Click here to watch Sharon’s speech
Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (13:54): I want to report to the House on a particularly mean and petty decision in the latest federal budget that is impacting on people in my local area. On 28 May there was a headline in the Illawarra Mercury that read: 'Federal budget 2015: families reel at decision to stop grants to inborn error of metabolism sufferers'. It is an excellent article by Lisa Wachsmuth, with a great photo of a local family by Adam Maclean. This is another example of why Fairfax Media should reconsider its decision to slash the staffing at our local newspapers.
Callum Buecher suffers from PKU. It means his body can only tolerate six grams of protein per day. He and other Australians born with different types of the inborn error of metabolism have discovered in the fine print of the May budget that the government is going to slash the $256 that they are paid as a monthly grant to help them with the costs of their food.
This issue was also brought to my attention by Bulli resident Kate Kline, who contacted me in regard to her two nephews, Josh, who is eight, and Tom, who is six. They also have PKU and feel that this is a particularly mean and petty cut for families who are struggling with the costs of living. The special food these families require is very expensive. While the medications are covered under the PBS, the food is not. The government should reconsider this. It is such a small saving but at such a huge cost to families, across our electorates, who will suffer because it.