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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4127


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (16:00): I rise to talk about tomorrow's federal budget and the concerns that locals in my area on the north coast of New South Wales have about the budget. Locals are demanding that the government—indeed, the National Party—reverse their ongoing cruel cuts and attacks on health, education, age pensions, families, veterans and penalty rates. The greatest concern across our region remains health and hospital funding. Everyone is very worried about our universal healthcare system, Medicare, being under attack by this government. In this budget, we would like to see that $57 billion in cuts to our hospitals reversed. We also want to see the government reverse the $650 million cuts to those vital bulk-billing medical services, which mean that locals have to pay for services like blood tests, pap smears, X-rays and ultrasounds. My community has been extremely worried about this.

In education, we want to see the $30 billion in cuts reversed, and we also want to see their plans for $100,000 university degrees cancelled. With cuts to hospitals, cuts to education and plans to privatise Medicare, my community is very worried about all those issues across the board. While all these cuts have been happening, Labor has been setting a very strong policy agenda which my community has responded to well, but when people ask about our wish list for the budget, we say that we want all those cuts to stop and we want those attacks on local families to stop, particularly the cuts to hospitals and education.