Thursday, 8 October 2020
Statements by Members
[by video link] On Tuesday night, the Morrison government had an opportunity; they had an opportunity to build a better, more resilient, more equitable economy and society from the ashes of COVID, and they squibbed it. I asked my community of Cooper what they thought of the budget and, as usual, they did not hold back. So, in under a minute, here are the 10 worst things in the Morrison budget.
One, there is no plan for and no commitment to full employment—160,000 Australians are expected to lose their job between now and Christmas. Two, if anyone wants to know what happens when there aren't enough women sitting around the cabinet table, they should look at this budget. There's nothing new on fixing the gender pay gap, improving super balances or funding domestic and family violence services. Three, it punishes those looking for work. There are 27,000 Cooper residents depending on JobKeeper who will lose $300 a fortnight. Four, the government has cut Australia's refugee intake by 5,000 places a year and continues to leave so many people seeking asylum without an income. Five, there is nothing for residential aged care—the biggest policy failure during COVID, and not a cent put forward to fix it. Six, two big communities in Cooper will receive nothing: our artists and our uni workers. Seven, they're doubling the cost of going to university and there's no new money for TAFE. Eight, our kids' futures are still at risk, with no plan to tackle the climate emergency. Nine, there is nothing for social housing. Ten, no plan to make early— (Time expired)
Nothing is surer than that COVID has been tough for everyone. While South Australians have weathered the storm well, we're certainly not immune from the economic impacts of this global pandemic. But I'm pleased to say that the budget paves the way for economic recovery. Our government has a track record of rebuilding economies and creating jobs. We've done it before; we'll have to do it again. Every measure announced in this budget points to job creation, whether it's our JobMaker hiring credit to support nearly half a million young Australians or our record investment in skills and training via tax incentives.
As the member for Barker I'm particularly keen to see the impacts that the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy will have on our food and beverage sector. Barker produces some of the highest quality agricultural products, and, by value-adding and processing here, we're creating jobs right across the supply chain.
I'm also very keen on homeownership, and this package takes that further. We'll see more Australians in their first home. We'll also see a continuation of HomeBuilder, which is not only putting tradies into work but also keeping timber workers in my electorate actively engaged. There are also direct investments in local Barker communities through the Building Better Regions Fund, and over $10 million going directly to councils.
While this budget is not what we were expecting to deliver 12 months ago, it's a budget for a difficult time, and I'm pleased that this budget delivers not only for the national economy but for my constituents— (Time expired)
[by video link] The fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians are women over 55. Yet, despite a trillion dollars of debt in this budget, there wasn't a single dollar for social housing.
Australian women are facing financial hardship because of structural inequalities in the economy. Even before the coronavirus, unequal pay, superannuation gaps and time away from the workforce have left Australian women financially disadvantaged. Australian women are working for less, and it's not good enough. But this is not just a women's issue; this is an Australian issue, and one that we should be speaking about regardless of our gender.
Australian women don't need glossy budget papers from the Morrison government. Australian women need a government with a plan to reduce the pay gap. We need a plan to make sure Australian women are not homeless. We need a plan to reduce the hurdles for women to return to the workforce and we need to ensure that there are pathways for women to retire with enough assets.
This is a bad budget for Australian women in so many ways, and it leaves too many people behind. But this government's failure to invest in housing will hurt our economy and it will leave too many Australian women vulnerable. The government cut JobKeeper from childcare workers, they ignore the housing crisis, they don't have a plan for equal pay and they're going to leave unemployed women with $40 a day. It's just not good enough. We can and we must do better for Australian women.
There's been some rain in South Australia. It's my duty to tell the chamber today that the Strzelecki Track is cut. That is the road between Lyndhurst and Innamincka, 472 kilometres of dirt. It's the only dirt stretch between Adelaide and Brisbane. But there is good news, because there was $100 million allocated in Tuesday night's budget for the sealing of the Strzelecki Track, accompanied by $25 million from the state government, and we will get the job done. This will be an absolute game changer for South Australia.
The Cooper Basin is largely a South Australian asset, and for most of its life it's been supplied out of Adelaide because Adelaide is the closest port to the Cooper Basin. In recent years, because the Strzelecki Track has become so impossible for trucks and transport, the bulk of that supply line has been coming from half as far away again, over on the east coast. It takes 16 hours for a truck to do about 370 kilometres up the Strzelecki Track to Gidgealpa. We're going to fix that. It will open up one of the great tourist routes of outback Australia, where tourists will be able to come in and choose between Cooper Creek and Coongie Lakes and, going a little bit further south, Lake Eyre on your right and Flinders Ranges on your left. It will be a game changer for South Australia and it will get the cattle out of South-East Queensland down to the brucellosis-free abattoirs in South Australia.