House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023


Paterson Electorate: Albanese Government

7:35 pm

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

SWANSON () (): Good governments deliver, and this government lives by the thinking that no-one should be left behind and no-one should be held back. Ninety-one thousand nine hundred and four people and 58 general practices in my electorate of Paterson will benefit from that thinking when we deliver the largest ever investment in bulk-billing and ensure that thousands of families aren't left out of pocket when visiting the doctor. This government is making hundreds of common medicines cheaper by allowing millions of Australians to buy two months worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription—no-one left behind, no-one held back.

Our budget ensures that 8,070 people across my communities of Maitland, Port Stephens and Kurri Kurri benefit from a sensible increase to income support payments and the provision of an expansion to support for single parents, meaning that around 695 eligible single mums and dads will be able to receive parenting payment until their youngest child turns 14, up from the current age of eight. Whether or not they've ever had children, people understand that an eight-year-old is very different to a 14-year-old, and this is one of the most sensible decisions we could have taken. Eligible single parents will be $176.90 better off each fortnight—I just want to say that again: $176.90 better off—receiving a base rate of $922.10 per fortnight, compared to the current JobSeeker payment rate of $745.20 per fortnight. These amounts are important—no-one left behind.

Around 6,175 of the most vulnerable households in my electorate will benefit from the increase to rent assistance. Our government is ensuring that all parents will be able to access government-paid leave at the same time as employer-paid leave, something not currently available to fathers. Again, it's good to see that it will be available to the dads of our nation. They play a really important part in all families, and it's good to see men and women more equally sharing the load of paternity and maternity leave at such a critical time in the establishment of new or expanding families—no-one left behind, no-one held back.

The Albanese government is delivering cheaper child care from July, just a couple of short months away. Our government's childcare package is expected to make around 7,800 families in my seat of Paterson better off, because more parents will be able to get to work. That's not only going to make those parents better off; it's going to help our employers, who are screaming out for workers or for people to be able to do more hours in the businesses and workplaces across our electorate. When I speak to people about this across our business and employer community, the very first thing they are still saying is: 'We just need more workers.' That is where this important economic lever will really come into its own—no-one held back, no-one left behind. And the kids are going to be very well educated. Our government is providing 20,000 additional university places for disadvantaged Australians, including 6,867 additional places in New South Wales. Importantly, the University of Newcastle will also benefit from that.

We've committed $1 billion for road safety infrastructure and grant programs. That is part of the National Road Safety Action Plan. We know that local councils manage 75 per cent of all roads across the network, and that's why this funding is so important to our councils in Paterson. I want to say thank you to our councils. They do a terrific job. They've got one of the hardest jobs in any area of government across our country. Thank you for the effort you've put in. But, more broadly, to the people of Paterson: we know there's a lot more to do, and we're working hard for you.


No comments