RECOGNISING AND SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (12:47): I start my contribution to the debate on this bill by taking the opportunity, like the member before me, to acknowledge the veterans who live in my own community. We are obviously out at all sorts of events and occasions where we meet people in our community who are veterans of both military and peacekeeping activities—far fewer, obviously, from very early conflicts, but particularly ranging from Vietnam veterans to veterans of current, modern-day conflicts. We see them and their families out and about in our communities all the time. I think it is a significant and important thing, where we can, to take the opportunity to thank them for their service, both the service personnel and the families that support them. In that spirit, I want to indicate my support for the bill before the parliament today, the Australian Veterans' Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019. Continue reading

WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (10:13): I want to take the opportunity today to talk about a very important issue in my local area. Yesterday, as many of my colleagues would know, was World Autism Awareness Day. It's a day when, normally, I'm able to be in the electorate and participate in some really important activities to show how our community value the people with autism in our community, including making sure they get the support, education and opportunities that they are entitled to, and to extend that appreciation and support to their families. There's a great program in which we light up the lighthouse on the headland in Wollongong in blue. That certainly happened, and I extend my congratulations to everybody involved in that project. It's a great visual reminder of the importance of people with autism. Continue reading

INQUIRY INTO AUTOMATED MASS TRANSIT

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (13:02): by leave—I just want to take this opportunity, recognising, as the chair has just outlined, that this may be the last opportunity in this parliament for us to talk about the fabulous work of the committee that we've been chairing and that I've been deputy chair of over this parliament. I would encourage people to look at this report. It's a significant body of work, which was turned around in a reasonably short period of time, I have to say. Continue reading

AUSSIE JOBS MATTER

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (12:41): I want to take the opportunity in this House today to put on the record, for members and for the general public, two important battles going on in my electorate, to which my Labor colleague, the member for Whitlam, and I have been able to provide some support, together with our state Labor colleagues: Ryan Park, the member for Keira; Paul Scully, the member for Wollongong; and Anna Watson, the member for Shellharbour. We have, playing out locally, two disputes that encapsulate exactly the challenges that ordinary workers and their families are facing across the country. I'm very pleased to be joined by some constituents in the Chamber today and to be able to talk about the fight that they've got on their hands. Continue reading

CITY OF WOLLONGONG AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS

I want to share with the chamber some amazing local people and their stories. On 22 January I attended the City of Wollongong Australia Day Awards. An amazing group of people was recognised, and I want to acknowledge and put that on the record of this parliament. The Citizen of the Year is Dr Justin Yerbury. I have spoken in the House before about what an amazing man he is, as he does significant research into motor neurone disease whilst he battles the awful disease himself. It was received to a standing ovation. People were so thrilled that he became our citizen of the year. Continue reading

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