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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2290


Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (15:55): I just want to remind the good member for Fisher that nowhere in this MPI did it talk about the CFMEU or unions; it actually talked about defending the government's own $65 billion cuts. But not one of the government's speakers has been able to get up there and speak in defence of these cuts and why they are good for this country.

When it comes to being out of touch with the needs and realities of everyday Australians, this Prime Minister could win a Golden Globe award, a Logie—you name it. He could take the cake for it when he swans in here from his digs in Point Piper, his very modest accommodation, with his high-fibre NBN connection that gets him the most reliable speeds of anybody in this country. I've lived in Lindsay my whole life, and we're often subject to unfavourable stereotypes. Well, for the benefit of those opposite, including the member for Fisher, let me run through some of the ways in which the people in my community are more hardworking, more real and more deserving of some of this out-of-touch Prime Minister's investment.

The cost of living in Lindsay is three per cent higher than that in the Prime Minister's electorate. Why? It is because we have so few local jobs that local residents can work in. Every household and every family needs two cars—one for each adult. When you travel to work you also get to pay the M4 toll, which is a bonus, because that road was paid for many years ago. We like the freeway. The member for Macquarie likes the freeway. We like the extension. But what we don't like is having to pay for a road that has already been paid for—and we don't want to pay for it for another 43 years!

This was an abject failure of the Abbott government. When Labor supported the project, when we were in government, we did so with a caveat that we would not hand out any Commonwealth money if the New South Wales Liberals insisted on a toll. In walked Tony Abbott and, voila, just like that, the caveat was ripped up in favour of the toll operator, and we got the toll back. Of course you don't need to own a car to go to work. You could squish yourself onto one of the Western Sydney overpacked trains—very reliable, hardly ever air-conditioned in 47-degree heat; that's fine—but only after you drive to the train station! There's no equity in public transport.

If you go to work, you'll have your penalty rates cut after the government take an axe to the industrial relations system—day after day after day. They hate unions and they hate workers. They'll cut your penalty rates. They expect you to work more hours for the same amount of money or less. They also don't want you to have a secure job, with casualisation taking over every industry that's out there. If you do have a job, you'd better hope your company isn't too reliant on energy, because your job will be even less secure.

The cost of electricity has skyrocketed under these Liberals, and households and businesses are paying through the nose, especially in Sydney, where we've seen increases of close to $1,000 in four years. We were hoodwinked by this government. We were told it was all because of the carbon tax. Well, the carbon tax has gone but the prices are still rising every day. There is no energy policy for businesses, which is creating uncertainty, and you certainly don't hire people when you do not know what the future holds.

For households, another thing chewing through their declining pay packets is the real cost of health insurance, which seems to favour the shareholders rather than the policyholders. The costs rise, value for money decreases and ordinary mums and dads can't afford to keep paying. We have plummeting home ownership—the lowest levels we have seen in decades—rentals that are priced out of ordinary pay packets and no real plan to tackle any of this. There is no investment and no idea about how the other half lives.

With so much opportunity to help people, particularly those in Western Sydney who are already facing a high cost of living and reduced opportunity, why is this government focused on cutting Western Sydney University to the tune of $98 million, which is the highest cut to any university, cutting $21 million to every public school in our community and not investing in the most under pressure hospital in New South Wales? Well, it's no surprise, because it's too busy supporting a $65 billion tax cut to those who least need it, expecting it to trickle down the line and result in some kind of support in the take-home pay packets of people in my community.

This government has no policy agenda to prioritise the everyday Australians who need support. At a time when this government has seen the budget deficit grow to $23 billion under its watch—which is quite ironic, given it is forever passing itself off as the best friend to Australia's economic bottom line—its $65 billion tax cut is unaffordable, and we will fight it. We will fight it for people in electorates like Herbert, Macquarie, Lindsay, Chifley and Cowan—for ordinary Australians.

What a shame our Prime Minister is so inspired by the Trump administration and wants to follow his lead. What will inspire him next? Will it be a US-style medical system where the rich get cured, an education system where the wealthy and those born to privilege are educated, or even, heaven help us, a US-style industrial relations system where there is no minimum wage? While this merchant banker looks after his mates—multinationals and millionaires like his banker mate Mike Baird—with tax cuts, he's happy to fleece ordinary taxpayers. We on this side of the House will not stand for it. We will fight every day for the people who elected us to be here.