Pages tagged "Budget"

  • 2018 Federal Budget

  • Lalor pensioners, families and young people paying for Abbott's lies

    This week marks one year of Tony Abbott’s lies, deceit and broken promises. A year on and pensioners, families and young people across Lalor are paying for Abbott’s lies.

    One year on, whether you are on the Age Pension, the Disability Support Pension, the Carer Payment or Newstart Allowance, Tony Abbott has you in his sights.

    The pension is under attack. Family payments are being slashed. And young people will be left without income support for six months.

    Federal Member for Lalor, Joanne Ryan said “these attacks are bad news for large number of Lalor residents. The Abbott Government is already making life particularly difficult for Lalor residents by introducing a GP Tax, Petrol Tax and freezing superannuation. Attacks on income support measures will make things even tougher for local families”.

    Locally there is:

    • 11,263 people on an Age Pension
    • 5,210 people on a Disability Support Pension
    • 2,153 people on a Carer Payment, and
    • 6,802 Newstart Allowance recipients

    One year on, low and middle income Australians are under attack. This is not the Government they said they would be.

    On the eve of the election last year, the Prime Minister twice promised no changes to pensions:

    “We’re not going to reduce pensions…”


    “No change to pensions, no change to the GST.”


    We now know that he lied.

    He also promised that he would:

    “Reduce cost of living pressures.”


    And yet families face cuts of $7.5 billion slashed from their family budgets.

    Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget will leave a single income family on $65,000 as much as $6,000 a year worse off.

    In just one year, Tony Abbott has introduced legislation to:

    • Cut the Age Pension, the Carer Payment and the Disability Support Pension by $23 billion, leaving pensioners $80 a week worse off within ten years;
    • Raise the retirement age to 70;
    • Abolish the Seniors Supplement
    • Cut families off Family Tax Benefit Part B when their youngest child turns 6;
    • Cut Newstart for young people under 30;
    • Slash Family Tax Benefit End of Year Supplements;
    • And he has already abolished the Schoolkids Bonus and the Income Support Bonus.

    The reality is that this is has been a horror year for low and middle income Australians.

    Australians know they were deceived.

    Labor will stand with pensioners, families, young jobseekers and every hardworking Australian and fight Tony Abbott’s savage attack on their standard of living.

    Australians can’t afford another year of Abbott’s lies. 

  • Higher education cuts

    There will be no surprise today that I rise to speak about higher education. Before the election this government promised no cuts to education. The higher education bill introduced today confirms that this government has introduced cuts to every level of education, from child care through to postgraduate study. The Minister for Education introduced into the House today legislation that will negatively change the face of higher education in this country. He did this in the wake of a budget that acts to entrench inequity at all levels of education. He did this while the government ushers in draconian cuts to Newstart eligibility, apprenticeship support programs and supported access to TAFE programs. He did this while those opposite scream at our young people, 'You must earn or learn!'

    Today's legislation closes the loop on access to equity in education and makes the ability of young people in this country to meet that demand so much harder. The changes again hit low- and middle-income families and risk locking young people from my community out of university. In Lalor, people of all ages want to talk about this unfair change. Families are seriously looking at their options to assess if university is possible for their children, and meanwhile the minister cruelly quips that he is not asking for their left kidney. This is an outrageous move by this minister. It includes a 20 per cent cut to university funding and will see fees rise and students burdened. My question to the prime minister is simple: why is some debt bad but student debt good?

  • Transport funding cuts in Lalor

    In the election campaign I told the people in the electorate of Lalor that I would come to Canberra to represent them—that I would come to Canberra to fight for them. And that is what I will do tonight. Tonight I speak about an issue in my electorate that is progressively worsening. It is traffic congestion, road safety and the cost of travel.

    Now, I could talk for days about the endless number of measures in the Abbott government's budget that scream bad news for Lalor families. But today I would like to focus on three in particular: the decision to cut funding to local government under the Financial Assistance Grants, the decision in this place yesterday to stop debate and block a motion to ensure Roads to Recovery funding, and the petrol tax.

    Our local population growth is amongst the fastest across Australia and is projected to continue on that steep curve. Stop at any street corner in Lalor and ask a local about transport and you will hear a tale of woe, whether that be public or private. On roads you will hear about travel times to work on congested freeways and buses that do not meet trains due to congestion. You will hear about 45-minute journeys to travel 10 kilometres within the city on the school run or to get to work. You will hear about where country roads now take city traffic and hundreds of trucks a day.

