The Abbott Government’s approach to youth unemployment has the potential to confine young people to an endless cycle of no income support at all, pushing many young jobseekers into poverty, crisis and homelessness.

With unemployment forecast to peak at 6.5 per cent and youth unemployment already around 14 per cent this type of measure is patently unfair, and bad for the economy. 

Jobseekers need support to find a job, not savage attacks that make it harder for them to find work.

Whether for one month or six, Labor will not support a measure which pushes young people into poverty and hardship.

In Canberra last week I met with board members from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
FRRR is a charitable trust and works to achieve positive outcomes for rural and remote communities, and help community groups create local solutions to local issues.

The FRRR is Australia's only national foundation offering small, discretionary funds to regional communities in all states and territories. FRRR was established in 2000 through the support of the Australian Government and the Sidney Myer Fund to promote rural and regional renewal, regeneration and development in Australia in social, economic, environmental, and cultural areas.

Since its establishment, FRRR has provided over $25 million in grants to communities across regional Australia and has leveraged many millions more supporting projects that benefit whole communities.

A number of local community groups have benefited from FRRR funding. These include; Denman and District Men’s Shed, Putty Community Association, Upper Hunter Community Services, McCully’s Gap Hall Association, Muswellbrook PCYC, CWA Rylstone, Olinda Bush Fire Brigade, Jerry’s Plains & District Progress Association, UnitingCare Singleton Disability Respite Services and Baerami Memorial School of Arts

FRRR has a number of grants that open at different times of the year. To find out more details about available grants, including how to apply, visit http://www.frrr.org.au/.

As the world’s population grows to a potential 9 billion, we need to ask ourselves; how will we feed them all?  One answer will be to learn to grow more with the same or less natural resources.  That’s why addressing the challenges posed by a changing climate including the embrace of more sustainable and productive farming practices is so important.  Innovation will play a big role.

But a good start also would be to reduce the ridiculous amount of food we waste.  Last week I attended an OzHarvest function in Parliament House where we were told that in Australia alone, we throw out $8-10 billion worth of food each year!  At the event, we were fed food that had been rescued from the surplus food stream and it was fine.  OzHarvest founder and social entrepreneur Ronni Kahn is the brains behind the rescued food project and it’s been a huge success.  Their goal is to reduce food waste globally by 50% by 2025 both through public education and recovery.  It’s a great cause.

The Commonwealth Bank is now accepting applications for the 2015 Teaching Awards, giving teachers the opportunity to be recognised and awarded $10,000 to fund an existing or new financial education initiative in their school. Each of the 15 winning teachers will also receive $2,000 as a personal reward for their hard work and dedication.

Applications for the 2015 Teaching Awards are open until Monday 27 July 15. Kindergarten to Year 12 teachers in Australian schools are eligible to apply. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 30 September 2015. For more information visit www.teachingawards.com.au.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an annual initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia running throughout the month of June (1-30 June), to raise public awareness of a disease that claims the lives of 77 Australians every week.
Bowel cancer is the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia affecting both men and women almost equally and is Australia's second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer.
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month has a positive message – saving lives through early detection – as bowel cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if found early.
For more information visit Bowel Cancer Australia's Bowel Cancer Awareness Month website.

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

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