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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5938


WYATT ROY (Longman) (21:51): As the federal member for Longman, I believe that it is my responsibility to give my community a voice with the key decision makers in Canberra. It is with this commitment that I recently hosted in Longman Senator Mathias Cormann, shadow assistant Treasurer and shadow minister for financial services and superannuation, as well as the shadow minister for ageing and mental health.

There are many independent retirees in my community and they have concerns about their financial future and the certainty of their superannuation and investments. With the cost-of-living pressures bearing down, independent retirees are rightly concerned about their financial future. The ageing population of Australia will increase the pressure on taxpayers to find a sustainable retirement system. We need to be supporting those who are endeavouring to plan for the future, but the waste and mismanagement of this Labor government, which is driving up costs of living, has made it more difficult for people to save for their retirement.

Before the 2007 election, the Labor Party promised not to change superannuation laws; yet, as with many other broken promises of this government, the co-contribution scheme established by the coalition has been cut. The government has halved the concessional contribution cap from $50,000 to $25,000 for Australians under the age of 50. No wonder independent retirees are anxious about their financial future.

I invited Senator Mathias Cormann to come and listen to the concerns that I have been hearing from my community and to outline the coalition's policies about Australians securing their financial future. It was my privilege to host Senator Cormann in May at a roundtable held in cooperation with the Association of Independent Retirees and the National Seniors Association. Attendees asked a variety of questions regarding a wide range of issues, including the provision of support for self-funded retirees and incentives available for rolling investments into superannuation. But the conclusion was clear—people want stability and security. They do not want the uncertainty of new taxes or cuts to superannuation.

The coalition would help manage the financial future of Australians' income through competent and responsible economic management. The coalition strongly disagreed with halving the amount of money able to be put into superannuation at concessional tax rates and believes that more generous arrangements need to be in place as an incentive. However, the budget would need to be brought into surplus first. The coalition would also lower the tax burden and reverse policies that discourage people from becoming actively involved in planning their retirement.

I have spoken in this place before about the importance of mental health and the urgent need for more mental health services in Longman. Mental health is an issue that I am passionate about. It was a pleasure to recently welcome Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells to Longman to visit the Open Minds centre in Caboolture. The Open Minds centre provides support for people with a mental illness, brain injury or disability. I was very encouraged to hear the stories of some of the clients of Open Minds who have benefited from lifestyle and residential support and employment recruitment support. With support and encouragement, people are re-engaging with the community. Open Minds is just one example of what mental health services can achieve with adequate funding. But the services that we have are not keeping up with demand in our region.

The coalition has a record of providing additional funding of $1.9 billion dollars for mental health when in government from 2006. In April this year we announced a further $430 million for mental health in addition to the $1.5 billion provided in the Real Action for Mental Health policy the coalition took to the last election. In my electorate this funding would have seen the establishment of an early psychosis prevention and intervention centre. The Labor government's allocation for the expansion of the EPPIC model leaves much to be desired. Only $2.9 million dollars was set aside for EPPIC this year, and this small amount will not go far in providing services in individual communities. During the last election campaign, in conjunction with my colleague Peter Dutton, the shadow minister for health, the coalition committed $60 million for an EPPIC in Caboolture It is clear that, if we want an EPPIC in Longman, we need a change of government.

I continue to uphold my strong commitment to give my community a voice with the key decision makers in Canberra rather than enforce Canberra's views on my local community. I want to thank Senator Mathias Cormann and Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells for helping facilitate these important discussions with my local community. I will continue to keep fighting on behalf of my local community to ensure that these two important issues, securing Australia's financial future and the provision of adequate mental health services, receive the prominence and national attention that they so rightly deserve.