NEW PICTON ROAD TELSTRA MOBILE TOWER TO PROVIDE BETTER COVERAGE ON THE PICTON ROAD

Sharon Bird and Ryan Park today welcomed the delivery of Telstra’s new mobile phone tower on Picton Road. Following lobbying from frustrated local constituents and the community, Sharon Bird and Ryan Park last year called for mobile phone services to be improved on the Picton Road. Continue reading

LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS RECEIVE $146,000 IN FUNDING

Sharon Bird today visited Coniston Public School to announce $146,737 in funding under Round 4 of the Stronger Communities Programme. Coniston Public School will receive $10,000 to help build an outdoor community kitchen. The kitchen will be built within the school’s permaculture garden to enable different cultural groups to share traditions, cook food and teach recipes. The total cost of the kitchen is $30,000. Continue reading

FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (17:52): I want to indicate, as my colleagues have done on this side of the House, that it's my intention to support the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018. However, I am critical that the bill does not go far enough in its provision of five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. I am very conscious, as I speak on this bill in the roughly 15 minutes allocated to me to do so, that, across the country, in homes in each and every one of our electorates, there is no geographical barrier to the experience of family and domestic violence. It occurs in households, regardless of income, cultural or ethnic background or religion. This scourge in our society is affecting women and children right now, as I'm on my feet speaking. There must be efforts made by this government, by this parliament and by state and federal authorities to do all that we can to address what is a crisis in our community. The direct and immediate impact on people who are facing violence, whether it's physical, sexual or emotional violence, is profound. These people struggle to simply manage and get by and to protect each other, particularly mothers who are looking to protect their children. The day-to-day reality is terrifying for them. We know from many, many long-term studies the terrible impact it has not only on the lives of those who are in the middle of such a crisis but also on their emotional and physical wellbeing well into the years beyond escaping from that home. It impacts on our communities, our society and our economy are real and serious and require attention by all governments. Continue reading

LIBERAL CUTS TO UNIVERSITY FUNDING

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (16:58): I am very pleased to rise to support the motion moved by the member for Griffith relating to cuts to university funding. I appreciated the member for Hinkler going through the numbers. What those opposite always do is say, 'If you look from this year to that year, the number gets bigger.' They completely fail to recognise that, firstly, population increases will drive that and, secondly, there may be a thing called inflation, which means that the amount of money and the capacity to utilise that to provide spaces for students is actually decreased if you don't seriously address the funding that's required. Continue reading

VULNERABLE PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY GET APPALLING AND NEGLIGENT SERVICE FROM THE LIBERALS

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (15:43): The minister just told us that aged pensioners in this country deserve a government that delivers the services they need. That was probably the only true and accurate statement in the 10-minute speech we just heard. Let's talk about all of the vulnerable people in our communities, in my electorate and in electorates around the country, who are getting appalling, negligent service from this government. Let's start with the aged-care sector—I'll come back to the minister's portfolio—and I see the shadow minister here. Let's talk about the over 1,200 people still waiting for a home care package. Continue reading

LIBERAL’S FAILURE TO ACT ON DODGY VET FEE-HELP PROVIDERS AND THEIR FUNDING CUTS TO TAFE AND APPRENTICES

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (12:30):  I have spoken in many debates in this House on this very important sector of the education system, vocational education and training. I rise to speak on the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Student Protection) Bill 2018 today to support the amendment moved by this side of the House and to indicate that I would support the bill regardless. I do that because it is important that action is taken to provide a scheme that gives remedy to the many thousands of Australians who were the victims of very, very unscrupulous behaviour in the sector by far too many providers. Continue reading

AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CLIMATE COALITION

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:43):  On Friday, I met with four wonderful young people—Rosie, Claire, Nicholas and Michael—who are members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition branch at the University of Wollongong. They had come to talk to me about their campaign to stop the Adani coalmine and, more broadly, the call for people to take action on climate change, including this parliament. I appreciated the opportunity to have a chat to them. I did reflect to them my own scepticism about the future of the Adani coalmine but, most importantly, made it clear that Labor's policy is that there be no federal funding provided to that mine and also that we feel that it needs to meet the environmental requirements that are proposed. Continue reading

JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:50): Can I also extend my welcome to our visiting former speakers in the Chamber today. I want to talk to the Chamber today about an issue that I and many of my colleagues across both sides of the Chamber have been pleased to support for a number of years, and that is juvenile diabetes. There is a fantastic program, the Kids in the House program, where young people who are living with juvenile diabetes come along to talk to MPs about the importance of research in addressing juvenile diabetes. Continue reading

2018 IMB BANK ILLAWARRA BUSINESS AWARDS

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (12:30): On Friday night I joined 650 locals, including all of my federal and state colleagues and many of my local government colleagues, at a fantastic local event. It was the Illawarra Business Chamber awards night. 'A little taste of Paris' was the theme for this year. It was a great event. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate some people who organised and put on this event. They do it every year. It's always a huge event on our calendar in the Wollongong area. I also want to acknowledge some fabulous businesses who did well. Many will go on to the state competition and awards as well. Continue reading

NATIONAL APOLOGY TO VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF INSTITUTIONAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (17:53):  On Monday we saw a national apology extended to the survivors and victims of institutional child abuse. Along with my colleagues, I want to take the opportunity to endorse and support the words of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, which were significant, sincere and critically important in providing a national apology to those children. So many of those children are now adults, but too many did not make it to adulthood. In adding my voice, I want to indicate that I know I do that as someone who sits here representing my electorate; I echo of the voices of so many people across my electorate who want that sorry said on their behalf as well. I do it in that spirit. Continue reading