Thursday, 8 October 2020
I rise today to talk about the recently announced 2020-21 budget that was delivered on Tuesday night and the benefit for the people of the Petrie electorate. Our budget sends a clear message that we're here for local people and all Australians, delivering infrastructure they need and backing businesses to create jobs, as well as supporting essential services that people rely on. The Morrison government has announced record funding. It's the biggest funding ever in the history of the country, in schools and education and in health. Health this year receives some $90 billion of investment. There's investment in additional payments for pensioners and an additional 23,000 home-care packages for older Australians and people needing care in their own home in the Petrie electorate. There is a $3.9 billion investment in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For Australians with disability who need help, there's an additional $3.9 billion in support. There's more than $148 million in additional funding for an extra 10 Medicare rebated psychology sessions, doubling the number of rebated sessions from 10 to 20. There's support for Australian thalidomide survivors—lump-sum, tax-free payments for survivors and their families. Cath from my electorate messaged in tears over the announcement.
The Morrison government is committed to making life easier for Australians as well. Our tax relief will benefit more than 11 million Australians and it means you get to keep more of your own cash in your pocket. That means that everyone in Petrie and around Australia who earns $45,000 per year, which is not a lot of money, will get $1,080 back. That's backdated to 1 July this year. Someone earning from $90,000 to $120,000, because they pay five times the amount of tax—an additional $24,000 in tax—will get $2,430 back. Anyone earning up to $45,000 will benefit and it's capped at $120,000. We're also investing in local roads, places like the Gateway Motorway, the Linkfield Road Overpass at Carseldine, and the on and off ramps at Griffin. Obviously, a lot of this is delivered through the state government. We really need to change the Queensland government to make sure that this is invested quicker. The time frame and delays through the state government in Queensland are pretty unacceptable. It's about four years from announcement to the time a sod is turned. But it is good news for Queenslanders.
Moreton locals, like most Australians, have had quite an unexpected year. Some who recently retired told me they expected to be travelling and enjoying some well earned leisure time. Some found themselves stranded in far-flung parts of the world. Others have not been able to start their travels at all. Some residents who started new enterprises could not possibly have had business plans that contemplated a hit to their revenue from COVID-19 restrictions. Young people who graduated from school, university or training back in 2019 face an almost jobless landscape, and those completing year 12 this year have had to endure so many hurdles to get to their final exams. Hopefully, they will develop resilience in spades. More than 40,000 families in Moreton have had to negotiate schooling their children from home and the confusing changes associated with childcare arrangements. For those in aged care and their loved ones, the tough but necessary restrictions on visits have been heartbreaking. For the almost 8,000 locals who have found themselves unemployed and on JobSeeker, some for the first time in their lives, this year has already been an extremely stressful year.
There's no doubt that 2020 is a stinker. We're in the midst of a pandemic and the Morrison recession, one of the deepest and darkest recessions for a century. I hoped that the budget this week was going to give some relief and some hope to my Moreton constituents, I hoped that creating jobs would be a central platform of the Morrison budget and I hoped that JobSeeker would be boosted, but the Morrison budget failed to outline a comprehensive jobs plan and, worse, their wage subsidy excludes almost a million Australians who are aged over 35 and are on unemployment payments. Those over 35 on JobSeeker now will have the added burden of competing for jobs against a subsidised younger workforce.
For the 80,000-plus women in Moreton, I'd hoped that this budget would have a plan to close the gender pay gap and a real plan for child care to help women get back into the workforce and to get the family budget back on track. But there is no plan for women and no plan for child care. In fact, of the $600 billion spend in this budget, only 0.0385 per cent is actually targeted at women. Disgraceful! I'd hoped that there would be a plan for young people wanting to go to university, especially for the class of 2020 about to emerge from one of the most difficult year 12s ever, but the only plan the Morrison government has is to make it harder and more expensive for those young people to go to university. I'd really hoped that the budget had a plan to fix the train wreck that is our aged-care system. The neglect we've seen in our aged-care homes is a national tragedy—but there's no fair dinkum plan to fix aged care.
This budget will rack up a trillion dollars of debt. That doesn't require a debt truck; it needs a debt convoy. Nevertheless, all of that spending—and this Morrison budget—still leaves too many of my Morton constituents behind. Much more work needs to be done. This government needs to try a lot harder.
We in this place all agree that this budget was the most important of our generation. We as a nation have been tested by COVID-19, and my community of Townsville has been hit hard and has been tested. But, because of our commitment to keep people in jobs and to keep the cogs of the economy turning, even if it's slowly, we will make it through. This week's budget has given a lot of people in Townsville hope. The vast majority of people in my electorate of Herbert will be getting a tax cut, which means keeping more of their money. Businesses will find it easier and cheaper to create jobs with the JobMaker hiring credit, and will be reskilling and upskilling people with the JobTrainer and wage subsidy initiatives. We'll be investing heavily in major infrastructure projects that will create hundreds if not thousands of jobs to stimulate our economy—keeping the lights on and keeping the food on the table as we recover over the next few years.
I want to highlight just a few of the fantastic announcements we've made for my area of Townsville—and the feedback that I've been receiving since the start of the week has been extremely positive. The announcement of $76 million for Riverway Drive Stage 2 will see major works to upgrade a local road, one of our busiest, adding important safety measures at intersections and duplicating a large section of the road. This project alone will create 280 jobs, but, more importantly, it will be safer for people in the community to do school drop-offs and to be on the road. We know how important it is that, when people leave in the morning, they return safely in the evening. We're also investing $20 million to identify sections of the Bruce Highway in need of duplication, as well as continuing our more than a billion dollars of worth of upgrades throughout Queensland. We're backing CopperString 2.0. This is a fan favourite: this is infrastructure that will connect Mt Isa to the National Energy Market near Townsville and create nearly 400 jobs. And we know that lowering the cost of electricity will increase investment in the region, and that's exactly what CopperString will do.
As we continue to recover from the 2019 monsoon event, we are investing $60 million for a long-term recovery strategy. This will be through grants supporting reliable access to telecommunications and energy and improving disaster risk-management planning and for preventive mental health measures for children and locally-led resilience activities. We're also investing in $29.5 million for the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, the largest Reef HQ in the nation and in the world. It's fantastic, and I hope everyone visits—after COVID-19. (Time expired)