I’m very proud of what has been accomplished in Longman in the 12 months since I was elected by you, my now constituents. I’m not letting this make me complacent in my role within our community, nor do I feel that this is only a reason to celebrate. From what I’m hearing from you, we still have a lot of work to do.
In the past year a lot of unfairness and injustice has been levelled on this community by Malcolm Turnbull and his Government. Yesterday was the anniversary of the 2016 Election and it was also the day after the cuts to penalty rates come into effect. This means that Longman’s retail and hospitality workers – many of whom are already struggling to get by – will take home less money at the end of the day, putting stress on a huge sector of our region’s workforce. I and the rest of Labor will continue to fight against this unfair attack on the lives of many everyday Australians.
There have also been attacks on pensioners, like the slashing of the energy allowance at a time where power prices are through the roof. Turnbull has also decided to continue his failed and inhumane Centrelink ‘Robo-debt’ system, but this time he is targeting our seniors. He just won’t learn. Longman has a large number of seniors – the very people who worked hard their whole lives to make this country what it is today – and this Government has turned its back on them when they need them the most.
The roll-out of Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN has been so badly bungled that many residents of Longman have been left without phone lines, as their services have been switched over to these unreliable internet-based phone lines. Coupled with the mobile blackspots that the Government refuses to fix, this can leave locals without access to phones at all, something that hasn’t been an issue in developed nations for decades. For some, including our seniors who may need instant access to medications or emergency care, this could mean a matter of life or death - and Malcolm Turnbull just doesn’t seem to care.
The NBN roll-out is also leaving our region’s small businesses at a disadvantage, as having a fast and stable connection can mean make or break in today’s day and age. Despite promises to deliver world-class internet by 2016, we’re stuck with developing world speeds in 2017.
All of us here in Longman will need to go to a doctor from time to time, and a freeze on the Medicare rebate has opened the door for more expensive visits to a GP. Cuts to health and Medicare stay on the table, and we all need to fight to keep our world-class public health system strong.
We also have a world class education system that has just had millions of dollars in funding ripped out of it by the Turnbull government. Schools across the country will be left worse off under the ‘Gonski 2.0’ model that fails to deliver on the true needs-based funding that Labor promised Australia.
Despite all of these attacks on the people of Longman, I’ve had the pleasure of working with and meeting some of this region’s best and for that reason I’m grateful.
Since being elected last year I’ve been to more community events than I can count and feel incredibly welcomed by the community. Everywhere my staff and I go we find ourselves listening to your everyday struggles and sometimes we’re lucky enough to being a position to help out.
My team and I have managed to pressure the Government into finally building a mobile phone tower in Beachmere, something promised long ago but never delivered. We’ve also helped to crack down on local ‘Phoenix companies’, replaced the Dakabin RSPCA’s vandalised tyres, and every day my staff field calls from locals and help them when they need it most - like with applying for disability support pensions among other things.
We’ve also been lucky enough to have been visited by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (including one just yesterday) and a countless of Shadow Ministers. It warms my heart that I’m not the only person in Labor who cares about Longman.
I’d also like to thank all the staff and volunteers that have taken the time to help me make Longman a better place.