House debates

Monday, 22 May 2023

Private Members' Business


11:27 am

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

I rise in response to the ill-founded criticism of the 2023 federal budget by those opposite, who clearly are having a difficult time accepting the fact that the Albanese Labor government has achieved, in merely a year, more positive and productive legislation to support all Australians than the opposition could manage in a decade of power. We have passed more than 80 pieces of legislation, including bills that are effective and absolutely help ease cost-of-living pressures. We have spent the first 12 months since the Australian people voted for a positive change working hard to deliver stronger foundations for a better future for all Australians.

Families in my electorate of Pearce in Western Australia welcome the many measures that provide cost-of-living relief. Without doubt we are governing in challenging times, facing many global pressures, as are many other governments right around the world. Domestically, growth is expected to slow as inflation and interest rates affect consumer spending. However, the federal budget 2023 is carefully calibrated to alleviate inflationary pressures. We have delivered a responsible and practical budget in response to the local and global financial conditions that we find ourselves in.

We have committed a $2.2 billion package of measures to strengthen Medicare to make health care more accessible and affordable. We are making medicines cheaper and easier to access, a welcome move for all Australians who rely on medications. That means a family with three scripts a month can now save around $300 to $400 a year, cutting the cost of medicine by up to half for at least six million Australians. We are also making it easier for Australians to see a doctor when they need to by improving after hours access to primary care, something which is a priority, as my community of Pearce can attest. Out-of-pocket health costs are being further reduced by tripling bulk billing incentives for GPs, enabling easier and cheaper access to health care for millions of Australians. We have committed $11.3 billion over four years to fund the outcome of the Fair Work Commission's record 15 per cent pay rise for 250,000 aged-care workers across the country from 1 July 2023. Aged-care workers deserve this action just as those they care for deserve dignity.

We are also extending the financial safety net for thousands of single parents by expanding access to financial support. The COVID pandemic was not an easy time for our economy. It drove a fall of output of close to seven per cent in a single quarter. That is equivalent to the closure of an entire construction, manufacturing or finance sector overnight. We are continuing our fiscally responsible governance as we work to recover from the pandemic and the effects of global instability. In response we have delivered a sensible and practical budget.

We experienced the largest energy shock since the oil crisis of the 1970s; as a direct result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine we saw increases in global energy prices of over 55 per cent. As a government we have had to respond appropriately. We are providing relief to over five million households and one million small businesses, and we are powering tomorrow with investments in renewables, industry and skills and technology. Under the Albanese Labor government's energy price relief plan, every household in Western Australia will receive a $400 electricity credit with targeted electricity support totalling $826 for those households in most need.

The 2023 budget supports pensioners and parents. We are responsibly increasing the base rate for JobSeeker and other payments for 1.1 million people. We have handed down a budget that delivers responsible cost-of-living relief and invests in the drivers of economic growth without adding to inflation. We will continue to work incredibly hard to support our local communities and all Australians.


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