it's running into the Sydney airport issue. The government has recently released a study into the feasibility of a HST system and is completing another report about a location for a second Sydney Airport (SSA). The Australian Greens argued in late 2012 that a new report, commissioned by Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, outlined a strong economic case for High Speed Rail (HSR) and removed the need to build a second airport for Sydney. The study also concluded that $48 billion in benefits would accrue from a HSR network along the East Coast from Melbourne, to Canberra, Sydney and B... Read more...

Motorways for the masses

With the approach of a Federal Election, ambitious metropolitan road projects are in the spotlight. Both major parties are offering federal funding to address worsening urban congestion issues as Australia’s cities continue to grow. The Liberal National Party coalition has promised to support the construction/upgrade of three metropolitan limited access roads to connect to existing motorways in our largest cities. And the Prime Minister has announced further funding support for the WestConnex project in Sydney, contingent upon it providing better freight links to Port Botany and a toll-free M4 connection with the city. Following on from previous commitments, the 2013 LNP policy ‘Our Plan – R... Read more...

National Ports Strategy and planning

On 7 January 2011, the Government released its new National Ports Strategy. The strategy proposes to clear freight bottlenecks and ensure urban development does not stall the ability to expand port facilities, through the implementation of planning buffer zones around ports along with streamlined environmental approval processes.Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission released a draft of a Proposed National Ports Strategy on 6 May 2010. The work was undertaken in response to a 2009 directive from the then Prime Minister to provide a strategy for consideration by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).Next month's meeting of COAG will study the strategy’s 42 propo... Read more...

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