First Albanese Budget delivers for Hobart
The Budget delivered in October was delivered in time of great global uncertainty, with floods raging at home and an immoral invasion of Ukraine which just won’t end; a global energy crisis that is escalating, inflationary pressures persisting, stagnant wages after a decade of the Liberals working to keep them low and a country recovering from a pandemic we didn’t see coming.
The Albanese Labor Government’s first Budget delivers targeted infrastructure spending to Hobart which acknowledges the needs of our growing city. The Budget clearly outlines the priorities of the Government in funding critical and community infrastructure and health, all the while creating meaningful jobs.
This Budget delivers for Australians, helping them manage cost of living pressures and plan for the future, with our five-point cost of living plan: cheaper child care, cheaper medicine, expanding paid parental leave to 6 months, building more affordable housing and getting wages moving again.
This five-point plan will see 16,500 more families across Tasmania eligible for cheaper child care, meaning more parents can get back to work, sooner and without financial burden; increasing productivity and making sure families can keep more of their take home pay.
For the first time in its 75-year history, the maximum co-payment of general scripts under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will fall. Our plan makes medicines cheaper by reducing the maximum PBS co-payment to $30 a script; reducing the maximum co-payment by $12.50.
A Labor Government introduced Paid Parental Leave and now, this Labor Government is extending it. Extending Paid Parental Leave supports parents to spend more time with their children and share caring responsibilities more equally. The increase to Paid Parental Leave will be implemented gradually and with guidance from the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce; by 2026, any parent with a new baby will be eligible for 6 months of paid parental leave.
Safe and affordable housing is central to the security and dignity of all Australians. The Budget included a new National Housing Accord with an ambition to build one million new, well-located homes over five years from 2024 as well as a suite of other initiatives which will put home ownership back in reach for many more Tasmanians.
In Hobart, we are improving our infrastructure by expanding access to public transport, upgrading the Nystar zinc smelter, refurbishing and building new play spaces in Glenorchy and we’re strengthening the runway at Hobart Airport to grow exports and jobs.
For too long, Tasmanians have had to rely on lengthy flights to receive the healthcare they need and deserve, all the while our ambulances are ramped and our emergency departments at capacity.
So, we’re improving access to vital health care by delivering Urgent Care Clinics for non-life-threatening emergencies and supporting the world class Shepherd Centre to provide in person care for children with hearing loss, right in the heart of our great city.
Under this Budget we’ll be strengthening our neighbourhoods through investments in community infrastructure such as, the Hobart Community Shed Project, upgrading the kitchen at the Multicultural Hub, improving the facilities at the Australian Italian Club and funding for the Glenorchy basketball stadium.
Across our great state, the Budget builds a stronger, more resilient and more modern Tasmania through fee-free TAFE, investing in clearer and cheaper energy and transmission networks and invest $685 million into infrastructure election commitments across our great state – just to name a few.
As the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I am particularly proud of the continued focus of the Albanese Labor Government on building and maintaining our road infrastructure network.
This Budget will deliver better roads for Tasmanians – from local roads through our target road programs through to our major freight routes such as the Bass Highway, the Tasman Highway and the East and West Tamar Highways. This funding will be rolled out in consultation with the Tasmanian Government, because collaboration always leaders to better outcomes.
We are investing in the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative which supports the upgrade of key freight routes, and to help connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better connect regional communities.
The ROSI initiative is ensuring our key freight roads efficiently connect areas of regional and remote economic activity to ports, airports and other transport hubs. Roads of Strategic Importance is delivering works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments.
We can’t clean up the mess left by the former Government overnight, but your Tasmanian Federal Labor Team is working every day to build a better future for Australia.
This opinion piece was first published in the Mercury on Tuesday 8 November 2022.