MPI - The economy

MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

I am pleased to rise on this matter of public importance and join this discussion in the chamber today. I would note that the matters of public importance are getting repetitious. I know my colleagues on this side have been delivering the same points, but today we have some more good news about what this side, the government, is doing about rising inflation. That's good news for communities like mine, where we have the highest number of mortgage holders in the country. More than 50 per cent of the households in the community that I represent are families in each household, and most have a mortgage. They have felt every rate increase. But the good news that is coming for communities like mine is that those who are working and being paid a modern award are now going to get a 5.75 per cent pay increase. That is how you deal with inflation. You put money into the pockets of the people who are working hard so that they can afford to pay these rate rises.

Let's face it, in my community that won't be inflationary. People on award wages in my electorate won't be rushing out to buy a boat. No, they'll be paying their mortgage. They'll be finding that space again in the family budget. It is good news. That is how you deal with inflation in this country, by looking after the people in this country who do the hard work, the people who work in the economies that this country relies on, like the care economy. Of course, we also have coming in the care economy an incredible investment and commitment from this government that will see a 15 per cent pay rise for those working in aged care. That is how we are dealing with inflation. Those things are about priorities.

Budgets are about priorities. I've been in this chamber for nearly 10 years, and I've seen a few budgets and I've seen a few skewed priorities. I remember distinctly the 2014 budget that ripped funds away from the community sector in my electorate and left homelessness services with absolutely nowhere to go. I was meeting with CSOs in homeless and community services who were in despair about how they were going to support people on the ground. I remember that budget well. I remember the money being ripped out of my community.

And it wasn't just one budget. It was budget after budget after budget where the priorities of the former government became very apparent. Not to put too fine of a point on it for the member for Dawson: this government didn't 'take over', mate. We were elected. And not to put too fine a point on it, the repetition of those budget priorities is what led to us being here, sitting on the government benches now and celebrating the fact that families in my electorate will get some relief under this government, that this government will take targeted action and show restraint and that this government will put money back in with a projected surplus to come, which is something those opposite failed to deliver in their nine budgets. They prioritised, not the people in my electorate—they didn't prioritise my community—but they prioritised other people in this country. That's what their priorities did.

We saw that as late as just before the last election and we've heard about it this week—it's yet another example. For me and my community, the most egregious thing that we heard from those opposite in nine years was about the parking lots at train stations in inner Melbourne. These were going into communities that already had buses, trams and a station mostly 800 metres from people's homes. And they were going to get car parks, while out in the outer suburbs it was nothing! Not one car park at our train stations. We heard this week that the Community Health and Hospitals Fund has been through an audit process and that while those opposite undermined Medicare they were targeting spending by using their priorities. And none of it landed in my community—not one cent of it was going to come to our community.

Fortunately, they're not in government, and these will be reviewed dramatically to ensure that the things that were done under that government are stopped now, and that the priorities that support most Australian families will be delivered by this Albanese Labor government. And in two budgets we have started that work. Mark my words, we have a lot more work to do, but I'm really proud of the first 12 months and I'm really proud of my community and the way they're managing to live in this inflationary crisis. I'm here to support them.

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