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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 15001

Mr VASTA (Bonner) (11:35): I'm proud to be part of a coalition government, a government that is making real progress and delivering for all Australians, including the constituents of my electorate of Bonner. I've been speaking to locals this week, and they've told me that they are pleased that the coalition has delivered a strong budget with no additional taxes, all while delivering essential services.

As the dad of two boys, aged six and four, it is very important to me and to my constituents that we are investing in our future generations. The coalition knows how important that is and that our nation's children need the best possible start in life. That's why we're investing $453 million to extend preschool education, enabling hundreds of thousands of children to have access to 15 hours of quality early learning per week in the year before school. Kerry from Tingalpa kindy told me that this investment is great for parents and families in Bonner. She said, 'If this funding wasn't available, local families would have to fork out thousands of dollars, meaning that for most children early learning education wouldn't be an option.' Kerry said, 'Local community childcare centres like Tingalpa kindy are run by the community, and, without this continual funding, the centres would not be viable to run.' Kerry said, 'Families in Bonner rely so heavily on this kindy funding, and if it didn't exist those who need it most would have less choice, and the children would miss out.'

Under the coalition, funding for all public, independent and Catholic schools in Bonner is at a record high, and it will continually grow substantially in the decade ahead. We are committing around $300 billion to all schools. This is a total increase of 63 per cent. We are able to do this because we are the government of fiscal responsibility. We know how to live within our means and deliver for all of Bonner without imposing any new taxes on our hardworking families. We've invested $30.2 million to establish the Local School Communities Fund to support priority projects in local schools—projects that benefit students and their communities. This means schools in Bonner can apply for project upgrades to libraries, classrooms and play equipment. The coalition knows how important investment in education is, but it's important also to improve skills, support our educators and deliver quality education. We are investing $5 million over the next three years, from 2019 to 2022, for Life Education Australia to develop a new range of free training resources to help teachers support the social and emotional needs of students.

We all know that Labor can't manage money, and that's why they come after yours. The constituents of Bonner can rest easy knowing the coalition is delivering for them. More than 71,000 constituents in Bonner will benefit from tax relief in 2018-19, thanks to the coalition's personal income tax plan, and almost 30,000 of those people will receive the full tax offset of $1,080 back into their own pockets. These are the largest personal income tax cuts since the time of the Howard government. For a family in Bonner, this money means more fuel, more food on the table and more quality time to do the things that families love doing together, like going to the movies or being able to drive to the beach for the day.

We have also increased funding to all hospitals in Queensland by 84 per cent since we came to government, and the GP bulk-billing rate in Bonner is now 79 per cent. Last year, over 739,353 GP visits in Bonner were bulk-billed. That is 179,000 more than in Labor's last year in government. Thanks to the coalition, 17,564 small and medium businesses in Bonner will benefit from our tax relief measures. More than 17,000 small and medium businesses will also benefit from the coalition's extension of the instant asset write-off scheme, enabling them to invest in machinery and equipment up to the value of $30,000. Investing in business is investing in jobs. When the coalition assumed its rightful place in government in 2013, the unemployment rate in Bonner was 5.2 per cent; it's now 4.7 per cent. Nationally, there are fewer people on welfare.

We're working hard for the hardworking people in Bonner. A strong economy means that the coalition is able to deliver and invest in vital infrastructure that communities like mine in Bonner desperately need. Just remember, Labor is the bill that you and your family cannot afford.