Sharon Bird's activity stream


  • published REAL WAGE CUT IS IN MORRISON BUDGET! in Speeches 2021-06-03 10:37:33 +1000

    REAL WAGE CUT IS IN MORRISON BUDGET!

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (18:29): I thank the member for Corangamite for bringing this motion before the parliament. I think it is really important that we talk about the fact that the budget so recently announced included this exposure of a cut to real wages over the coming forward estimates, the four years that the budget covers. You would've missed it if you were waiting for an explanation or even an admission of that by the Treasurer when he did his budget night speech. Unsurprisingly, there wasn't an attempt by the Treasurer to draw significant attention to the fact that the budget showed that, effectively, people across our communities over the next four years are going to actually see a cut to their real wages—that is, the different between wage increases and the cost of living increases.

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  • published Cunningham Examiner: Budget 2021 in Newsletters 2021-05-31 09:48:09 +1000

  • BACKSLAPPING AND BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS – NO REFORM AGENDA

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:30): I rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022 and other bills. I want to firstly talk about a bit of overall context and then go to some very specific issues around the budget, the challenges facing the nation and how they are playing out in my own electorate. There are two great challenges facing the nation and have been for 18 months now. One, of course, has been the COVID pandemic and, along with that, the health response required of the nation—of governments, of the population, of businesses—as we dealt with the global pandemic. There is also the economic challenge, and the budget that was unveiled by the government the last time we were here should be an opportunity to address the economic challenges that we face and to set a forward plan for how we come out of what was a hit to our economy—there is no doubt about it—and build a stronger future for families and communities.

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  • URGENT ACTION NEEDED ON OUT OF POCKET HEALTH COSTS

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (18:33): Deputy Speaker Irons, I notice your raised eyebrows. That may be because you have observed that I'm not actually a government speaker, who would normally take this slot in this debate. I have risen to my feet to make a contribution because it is a critically important issue. I commend my colleague for putting this before the chamber for debate. I campaigned with Dr Freelander when he was first elected, and I can tell you there was hardly anybody who came up who didn't know him, because of his amazing contribution in his previous life to the medical field and particularly young people.

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  • published HOUSING AUSTRALIA FUTURE FUND in Media Releases 2021-05-18 11:03:05 +1000

    HOUSING AUSTRALIA FUTURE FUND

    An Albanese Labor Government will create the Housing Australia Future Fund to build social and affordable housing now and into the future in places like the Illawarra.

    This will create jobs and change lives. 

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  • SPENDING UP, WAGES DOWN IN MORRISON’S BUDGET

    Local workers will have to wait four years for a pay rise under the Morrison Government’s economic plan for Australia.

    That’s despite the Government spending an extra $100bn, bringing the national debt to a trillion dollars but seeing real wages actually falling.

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  • LABOR’S NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION FUND WILL HELP US BRING MANUFACTURING BACK TO ILLAWARRA

    Anthony Albanese and Labor’s commitment to a National Reconstruction Fund would help create secure jobs for Australian workers in the Illawarra after 8 years of policy drift under consecutive Liberal Prime Ministers.

    Sharon Bird, the Member for Cunningham, and Stephen Jones, the Member for Whitlam, visited local specialised steel manufacturer Bisalloy Steel to discuss the benefits of Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund for local businesses in the Illawarra.

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  • MORRISON IS ENDING JOBKEEPER AND ENDING THOUSANDS OF LIVELIHOODS

    Scott Morrison has turned out the lights at thousands of small business owners and taken an axe to thousands of workers’ livelihoods by ending Job Keeper.

    He wouldn’t listen to warnings from economists, business leaders, unions and his own public servants that 200,000 people will hit the job queue all at once.

     

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  • published IMPORTANCE OF COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT in Speeches 2021-03-23 17:17:13 +1100

    IMPORTANCE OF COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:13): One of the great challenges before the nation at the moment is to get the maximum rollout of the COVID vaccine, and it's something I think we all are absolutely dedicated to seeing happen across our communities. In light of my deep commitment to ensuring my community are well covered by the vaccine rollout, I want to put a few things on the record today.

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  • published LOCAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE END OF JOBKEEPER in Speeches 2021-03-22 18:29:12 +1100

    LOCAL CONCERNS ABOUT THE END OF JOBKEEPER

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:42): At the end of this week, we will see the cessation of the JobKeeper supplement to support local businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic impacts that has had. I want to report to the House, on behalf of many of my local businesses and local workers, my great frustration about the effect that this is going to have in our local area.

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  • published LABOR BACKS STEEL INDUSTRY JOBS in Media Releases 2021-03-19 16:47:25 +1100

    LABOR BACKS STEEL INDUSTRY JOBS

    Australian steel workers need a plan for their future, and Labor is listening.
     
    Australia is the world’s biggest iron ore exporter, and Labor recognises more of it should be used right here at home.

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  • TOURISM PACKAGE LEAVES LOCAL BUSINESSES UP IN THE AIR

    After months of indecision the Morrison Government has announced its tourism support package.

    It is driven by politics not economics. The benefits are geared towards marginal Government electorates.

