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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3536

Ms O'TOOLE (Herbert) (19:30): Tonight I rise on behalf of the people of Herbert to clearly articulate their anger and feelings of absolute disbelief after last night's budget. Anger and disappointment don't even come near to how the people of Herbert are feeling about this completely out of touch Turnbull government. There wasn't one thing in the budget for Townsville—just cuts. The people of Herbert were very clear about their list of demands prior to the budget, and now the government will feel their wrath for not delivering. There was not one cent in the budget for long-term water security infrastructure for Townsville. There was not one cent in the budget for vital energy infrastructure. There was not one cent for Townsville's port expansion project, a development that will deliver a $580 million return on investment to the local economy.

Townsville's priorities are very clear: jobs and infrastructure. Unemployment in Townsville has almost doubled under the Abbott and Turnbull governments. The Turnbull government's failure to deliver vital infrastructure projects means a huge failure in delivering jobs for Townsville. Here's a news flash for the Turnbull government: if you don't have a job, you don't get a tax cut! What sort of relief is a tax cut for people who have been without a job for more than two years because they lost their job at QNI? What sort of relief is a tax cut for people who lost their job under Campbell Newman? It provides zero relief, because they need a job before they can get a tax cut. A person on $37,000 will get a $3.76 tax reduction. That won't even buy a jar of Vegemite. This government is completely out of touch with working families, because there are certainly no 'happy little vegemites' in Townsville.

Not satisfied with not delivering infrastructure, this government is making savage cuts to our community as well. It has cut around $14.8 million from Townsville schools, $36 million from James Cook University and $38 million from Central Queensland University. It has cut $1.5 billion from the National Partnership on Remote Housing, which means the loss of seven jobs on Palm Island. It has cut $40.7 million from allied and dental health services and frozen the Repatriation Medical Fee Schedule, which has already seen a reduction in access to vital medical services for our veterans. These cuts will mean further job losses in Herbert.

And then there is the absolute fizzer of decentralisation, with only a few jobs being moved. This includes establishing the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner in the very 'regional' area of Adelaide. I wanted to see the 110 ATO jobs cut under this government restored in Townsville, the 40th Royal Australian Air Force 36 Squadron King Air fleet reinstated, the 19 CSIRO jobs restored, the 50 Defence staff jobs restored and the 30 regional Queensland Customs staff reinstated. Instead the government slashed another 1,280 public sector jobs. Shame on the Turnbull government!

And after the Treasurer announced this do-nothing budget for Townsville, his out of touch colleagues clapped him and slapped him on the back: 'Great job! Well done!' I say to the people of Herbert that it appears the Turnbull government is proud of not delivering long-term water security infrastructure or vital energy infrastructure or the port expansion project. And the Turnbull government appears to also be proud, cheerful and merry about the cuts to schools, health, universities and veterans. This government should feel ashamed. But no, the LNP is very proud to be giving an $80 billion tax cut to big business and the banks.

Only Labor will deliver for regional, rural and remote Queensland. Only Labor delivers on jobs, education, health, pensioners and veterans. I fought for Labor's $200 million commitment for hydro power on the Burdekin Falls Dam. I fought for Labor's $100 million commitment for long-term water security. I fought for Labor's $75 million commitment for the port expansion. And I fought for our veterans and Labor's commitment to $121 million for a transitioning employment program. A Labor budget would have delivered for the people of Townsville. Shame on the Turnbull government once again for your do-nothing budget for the people of Herbert!