As Australians prepare to spend around $50 billion in the lead-up to Christmas Day, Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta has urged locals to shop small in our community.

“The coming month is when many local businesses take risks, make investments and employ more locals in the hope that the upswing in Christmas retail trade makes it possible,” Mr Vasta said.

“From the many local stores which have unique gifts and must-haves for family, friends and loved ones, to small businesses which sell the groceries necessary for the festive season, there is nothing we need this Christmas which Bonner small businesses don’t sell.”

Mr Vasta said many of Bonner’s small businesses employ more young people and those looking for casual work during the Christmas season.

“Christmas is a vital injection of cash and confidence into our community and a chance to help our small businesses employ more local – particularly young people – and keep that money flowing around our local economy.

Mr Vasta also backed Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack’s challenge to Australians this Christmas – think local and shop small. 

“Through your support and the hard work of millions of Aussies and their small businesses, this can be a merry Christmas for local jobs and for our communities,” Mr McCormack said.

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Mr Speaker,

I present the fifth report of the Petitions Committee for the 45th Parliament together with 3 petitions and 1 ministerial response to a petition previously prevented. The terms of the petitions and the ministerial response will be printed in Hansard.

As this is my last presentation for the year, I will take the opportunity to brief the House on the work of the Petitions Committee thus far. Since the commencement of the 45th Parliament, the Petitions Committee has held 5 meetings, considered 87 petitions, certified 32 e-petitions and 32 paper petitions as being in order and certified 23 petitions as being out of order. The committee has taken time to deliberate over the content of some petitions at these meetings to ensure that they meet the requirements of the standing orders.

In my role as the Chair, I have presented 13 petitions and 21 ministerial responses that were certified in the 44th Parliament. I have, on behalf of the Committee, presented 16 e-petitions and 18 paper petitions along with 5 ministerial responses.

Mr Speaker, the Petitions Committee is pleased to note that at this time there has been a good uptake of the e-petitions system, with there being an equal number of e-petitions and paper petitions that have been found in order to this date. The committee is also pleased that the majority of petitions that the committee considers are in order, which is a good result for those who seek to petition the House.

The content of the petitions has been diverse with petitions from school children concerned about the price paid to dairy farmers for their milk, communities concerned about the lack of mobile phone coverage or the protection of local environments. Communities have banded together to petition the House on topics close to them such as the provision of an integrated cancer centre in a regional hospital.

Mr Speaker, the Petitions Committee has been very busy so far this Parliament and I am sure that in 2017, the committee will continue to be busy assisting concerned members of the Australian community to petition the House.

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