House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Constituency Statements

Burt Electorate: COVID-19

10:00 am

Photo of Matt KeoghMatt Keogh (Burt, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

The economic effects of COVID-19 have hit hard in the Perth's south-eastern suburbs, which make up the electorate of Burt that I represent. Whilst the good work of the McGowan government has seen less than 40 coronavirus cases across my community, I will never forget seeing the queues from the Armadale Centrelink, that first Monday after everything shut down, extending all the way down the hill to the train station. I visited the Centrelinks in Gosnells and Armadale the next morning. Both still had queues of frustrated and anxious newly-unemployed. Across our community, around 4,000 people will lose work by the end of June and not receive JobKeeper, including nearly 2,000 across the retail, hospitality and education sectors.

But today I also want to say thank you to the people of Burt. Never has it been more important for a community to pull together while staying apart. Thank you for your patience, your kindness and your resilience. Thank you to those who have gone out of your way to look after someone in need in our community. To the staff at Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital, one of WA's main COVID testing clinics, I say thank you. To the staff at the Centrelinks in Armadale, Cannington and Gosnells, who worked through the nights, weekends and public holidays to get people's payments through faster, thank you. To our local councils, who are providing local community support and economic stimulus plans whilst trying to keep as many of their own staff on board as possible when they can't get access to JobKeeper, thank you. To the volunteers who have spent countless hours on the phone to people who are isolated, just making sure they're doing okay, thank you. To the charities that have been making sure that everyone has food to eat, clothes to wear and a roof over their head, thank you. To our RSLs, who weren't able to hold Anzac Day ceremonies as they usually would, thank you for the dignity you still inspired on the day as we stood alone together on our driveways, and for the support you always give our veterans. To the grocery workers who have been working hard around the clock, stacking shelves, controlling crowds and selling essentials, thank you. To the teachers and childcare workers who, day after day, put yourselves out to look after and teach the children of frontline and other essential workers, potentially risking your own wellbeing, thank you. To our women's refuges, who have seen a significant rise in calls for help, and the aged care and disability workers confronting much harder conditions, thank you. To our local Examiner newspaper, which has focused on the best of what this crisis has brought out in our community, not the worst, thank you. To the Burt community cabinet—three levels of government as well as business, of different politics but working for what is best for our community—thank you.

There's a long road ahead for the community of Burt and our nation. I think we're all acutely aware of that. But together we have proven we can get through this.