    This cruel budget of lies has dealt families a significant blow by cutting funding to Wyndham City Council under the Financial Assistance Grants program. The local council uses this funding to invest in local roads and other significant priority projects. It is deplorable to see the Abbott government move to reduce funding for local roads. In the case of Wyndham council more than $3.36 million has been cut for local roads and other priority projects over the next three years.

    But then yesterday this government added insult to injury; they added salt to the wounds of the people of Lalor. They failed to make certain that $350 million in Roads to Recovery funding would be provided to local governments across the country as well. After what we thought was Minister Truss's inept handling of the legislative program—I know, hard to imagine unless you heard the Treasurer recently say that changes to pensions would be taken to an election when in fact the legislation had passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. We thought Minister Truss had a similar brain fade; we thought he had forgotten to introduce legislation to ensure the Roads to Recovery Program funding beyond 30 June, but it seems not. No, yesterday, when Mr Albanese put up a private members bill to help them out and ensure the funding, those opposite gagged debate and voted it down. The Abbott government's significant, now double-barrelled, cuts to local councils will rip another $3 million away from our local governments and local roads. The result will be felt by local commuters who continue to battle road congestion across Lalor. These programs make local roads safer by improving conditions and easing congestion.

    When Labor were in government, we knew the importance of investing in our transport system. We funded the Regional Rail Link with $3.225 billion from our Nation Building Program. We committed significant funding to a number of major infrastructure projects along the Western Highway and the Western Ring Road. Both the Wyndham City Council and Hobsons Bay City Council received unprecedented funding from the Roads to Recovery and financial assistance grants programs. The contrast between Labor and the coalition could not be more stark.

    And this scenario gets even worse when you add in the petrol tax and the out-of-touch Treasurer. Not only will the congestion worsen and see commuters across Lalor battling traffic for longer, they will be paying more for the privilege. Joe Hockey's recent comments that the 'poorest people either do not have cars or actually do not drive' is a slap in the face to the 50,000 Lalor residents travelling to work each day. Almost 60 per cent of Lalor families have two or more vehicles in the home and the average distance for 60 per cent of Lalor residents' who drive to work is 25 kilometres a day—day in day out. That is a remarkable number of people travelling a remarkable distance—one of the highest in the country. High petrol costs impact heavily on the family budget in Lalor, especially for locals who travel further to work than most other Australians. Our Treasurer is simply out of touch.

  • Attack on Medicare and the cost of medicines

    I rise today to speak on this matter of public importance—and it is of great importance, especially to the people of my electorate of Lalor. As with many measures in the Abbott government's budget of broken promises, when you add up the combined impact of the GP tax and the increase to medicine costs and when those numbers are crunched, we see Lalor topping the charts with an estimated cost to our community of over $52 million. That is $52 million taken out of our community and out of our local economy because it will have to be spent on going to the doctor and paying for prescriptions.

    Our pain does not stop there, because we will be sorely hit by the $50 billion cut from hospitals and the scrapping of preventive health funding. We are heartily sick of being top of the pops. And we are heartily sick of projecting the compounding effects of this cruel budget on families. The truth is that our community keeps featuring because it has 60,000 families making their way in the world. In fact, in Lalor we are a microcosm of the broad Australian community. So I speak today for Lalor, but I speak also for middle- and low-income Australians.

    When I think about the community of Lalor, I also think of other growth corridors that will surely be suffering in similar ways. I think of Cranbourne South in the seat of Flinders, and I think of Minister Hunt—and I wonder where he is today to speak on this MPI; I think of Pakenham in the seat of McMillan; and I think of Frankston in the seat of Dunkley. All of these electorates in the state of Victoria are held by Liberal members of this House. They are all in the top 40 in this week's charts. Given that their members are not speaking out in this chamber or, one suspects, in the LNP caucus or in cabinet, I speak for them today in this MPI. I speak for Lalor, I speak for Australia and I speak about their anger. I speak about the anger about the Prime Minister and the Treasurer promising before the election that there would be no cuts to health and no new taxes but now smashing that promise. I speak of the anger about higher costs to visit the doctor and to buy needed medications and about the effects that will have on people accessing the medical care in the primary sector that they need, resulting in fewer people accessing health advice.

    In my own home, someone I care about deeply has found himself making decisions about going to the doctor and about filling prescriptions, because he has a large monthly bill for daily medications and he is really considering it with these threatened increases. I can only imagine how this translates to the 10,000 pensioners in Lalor. I have heard from several people who are on the disability support pension due to chronic illness and who have very real fears about how they will survive when they must pay more for prescriptions. I hear Minister Dutton and those on the other side of the chamber consistently cry, 'Labor introduced the PBS co-payment' but they deliberately omit that Labor also increased the pharmaceutical allowance to compensate pensioners and that allowance was paid weekly. Every time the PBS co-payment rose, so did the pharmaceutical allowance. They fail to admit that it was Prime Minister Howard who broke that nexus in 1997. They omit the targeted and responsible savings Labor made like the means testing of the private health insurance rebate. They omit that Labor made medicines cheaper by simplifying price disclosure.

