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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6116


Ms O'TOOLE (Herbert) (11:25): How out of touch can the member for Chisholm possibly be? Does the member for Chisholm honestly think that cutting funding to schools, hospitals, universities, aged-care facilities, early learning and pensioners, and not funding vital infrastructure is good for the economy? How does one guarantee essential services in schools when the Turnbull government is cutting $14.8 million from schools in Townsville? How does one guarantee essential services in higher education in Townsville when the Turnbull government is cutting $36 million from James Cook University and $38 million from Central Queensland University? How does one guarantee essential services in early childhood education when the Turnbull government is making such savage cuts to this sector, where one early learning centre in my electorate has already closed and another is on the verge of closing? How does one guarantee essential services in Townsville, where more than 2,484 families will be worse off under the Turnbull government's changes to childcare packages? How does one guarantee essential services in Townsville when the Turnbull government is cutting $9 million from the Townsville Health and Hospital Service? How does one guarantee essential services and measures to support more choices for Australians to live longer in their homes when every single LNP budget has made cuts to aged care, and in North Queensland right now 323 people are waiting to access a home care package? How does one guarantee essential service and measures to support healthier lives for veterans when the Turnbull government is cutting $40.7 million from allied health and dental care?

I'm wondering if the member for Chisholm can explain any of that for me. Sadly, she can't. The simple fact is: you can't access essential services if the Turnbull government is hell-bent on making such savage cuts to vital services. The Australian Council of Social Services has been incredibly scathing of the Turnbull government's priorities to give millionaires a big tax handout and an $80 billion tax handout to big business and the banks but not properly consider funding for essential services. Last week the CEO of the Australian Council of Social Services said:

The tax cut package is gambling the future of our medical services, aged care services, disability services, and social security payments most of us rely upon at some stage in our lives.

The member for Chisholm says Labor doesn't have a plan. The member for Chisholm doesn't have a clue. Labor has a plan for a fairer Australia. Labor has a plan to ensure that hardworking Australians, middle-income earners and their families get a bigger, fairer tax cut. We will fund hospitals, schools, universities, TAFE and early learning. Our plan is clear and simple: we will fund vital services by not giving a tax cut to millionaires, big businesses and the banks. Labor doesn't believe that we should lump a nurse in the same tax bracket as a doctor, a cleaner in the same tax bracket as a CEO. Labor believes in supporting Australian workers, and that is why people in my electorate of Herbert will be far better off under Labor's tax plan. Simply put: under Labor, Herbert gets more. The median weekly income for an individual in Herbert is $672. Under Labor that person will be $350 better off—that is, $150 more than under the Turnbull government's plan. Families will be better off as well. The median weekly income for a family in Herbert is $1,640. Under Labor, families in Herbert will be $928 better off. That's more than $398 better off than under the Turnbull government's plan.

Not only does Townsville get a bigger, better and fairer tax plan under Labor but it will also get its hospitals, schools, universities and TAFE funded, as well as funding for water, energy and port expansion infrastructure. Herbert benefits from a Labor budget, but we will suffer and are suffering under the LNP. The Turnbull government haven't delivered a stronger economy; they have in fact quadrupled the deficit. Under the LNP the unemployment rate in Townsville has doubled, and Townsville has the highest insolvency rate in the nation. That's what a Turnbull economy looks like in the electorate of Herbert. It is not the fairer economy that Labor is committed to delivering. Townsville has never been worse off than it is now under this Turnbull government.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Rob Mitchell ): The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned, and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.