HUNTER VALLEY NEWS COLUMN WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 2015

Jason Clare, Shadow Minister for Communications visited our electorate last week to discuss the ongoing issues too many people face with poor mobile coverage and broadband access.

Jason Clare pointed out that under Labor's plan many more people would have the NBN now and confirmed Labor’s commitment to the NBN. Meanwhile we are working hard to ensure electorates such as Hunter are not left behind.

I have run many campaigns in Hunter highlighting the difficulties faced by my constituency and have had some recent successes with more ADSL2 ports being released in Abermain, Greta and Branxton.  However there is still a long way to go.

Please contact my office if you are experiencing long delays with connection or service quality so I can continue raising this issue with the Minister.

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Many of you have contacted my office with concerns about electromagnetic energy (EME) in relation to communications towers and radio transmitters.  As more mobile phone towers are built and the NBN rolls out you may wish to become more informed about EME.

I now have available some fact sheets that provide information on this issue. Please contact my office on 0249911022 or email joel.fitzgibbon.mp@aph.gov.au if you would like a copy sent to you.

The Department of Communications also has information on its website at www.arpansa.gov.au/Science/rf/ or phone 1800022333 for further information on EME.

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There have been regular, persistent and disturbing media reports about unscrupulous marketing and recruitment practices targeting vulnerable people and signing them up to training courses that may be of poor quality and inappropriate to their needs. 

These reports often identify a real problem with people being misled about the actual debt they will be incurring with the Commonwealth Government through the use of VET FEE-HELP. Many of these stories identify people having debts over $20,000 without even finishing the course and gaining a qualification.

It is clear that this appalling exploitation of people who simply want to improve themselves and their chance at getting a job is prevalent in our communities.  We have to take effective action to make sure the message gets out to people before they are trapped into debts that cause them significant distress and hardship and to provide advice to those who have already been caught up in this situation.

The ACCC has consumer information available for many sectors that have been the subject of exploitation in the past and Labor has requested that a similar campaign is developed for the vocational education sector. Revelations of over 600 complaints to the NSW Office of Fair Trading about unscrupulous providers underlines the need for urgent action.  Young Australians deserve action to safeguard their rights, and to ensure that they have access to the best quality training.

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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 www.joelfitzgibbon.com or you can even sign up to my E-Newsletter.

 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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