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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1371

Ms STANLEY (Werriwa) (16:06): It is disappointing to see the level of cynical politics that this government is willing to engage in to pass these bad cuts. In the most Machiavellian of ways, in this bill they have tried to force a choice upon people where, indeed, there is no need to choose. They are pretending that, in order to properly fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, we need to leave millions of families, pensioners, working parents, young people and those who are the most vulnerable in our society, worse off.

Putting the question in these terms conveniently distracts from the fact that the government still intends to proceed with a $50 billion tax cut for big business. The truth is that this government is intent on squeezing our most vulnerable in order to give a hand to the big end of town. It beggars belief that even this government would go so low.

In my electorate, these cuts will hit hardest those without a voice. Youth unemployment in my electorate is amongst the highest in Sydney at 12.4 per cent. This government expect young jobseekers to wait four weeks to access financial support. They speak of them as if they choose to be unemployed. They do not. The reality for my constituents is they will probably be $48 a week worse off. It is not possible to attend an interview or a jobactive provider if you cannot afford the transport to get there, not to mention if you do not have the funds to make the phone calls or afford the access to the internet just to make job applications. You cannot organise interviews, you cannot feed yourself and you cannot turn up properly dressed for interviews. That is assuming, of course, that my electorate ever gets the NBN it was promised. Not all families in my electorate have the means to help young jobseekers. They themselves have bills and they find that a continual problem.

At the same time, this government also sees fit to withhold funds that are vital to the success of the National Disability Insurance Scheme if they cannot pass these unfair cuts. To put it mildly, this is a slap in the face to many in my electorate. Werriwa is home to a higher than average number of families with disabilities who are relying on the success of the NDIS. I have spoken to many families who feel relieved that this scheme, designed by Labor and fully funded by Labor, will make a huge difference they need in their lives. Families and recipients now have choices about the type of care their loved ones get, how it is structured and who provides it. The empowerment of people living with disabilities, their families and carers is amazing. It is beyond unreasonable that this government would undermine such an important reform by treating it as mere collateral to allow them to secure a big business tax cut.

The NDIA estimates that the support of the NDIS will allow over 24,000 carers of people with a disability to return to the workforce and that, in turn, will add over $22 billion to the national GDP, not to mention how wonderful it will just make them feel. More and more people in my electorate need assistance in their homes caring for themselves or their loved ones. More and more people in my electorate need assistance to enter the workforce through financial support and access to better vocational education. What they do not need is a $50 billion tax cut for big business and $7.4 billion of that is for the big four banks, who have again posted records profits today. As far as communities in my area are concerned, this government has its priorities completely wrong.