Senator Catryna Bilyk eBulletin #55
Friday, 12 April 2019
Bill’s Budget Reply
In his Budget Reply, Labor Leader Bill Shorten outlined a vision that was focused on the long term future, not just the next election.
As a cancer survivor, a longstanding advocate for cancer patients, Cure Brain Cancer Ambassador, co-convenor of Parliament's Brain Cancer and Tumour Action Group, and former chair of the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates, I am especially pleased with Labor's commitment to deliver the biggest cancer care package in Australia's history.
Labor’s cancer care package will help ensure that Australians battling cancer can focus on getting well without going broke. It includes:
Labor will also invest $125 million in a fund to fight cancer, over and above existing commitments to the National Health and Medical Research Council and Medical Research Future Fund.
- eliminating out-of-pocket costs for up to six million scans for cancer services;
- three million free consultations with oncologists and surgeons for cancer patients;
- the listing of any drug recommended for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; and
- boosting the number of specialised cancer nurses across the country—ensuring that as many cancer patients as possible get specialised care and support.
Other highlights from last week’s budget reply include:
Labor’s Women’s Budget Statement
- The most important investment in Medicare since Bob Hawke created it.
- Better or equal tax cuts for 10 million working Australians.
- A massive new investment in TAFE, to rebuild campuses and restore the 150,000 apprenticeships that have been lost under the Liberals.
Labor believes in putting gender equality at the heart of our budgeting and policy development, which is why Labor will bring back the Women’s Budget Statement in government. Women’s policy is not an optional extra. Unlike the Morrison Government, we regard a fair go for women as core business.
Our 2019 Women’s Budget Statement analyses the impact of Scott Morrison’s budget on women and compares it with Labor’s policies. Some highlights of the Liberals’ poor record on women include:
Despite resistance, Labor has successfully pushed the Liberal Government to adopt some important legislative changes, including axing the tampon tax and leading the debate on reforms that prevent alleged perpetrators of domestic violence from cross-examining their victims. We also led the campaign to make image-based abuse a criminal offence.
- Trying to slash Paid Parental Leave while calling recipients ‘rorters’ and ‘double-dippers’,
- Cutting around $35 million from community legal centres which provide crucial support to people experiencing family and domestic violence, and
- Introducing the ParentsNext program which was supposed to help single parents but instead penalised thousands of single mothers.
Labor’s Women’s Budget Statement can be accessed online here.
With Julie Collins at the launch of Labor’s Women’s Budget Statement.
Scott Morrison's budget for an election, not for the nation
Scott Morrison has delivered a Federal budget which locks in the Liberals’ cuts to schools, hospitals, TAFE and apprenticeships. Once fully implemented in 2024-25, these tax cuts will see someone who earns $200,000 a year get an annual tax cut of $11,640, while someone earning $30,000 would receive just $255 a year.
The Government’s tax cuts are less than those promised by Labor for 3.6 million Australians earning less than $48,000 a year, and Labor will ensure these taxpayers get the tax relief they deserve.
The budget confirms that net debt has more than doubled over six years of a Liberal government—from $175 billion to $373.5 billion. There is no plan to address record low wage growth, no plan to tackle power prices, no plan to address climate change, and no plan for the future.
While the Liberals are crowing about ‘delivering’ a surplus, they have only projected a surplus. The promise of a surplus is based on heroic assumptions about the economy, as well as short-changing people with disability through a $1.6 billion underspend on the NDIS.
This was a budget prepared for an election. It was not a budget for Australia’s future. With this budget, Scott Morrison and Liberals are hoping that by election day on 18 May, Australians will forget the last six years—that’s six years of savage cuts, of lies and broken promises, of chaos, dysfunction and division.
Preschool and kindergarten funding
As a former early childhood educator, I understand the enormous benefits of early learning. I was proud to speak in the Senate on budget night about Labor’s plan to fund two years of preschool and kindergarten for every Australian child. Under our $1.75 billion National Preschool and Kindy Program, every three- and four-year-old Australian child would receive 15 hours per week of preschool education.
