MPI - Labor Government


I rise to join my colleagues in responding to this matter of public importance today put before the House by the shadow Treasurer, as I watch the numbers of those opposite be depleted again as another member leaves the chamber after their five-minute contribution. I would like to raise, too, the fact that this is the same MPI that we have been doing for 17 months, day in, day out. The people on this side of the House understand the impacts that inflation is having on our communities. That's why we've been taking action. That's why this government has been delivering $23 billion of support, targeted to where it's needed most.

I'd just say to the previous speaker, the member for Hinkler, that an urgent care clinic for Bundaberg is a fabulous idea. It's a pity you didn't have that idea in your 9½ years in government, because that is one of the answers in my community. My community is home to an urgent care clinic, and in Victoria we've already had 30,000 presentations to urgent care clinics across the state. The House might be interested to know that nearly a third of those patients have been under 15 years old, nearly a third of visits have taken place on weekends and more than one in five visits have taken place after 6 pm on weekdays. Obviously, the design of the Urgent Care Clinic is to make up for 10 years of neglect and undermining of the Medicare system that saw 30 per cent of GPs leave my electorate when those opposite took away our priority area status. We lost 30 per cent of GPs in my booming electorate, which has gone up by another 11,000 people since May 2022—another 11,000 people registered to vote in my electorate in that time. But those opposite took away the priority status from my area. We lost 30 per cent of our doctors. They're very quiet over there now—very quiet! That's 30 per cent of doctors no longer in my electorate. That means that the surgeries which were doing longer hours are gone. Surgeries operating on weekends are gone. An Urgent Care Clinic in my electorate is making sure that people can access a doctor and not wait for seven or eight hours at an emergency department. This is critical.

That's the list of things that we're doing, and that's because we're fully aware of how hard people are doing it at the moment. I represent a mortgage belt; I represent people with mortgages and I know how hard they're doing it. That's why I am so pleased that 8,000 families in my electorate are paying 14 per cent less per hour for child care for every hour their children are in child care. I visited a childcare centre two weeks ago with the member for Cowan, the Minister for Early Childhood Education. I heard this firsthand from the owner-operator of that childcare centre—a small business—who said to me that their occupancy rates have gone up to 92 per cent because mothers in that community were working. Guess what? Just as predicted, they were working two more days a week. So those families were in a better position; their family budgets are working better because of the actions of this government.

Those opposite want to come in here every day and exploit the inflationary position that we're in globally and suggest that this government is distracted. We are not distracted! Let's go through the list: cheaper child care—there it is at No. 1. There are Urgent Care Clinics; increased rent assistance; more Medicare bulk-billing; and cheaper medicines. They opposed cheaper medicines. We have boosted income support payments for those doing it tough the most. We have introduced Fee-Free TAFE training, and the subscriptions are so high that we have had to increase the number of places. We heard today in question time about the extraordinary number of those places which are going to people, like the young people in my electorate, doing early childhood education. We are building more affordable homes, we're expanding paid parental leave and, most importantly, we're doing what we said we would do, which is get wages moving.

And for the aged-care workers in my electorate, when I meet with them they tell me they're very pleased to be in receipt of a 15 per cent pay rise and very pleased that their wages have gone up—as is everybody on the minimum wage in my electorate.

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