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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3975


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (10:04): Well, it has been a shocker of a budget. Talking to people in my community, there is outrage at a range of the measures taken by the Abbott government outlined in the budget on Tuesday night, from the GP tax of $7 per doctor's visit to the cuts to pensions and to the punitive approach to unemployment benefits for those under 30. But I want to talk today about some of the extraordinary contradictions in this budget.

I started making a list of contradictions a couple of days ago and every day there is another one that comes to light. For example, if the government is concerned about the number of people on the pension in 2050, another way to look at it is to make sure that fewer people need the pension. But rather than increasing super contributions, they have actually delayed super contributions. By doing that, they made it more likely that more people will be on the pension by 2050 and then they have cut the pension. They have made it more likely that you will need it and then they have cut it.

They have cut funding to public transport. They have cut from all of the funded projects in the urban public transport field since coming to government. They are putting some of that money back in into roads. They are making it more necessary for people to drive and then they are raising the price of petrol. They make you drive and then they raise the price of petrol.

If they are concerned about health care costs, one of the ways to reduce health care costs is to make sure that people seek help for ailments early. Primary health care is incredibly important if you want to make sure that there are fewer people in hospitals. That is one of the ways to reduce health care costs. But rather than going that way, they have actually gone the other way; they have actually made it more expensive to seek help early on. They have made it harder to see a doctor early. When you do get sick and do have to go to hospital, they have also cut funding from the hospital system. They make it harder for you to stay well and then they make it harder for you to get help when you need it.

If they are concerned about youth unemployment, there are things you can do that help people get into work but they have cut those. They have cut Youth Connections; they have cut the programs that are working on assisting young people that are disengaged to get back into the workforce. And then when they are not in the workforce, they have also cut assistance to them. So they are actually cutting from both sides.

There is no logic to this budget. They make the problem worse and then they punish people for being in those circumstances. They deregulate fees for universities because they want higher standards but by deregulating fees they make it harder for people to be able to afford to go to benefit from the higher standards. There will people in my community who simply will not go to university because of this increase in fees. They say, 'Australia is open for business,' but people in my community will have significantly less money to spend in my local businesses. The GP payment alone rips $9 million a year out of the community of Parramatta. There is no logic to this budget.