Monday, 22 May 2023
Private Members' Business
Yesterday marked one year of an Albanese Labor government. We promised the Australian people that after a wasted decade we wouldn't waste a single day, and we haven't. It's been a year of hard work, determination and dedication towards fulfilling the promises we made. Our focus has been on providing stability, confidence and security, delivering the positive, lasting change that Australians voted for. I'm proud of what we've achieved so far. We know there's still more to do, but we've laid solid foundations now to build a better future.
In the first 12 months, we've made essential services more affordable for every Australian by making child care and medicines cheaper, ensuring that families can access the support they need. Additionally, we have provided 180,000 fee-free TAFE places, empowering individuals with skills for a prosperous future. We've also delivered 20,000 new university places, including 967 at the University of Newcastle, rapidly expanding opportunities for students in higher education. Recognising the invaluable contributions of our aged-care workers, we have funded a well-deserved 15 per cent pay rise for them. Our commitment to combating family and domestic violence is evident through record investment in women's safety and the introduction of 10 days paid domestic violence leave, providing support for survivors to rebuild their lives. We have made substantial progress in advancing a Voice to Parliament, which will empower First Nations people, address injustices and create change that will deliver a better future. Foreign minister Penny Wong's extensive diplomatic efforts, visiting 32 countries including all Pacific Islands Forum members, demonstrate our commitment to restoring international relations. To ensure a transparent and accountable government, we have successfully delivered a National Anti-Corruption Commission, which will begin operations on 1 July. Additionally, we have implemented measures to promote fair wages and conditions, such as 'same job, same pay', minimum work standards for gig workers, and criminalising wage theft.
Our unwavering commitment to addressing climate change and fostering sustainable energy practices is reflected in $16 billion of investment in renewable energy infrastructure. We have passed the safeguard mechanism to reduce emissions from major emitters and initiated the New Energy Apprenticeships program, providing financial support for individuals pursuing careers in renewable energy.
We've also achieved a lot for our environment. We've committed to protecting 30 per cent of our land and 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030. We've legislated a path to net zero. We've approved double the number of renewable energy projects. We've set a target of zero for new extinctions. We're cleaning up and restoring our urban rivers and waterways. And we're doubling our funding to national parks. We've also started rewriting Australia's environmental laws with our Nature Positive Plan, including establishing an Australian Environment Protection Agency.
Recognising the importance of a strong manufacturing sector, we've established the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, supporting local industries and promoting a vibrant economy. We're also developing a new Australian Cyber Security Strategy to protect our nation from cyberthreats and secure our digital infrastructure.
In Newcastle, we've committed $100 million to a renewable energy precinct at the port of Newcastle and a further $82 million for green hydrogen. We're reopening the GP Access After Hours clinic at the Calvary Mater Hospital next week, and we have kept the Kaden Centre's doors open so they can continue their innovative exercise oncology program. High-speed rail is back on track. Funding is flowing to the University of Newcastle for a New Energy Skills Hub, and our local schools are finally getting the funding they need for important projects.
These accomplishments are testament to the Albanese Labor government's commitment to serving the Australian people and delivering the positive, lasting change the Australian people voted for. We're 12 months in. There is more to be done. But we are not taking this opportunity to build a better future for granted.