    It is little comfort to the people of Lalor that they will take this hit, that they will have their long-term health possibly compromised by reduced household budgets and by their capacity to pay. It is little comfort to them to know they will do this to fund a research fund that may find cures but that will be useless to them if the universality of our health care system is smashed in the process.

    So we have smashed promises, smashed commitments. We will have, if the government continues to pursue its unhealthy agenda, smashed household budgets. We will have in my electorate smashed lives. Those opposite argue they have to do something. I say to them: you do not have to do this; you should not do this.

  • Lalor community survey and the cruel Budget

    I am glad to be back in the chamber today to take the fight back up to this government and its unfair budget.

    Despite a five-week parliamentary recess and countless distractions from bumbling members of the government's frontbench, the budget is still what people in my electorate want to talk about. My community survey suggests that cost-of-living pressures are the number one concern in my electorate. And who would be surprised by that, given the detail that keeps coming out and showing that the people of Lalor are going to be hard hit by countless and compounding budget measures?

    In the past five weeks we have heard that 'poor people don't drive'—that they do not have cars. Sixty per cent of the 60,000 families in Lalor have two cars and drive long distances to their employment. We have heard that the unemployed will have to apply for 40 jobs. The next thing we heard was that unemployment in the electorate of Lalor had jumped to 8.8 per cent—2.4 per cent higher than the national average. And there is no news yet of a jobs plan. We heard that Lalor will be worst hit by the education cuts, by health cuts, by a GP tax and by a petrol tax.

    And what do we hear from the government? We hear that there is a budget emergency; that there is no budget emergency. Let me tell you, Mr Deputy Speaker, there is a budget emergency: it is a household budget emergency and it is going to crash on the people of Lalor.

  • Statement on Abbott's budget

    I rise to speak about the budget the whole country is still talking about some months after it was delivered. The Treasurer was talking about it yesterday as well. He said that, if we on this side of the House and those on our side in the other place continued to block the nasty measures, there were alternatives he could take. I assume that these will be alternatives that were not talked about before the election, much like the budget we have in front of us was not talked about before the election.

    Today, I rise to say that we have seen some of the recommendations from the Commission of Audit and we want to know which of those are in and which of those are out. Are the government going to slow down the rollout of the NDIS? This is a question that is hot in my electorate. Are they going to increase the GP tax to $15 rather than the $7 that is on the table now? That question is hot in my electorate too. Are they going to abolish family tax benefit part B, as the Commission of Audit suggested? That question is hot in my electorate. Are they going to reduce the staffing size of Defence headquarters in Canberra? That question is certainly very hot in Canberra. Or will they rule out the rolled gold PPL, save themselves some money and deliver a fairer budget?

  • Budget Impact on Lalor Families

    I rise today to highlight the inconsistencies of our Prime Minister and those opposite and how they will devastate Australian families, especially in my electorate of Lalor. I want to look at it in simple terms. Tony Abbott promised no new taxes, but now Australians will be slugged with a petrol tax. He promised no cuts to health, but now Australians will be hit with a $7 GP tax and he has cut billions from health. He promised to help families with the real cost of raising children, but now he has stripped $7.5 billion in family payments, cutting $6,000 from some families' budgets.

    Twenty years ago I was a single mum raising three kids and working part time with the family benefits tax supplement. What would it have meant to my budget? I was a taxpayer paying income tax and GST, but under these conditions I would not have made the mortgage payment. My children and I would have lost our home.

    This will hurt Australians—not just families but small business, big business, everyone—because what those opposite fail to understand is the basic economics that taking money away from families equals less spending ability and less money in our local economy.

    While Tony Abbott considers what it actually means to make a promise, whether it be 'core' or in writing, ordinary Australians will be left pondering how this budget of broken promises will impact on them. Despite saying this government would not leave anyone behind, the Prime Minister has forgotten low- and middle-income families. Labor always fights for fairness, and I will fight for my community.

  • Speaking on the 2014 Budget

    Over the last couple of weeks, I have been fighting hard against the cruel Abbott budget.  I have spoken in Parliament 11 times over the last 5 sitting days, 8 of those times on how unfair this budget is on our community.

