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Thursday, 7 February 2013
Page: 493

Mrs D'ATH (PetrieParliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (16:55): I rise today to highlight my priorities for the electorate of Petrie in 2013. Over the past six years, I have been working with my community to make our part of the world a better place to live, and I am proud of what we have achieved so far. We have $742 million for a rail line that has been talked about for over 100 years. As the federal Labor member for Petrie I am delivering the Moreton Bay Rail Link. We have significant new and improved facilities in 36 local schools, thanks to the almost $86 million that I delivered as the federal Labor member for Petrie. I have advocated passionately for education reform, and our federal Labor government is delivering. The only threat now to more money for all schools is Liberal state governments and those on the other side of this chamber. We just heard from the member for Forde on the issue of education, and I call on the opposition to release their education policy so we can have that debate, because I have concerns when a member of the opposition claims professional development is a non-core issue for teachers.

I am fighting hard alongside locals to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme become a reality. The only reason Queenslanders are not benefiting from our billion-dollar investment is a Liberal state Premier.

I am standing up for our seniors, who have worked hard for our country, and we can take pride in what we have delivered for them: the single biggest pension increase in 100 years; superannuation incentives and concessions for older workers; ongoing aged-care reforms—capping costs and shutting down discrimination; the seniors work bonus; and, now, $1,000 rewards for businesses that hire and retain mature-age workers.

The National Broadband Network is rolling out across my electorate, in parts of Aspley, North Lakes, Griffin, and Mango Hill and it is now coming to Carseldine. People in the suburbs not yet on the map are crying out to be included because they know the NBN will revolutionise the way we do things in our homes, in our schools and in our workplaces.

The next round of household assistance payments under the Clean Energy Future package will be hitting bank accounts from March, and our Clean Technology Investment Program has already helped 188 Australian manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency, reduce their power bills, improve their competitiveness and cut their carbon pollution.

Since my election, there has been a 23 per cent increase in local students attending university—proof that our policies are changing lives. Throughout our community, the schoolkids bonus has already benefited 9,700 families. Just last week, I was talking to parents at school gates about the schoolkids bonus and they were telling me how helpful it has been. As a mum of two I know that the week before school goes back is crazy, with last-minute expenses popping up all over the place. The new payments—$410 per primary student and $820 per kid in high school—are lightening the load on family budgets just when they most need a break. I know parents are already looking forward to the second round of payments in July this year.

We recognise that there are also other people in our communities doing it tough. That is why yesterday we brought in income support bonuses—to give a half-yearly boost to the incomes of those who could use a helping hand, such as Newstart and Austudy recipients. But of course the opposition voted against these bonuses, like they vote against most things.

Make no mistake—under a coalition government we would see the schoolkids bonus gone, the income support bonus gone, the NBN gone, superannuation tax breaks for low-paid workers gone, more funding for all schools gone, the federally funded National Disability Insurance Scheme gone, fair rights at work gone, and jobs gone, gone, gone. The proof for Queenslanders is the Premier. On Campbell Newman's watch, we have already seen 14,000 jobs slashed, including 4,000 in health services and what looks like around 1,000 in the Metro North Brisbane region alone. This is the region that services my constituents, and they are not happy. We have also seen funding ripped out of community groups and gag orders imposed; public transport services cut; and employment programs and TAFE campuses gutted. The toll of destruction goes on and on.

This year, I will fight harder than I have ever fought before to make sure the coalition cannot do to Australia what the LNP has done to Queensland. I want positive reform; that is what I stand for. I want to build on the legacy of our Labor governments—a legacy that includes the age pension, Medicare, compulsory superannuation and paid parental leave. On 14 September, I will be asking the people of Petrie to help me add the NBN; the NDIS; a cost-capped aged-care system; a low-carbon, energy-efficient future; and a new, fairer way of funding our schools, to our legacy. These are my priorities for 2013. This is what drives me. This is what I am fighting for.

Question agreed to.

House adjourned at 17 : 00