Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Lalor Electorate: 2018
As 2018 draws to a close, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on the year that has been. It has been a joy once again to interact with residents from all corners of our community and share our local stories in the federal parliament. I want to thank all of those people in our community who do the heavy lifting, building communities out of housing developments. It has been a pleasure engaging with and advocating for countless community groups, sporting clubs and schools, both locally in our community and on the national stage in the federal parliament. It has been an honour presenting Lalor Heroes awards to exceptional volunteers in our community and acknowledging outstanding school students with the prestigious Julia Gillard award.
My office has continued to assist residents with federal government matters, and social media has provided me with another avenue to engage with our community and interact on issues of local and national importance. In reflecting on these interactions—both in my office and in social media—I am reminded again of the impact that public policy has on the coherent functioning of our community.
I want to thank the Wyndham City Council for their support across the year and for the work that they are doing in our community.
But it is disappointing to reflect on how this dysfunctional federal Liberal government has, for the fifth year in a row, neglected our community and the needs of our residents. Most distressing has been the impact of government cuts to Centrelink staff that are very real for thousands of locals who are now forced to wait months for their applications for payments to be processed. I reflect on the botched job of the NBN, which is continuing to fail to deliver the world-class internet that residents in my community expect. It is really disappointing for the new residents who are moving into their new homes to find they have no internet connection.
It has been inspiring, though, to work in Bill Shorten's Labor team, to make significant commitments that will make a real, positive impact in our community. This year, Labor has made positive commitments for our community, including: the investment of over $30 million to properly fund our local public schools; universal access to kinder and preschool for three- and four-year-olds, which will have a positive impact on 10,000 children in my electorate; an additional 1,200 permanent Centrelink staff nationwide; a full Medicare rebate MRI for our local public hospital; and an expansion of car-parking facilities at the Tarneit Railway Station.
As I reflect on the year that has been, I am again reminded that it is only Labor governments that can and will deliver for our community. On that note, I again congratulate the state Andrews Labor government and thank my state colleagues for their support across this year. Together, we make a difference in people's lives by just having our offices open and attentive and welcoming for the many people who come to us—often, on the worst day of their lives.