Monday, 22 May 2023
Private Members' Business
One year ago, on 21 May 2022, I walked into the Quinns Rocks Sports Club with my husband, Peter, by my side to the rousing cheers of a large and enthusiastic crowd. The room was awash with red and with celebration. As I looked around, I saw many happy, familiar faces who had helped join the campaign to win the seat of Pearce in Western Australia. I had become the first Labor candidate to win the seat of Pearce since its creation in 1990. As I held my hands aloft I felt relieved, I felt excited and I felt a deep sense of pride that I was to become the federal member for Pearce and a member of the Albanese Labor government.
A large swing towards Labor carried across Western Australia in a sign that change was well overdue. The Western Australian and Australian community had voted and said, 'It's time for Labor to govern for the people again.' I recall the election night like it was yesterday, and as we mark one year in government I am proud to say that the Albanese Labor government has not wasted a day since being elected. We have spent the first 12 months working very hard to deliver stronger foundations for a better future for all Australians. Led by a prime minister of strength, integrity and heart, our government puts Australians first.
We have passed more than 80 bills, bills that provide real cost-of-living relief for Australian families, bills that shape a better future because that is what Australians deserve. We are strengthening Medicare and saving Australians time and money at the Australian pharmacy with the introduction of 60-day dispensing. We have made medicines and access to GPs and health care cheaper by tripling the bulk-billing incentive for GPs that will benefit millions of Australians. We have already made medicines cheaper under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. For the first time in 75 years the maximum cost of general scripts has gone down. The maximum general co-payment has been reduced from $42.50 to $30 since 1 January.
The federal budget 2023-24 is responsible, practical and carefully collaborated to alleviate inflationary pressures. Under the 2023 budget we are expanding access to financial support by raising the age cut-off for the parenting payment single from eight to 14 years. We have legislated cheaper child care that starts in July this year. We are getting wages moving again, with pay rises for millions of Australians. We are giving a record 15 per cent pay rise to aged-care workers across Australia and restoring dignity in aged care. We are supporting businesses by introducing a new instant asset write-off to support small businesses. Around 90,000 small businesses in Western Australia that meet the definition of an electricity small customer will receive quarterly bill relief of $640 automatically from 1 July 2023. We are investing $1.6 billion in Australian businesses and households, including social housing to empower them to take control of energy use. This will ensure homes and businesses are cheaper to run and more comfortable. We are protecting our precious environment and threatened species. The Albanese Labor government will legislate a national net zero authority to ensure the workers, industries and communities that have powered Australia for generations can seize the opportunities of Australia's net zero transformation.
Our 2023 budget helps restore Australia's economy from the mess we inherited from the coalition, who left us with a debt of $1 trillion under the Liberal National Party. Those opposite also left Australia with an economy defined by a decade of stagnant wages, flatlining productivity, weak business investment, skills shortages and energy policy chaos. In contrast, in a memorable and productive year, the Albanese Labor government has made robust progress, passing legislation that puts Australian families and the economy at the forefront of decision-making. We know there is much more to do. We have made a good start and we know that to deliver long-lasting positive change we have to continue our focus and our hard work, and we are absolutely committed to doing so.