ADJOURNMENT DEBATE - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
I am incredibly proud to stand in this House, as part of this government, speaking on the budget handed down just 24 hours ago. I'm proud of this budget because it is a budget in the best of Labor traditions: it tackles today's challenges while it builds for tomorrow. As the member for Lalor, representing communities in the outer west of Melbourne, I will outline what is in this budget for the people I represent in this place.
I'm most proud of this budget because it backs in, supports and helps our community and our people so much. The budget provides cost-of-living relief, gives more opportunities to more Australians and creates a secure economy into the future. We're building for the long term and we're helping Australians who need support now. Our plan will grow the economy, creating new jobs in our outer suburbs; boost renewable energy; and invest in TAFE and training so Australians can make the most of the opportunities that are in front of us.
We're making responsible and disciplined choices that put our economy and our society on a stronger footing. That means that this government will deliver the first budget surplus in 15 years, something the Liberals promised to deliver each and every year but never delivered. But that is not how we measure this achievement. It's not what we measure it against.
This budget predicts a surplus in 2022-23, against a backdrop that demanded careful, responsible decisionmaking. This hasn't been an easy budget. It hasn't been easy work. But I'm lucky that I have developed a close friendship with the Treasurer since we both arrived here for the first time after the 2013 election. While we share so much in common, in terms of our life stories and our values, the thing we've really bonded over is the fact that the communities of Logan and Wyndham—of Rankin and Lalor—are so similar. In fact, on his first visit to my community, some years ago now, the Treasurer got out of the car and said, 'Jeez, Jo, this is just like being at home'—
An honourable member: Except for the weather!
Ms RYAN: Except for the weather!—something I'm sure you too, Mr Speaker, could attest to. With that in mind, I knew that at the forefront of the Treasurer's mind would be the people like those we both represent.
In fact, the Treasurer today stated communities like his—and therefore ours—provided the inspiration for this budget. You only have to look at the response to this budget to see our growing suburbs are at the forefront of this government's thinking. Peri Urban Councils Victoria has said that they 'greatly appreciate the positive direction from the Albanese government to support our expanding community need for improved public infrastructure and services', as well as 'welcoming the relief for those in our communities struggling with cost-of-living pressures'. This budget is a win for our community and those like it around the nation.
Just over 12 months ago, I sat around a Wyndham Vale family's kitchen table. It was the start of the election campaign, and we were there to talk about community batteries. Families like the one I was speaking to that day are who the Labor Party presented this budget for. And I'm pleased with all we have delivered for them: 5,000 people into work since we took office; federal infrastructure investment in our community for the first time in a decade; school upgrades; delivering a greener, cleaner future; helping over 1,200 locals buy their first homes with the Home Guarantee Scheme; and 11,000 premises provided with access to higher internet speeds to work, learn and relax, with our investment in the NBN since coming to government.
But we're not done yet. Our budget will see so many households benefit from a $500 rebate, and 34,000 locals will save $180 a year on their medicines. We're boosting wages for our aged-care workers, there's a record investment in Medicare and we're boosting payments for over 15,000 of our most vulnerable locals. We're supporting 9,000 eligible renters with the largest ever increase to rental assistance.
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July 31, 2023