FAIRYTALE SURPLUS MUST NOT COME AT THE EXPENSE OF NDIS RECIPIENTS

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (19:40): There has been much commentary today around the government's promised surplus. In fact, one would increasingly have to call it the surplus that dare not speak its name anymore. After handing down six budgets, all deficits, the government have now resorted to desperate measures to try and continue the fairytale that they are good economic managers. One of the measures that this government has resorted to in desperation—in order to try to hide that economic mismanagement—is to withhold funding from some of the most vulnerable people in our community: people with disabilities. Continue reading

FAILURE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO FOCUS ON THE NEEDS OF AUSTRALIANS

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (15:56): I congratulate you on your accession to your position, Mr Deputy Speaker. We come to the end of the first sitting fortnight for 2020. I think we would all acknowledge that we came back here very conscious that the nation needed a great deal of us. But I have to say that people could only look at what's happened in this last fortnight in this parliament with a great deal of disappointment. Continue reading

CONDOLENCE MOTION - BUSHFIRES

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (17:58): Summer is an evocative word for Australians. We anticipate Christmas functions with family and friends gathered; holidays at the beach on golden sands and crisp, blue waters; caravan parks full of kids on bikes; backyards taken over for riotous cricket games; and sizzling sausages on barbecues in the evenings. This summer, across our nation, we were watching emergency apps over Christmas. Our beaches were either on fire or blanketed by smoke and covered in the blackened remnants of fires burning elsewhere, sometimes hours away. We couldn't sit outside for a meal as smoke choked us in our towns and our capital cities. It was nothing like we had ever seen before. It was unprecedented and so was the extraordinary response of communities across the country as people desperately wanted to do something to help, and this included my community. Continue reading

LIBERAL SPORTS RORTS RIPS OFF COLEDALE WAVES

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (13:52): I am really angry on behalf of volunteers and sporting organisations across the country who went into a competition that they thought had rules and would be played fairly, not knowing that this government would break rules, would not play fairly and would engage in industrial-scale rorting of Australian taxpayers' moneys through the Community Sport Infrastructure grants. The Coledale Waves Football Club have increased their membership from 500 to 600 players in the past few years. Another 10 young people turned up recently because they'd heard how great the club is.   Continue reading

WOLLONGONG EMPLOYERS ENCOURAGED TO HIRE AN APPRENTICE OR TRAINEE

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:23): I have on many, many occasions in this place—and, indeed, in my electorate—been very critical of the record of this government on apprenticeships An opposition member: For good reason. Continue reading

GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO BETTER ON NBN

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (18:54):  I want to take the opportunity in this debate today to touch on some of the matters raised in the motion moved by the member for Mallee and talk more generally about major regional cities and the NBN rollout in my area. When the Labor government proposed the rollout for the seat of Cunningham there was no requirement for the satellite based technology. All of my area was being covered by the rollout of fibre. Continue reading

GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO MORE FOR OUR ELDERLY

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:03): In recent weeks the government has made a call for Australians to work longer and is encouraging people to stay in the workforce until they are in their 60s and perhaps their 70s. I want to point out to the government that the most significant problem for that is that many constituents—generally women, but also men—at that point in life are looking after elderly relatives. I want to raise today that issue in the context of the government's announcement today in the aged-care sector. I'm sure members across this place have almost daily contact from constituents who are waiting for home care packages. Continue reading

$1 BILLION UNDERSPEND ON VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (13:39):  We are shortly to go into question time in this place. Yesterday, I was really angry that the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme got up and told this place that there was no backlog with the NDIS. In my electorate we are—as are, I am sure, many of my colleagues—dealing day after day with people distraught that the NDIS is not delivering on its promise to them, on the back of a $4.6 billion underspend by this government for people with a disability. Continue reading

PORT KEMBLA KIDS LEMONADE STAND TO RAISE FUNDS FOR MND

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (17:50):  I just want to take the opportunity this evening to celebrate some wonderful local champions and to reflect on the fact that there are some tremendous researchers at the University of Wollongong and on the ways they inspire people in the broader community. It's a great story. I'm sure many of my colleagues with connections to universities will know that it's not just what happens within the university but the way they inspire the rest of the community in so many ways. Continue reading