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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14871

Budget


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Families and Social Services. Will the minister update the House on how the government is providing additional support for carers and their families without raising taxes? Is the minister aware of any higher taxing alternatives?


Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Families and Social Services) (14:49): I thank the member for Bennelong for his question. He's a strong advocate for carers. Carers do so much important work. There are nearly a thousand people on carer payment in his electorate of Bennelong. He was very pleased, I know, as will be the carers in his electorate and all around Australia, at the fact that in this year's budget our government has announced an $84.3 million funding boost for new carer services being progressively rolled out to Australia's 2.7 million carers in 2019. I emphasise to the House that this is new money. It builds on the additional $85.6 million we announced in March 2018 to fund new supports for carers through the new integrated carer support service model. Indeed, our total funding commitment for the new integrated carer support services will be over $550 million over the next four years. What that means is that it will provide over 300,000 instances of support to carers, compared to the 130,000 currently provided. It is one of the biggest reforms to carer services in a decade. We're going to see new digital-counselling, coaching and peer support services for carers, which are currently being designed and tested. They'll be rolled out nationally later this year through Carer Gateway, the Morrison government's national website and phone service for carers.

I'm asked whether there are alternative approaches which would involve raising taxes on hardworking Australians. It turns out that there are. It turns out that those on the other side of the House seem to think that the only way to competently deliver the services that Australians expect is to raise taxes—$200 billion of new taxes is what Labor is proposing. What we delivered in this budget, what the Treasurer has delivered, what our Liberal-National government has delivered, is improved services without increasing taxes. This government understands how to manage money, but Labor cannot manage money. They are so fiscally clueless that they produced, under the member for Lilley, deficit after deficit; we've announced the first surplus for 12 years. They are so fiscally clueless, they are so inept that they do not understand that, on the NDIS, we are delivering an increase in funding of $4.5 billion from 2018-19 through to 2019-20. That lot are managerially hopeless. They are fiscally incompetent. They are utterly unable even to read the budget papers. The thought of them being responsible for delivering the budget papers should terrify every Australian.