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Matters of Public Importance - Turnbull's Unfair Budget for Townsville - House of Representatives, Canberra - 23.05.2018

June 07, 2018

House of Representatives - MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - Turnbull Government’s Unfair Budget

23, MAY 2018

The Turnbull budget clearly outlines his priorities, and that is giving $80 billion in tax cuts to big business and the banks while delivering absolutely nothing for Townsville. The Turnbull government is putting big business before regional Queenslanders, because that's all they care about. Under the Abbott-Turnbull governments Townsville has suffered through the highest unemployment rates in recent history. Under the Abbott-Turnbull governments, unemployment in Townsville has almost doubled. You would think that the Turnbull government would actually deliver something in the budget for Townsville given that they are responsible for the worst unemployment that we have seen but, no, not one cent. There is nothing for Townsville's long-term water security, nothing for energy infrastructure for Townsville and nothing for our port expansion development.

The Turnbull government doesn’t have an economic plan. In fact, they haven't got a clue. This is a government whose fundamental economic plan revolves around the myth of trickle-down economics. Australia is not fooled, regional Queensland is not fooled and Townsville is not fooled by this absolute myth of trickle-down economics. There is definitely something trickling down on Townsville from this government but it certainly isn't funding or jobs.

Just last week Treasurer Scott Morrison was in Townsville to spruik his nothing budget and to try and convince workers, families and veterans that there was nothing in the budget for them to be fearful of. He did not mention the cuts to schools, hospitals, dental services and allied health services for our veterans. He actually told the people of Townsville the budget was very good for them, but Townsville was not fooled. It is reported that the real reason the Treasurer was in Townsville was for a $500 lunch. He tried to come to the Townsville community, tried to spruik his nothing budget, all under the guise of a reported LNP fundraiser—how typical of LNP priorities.

The only thing that the Turnbull government has delivered in this budget, as I said, is an $80 billion tax cut to big business and the banks. That's the Turnbull plan. Unlike those across the floor from me, who love sitting in their ivory towers in Canberra and Sydney, I have been out door knocking and speaking to real people on the ground. Of the hundreds that I have spoken to, not one person has supported this budget. Not one person is happy with the fact that Townsville received no funding for water, nothing to relieve the energy costs and nothing for the port. Not one person is happy with the cuts to our schools, hospitals or 

universities. We have suffered around $9 million in cuts to the Townsville health and hospital service, $14.8 million in cuts to Townsville schools, $36 million in cuts to JCU, $38 million in cuts to Central Queensland University, $1.5 billion in cuts to the National Partnership on Remote Housing—including seven apprenticeships on Palm Island—and $40.7 in million cuts to allied and dental health services on top of the repatriation medical fees schedule freeze for our veterans—which has already seen a reduction medical services for veterans.

These cuts will mean further job losses in Herbert. Then there is the absolute sham of decentralisation, with only a few jobs moving, which includes the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner to the established 'very regional' city of Adelaide. I want to see the 110 ATO jobs this government cut restored back to Townsville along with the Airforce's 38 Squadron King Air fleet, the 19 CSIRO jobs, the 50 Defence staff and the 30 regional Queensland customer staff. But instead, this government slashed the Public Service even more by cutting a further 1,280 jobs.

Only Labor will deliver a budget for Townsville. Under a Labor federal government, we would benefit from $200 million for hydro power on the Burdekin Falls, $100 million for long-term water security, $75 million for the port redevelopment and $120 million for veterans' transitioning employment program—a very important program for my community. On top of that, we will deliver tax cuts for people, not for big businesses and banks. We will ensure that big businesses pay their fair share of tax and provide relief to the people who need it the most. That is the Labor way, that is a fair go for every citizen in our country and that's what a fair Labor budget would look like.

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST