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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13357


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (10:29): So many of this government's policies are hurting families, especially in regional and rural areas such as my electorate of Richmond on the North Coast of New South Wales. As I have said many times before in this House, National Party choices hurt. These choices hurt across a whole range of areas, including those such as the $50 billion in cuts to our health and hospital funding and the $30 billion in cuts to education. In my region, in northern New South Wales, the National Party have already made the choice to increase the GST to 15 per cent, to unfairly cut the age pension, to cut local jobs and to slash health services—and now they want to cut family payments. Labor will always stand by Australian families and will oppose the Prime Minister's harsh and unfair cuts.

Before the last election, we had Liberal and National Party candidates running around promising to help families with the cost of living. Like every other promise they made in the campaign, it was broken. It was simply untrue what they were saying. They have actually made it harder for the families. In their first budget, families were under attack, and it seems this government will never let up—such as with these latest cuts to family payments. I will certainly keep fighting against the unfair cuts being made by the Prime Minister and his government to families in my area. Federal Labor will oppose the government's latest attempt to cut family support. In my electorate their cuts would mean cuts to family tax benefit supplements for thousands of local families and to family tax benefit B payments for local single parents and grandparent carers. The cuts to family tax benefit part A and part B supplements will leave more than 11,900 families in my electorate of Richmond hundreds of dollars a year worse off.

The fact is that raising a family is very expensive and the cost of living keeps going up. The government just does not seem to understand that, as they want to cut hundreds of dollars a year from family budgets. A single-parent family on the North Coast with a couple of kids in high school could be more than $4,700 worse off because of the government's plan to cut the family tax benefit—and the schoolkids bonus as well. Remember it was Labor who introduced the schoolkids bonus to help families with the cost of getting kids to school. Just yesterday we saw a new figure showing that more than three million Australian children will lose support under the Prime Minister's unfair cuts to family payments. These figures, from the minister's own department, show 1.6 million families and their children will lose hundreds of dollars a year in important family tax benefit supplement payments—a huge amount. We also saw a review yesterday that showed that families in the Prime Minister's electorate will be the least affected by these cuts. That really shows how out of touch he is, with these cuts to family payments. On top of these cuts to family payments, the government, as we know, wants to increase the GST, which will hurt every family in my area on the North Coast. Labor will never compromise on fairness and will keep protecting local families from this Liberal-National government's unfair cuts.