    I have:

    • Spoken about the budget impacts and priorities of the Abbott government;
    • Questioned the Prime Minister about the fairness of cutting pensions and Family Tax Benefits;
    • Highlighted that Australian’s did NOT vote for this budget;
    • Discussed the cuts to Child Care measures in the Family Assistance Legislation;
    • Spoken about Infrastructure and the Asset Recycling Bill;
    • Questioned the government regarding the impact of the budget on women;
    • Explained the importance of supporting apprentices with the Trades Loan Support Bill; and
    • Emphasised the importance of certainty of funding for the Werribee Mercy Hospital.

     You can see my specches or download a written version from my website.

    Last night, we had a win for Lalor with all 21 amendments moved by Labor on the Infrastructure Australia Amendment Act 2013 being carried in the Senate.

    This means that Infrastructure Australian remains relevant, independent and transparent.  In part,it also prevents the Minister from excluding  whole classes of infrastructure from Infrastructure Australia’s evaluation process – such as public transport.

    These changes will ensure that infrastructure planning will remain steady and methodical and no longer reliant on the political cycle.  Importantly Infrastructure Australia will continue to provide it’s advisory functions.  This is in contrast to the situation where the Abbott Government threw funding at the EastWest Link without a business plan even being developed.

    I will continue to represent and fight for our great community to ensure we are not left behind doing the heavy lifting.  Our community deserves to be treated with fairness.

  • Budget - Consideration in Detail

    Thank you for giving me the call, Madam Deputy Speaker. I need to ask which you prefer to be called: Deputy Speaker or Madam Deputy Speaker?

    The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Andrews ): I am happy with either, but thank you.

    Ms RYAN: Good. I just want everyone to note that it is worth asking a woman what she wants occasionally, because I want to talk today about the Office for Women and the adverse impacts this budget has on women. I am glad to be here and I am glad to hear that list of advisory bodies and experts that those opposite think they do not need to listen to anymore. One of the things I want to talk about is the notion that, if you cannot slash an advisory body or get rid of an expert, then you can always just ignore it, like we are ignoring the Office for Women.

    Tony Abbott's budget of broken promises makes savage cuts to pensions. We have been there. We know the list of cuts is long: hospitals, family payments, superannuation, education and services. All of these cuts will have a deep impact on women. For example, a single parent on the parenting payment, the majority of whom are women, will have their budgets hit by more than $3,400 a year. Industry Super Australia has stated:

    The repeal of the LISC—
    the low income super contribution—

    will be particularly damaging to the retirement savings of women who constitute an estimated two-thirds of those eligible. Staggeringly, the abolition of the LISC will negatively impact on the retirement savings of almost one in two women.
    In the aftermath of the budget, we have seen an unprecedented and dishonest attack on Australia's carers, the majority of whom are women. There are no changes to carers as a result of the budget, the Prime Minister said in question time on 16 June. This is wrong. The budget cuts the carers payment, with indexation to be reduced to CPI. This will impact on carers, the majority of whom are women. And, with women accounting for 60 per cent of GP visits, the GP tax will have a deep impact on their access to health care. As the costs mount for families, tough decisions will be made on seeking help for those families.

    I went to the website of the Office for Women and I found there that the Office for Women exists:

    … to ensure a whole-of-government approach is given to providing better economic and social outcomes for women.
    That is what the website says. Then I went to the 'Economic Empowerment and Opportunity' part of the site, and it said:

    The Australian Government is working to improve women's economic empowerment.
    … … …
    Women's economic empowerment is central to a strong economy and region. For example, closing the workforce participation gap between women and men could boost gross domestic product by up to 13%.
    During Senate estimates, on 27 May, it was confirmed that the Office for Women, in your department of PM&C, provided advice on all relevant measures leading up to the budget. Ms McDevitt said:

    For all the budget measures, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provides advice, and, since the Office for Women is located within the department, the Office for Women has provided advice on relevant measures leading up to the budget, which could include consulting with other agencies and providing internal advice that would feed into the whole-of-department advice on budget measures.
    My question in this area is: why was advice from the Prime Minister's own department ignored in the formulation of the budget? It has been the practice, for over 30 years, for federal governments to produce a women's budget statement as one element of the official budget papers. We heard a few minutes ago lots of statements, pointing the finger across the chamber about previous budgets—not the budget of 2014, which is the budget we are all here to talk about. That has been in place for 30 years in the official budget papers, but in 2014 it is not included.

    My question is, given the PM is the Minister for Women and the Office for Women is in PM&C, who made the decision to cut this statement? Was the Office for Women consulted on this specific decision? Given the impact on women of this budget, why was this decision made? And I will go further, with another question. To me, as a woman, it is really concerning that this government has a mirror looking backwards. I am looking forward to doing my ironing again. I wonder if you can answer that.