Minister sneaks into town with nothing

Illawarra MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, today slammed Industry Minister, Greg Hunt, following his empty-handed visit to the Illawarra today.

Labor has been lobbying the Government to get serious about securing the future of steel. 

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Illawarra children saved from loss of the dental scheme

Hundreds of children across the Illawarra will continue to receive access to dental services as a result of some tough negotiations in Parliament this week.

That’s because Labor MPs and Senators stood up against Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to force over five million children onto long public dental waiting lists by opposing the Government proposal to axe the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS).

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Community kitchen garden funding for healthy kids

IMG_0364.JPGSharon Bird today met with the P&C and visited Mt St Thomas Public School to announce funding of $19,591 under Round 2 of the Stronger Communities Programme (SCP) for the Mount St Thomas Community Kitchen Garden project.

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One year of Turnbull means nothing but cuts for the Illawarra

One year of Malcolm Turnbull has meant nothing but cuts for the Illawarra.


Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today said that the Illawarra has continued to be ignored by the Liberals.

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Steel report requires action from coalition government

Illawarra MPs Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird have called on the Turnbull Government to act decisively to secure the future of Australian steel.


Late on Friday afternoon the Government finally released the Anti-Dumping Commission’s report into the impact of overseas steel on the nation’s steel industry.

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Helensburgh Men's Shed - almost there!

Sharon Bird today visited the new site for the Helensburgh Men’s Shed and met with local coordinators to discuss their plans for the refurbishment of the shed to get it established and up and running.

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Sporting facilities upgrade for cool kids

Sharon Bird today visited the Bulli PCYC to announce funding of $7,694 under Round 2 of the Stronger Communities Program (SCP) for the upgrade of the sporting courts on the upper level of the Bulli PCYC.

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Time for Minister to take action on steel

Sharon Bird, Federal Member for Cunningham and Stephen Jones today backed Kim Carr and Nick Champion’s calls for Industry Minister, Greg Hunt, to release the “updated” Anti-Dumping Commission’s report on the impact of overseas steel makers in the Australian market prior to Friday’s International Trade Remedies Forum (ITRF) to allow the ITRF to properly do its job.

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GP tax by stealth puts pressure on hospitals


Illawarra MPs Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird have warned that more patients will continue to flood into already over-crowded hospitals as a result of the federal Coalition’s attack on primary care.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Health Information show that hospital staff are under pressure to manage record numbers of admissions, emergency department presentations and elective surgeries.

The quarterly numbers (April – June 2016) reveal:

  • New South Wales EDs experienced a 76,000 increase in presentations compared to the same period last year.
  • The Wollongong hospital elective surgery waiting list is growing.  It has swelled to 2,019 by the end of June 2016, a 16.6 per cent increase on the same period last year.
  • Wollongong hospital is also experiencing worrying delays. 3.5 per cent of semi-urgent surgical procedures and 12.8 per cent of non-urgent surgical procedures are not being performed within clinically recommended timeframes.

The delays in Wollongong hospital surgical procedures is particularly concerning when a comparison is made to the same period last year.

At that time just .7 per cent of semi-urgent surgery was not seen within clinically recommended timeframes. There has also been a slight increase in non-urgent surgery being undertaken outside of clinically recommended timeframes.

Stephen Jones said that the numbers should be a wake-up call for the Turnbull Government.

“In this year’s federal Budget the Turnbull Government extended the Medicare rebate freeze, a GP Tax by the backdoor, all the way to 2020. As a result more and more GPs have been forced to hike their fees and stop bulk billing.

“In the electorate of Whitlam alone two GP clinics in Bowral - the Walker Street General Practice and the Bowral Street Medical Practice – have both terminated their bulk billing services.

“Patients are avoiding trips to see their Doctor because they simply can’t afford it; instead they are ending up in hospital.”

Sharon Bird said the mounting pressure on public hospitals was bad news for the entire healthcare system.

“The Coalition’s continued assault on primary care is negatively affecting the health of patients, particularly older people with multiple chronic diseases who really need to have their conditions carefully monitored.

“It is also leading to higher costs as hospitals treat patients who should have had their health problems seen to by a GP much earlier.

“A single night in a hospital bed can cost $3000, so if we want to reign in health costs putting more pressure on hospitals is the last thing we should be doing.”


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Break the stigma during dementia awareness month

IMG_0269.JPGSharon Bird today attended Alzheimer’s Australia’s Illawarra Public Forum – Still Dementia in a Changing World – as part of Dementia Awareness Month which is an annual awareness raising event held in September each year and aims to focus people with dementia, carers, media and the general public on dementia by sharing facts, dispelling myths and highlighting the support that is available through Alzheimer’s Australia.


People living with dementia are twice as likely to experience loneliness compared to the general public – that is one of the key messages being promoted as part of Dementia Awareness Month 2016.


Dementia Awareness Month runs through September to improve awareness and understanding about dementia in the Australian community.


The theme of Dementia Awareness Month 2016 is ‘You are not alone’ and draws on the release of new research indicating that people living with dementia and their carers are among the loneliest in the country.


There are over 350,000 Australians living with dementia and more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia each week – it is not a future issue, it is here and now.

Dementia is impacting a growing number of people in the Illawarra, whether it is our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends or ourselves.

Sharon Bird said that many people in the Illawarra were affected by dementia.


“Alzheimer’s Australia has had great local campaigners in the Illawarra like Val Fell and Tom Ward who have campaigned to raise awareness for many years,” Sharon Bird said.


“They have been instrumental in organising event such as forums and the Memory Walk to raise awareness about dementia.


“Everyone has a story of a friend or a family member who has been affected by dementia.


Sadly the diagnosis of dementia goes hand-in-hand with stigmas, social isolation and exclusion.


Six in 10 people admit they know very little about dementia and as many as one on four find people with dementia frightening.


Dementia Awareness Month is the perfect time to help break the stigma.


Everyone can take up the challenge to find out more about dementia and help to break down the stigma and misunderstanding associated with the condition.


We need to look past the symptoms of dementia and create communities where people living with dementia, their families and carers feel supported, empowered and included in society.


Labor is a big supporter of Dementia Awareness Month and is calling on the Turnbull Liberal Government to show leadership in creating a dementia-friendly nation.


Visit find out about Dementia Awareness Month.


For information, advice and support call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.


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