House debates

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Matters of Public Importance

Cost of Living

3:36 pm

Tracey Roberts (Pearce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'm actually a reasonable person. I listen, I care and I'm considerate. However, whether I have five seconds, five minutes or five hours, I am on my feet as I'm incensed by the sarcasm, the comments and the attitude of those commenting, who are seemingly rather forgetful about the last decade and the situation that they have put our country in. So I am on my feet to speak about that, and if I can read my notes—because I have just scribbled in absolute haste—it will be a miracle! However, I'm catapulted to my feet because I have got something to say, and I've got to say this on behalf of my community. My first speech stated:

I thank the community who supported me and who clearly articulated that the Albanese government's plan for our future is the reason we are in government. Without a voice, the community cannot be heard, and I'm grateful for the opportunity that they have granted me to be their voice and partner in Canberra … to support strategic economic growth, fiscal responsibility and integrity—

something those opposite don't seem to be able to do.

We've got three words—three simple words: cost of living. However, the impact of these words on families around Australia is absolutely significant. We, on this side, clearly understand that the rising cost of living is hurting many Australians. While this is a result of global factors, we cannot ignore the price that we are paying for a wasted decade by the previous government, despite what they are saying on the other side. Australians understand that we did not create these cost-of-living challenges. And clearly, Australians have elected us to take responsibility to address them, and we are doing so. We have hit the ground running. Our economic plan is carefully considered and is a direct and deliberate response to the challenges facing the economy.

One of the very first acts of the Albanese government was to successfully argue for the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, an outcome that will help many Australians. Significant work and attention to detail in relation to the October budget will be focused on responsible and carefully considered cost-of-living relief. This includes our cheaper childcare bill, that was introduced into parliament today, which will result in us being one step closer to a more affordable early childhood education for more Australian families, enabling more people to increase their hours of paid work.

I recently visited the West Coast TAFE in my electorate of Pearce. Vocational education and training has been the foundation of Australia's strong and vibrant economy, and the Albanese Labor government understands the importance of investing in the skills sector. It's why we are fast-tracking and investing in fee-free TAFE places. I saw kids from those pre-university or pre-TAFE places going to have a look at the TAFE to see if they wanted to be a brickie, a tiler, a carpenter, a plasterer or a sparkie. They are given the opportunity, and they are embracing that.

In addition, our pensions, allowances and rent assistance have been increased in line with inflation. I know that our budget to cut the cost of medicines will help many members in our local communities. We are bringing in a new pensioner work bonus so that older Australians can keep more of what they earn without affecting their pension, providing them with an opportunity to decide whether they wish to participate in paid work.

Many within the electorate of Pearce live in the outer metropolitan growth areas. Some of them have to travel long distances to work. With this comes choices like whether they enrol their kids in sport, whether they entertain, whether they go on holidays, whether they put food on the table and whether they pay their bills. I understand their challenges. That's why I'm in this place making these decisions to help them.

The Albanese Labor government understands these challenges. We are making carefully informed decisions in order to help them. We are committed to looking after the welfare and wellbeing of those within our community. I implore those opposite to listen to and take heed of what we are doing to try and support our communities based on the disgraceful situation that we inherited, with $1 trillion worth of debt.

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