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

48TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WEST GATE BRIDGE COLLAPSE

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:53): I want to take the opportunity to support the comments made on this motion that was put before the House by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, in particular recognising the 48th anniversary of the West Gate Bridge collapse—an extraordinarily tradition occurrence that affected so many families so dramatically and, no doubt, for so long. There were 35 killed and 18 injured. The flow-on effects of that through a family and a community are significant. As I listened to our leaders speak about this in the chamber, it very profoundly reminded me of occasions in my own electorate where we come together to commemorate, sadly, the significant number of lives lost in work based disasters. That's why I wanted to endorse the sentiments that were expressed on the anniversary of his particular disaster. Whilst it occurred in Melbourne and not in my own state of New South Wales, I think the repercussions and the feelings that people are reflecting in supporting the motion occur in any area where we've seen this sort of terrible tragedy occur. I absolutely heartily endorse the comments of both of our leaders. Continue reading

MOBILE BLACK SPOT PROGRAM

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (17:20): Thank you and I thank the chamber for the opportunity to make a few comments in this debate. It is the case that we're having this conversation in the context of the most recent round, round 4, of the Mobile Black Spot Program having closed just last week. I have taken the opportunity to put submissions in to that website and also to write directly to the minister about the issues in my electorate, and I appreciate the opportunity to do that. Continue reading

LIBERAL CUTS TO AGED CARE ADDING PRESSURE TO FAMILIES

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (19:03): I would like to indicate, at the beginning, in speaking to these bills—recognising that we're dealing with two cognate bills—that I support the amendment that has been moved by the shadow minister, but I also indicate that I think, as many of my colleagues do, that, if that amendment is to not succeed, these bills need to be supported. That is because we are in a really critically important time for the aged-care sector. In my electorate, this is certainly one of the most pressing issues that I and my staff deal with on a regular basis. These bills before us, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Bill 2018 and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018, are enacting some of the recommendations of the Carnell Paterson review of aged care. In particular, the first bill is establishing a new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, intended to be operational from 1 January 2019. That will bring together quality assurance and complaints procedures in the aged-care sector. That's obviously as a result of the review. It's a worthwhile thing to do. Continue reading

LOCAL SUICIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVES RECOGNISED

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:39): Suicide rates in my region, very sadly, remain higher than the New South Wales average, with 40 to 60 suicides reported each year. I just want to take the opportunity today to talk about the very critical, important work that is being done by organisations and individuals in our region to address this problem. First of all, I want to acknowledge the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative. This was established three years ago this month. It consists of representatives of more than 20 local community organisations, which include the local health district; the University of Wollongong; the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute; Grand Pacific Health; Lifeline Southcoast; COORDINARE, the south-eastern New South Wales primary health network; all four local councils and all education sectors. Continue reading

LIBERAL DYSFUNCTION AND DISUNITY AFFECTS LOCALS

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:29): It is increasingly obvious to all of us, I'm sure, in our local electorate offices that the dysfunction and the disunity that have been the hallmark of this government over recent times are having a direct impact on their ability to do their day job and deliver the services that our local constituents need. This level of dysfunction is having real impacts across a number of portfolio areas, and we are seeing it in our offices. In this section of the parliament, where we get to talk about the issues that our constituents are raising, I want to highlight just four of those issues, where my constituents are, quite honestly, at their wits' end with the incompetence of the government in their programs. Continue reading