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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 4004

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (12:02): Today I want to talk about the budget. Tomorrow, like other members I will be returning to my electorate and will have the opportunity to speak to people in Western Sydney. I am very fortunate that I represent the most multicultural community in this country. It is not a community that is rich; certainly there are great patches of disadvantage. But I know when I talk to my constituents and look them in the eye—the pensioners, the young people, the families—I will see the betrayal that this budget has delivered them. I will see firsthand the damage that this government budget has inflicted on our community.

This Liberal government has made it clear that nothing and no-one is off limits when it comes to the most vulnerable in our community. I ask members here to recall that before the last election Tony Abbott's mantra was that when it came to health and education he was on a unity ticket with Labor. Particularly, he went on to say that no child would be worse off. After this week we now face $80 billion cuts to schools and hospitals over the next decade, including $6.5 billion of federal funding from the Gonski reforms. This includes abandoning the needs based funding which provides $100 million for disability loading. This will force more kids with special needs, those who deserve the extra attention, into mainstream education. But in reality what it will achieve is that those kids will vacate the system in favour of homeschooling, placing more pressure on their parents.

Other than the well-off, many will also be forced to rethink their visits to doctors, because now they will be required to pay $7 every time they see a doctor and $5 for medication. It is a disgrace that the Treasurer yesterday described going to the doctor as equivalent to the cost of two middies and said that for the cost of a packet of cigarettes, at $22, you could go to the doctor three times. I think that shows a little bit about the mentality that comes from this government when trying to deal with equity amongst our community. In Australia, quality health should not depend on wealth. Our equitable and affordable health system has been the envy of the world, but we know it has always been despised by the Liberals.

It is the families, however, that are clearly being asked to carry the greatest burden in this budget. In addition to education and health cuts, families on family tax benefit B will now have their payments cut completely when their youngest child turns six. Combined with the scrapping of the schoolkids bonus and the brand new tax on petrol, doctors visits and medications, families in my area will be close to $4,000 a year worse off. Like the New South Wales Liberal Premier, Mike Baird, said, and I think he is right: 'This is a kick in the guts to people in New South Wales'. I dare say you can extrapolate that for people throughout the Commonwealth. It is a kick in the guts.

The deceit of this Prime Minister will be remembered. Before the election, Tony Abbott said, 'There will be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.' He has managed to break each and every one of those commitments, all in favour of his rolled gold, over-the-top paid maternity leave scheme. While he has confected a budget emergency, and is forcing those least able to bear the pain of balancing his budget, Tony Abbott is giving $5.5 billion to the wealthiest families to have a child.

This government has already scrapped funding for a number of programs that were of great benefit in my local community. Very recently, the officers of South West Connect, which provides support for young people searching for employment, were given the bad news. They were advised that their funding will not be continued by the Commonwealth. This organisation operates in an area which has a youth unemployment rate almost double that of the rest of the community. It plays a valuable role in trying to put young people in touch with ongoing employment opportunities.

At the same time, this government is denying access to unemployment benefits to young people for six months. Combined with the higher education fees and taxes, this government has clearly turned its back on the young people of Australia, particularly those coming from poorer backgrounds. Given the deceit of this Prime Minister, how can anybody trust anything this government says?