Monday, 18 February 2019
Fisher Electorate: Education, Employment and Retirement
I sought election to this parliament because I want to help to make my community the place to be for education, employment and retirement. That is my vision for Fisher, and it is my mission on behalf of the people who elected me. In 2019 I will be fighting for the people in Fisher on four campaigns that will help deliver that vision in the years to come—building the roads and rail infrastructure our community needs; protecting thousands of local seniors from Labor's unfair retiree tax; growing a stronger local economy that delivers the jobs of the future on the Sunshine Coast; and securing our prosperity by avoiding Labor's disastrous property tax grab.
Since 2016, the coalition government has committed to billions of dollars in upgrades to the Bruce Highway and the North Coast Rail locally. The first phase of the necessary roadworks is already at the halfway stage. The second phase, extra lanes between Caboolture and Steve Irwin Way, will commence in 2020. Likewise, we have 70 per cent of the rail funds we need and planning is underway. However, our community cannot go forward with endless construction works. We need the extra lanes, the extra track, the flood-proofing and the improved interchanges that the government has committed to fund built as soon as possible.
Finally, Sunshine Coast residents know that we will also need action on local state government roads. It won't solve our problems simply to fix the national infrastructure in Fisher; we also need to deal with the heavy congestion on key routes throughout our community. In 2019, I will fight to fast-track our road and rail upgrades and turn my attention to our local roads to work on congestion-busting solutions for Caloundra Road, Kawana Way, Nicklin Way and Brisbane Road.
Without a strong economy we cannot deliver these upgrades. My constituents understand that without a strong economy we cannot properly fund the 39 schools, the thousands of childcare places, the University of the Sunshine Coast and Medicare, the best universal healthcare system in the world. Without a strong economy we cannot encourage the new industries, like defence and high-tech manufacturing, which are going to deliver the meaningful jobs that our young people want, and we cannot support our small and family businesses to employ more locals. Without a strong economy we cannot deliver the medicines, the aged-care places and the hospital on which our seniors rely.
I'll be fighting in 2019 to maintain the government's unmatched economic management and ensure that it pays dividends for Fisher across the sectors of education, employment and retirement. Almost half of the people of my electorate are already retired or they're looking seriously to their future after employment. Retirees in Fisher are devastated by the prospect of the Labor Party's unfair retiree tax. More than 7,200 retirees in Fisher are proud of what they've achieved. They've worked hard to save for their retirement and to ensure that they are not a burden on the taxpayer. Thousands more are facing the prospect of retirement in the years to come and have made the same community-spirited commitment. Now they fear having that independence, with up to a third of their income, torn away by the Leader of the Opposition in his insatiable thirst for other people's money. How can it be fair for a self-funded retiree earning less than $37,000 per annum to lose their franking dividend credits, while others—even in this place—keep theirs? In 2019, I will fight to keep Fisher the place to be for self-funded retirees, and I will fight to stop Labor's unfair retiree tax.
Finally, 82,000 families on the Sunshine Coast own their own home and 37,000 of us rent, while the construction industry contributes a vital $3.5 billion to the local economy. The people of Fisher know that Labor's property tax would be an attack on all of us. How can it be fair for Labor's new property taxes to reduce the value of our homes, increase our rents and decimate the construction industry jobs on which this community relies? The Sunshine Coast will be the epicentre of Labor's property tax and its catastrophic impact, and I'm determined to fight it each and every day. (Time expired)