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Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Page: 4194


Ms RISHWORTH (KingstonParliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water) (20:01): It was great to hear the member for Mitchell leave with the key lines that I am sure he gets sent home with every night to rehearse and practice. It is great that he has been able to get it delivered.

I am pleased to speak on the Appropriations Bill (No. 1) 2013-2014 and cognate bills, and in particular the budget that was delivered by the Treasurer a couple of weeks ago. This is an important budget. It is a budget that sets this nation up for the future. What you see in this budget is an important focus on jobs and on making sure that we have an investment in the long term that will promote jobs. Our investment in infrastructure—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 20:02 to 20:16

Ms RISHWORTH: As I was saying before the division, this is an incredibly important budget because it sets Australia up for the future. It makes the strong investment in infrastructure that we need and also puts jobs at the heart of the economy. I am very proud to be part of a government which, over nearly six years, has created in excess of 900,000 jobs—a significant and important thing for the economy. In addition, this is making the smart investments. I will talk about how many schools are going to benefit in the investment we are making in education and on a whole range of investments which will ensure we take up the opportunities of the 21st century and of the Asian century. Also, this is about a fairer Australia, in particular with DisabilityCare.

As Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, I know there are many people with disabilities and their families and carers who are now celebrating the 2013-14 budget. Despite some mislaid comments in the media, this budget is about hope, especially the part that deals with DisabilityCare Australia. The budget has made the responsible decision to fully fund DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, into the long term. This funding security will provide people with a significant and permanent disability, their families and carers, the certainty they deserve. As I have gone around previously in my electorate of Kingston but also in my role as parliamentary secretary, the one thing so many people are calling out for is certainty and long-term security. Indeed, in the Page electorate when I was talking with carers and their families, one of the questions which came up—and it has come up around the country—was: how are we to know that this funding is going to continue? Where is the security? This budget provides the long-term security which people have been waiting for. No longer will the carpet be pulled out from under people's feet when funding is cut or service organisations run out of places and can no longer accept people. This funding is a certainty.

I am pleased that we are investing $14.3 billion over seven years to roll out DisabilityCare Australia across the country. It will give families, carers and people with a disability the support they need over a lifetime but also, importantly, the choice and control over the services they receive. We cannot underestimate the impact that this choice and control means to people. Importantly, it will also ensure that in the long term people's goals and aspirations are recognised and the care and support they need to achieve those goals will be met. This is critical.

As I travel around, there is a lot of excitement about DisabilityCare Australia now that we have a secured agreement for the full rollout of the scheme with New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT—with agreements also being reached with Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory—with the full scheme in all these states and territories to be rolled out between July 2018 and July 2019. These agreements mean that 90 per cent of Australians will be covered by DisablityCare Australia, in the event that they are born with or acquire a disability.

The government will continue to seek agreement with Western Australia for the full national rollout of DisabilityCare Australia. But it is important to recognise that through the modest increase in the Medicare levy—and through our savings measures—we provide that certainty in the long term, in the budget, for DisabilityCare Australia. It is the responsible thing to do. It is the fair thing to do. This does deliver and build on the government's $1 billion investment in the 2012-13 budget for the launch of DisabilityCare Australia, now in six locations across the country and in four of those locations launching from 1 July this year. This will see real action on the ground, with the beginning of the rollout.

The 2013-14 federal budget also demonstrates the longstanding and ongoing commitment by the Gillard government to improve the capacity of people with a disability to participate fully in the economic and social life of our nation. It continues a number of critically important payments, concessions, and support and care services. I will touch on a few of these payments and services that will continue to be provided by the federal Labor government because we truly understand how critical it is that people with a disability—as well as their families and carers—are well supported.

We will continue to provide income support for those with a disability who are unable to support themselves financially through employment. We will continue to make regular payments and allowances to financially assist eligible carers and people with a disability. We will continue to provide supported employment and improve access to information and advocacy services, so Australians with a disability are able to reach their potential. We will continue to provide critical peer support, respite and information services for carers to help them effectively manage their carer responsibilities. And we will continue to provide access to early-intervention services through the popular Helping Children with Autism and the Better Start for Children with Disability initiatives.

I said earlier and I will say again, I am truly proud to be part of a government that recognises the importance of supporting Australians with a disability, their families and carers. The 2013-14 federal budget reflects the Labor government's strong belief that a historic reform like DisabilityCare Australia needs a solid funding base well into the future, and the security and certainty that this provides. I believe this is fundamentally important.