    It won’t support jobs and businesses in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven and the Eurobodalla.

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  • published BRITTANY HIGGINS in Speeches 2021-02-19 09:25:27 +1100

    BRITTANY HIGGINS

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:50): I rise in this, the last debate that will occur in this House this week, as we debate the adjournment of the House, as we do at the end of each day—of course, this being the last day of this sitting week. I reflect on the fact that I've taken the opportunity to participate in debates in this place on behalf of my constituency, around issues such as wage stagnation, the rising cost of living and the difficulties getting access to government services that are taking longer and longer over various government departments. I've spoken on aged care and my frustration for local residents in accessing things like home-care packages. But I have to say that this week, as I've participated in debates in this place, my mind has constantly and consistently gone to an interview I saw with a young woman on TV, where she was brave enough to recount the horrifying experience that had happened to her in this place.

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  • GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BITE THE BULLET ON HOME CARE – FIX IT NOW

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (18:02): The final point I want to make as a grievance on behalf of my constituents is about the aged-care sector. I have spoken about this before. In my office, we took a bit of time off over Christmas and New Year, as I'm sure everyone did.

    The first phone message that my office replied to when we came back was from a gentleman who couldn't get his aged-care package. He needed his home-care package and hadn't been able to get it. This is an ongoing and consistent issue. I'm sure it's not just in Labor or Independent offices; I'm sure it's across the country. If an older person is assessed as needing help to maintain themselves in their home, one would think that, once that box is ticked, it would come pretty quickly.

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  • GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO SUPPORT JOBS AND BUSINESSES IN THE ILLAWARRA

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:00): I've only got a short time to address the House this morning, so I want to take the opportunity to make a call to the government to consider very carefully its response to the COVID pandemic in many regional areas, such as mine. Obviously, in my area, a lot of industry sectors have been affected by the impacts of the COVID response—a response we all, quite rightly, support—and there are a lot of businesses and workers in my area who have been relying on JobKeeper. I particularly think of industry sectors that are very important in my region—our university and the tourism and hospitality sectors. I'm very critical—and I've made this point many times—that the university sector was left out of the JobKeeper program. I think that was a very short-sighted decision. This was also the case for many in the entertainment industry. We have local performances and festivals, and many local artists, who are very important in our local community, obviously were not able to work for much of that period of time but were excluded from JobKeeper. So I still maintain that, in the way that JobKeeper was implemented by the government—after being extraordinarily reluctant to even introduce it, even though the Prime Minister now touts it as one of the most amazing responses to COVID—there were sectors that missed out and they're still struggling.

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  • CUTS TO PUBLIC SERVICE MEAN LONGER WAIT TIMES FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP MOST

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (17:58): The second issue I want to raise in the grievance debate on behalf of constituents is that if you do have to interact with government agencies these days across support payments, whether that's older people on pensions, whether it's people who become unemployed, whether it's people relying on disability payments—there's a wide range of payments that we make—if you have to engage with a government department, I'm getting—and I can only assume most officers are—more and more frustration from people about how long it's taking to get their matters dealt with. We've seen waiting times increase year after year. I'm regularly getting people contacting me who are waiting for their age pension to be processed. This was something that never happened when I was first elected. I'm not being party political—under the Howard government I didn't see much of that sort of thing being raised. But it happens now quite regularly, and it has been for a while.

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  • IR CHANGES, STAGNANT WAGES, UNEMPLOYMENT AND INCREASING COSTS MAKE IT HARDER FOR FAMILIES STARTING OUT

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (17:54): In this grievance debate, where we get the opportunity to raise issues of ongoing frustration to our local constituents, I have a number of issues I'd like to put before the chamber tonight. The first is a more general problem, which has been developing since the election of the Abbott government. It's the fact that people in our communities are seeing an ongoing stagnation of their wages, an ongoing level of unemployment and underemployment, and an ongoing level of increasing cost of living. This is putting pressure on individuals, on young couples trying to make a start in life, and on families in general.

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  • LABOR MPS CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT TO FIX THE RATE

    Local Federal Labor MPs are today calling on the Morrison Government to fix the rate of unemployed benefit for our region’s 37,000 job seekers.

    The Guardian has revealed that over 37,000 jobseekers will be bounced back to just $40 a day next month unless the Morrison Government fixes the rate of support.

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  • TARGETED SUPPORT NECESSARY TO AVOID FURTHER JOB LOSSES

    Local Federal Labor MPs are calling on the Morrison Government to extend support for workers, and businesses in our tourism sector. With the shutdown in international travel these have been hit the hardest by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic with little sign of relief on the horizon.

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  • ALL AUSTRALIANS DESERVE A RETIREMENT OF DIGNITY AND QUALITY

    Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (4:15):  I thank the member for Whitlam for putting this very important matter of public importance on superannuation and retirement incomes before the chamber. I acknowledge the previous speaker, the member for Chisholm, has indicated that she believes her government will always put improving the retirement income of Australians first. I look forward to her crossing the floor when the government attempts to freeze the superannuation increase that's coming up—an increase that will clearly improve the retirement incomes of Australians. I was pleased to hear her make that commitment, and I look forward to her following through on that.

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