House debates

Thursday, 27 February 2020


Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading

12:38 pm

Photo of Pat ConroyPat Conroy (Shortland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

It is disgraceful, member for Macquarie. It is a damning indictment on this government that its policies are causing so much human misery not just in Australia but throughout the world. Cuts across all educational assistance were 41 per cent and for health were 32 per cent. Even within the Pacific region, a region that this government tries to claim it focuses on, we've seen significant cuts to individual nations. For example, assistance to Vanuatu has been cut by 42 per cent. Assistance to Samoa was cut by 14 per cent. Incredibly, health assistance to Samoa has been cut by 36 per cent. In the aftermath of a tragic and deadly measles epidemic, this government is cutting health assistance to Samoa by 36 per cent. We saw cuts to assistance to Tonga of 10 per cent, Cook Islands of 26 per cent, Tuvalu of 17 per cent, Kiribati of 9½ per cent and Fiji of 5.3 per cent. This is a government intent on destroying the overseas development assistance budget, which is incredibly short-sighted. Not only is it hurting and killing fellow human beings; it is hurting our soft power ability throughout the globe.

Quickly on defence procurement, which is one of my other responsibilities in the opposition: this government continues to preside over a massive mess in defence procurement. Thirty-six projects are running a cumulative 74 years late. That's right: 36 projects have been so mismanaged by this government that they are 74 years late and $10.3 billion over budget. The latest report from Defence has found problems with the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, JORN; deployable defence air traffic management and control systems; and battlefield command systems; MRH90 supply issues; problems with the Hawkeye; problems with the pilot training system; an additional two-year delay to satellites; a 3½ year delay to commando special operations vehicles; and a 1½ year delay to the Hercules upgrade. Thirty-six projects delayed 74 years with a budget blow-out of $10 billion. This means that our troops in the ADF aren't getting the equipment they need when they need it. It's a damning indictment of this government.

In conclusion, I'll be focused with my Labor colleagues throughout this year on holding this government to account and to fight for the best outcome for all Australians. I'll be particularly focused on fighting for outcomes in Shortland, a beautiful place to live. It's an area that continues to struggle under budget cuts from Commonwealth and state governments. I commend this bill to the House.


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