Speech on how Labor's working for Australia


The Albanese government is working hard to deliver the better future you voted for. The government is working for Australia. We're building a stronger economy and a fairer country. Since the House last sat, the most significant housing reforms in a generation have been worked through. Australia will build 1.2 million new homes over five years. This is an additional 200,000 new homes above the National Housing Accord target agreed by states and territories last year. There will be a better deal for renters to harmonise and strengthen renters rights across Australia. This includes developing a nationally consistent policy to implement a requirement for genuine, reasonable grounds for eviction; moving towards limiting rent increases to once a year; and phasing in minimum rental standards.

Starting last week, we halved the price of almost 100 common medicines. In the electorate of Lalor, this will see 20,000 locals in our community save time—they won't have to go to the doctor because there will be 60-day prescriptions for those 100 medicines—and they'll save money, because they won't be paying at the chemist. This will deliver real cost-of-living relief.

We've smashed our target and delivered over 214,000 fee-free TAFE enrolments. It makes this teacher's heart sing that there are 214,000 people—the majority, I would assume, are young people, but perhaps some are retraining—who are now on a lifelong learning journey through the vocational education and training sector.

We've seen multiple Medicare urgent care clinics open across Australia, with our government working with the Victorian state government to deliver the Werribee urgent care clinic. Locals are already able to see a doctor for urgent but not life-threatening issues. If a child breaks their arm, they can now go to the urgent care clinic and not wait for hours at our local emergency clinic at Mercy Hospital.

This cost-of-living relief comes on top of the measures this government has already delivered: cheaper child care; cheaper medicines; support for first home buyers; electricity bill relief; secure jobs, better pay; increases to support for those who need it most; and pay rises for aged-care workers and for those on minimum wage. And we've done much more. The government understands the pressures families are under locally and nationally, but every day we're working to deliver support and relief for our growing community and everyone who calls it home. Every day, this government is working for Australia, and every day we are demonstrating that we're doing exactly that—working for Australia—not just in the immediate term but in the longer term. Our eyes are focused on the future.

In contrast, those opposite are fixated on the past and just say no to anything that is future focused. I remember distinctly coming back to parliament last December to pass legislation to ensure that households wouldn't get the predicted increase on their energy costs. And what did we find out in the economic news today? We found out that that actually worked—that we've had a six per cent increase rather than the 19 per cent increase we would have had if those opposite had had their way. They came into this place and they voted against those measures.

This government is absolutely focused on supporting Australians, supporting people in my community, ensuring that we've got our eye on the current cost-of-living issues as well as on the future. We've been debating in here the changes to higher education, changes that would see young people in my electorate incentivised to go to university and supported to be at university to fulfil their potential. The Albanese Labor government is about the future. It's working hard for Australia to create a better future and to create a future that all Australians can be proud of and all Australians can be participants in.

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