Last year, I spoke in the Senate about the Government’s cruel cut to funding for preschool and kindergarten from 2020 onwards. After creating 11 months of uncertainty for 350,000 Australian children and their parents, the Government finally extended funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education, but only for one year of the four-year forward estimates.
Click the image below to access a video of my budget night speech.
Preparations underway for the Black and White Ball
Catching up with Sandy Turner and Teresa Briggs at Top of the Town Bakery to discuss preparations for the Black and White Ball
|I am proud to join Sandy Turner and Teresa Briggs to form the organising committee for the second annual Black and White Ball, a fundraiser for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
Last year’s inaugural ball was a great success, attended by over 200 people and raising more than $17,000.
This year’s ball is being held on the evening of Saturday, 27 April 2019 at the Elwick Functions and Events Centre in Goodwood. Attendees to will receive a two course meal, entertainment, a complimentary drink on arrival, and a photo taken by professional photographer Michael Webb. The event is for people aged 18 and over only.
Tickets are $115 each and can be purchased at Top of the Town Bakery in New Norfolk, online through EventBrite or by calling Teresa on 0429 013 204.
Join us for a fun and entertaining night in support of a great cause!
Commitments in Kingborough
For many years, Kingborough has been the fastest growing municipality in Tasmania. This growth has generated demand for more infrastructure and services. State and Federal Labor have worked together to secure important infrastructure projects including the Kingston Twin Ovals, the Kingston Bypass, the Summerleas Road/Huon Highway interchange and the Rowallan Park supported accommodation development.
One important piece of infrastructure is the Kingborough Community Hub, at the centre of the Kingston Park development, which I was pleased to attend the opening of two weeks ago.
Labor delivered $200,000 funding to help Kingborough Council develop the master plan for Kingston Park on the old Kingston High School site. The development is expected to leverage millions of dollars in private development and generate hundreds of jobs.
Julie and I also joined our Labor colleague Senator Carol Brown for an announcement of $1.5 million for the upgrade of Lightwood Park. This will help Tasmania’s largest soccer club, the Kingborough Lions United Football Club, to grow and boost female participation in the sport.
At the opening of the Kingborough Community Hub with Mayor Dean Winter and State Members for Franklin David O’Byrne and Alison Standen.
Announcing Labor’s $1.5 million commitment to Lightwood Park with Mayor Dean Winter, Senator Carol Brown, Julie Collins and Kingborough Lions United Football Club President Warren Iles.
A fair go for schools
As part of its campaign to restore funding to public schools, the Australian Education Union placed hundreds of signs on the lawns outside Parliament House in Canberra, each representing a public school and the amount of funding that had been cut from it by Liberals.
Earlier in the year I joined the AEU’s Tasmanian Branch and their Fair Funding Now! Van at Illawarra Primary School. The van toured Tasmanian schools between 25 February and 12 March 2019 to raise awareness of the Liberals’ cuts to public schools and how fair funding could help deliver smaller class sizes, more one-on-one support, additional teachers and support staff, and more support for children with disability or behavioural needs.
A video of my visit to Illawarra Primary School is available here.
Labor will restore every dollar of funding the Liberals have cut from Australian public schools, including the $52 million cut from Tasmanian public schools over the next three years. You can find out how much extra funding your school will get under a Shorten Labor Government by visiting this website.
On the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra holding up signs with the names of three Tasmanian schools and the amount of funding they have had cut by Liberals.
Cuts to Huonville Centrelink
I joined representatives of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and member of the Huon Valley community to rally against a Morrison Government decision to merge the Centrelink and Service Tasmania offices in Huonville. As we have seen from similar previous mergers they inevitably lead to a reduction in services.
What makes this move particularly heartless is the timing. The Huon Valley community is recovering from recent bushfires which have had a huge economic and psychological impact. At a time when local residents are likely to need help applying for disaster relief payments they will need access to more, not less, Centrelink services.
