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representatives vote 2020-02-27#9

Edited by mackay

on 2020-03-20 13:32:05


  • Bills — Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading
  • Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020 - Second Reading - Stop Ms McIntosh from speaking


  • <p class="speaker">Julian Simmonds</p>
  • <p>No wonder Labor is trying to shut down this debate! First of all, they don't want to hear about how this government is passionately defending Australian families, how we are passionately supporting them, because Labor failed so considerably while in government and in opposition to support Australian families. What they wanted to do to the families of Australia, particularly last May, was burden them with $387 billion worth of new taxes, rather than the tax cuts that I've been talking about that this government has delivered&#8212;and they continue to want that.</p>
  • <p>Their hypocrisy continues to know no bounds, because we had the member for Ballarat stand up just before and criticise the $100 billion pipeline that this government is delivering to get people home to their families sooner and safer. When in government, she presided over what can only be described as a grants rort. When Labor was in government, when she was a minister, she had a grants program where more than a quarter of all projects funded were not actually recommended. As minister she made 34 decisions that diverged from the recommendations of the panel. In fact, it goes further. Despite the hypocrisy of the member for Ballarat's last speech, under her watch, 64 per cent of the 'not recommended' projects that she ended up adopting under ministerial discretion were in Labor-held seats. <i>(Quorum formed)</i> The Morrison government is intent on making sure that we support Australians and Australian families with our strong economic management in a way that Labor could ever hope to do simply because they can't manage money, they can't manage the money of Australians, and when you can't do that then then you can't deliver things like record funding for schools and hospitals&#8212; <i>(Time expired)</i></p>
  • The majority voted against a [motion]( to stop Lindsay MP [Melissa McIntosh]( (Liberal) from speaking in this debate, which means she can continue. These motions are known as "*gagging motions*".
  • <p class="speaker">Libby Coker</p>
  • <p>I rise to speak to these two bills, Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020, which seek to appropriate additional funding for the 2019-20 financial year, as reflected in the 2019-20 MYEFO, as well as bushfire related initiatives announced after the 2019-20 MYEFO was handed down. I support the amendment moved by the member for Rankin. As indicated by the shadow Treasurer, the Labor Party will support these appropriation bills because we do not block supply, but let's be clear: this isn't a tick for the government when it comes to their handling of the economy or the budget. After six years of the Liberals and Nationals, the economy is floundering and Australians are struggling, but the Morrison government has no plan to boost wages or grow the economy. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer shouldn't be using the fires and the coronavirus as an excuse for their longstanding failures on the economy. The economy was weak before the fires and before the virus hit. Growth had already slowed since the election and had almost halved since the Prime Minister and the Treasurer took over in 2018. Net debt has more than doubled under the government's watch and gross debt is well over half a trillion dollars&#8212;record highs. In 2013, when the government came to office, gross debt was $257 billion; in 2019, it was $542 billion; and it has been over $500 billion since 2017&#8212;well over 40 per cent of GDP.</p>
  • <p>Of course, we recognise the impacts of the bushfires and coronavirus, in terms of physical, psychological and economic impacts, but economic growth and wages growth were downgraded before the impact of the bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak. Almost two million Australians were looking for work or more work before the impact of the bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak. In January this year, the youth unemployment rate rose to 12.1 per cent from 11.6 per cent in December. There are a whopping 270,000 young people unemployed. Wages growth has been stuck at or around record lows for the last few years under the Liberals&#8212;around two per cent, on average, in the private sector nationally&#8212;and low wages and low growth mean that people and businesses don't spend and the economy loses momentum.</p>
  • <p>Living costs for families are rising way too fast. Recent data shows that childcare costs have increased by 35 per cent since 2013&#8212;around six per cent a year, on average. The much-heralded childcare reforms of 2018 have been neutralised by spiralling fee increases and out-of-pocket medical costs have skyrocketed. In Corangamite, locals pay $36 in out-of-pocket expenses to visit a GP and $59 in addition to the rebate to see a specialist. Thousands of young people are dropping out of private health insurance. That area is in crisis, with no solution in sight. Because of the government's failures, we have to meet the challenges and uncertainties of the bushfires and the coronavirus from a position of weakness, not strength.</p>
  • <p>Now, let's talk about a few areas of mismanagement, or worse, of this economy. For example, let's look at the government's rorts. Scott Morrison poured over 83 per cent&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Sharon Bird</p>
  • <p>The member for Corangamite will refer to members by their correct title.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Libby Coker</p>
  • <p>My apologies, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Prime Minister poured over 83 per cent of the $3 billion allocated from the Urban Congestion Fund into Liberal seats and seats targeted by the Liberal Party. In the lead-up to the 2019 election, the Prime Minister funnelled 144 of 160 projects into Liberal and targeted seats&#8212;more than $2.5 billion. He made promises in every single urban Liberal seat that was marginal or under threat. More than one quarter of the $3 billion was funnelled to just four Liberal seats: Higgins, Deakin, La Trobe and Boothby. This is rorting on a nuclear scale. The Prime Minister has misused public money to promote his political interests. He spends public money to buy elections, not to meet community needs.</p>
  • <p>Let's talk about vocational education. As we learnt last year from the federal education department's own data, the government have failed to spend almost $1 billion of their TAFE and training budget over the past five years, and all of this underspend is additional to the more than $3 billion already ripped out of the VET system. We've got TAFE campuses falling apart across the country, we've got state governments closing campuses and ending courses, and, all the while, a huge pile of money remains unspent. Employer groups across the country are complaining about skill shortages across almost every sector. The Australian Industry Group states that 75 per cent of employers report an inability to attract skilled workers. Under the coalition, there are almost 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees than there were in 2013. That means a shortage of workers in critical trades and services.</p>
  • <p>In my electorate of Corangamite, there are 113, or 7.7 per cent, fewer trainees and apprentices today than there were in 2013. In the Minister for Education's own seat of Wannon, there are 1,044, or around 28 per cent, fewer apprentices or trainees than in 2013. If the coalition government can't train skilled workers, they can't build a skilled economy and they can't build the infrastructure of the future or support emerging new industries. Right now, they are failing miserably.</p>
  • <p>Let's talk about the NDIS. The NDIS should be a fantastic scheme. It has already helped many people, compared to the fragmented system we had before 2013. But the NDIS is suffering from slow strangulation by a National Disability Insurance Agency aided and abetted by the Morrison government. Last year, to prop up their dodgy budget surplus, the government sucked $1.6 billion out of the expected expenditure of the NDIS. The excuse given was that the demand simply wasn't there&#8212;that, if there had been the demand, then the money would have been available. What rubbish! There are hundreds of stories of the NDIA clawing back money from vulnerable participants. Usually the local area coordinator does the right thing and recommends what the medical and allied health experts say is required, but, after the proposal goes up the line to the NDIA, the plan usually comes back with cuts and deletions. Let me quote a constituent of mine, Trevor Ah Hang, of Portarlington, who wrote to me only last week:</p>
  • <p class="italic">I submitted a plan in October 2019.</p>
  • <p class="italic">It returned with significant cuts &#8230; The Coordinator submitted an appeal stating that the Transport funding was crucial as my Carer had developed Parkinsons, meaning I couldn't rely on her always being available to take me to appointments.</p>
  • <p class="italic">As for funding for group activities, NDIA had asked for progress reports from all parties engaged in the previous plan. Without exception they stated the progress gained over that year and how it was crucial to continue. So why ask for these details if someone is just going to say "Nuh!" and put a line through an item number with no explanation?</p>
  • <p class="italic">In late November I received a letter from the NDIS stating that they'd received an appeal on my behalf dated October 23, 2019 and informing me that under their guidelines they had three months to address the situation or notify me why they couldn't &#8230; that was over four months ago and I've heard NOTHING! No answer, no information, NOTHING. I've contacted them several times and the answer is always "the matter is before a delegate."</p>
  • <p class="italic">I'm at my wits end and have even told my therapist I'd rather be dead than dependant on the NDIS.</p>
  • <p>Trevor and thousands like him shouldn't have to go through this frustration. The NDIA should listen to the experts. Last December, the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS, of which I'm a member, put forward some bipartisan and practical recommendations to improve the planning process. The government should adopt them all.</p>
  • <p>I also want to mention Neil Radley and the 6,000 younger Australians just like him who live in aged-care facilities simply because they have nowhere else to go. Neil came to see me last year here in parliament. Neil is in his 50s and became an quadriplegic a decade ago. He wants to live independently, in his own unit or house in the community. It's a reasonable proposition. The interim report of the royal commission into aged care has shamed the government into making a commitment that no person under 65 who wants to live independently will live in a nursing home beyond 2025. But how will they deliver on this promise? To date, only about 250 of the 6,000 younger people in nursing homes have been approved for disability accommodation. The hurdles and the paperwork make the application process torturous, and Neil admitted to me that he almost gave up. But, having gained SDA approval, Neil now finds that no investor in Bendigo will build disability housing. The NDIA says, 'That's not our problem.' This is how the government is able to say there is no demand and take $1.6 billion away from people with disability. Well, it should be the problem of the NDIA and it should be the problem of this government. They should be intervening and investing directly in disability housing, rather than allowing market failure to deny vulnerable Australians a decent future.</p>
  • <p>Now let's talk about climate change. Climate change is real. Australians have been able to see it, feel it and smell it all summer. The Prime Minister is unable to act on climate change because he is held hostage by hardline conservatives who think they know better than the world's scientists, and who don't even believe that climate change is real. Mr Morrison has no plan to invigorate the economy by developing&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Rob Mitchell</p>
  • <p>The member for Corangamite will refer to members by their correct titles.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>