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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3479


Mr LLEW O'BRIEN (Wide BayDeputy Nationals Whip) (16:02): It gives me great pleasure to speak on the magnificent 2018 coalition budget. What a great budget it is. Doesn't it just continue the great work of creating jobs and growth that we have achieved so far—a million jobs. I listen to the other side say how lucky we are. Isn't it a coincidence that the better the decisions we make, the luckier we get? Labor wouldn't understand about good economic decisions.

When I came to this place and made my first speech, I said that one of the greatest responsibilities that this generation of members of parliament will have will be caring for our older Australians. That is what this budget does. It absolutely cares for our older Australians. We are looking after that group of baby boomers who are starting to hit the aged-care sector.

Since the last budget, on top of the 14,000 home care packages that were announced last night, we also had 6,000 home care packages announced in the MYEFO. I really want to recognise the amazing work that Minister Ken Wyatt is doing in this place. He has come to Wide Bay on a number of occasions. He has sat down with the aged-care providers, and it's from his coalface experience and inquiries that he's managed to bring together this fantastic news for aged care. The $82 million extra for mental health for older Australians in care is incredibly important. As the minister stated previously, we have the highest rate of suicide in men over 85 and we are doing something to prevent this. We should be proud of these measures. We should also be proud of the 13,000 extra residential places that we have created in the budget. All of this comes from good economic management, which is what we do in the coalition. The centrepiece of the budget for Wide Bay—and Wide Bay has an amazingly good story to tell about this budget—is an $800 million upgrade to the Bruce Highway, which continues on from the fantastic work that my predecessor, Warren Truss, did in delivering section C of the Bruce Highway.

I have had many years of experience with this road. Unfortunately, they haven't been pleasant ones. As a former traffic accident investigator, I was the person who received those phone calls in the late hours of the evening and had to go out and deal with what were awful tragedies. When I came to this place, one of my strongest desires was to see this section of road—and the detailed design and acquisition of the corridor had almost been completed—fast-tracked to be constructed. Because of the wonderful economic management by the Turnbull-McCormack government, we're seeing that brought forward some five years. That means lives will be saved. People who would have been terribly and tragically killed on that road will be walking around and living because we managed the economy well.

The other fantastic news about this budget is that, as always, the coalition is looking after the workers. We are the party of the workers.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr LLEW O'BRIEN: This is never more evident than in us ensuring that we provide tax relief for those hardworking Australians. Whilst the pretend working class on the other side there interjects—and I'm sure they've all done a hard day's work in their life. All of them over there have been hatched out of the union incubator. The party of the workers—what a laugh that is! It's the coalition looking after the workers. It's our $530 tax offset for workers. We like workers. And let's not forget bringing the budget back into surplus. When was the last time the Labor Party did that? It will be 30 years ago next year, which will be the year we actually bring the budget back into surplus. So I'm very proud to be a part of a coalition government— (Time expired)