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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 10404

Mr RAGUSE (7:06 PM) —It is good to hear an impassioned speech by the member for Cowper. I understand the concerns that we all have as members representing our constituencies in this House. It is interesting that he suggests that this global financial crisis was something that caused our government to respond. Of course it did. It is a global financial crisis. He wonders about whether we should have had $20 billion or $7 billion and asks those questions, but the reality is that if the opposition were in government they would still be trying to make the decisions. You have to take decisive action when you have to take decisive action.

Twelve years of neglect is their record. They talk about housing affordability. We talk about housing affordability, and we have done something about it. They did not have a housing minister. We have our housing minister. They solely relied on the resources boom. It is a wonderful thing and a wonderful opportunity that this country has had, and—dare I say it—it has been squandered. We are in a situation now where the economic circumstances might mean that we cannot rely as much on that resources boom. However, the Rudd government is making all sorts of plans to secure our future. I commend the member for Solomon for putting this motion forward, because the reality is that these are the sorts of actions that we need to take when the circumstances mean we must take action. The decisive nature of the now opposition when they were in government is clear. This government is undertaking the changes that it needs to take.

Concentrating a little bit on the stimulus package, I want to make comment about the fact that the stimulus package will help people who have been hurting, those people who have been feeling the cost pressures. From 8 December this year, people will start to realise some relief of some concerns that they have all had and that we have had as members—getting relief to the people who most need it. Of course, the strategy is a good one. Where else would you want to stimulate the economy than with those people who are really feeling the pinch? I and others have made speeches in the House. In fact, I put a submission in to the Harmer review on the very basis of some of the things that we are now able to deal with simply because this government has committed at the time when there is this so-called global financial crisis at our doorstep.

The member for Cowper gave an impassioned speech. I understand that he is wondering about this and wondering about that and suggesting that we might have taken a little bit more time to consider our requirements a little bit further. Can I tell you: we acted before the other countries started to make the same commitments that we are making right now. It is clearly obvious that on this side of the House is a government, the Rudd government, that can make decisions when the decisions are necessary.

I will talk a little bit about my electorate, because that is really why I am here today. This package has certainly delivered and will deliver, in my electorate alone, to 11,500 age pensioners, 5,235 disability support pensioners and 4,333 carers. There is also the stimulus to provide opportunities for training—so more training places. But, more importantly in an electorate like Forde, our availability of rental space is down to as low as 1.8 per cent, which is an extreme low right across this country for all electorates but certainly for the electorate of Forde. I know the member for Fadden, with the massive growth that he has experienced in his electorate, would be having similar problems.

This is the sort of package that will allow us to deal with some of those issues, to get young people committing to buying homes—the $14,000 direct payment that they will get or the $21,000 payment to build a new home. Building new housing stock is what we need to increase the availability of rental properties and make those properties affordable. That is the sort of thing we need. That is what the Rudd government has committed to. The interesting thing is that we all—on both sides of the House, I am sure—have received lots of emails and letters about this. People are saying, ‘This is a wonderful opportunity. Thank you very much to the Rudd government for providing this bailout to stimulate the economy.’

Mr Simpkins —A bailout?

Mr RAGUSE —I see the opposition questioning the bailout. Essentially this is about giving people the opportunity to get themselves out of the low spot that they have had. It is about making housing affordable and getting the economy going again. In closing, I want to commend the member for Solomon again. His electorate is a tough electorate. The fact that it is in regional Australia also means that there are added problems, as there are in parts of my electorate. People in some of those regional areas, the people out in the rural centres, really are welcoming this package that is going to support them in so many ways.