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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 6395


Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (16:09): On Sunday, penalty rates will be cut again. That means nearly 700,000 Australians will be up to $77 a week worse off. In my electorate of Macquarie, one in six workers are in hospitality and retail, and they can now legally have their pay cut. These workers live locally and service our tourism sector, which, of course, booms at weekends. When the work is done, these same workers spend their money locally, but they'll have less to spend from Sunday. That's $77 a week less to spend on groceries; $77 less to pay for kids' shoes; $77 less towards that ever-growing electricity bill.

The Prime Minister has no problem with these workers losing this money. Penalty rates have never been an important thing to him. He will never understand the reason why young people, older people, low-skilled workers, mums, dads and students opt for weekend and late-night work when they are filling in their availability for shifts. It is not because they don't want to have the same Sunday as everybody else; it's because they don't have a choice. They need the money and they need their penalty rates protected. When wages are stagnant and at record lows, this government is boasting about a $10 a week tax cut. It is sitting back, gloating, while some workers lose $77 a week.

I see that hair and beauty workers are the next to face the threat to their penalty rates for Sunday work. This is one of the lowest paid trades in Australia. We will not sit on the sidelines and watch these workers being forced down the same dead end as their hospitality and retail colleagues. Only Labor will restore and protect workers' penalty rates, and the government should be supporting our bill.

Penalty rates are not the only thing changing as the new financial year clicks over. On Monday, the support parents get towards their childcare costs changes. We know that a quarter of families will be worse off under the new system for a multitude of reasons, and that's 1,300 in my electorate of Macquarie. They don't work enough hours; they don't study or volunteer enough hours; or they earn too much money. One of my childcare centres in the lower Blue Mountains tells me that it has many families with one parent working who will lose benefits, and that means fewer days of child care. Whatever the reason for people losing their subsidy, I object to any child missing out on quality early learning that sets them up to better transition to school and is in the interests of every single child in every classroom. When we fail to invest in early childhood training, we pay a huge price further down the line.

The implementation of this new scheme has been a total shemozzle. One father in my electorate said that he had to take a whole day off work to go into Centrelink, because he couldn't input the information in the online system. He said the whole process was a debacle and the staff at Centrelink felt that they had not been given sufficient training and information needed to help parents. Childcare services are confused. The training and support they've received is inadequate. My childcare suppliers say they've looked at the information given to families and are finding it very difficult to make sense of it. What hope do parents have? There is so much uncertainty, but what is certain is that this government hasn't got it right for the most vulnerable families.

There is another change happening this weekend. It isn't about penalty rates or child care; it is about our children and the world that we leave our children. On 1 July, the Turnbull government's marine park management plans will begin the largest removal of an area from conservation in history. No government anywhere in the world has ever removed this much area from protection on land or sea. Think about that. If you think this means people will now be able to go fishing in more places, you're wrong. The recreational fishers are losing the largest recreation-only fishing area in the world. The only people dominating these waters will be large-scale industrial-fishing and long-lining trawlers, who now have a standing invitation from the Australian government to exploit our marine life for their profit.

The Coral Sea will go from being the jewel in the crown of the Commonwealth marine parks and protecting the eastern side of the Great Barrier Reef to now being a haven for long-line fishing and trawling. It is an absolute disgrace. The Prime Minister and this environment minister will now forever have the global reputation of removing more area from conservation than anyone anywhere else, ever. We haven't given up. They should be ashamed, but we haven't given up. The plan to cut marine parks can still be disallowed in the other place, and we will keep fighting. (Time expired)