Not only is this an important thing for the nation but also it is a very important thing for my local electorate of Kingston. It is estimated that in my electorate 2,978 local people could be eligible for support under disability care. I know, from talking with many of these people in my local electorate and around the country, that this is something that would be very welcome. I am also proud to be part of a government that is working to improve the quality of environment and reduce pollution.

As the Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, I am pleased to say that in this budget we have seen the introduction of significant new incentives for the destruction of synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances. In the 2013-14 budget, the government has allocated $12 million over the forward estimates to directly encourage greater destruction of waste SGGs. The government has also provided $42 million over the forward estimates for a number of other measures to increase emission abatements for SGGs. These incentives deliver on the Gillard government's commitment to introduce a destruction program for waste synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances as part of the clean energy future plan.

It is important that when synthetic greenhouse gases reach the end of their life they are destroyed rather than emitted into the atmosphere, where they can cause harm to our environment. Any reduction of emissions achieved through the destruction incentives will contribute to Australia's emissions abatement commitment under the Kyoto protocol. To achieve this, the government will increase the amount paid to refrigeration contractors by 50 per cent for waste gas reclaimed and provided to Refrigerant Reclaim Australia for destruction. We will also be introducing a further destruction incentive which will increase the amount paid for the destruction of synthetic greenhouse gases to 70 per cent of the equivalent carbon price where the gas species and quantity can be independently verified. By increasing incentives for the industry, we will encourage additional recovery of synthetic greenhouse gases where the gas is subject to the equivalent carbon price but not suitable for recycling or reuse. In a further step in reducing emissions from synthetic greenhouse gases, the government will examine the potential for the introduction of a complementary product stewardship scheme for domestic refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment with small gas charges, usually less than two kilograms, to reclaim waste gas, metals, plastic and hazardous materials for reuse or appropriate disposal.

As part of this program, additional funding has also been provided through the budget to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to increase compliance with and enforcement of domestic licensing requirements to prevent illegal emissions of gas.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 20:27 to 20:36

Ms RISHWORTH: As I was saying, as Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water and as a South Australian, I am proud that the Gillard government has locked in its commitment to the historic Murray-Darling Basin reform through this budget. I have spoken many times in this place on the importance of the Murray-Darling Basin reform process and the critical role that the basin plays in the lives of many Australians. Late last year, this Labor government ended a century-long argument about how best to manage our rivers and deliver a Murray-Darling Basin Plan that restores our rivers to health, supports strong regional communities and ensures sustainable food production.

But we are determined to achieve greater environmental outcomes than could be achieved just through this plan. That is why we are providing $1.8 billion over 10 years from 2014-15 to relax key flow constraints and recover an additional 450 gigalitres of water for the environment. This budget maximises the environmental outcomes under the Basin Plan, and the plan will be achieved while avoiding adverse social and economic impacts on basin communities. As a South Australian, I am proud to support our government providing an enhanced Basin Plan with better environmental and social outcomes. This year, the Gillard government has made smart investments for Australia's future like improving the Murray-Darling.

In the few minutes I have left, I would like to touch on my electorate of Kingston. For Kingston, this is a very important budget, especially in the area of education. In this budget, we have ensured that there is better resourcing for our schools, our classrooms and our teachers. The National Plan for School Improvement is critical to ensuring that every student—and the Prime Minister has said this many times before—gets a great education. On average, the plan will deliver an extra $14.5 billion for Australian schools over the next six years, which is an average of an additional $4,000 for every student and $1.5 million for every school. It is incredibly important for my electorate of Kingston, where schools have often told me they need better resources to use for specialist teachers, more SSOs, more support in the classroom and more professional development. So it is very important that this money is part of the budget.

As I said at the beginning, infrastructure is very important in this budget and I am very pleased that there have been a number of infrastructure investments. I would like to highlight the black spot funding. The black spot funding will include improvements to the intersections of Dyson Road and O'Sullivan Beach Road; Dyson Road and Sherriffs Road; Bains Road and Piggott Range Road; South Road and Flaxmill Road; Old South Road and Reynell Road; and Grant Road at Old Reynella. Fixing these black spots it is really important. It is important infrastructure investment so that we can ensure safety on the roads in my electorate of Kingston.

There have been other investments, but I will not be able to talk about all of them. I commend the appropriations and the budget to the House. (Time expired)