Rallying with Julie Collins, Alison Standen, union representatives and members of the Huon Valley Community to save Centrelink services in Huonville.
Meeting locals in Glenorchy
I and Senator Carol Brown regularly hold a stall at Northgate Shopping Centre in Glenorchy to talk to shoppers about the issues that are important to them. What we have been hearing lately from visitors to our stall is that everything is going up except for wages. They want to see an economy that works for low- and middle-income Australians, not just the top end of town.
If you are a regular visitor to Northgate Shopping Centre drop by and say hello at the stall on Thursday, 2 May or Thursday, 9 May.
With Senator Carol Brown and Labor Candidate for Clark Ben McGregor at Northgate Shopping Centre.
Men’s shed visits
I recently visited the Kingston, Cygnet and Huon Men’s Sheds. This was a great chance to donate a few supplies and catch up with the members over a cup of coffee to learn about their work and how the sheds have helped them.
The men’s shed movement started as a mental health initiative. Because it is the cultural norm for men not to open up about their feelings or emotions, men typically have poorer mental health outcomes. Men’s sheds help overcome this by providing a relaxed environment in which men can feel comfortable openly discussing their problems. Members can also benefit from developing new skills.
While men’s health was the original focus of the movement, there are a number of sheds known as ‘community sheds’ with membership also open to women.
More information about men’s sheds is available on the Australian Men’s Shed Association website.
I recently visited the Kingston, Cygnet and Huon Men’s Sheds.
||Enrol to vote
Voting in Federal elections is compulsory. If you will be eighteen years of age or older on election day and are not enrolled to vote you must do so by 8pm on Thursday, 18 April. You can enrol online here.
If you know someone that has just become eligible to vote and hasn’t enrolled, please encourage them to do so.
If you can’t get to a polling booth on election day, you can vote early at an early voting centre or apply for a postal vote. Details of early voting centres, including locations and opening hours, will appear on the AEC website soon.
||Single Touch Payroll
Between 1 July and 30 September 2019, all employers will be required to report their employees’ tax and super information in real time. This system of reporting is called Single Touch Payroll (STP).
For employees, this means they will be able to see their year-to-date tax and super information in MyGov. Employers will no longer be required to issue a payment summary at the end of the year. Instead, your payment summary information will appear as an ‘income statement’ in MyGov. Your income statement can be requested from the ATO if you do not have a MyGov account.
Further information on STP including factsheets is available here.
||The true state of the economy under the Liberals
The Liberals like to trumpet their so-called ‘economic management’, but the economy under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government is not working for most Australians.
Under the Liberals, the economy is slowing off the back of falling business investment and low wages growth. Living standards have stagnated, households are saving less, underemployment has hit record highs and net government debt has doubled.
To find out more about the true state of the economy under the Liberals, download Labor’s booklet here.
||Aged Care Royal Commission
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has commenced its hearings. Submissions to the inquiry are now being invited and will remain open until at least the end of June 2019.
If you have a story to tell about your or your loved one’s aged care experience then you can make a submission by the following methods:
To receive regular updates about the Royal Commission you can subscribe to their mailing list here.
||Free IT help for older Tasmanians
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Tasmania are running free clinics providing individual technical assistance for people aged over 50 to use their phone, laptop computer, iPad or other tablet.
Clinics are held fortnightly from Friday 1 March in the COTA Boardroom in the Westella Building, 181 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Drop-in clinics will also be held on the first Friday of the month from 10am-12 noon.
To make an appointment or check that the drop in clinic is operating contact COTA Tasmania on 6231 3265 or email@example.com.
Further information is available here.
||Hobart Airport Terminal Expansion Project
Hobart Airport is seeking public comment on their $100 million Terminal Expansion Project. The public consultation period closes on Monday, 10 June 2019.
You can view the Major Development Plan and submit your comments online here. A hard copy of the plan is on display in the foyer of my office in Kingston.