My mobile office will be at Branxton Community Hall today from 2pm - 4pm to follow up on any Federal Government issue readers may have.

Appointments are available or just call in. 

It’s tax time again and many of you will be pouring over your yearly accounts wondering whether you should save some money and do your own tax return.

If this is you, make sure you are aware of any changes that have occurred to tax rules since your last claim.  Don’t assume that something you claimed last year will be claimable again this year. Changes this year include the removal of the mature age worker and the dependent spouse tax offsets, and further changes to the net medical expenses tax offset.

My office has a small supply of paper tax returns available for readers. For more information log on to the ATO website at

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has commenced its Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) which will run until June 2016.

The HIES is a national household survey which collects information on household income, expenditure, assets and liabilities and is one of the most important social surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It is run every six years and provides the community with a vital resource for analyzing the economic resources of Australian households.

Information on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics (including education, labour force status, child care arrangements, disability status and perceptions of financial situation) and financial details (for income, assets, liabilities and expenditure on housing) will be collected through a personal interview with residents from approximately 18,900 private dwellings in urban and rural areas of all states and territories. A subset of respondents from 10,900 of those dwellings will also be asked detailed expenditure questions. This includes the completion of a diary of purchases and payments made over a two-week period by persons aged 15 years and over.

Principal users of the HIES information are government and other social and economic analysts involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of social and economic policies. Results will be used to analyse and monitor the social and economic welfare of Australians, including household income distribution and the expenditure patterns of households within potentially disadvantaged groups. These analyses assist in the planning of services and support arrangements. The survey is also the main basis for updating the commodity weights in the Consumer Price Index.

Due to the comprehensive nature of the HIES survey, the ABS makes every effort to reduce the burden on respondents. All information provided is treated as confidential under the Census and Statistics Act1905, and the ABS takes extensive precautions to protect the data.

Voting in Australia is compulsory, but it is also a privilege.  It is important that you exercise your right to vote and to do so you need to make sure your enrolment is up to date. 

To check your current enrolment or to register to vote go to and follow the links or call my office for more information.  Make your vote count!

I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

Why not go the extra step by following me on my Facebook page “Joel Fitzgibbon” or on Twitter and type in the search bar “fitzhunter”. Or by regularly checking my website at or you can even sign up to my E-Newsletter.

To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.

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