House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Questions without Notice

Taxation: Environmental Protection Workers

2:16 pm

Photo of Josh WilsonJosh Wilson (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. How will Australian workers on the front line of environmental protection benefit from Labor's cost-of-living tax cuts?

2:17 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Environment and Water) Share this | | Hansard source

Thanks to the member for Fremantle for his question. I know that he is one of the most committed and effective environmental enthusiasts we have in this place, and he is also absolutely all over the cost-of-living challenges that his voters face. In fact, he's got 85,000 constituents who will receive a tax cut from the Albanese Labor government's plan—an average of $1,761 more in their pockets each year because of the changes we are proposing, because we are all about making sure Australians earn more and keep more of what they earn, whereas those opposite are all about people working longer for less.

I know that people who work on the front line of environmental protection don't do it for the money; they do it for love. They love nature. They want to protect and restore our natural environment. But looking at the sorts of challenges they face, when we came in, the Australian Institute of Marine Science—doing great science—was falling apart, facing 100 job losses, leaky roofs, laboratories that they couldn't use. We doubled their funding, and now we want to better look after their scientists. Say you've got a PhD going in there to do vital work on crown-of-thorns starfish or coral spawning—someone on $90,000 a year. They will keep $1,929 more of what they earn each year.

Look at the Indigenous rangers who do such marvellous work around our country—Indigenous rangers at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park or the Katit-Petermann Indigenous protected area—doing wonderful work, looking after the great desert skink in the mala enclosure, where they're breeding up malas to release back into the wild, and doing cultural burning to make sure those massive wildfires don't break out in Central Australia. An Indigenous ranger on $77,000 a year will keep $1,604 more of their pay every year because of the proposals we're making. That's not just important for that individual and their family. Those rangers, working in remote communities across Australia, are spending their pay in local businesses, creating work for others in their community.

We are all about backing our scientists, backing our Indigenous rangers, backing our ecologists, because we will always stand for higher wages and for Australians keeping more of what they earn, as opposed to those opposite, who want to see Australians work longer for less.