Thursday, 4 April 2019
Matters of Public Importance
A whole heap of more election cons and a whole heap of stuff locking in Liberal cuts from their budget. Their budget was one of the biggest cons I've seen in this place in 11 years: a whole heap of smoke and mirrors that talks about how they have doubled the debt. They absolutely have doubled the debt, and they try to come in here and blame others for their mismanagement of the budget and the economy. What they have done in their budget is actually lock in their cuts to hospitals and to schools. That is what they've done. You absolutely have locked in your cuts to hospitals and to schools in this budget. There are schools in Tasmania who know about this cut. There is $52 million cut from schools and students in Tasmania and $11 million cut from our hospital systems in my home state.
And then of course we've seen this alleged surplus. We know this is built on the underspend in the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Scheme—$1.6 billion. We had the Prime Minister try to convince everybody that this is a demand-driven system and that, if the demand was there, it would all be okay. I'm going to quote Senator Eric Abetz in the Sunday Tasmanian. Senator Abetz and I normally don't agree on very much, let me assure you of that, but he is one of my constituents, and I do represent him in this place. Senator Abetz raised some questions about the NDIS in our local paper because he was so concerned about it. There are some participants in Tasmania who cannot get the services they need because of this government's bungled implementation of the NDIS. We have a builder in Tasmania who said:
Since July 2015 we have been quoting and providing services for the NDIA. Nearly four years later, we have not seen one NDIS project go ahead.
Let me tell you about the people we're talking about here. As Senator Abetz identified, we're talking about a teenager who's six foot seven and who needs to be lifted and carried to get inside their home. We're talking about a participant in Kingston, in our electorate, who is a teenage child—an NDIS participant of three years—who still has to be carried up stairs to the living area. These are people living with disability and their families who need services that they can't get, and you have an underspend that's propping up the alleged surplus that you're claiming you're going to get in a years time. For the Prime Minister to say there's no demand when his own senator knows that there's a demand is just appalling, quite frankly.
And then of course we have the situation with TAFEs and apprenticeships. I had another Tasmanian senator on the radio earlier in the week talking about how great it is—'Employment is going terrifically; a lot of great jobs are going on in Tasmania.' There have been 2,900 full-time jobs lost in Tasmania since June last year. Tasmania currently has almost 2,000 fewer apprentices than it did just a few years ago. That's because of this government and the $3 billion that they took out of apprenticeships and TAFE; $3 billion taken out of apprenticeships and TAFE is the reason there are fewer apprentices in Australia today than there were. You have to take some responsibility for where we are today with those apprenticeships and young people not being able to get into TAFEs and into apprenticeships.
I have teenage sons. They have a lot of mates. All of them are struggling to get into TAFE and into apprenticeships. Those positions are simply not there because of what you on that side of House have done, because of this government, and it is not okay. And yet they want to come into this place and they want to go on radio and on TV to talk about how wonderful everything is. Well, it's not wonderful for some people. It might be for their mates at the big end of town, but it is not wonderful for a lot of Australians out there today. Your hubris and the way you're going on about what a wonderful budget it is and what a great set of numbers it is shows that you are not listening and talking to people on the ground in your electorates. That's what it says.
In my shadow portfolio of ageing, to have people come and say there are another 10,000 aged-care packages in the budget when there is not one new home care package in the budget is actually outrageous because what you're doing is telling all of those 128,000 people currently waiting on a home care waitlist that, somehow or another, some package is going to miraculously appear for them and they won't have to wait that 12 months to 18 months to two years that some of them are having to wait. You are giving false hope, and that is not okay. We heard today in question time about a 93-year-old who has been waiting. I'm getting stories of a lot of people in their 90s who have been waiting more than a year for a home care package that they have been approved for. You have done nothing about that waitlist in this budget. Everybody knows that this is just smoke and mirrors. Everybody knows that this budget is a con. (Time expired)