Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Speech to the Traffic Management Association of Australia National Conference - SCOPE 18

It’s great to be here on the Gold Coast so soon after the Commonwealth Games - the largest sporting event to be held in Australia this decade.

The Games supported more than 30,000 jobs, and the sporting hopes and dreams of an entire nation. Hundreds of thousands of visitors came, and got to see our beautiful Gold Coast.

Three-time Paralympic gold medal winner and four-time World Champion Kurt Fearnley was denied the fairy-tale finish, but he increased in the nation’s estimation. We welcomed 70 visiting teams and fielded a squad of 473 athletes. The Games were spectacular.

Today, at SCOPE 18, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge how far your industry has come, to thank you for the work that your industry does to allow roadworks to progress while construction workers, pedestrians, motorists and others are kept safe, and to talk a little about the big picture.

Read the full speech below.

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Labor will Protect Griffith from Mr Turnbull's Private Health Hike

87 606 people in Griffith will receive relief from rising private health insurance premiums with a Shorten Labor Government to cap the price increases of private health insurers at 2% for two years.

This will save 11 054 families in Griffith an average $340.

Labor knows every dollar counts – and that the status quo in private health insurance cannot continue.

With the ten-year average annual premium increases at 5.5 per cent, Labor’s move to enforce a two percent premium cap will see savings across the board:

Single currently paying average $1975 in 2018 – will save $143

Young couple with no kids paying average $3993 in 2018 – will save $290

Single parent currently paying average $3641 in 2018 – will save $264

Family currently paying average $4731 – will save $344

Older couple paying $4771 – will save $347


Member for Griffith, Terri Butler said that only Labor has a plan to shift the balance back in the interests of families, rather than the big health insurance companies. 


“I know our community needs action on private health insurance - prices are up, profits are up – but quality and value are way down,” Terri Butler said.


“Families are paying an average of more than $1,000 every year for private health than they were when the Liberals came to power in 2013.


“Wage growth is at an all-time low. But the profits of private health insurers are at an all-time high.


“That’s why we have made this unprecedented decision to shift the balance back to consumers – helping 11 054 families access the health care they need while taking pressure off the weekly budget.”


Labor will also task the Productivity Commission with the most significant review of the private health system in 20 years to improve the value, quality and affordability of private health insurance for every Australian. 


Terri Butler said that the Turnbull Government is failing to help Australians with the affordability of private health insurance, and as a result, people are walking away from private health altogether.


“Labor is choosing to put 11 054 families in Griffith first, instead of the interests of the multi-billion dollar private health industry.


“Only Labor understands that Australians are struggling with the cost of living under Turnbull. We understand the importance of protecting our world-class health system – Labor built Medicare and we will always fight for Medicare.


“And we know more needs to be done to help people access the health care they need through private health insurance – and that’s why we are backing Australians, not private health insurance giants.”



  • In 2016-17, Australians paid $4 billion more in private health insurance premiums than they got back in benefits, and the private health insurance industry made pre-tax profits of $1.8 billion.
  • At the same time, premiums increased by almost 2.5 times the consumer price index – an average $200 increase for families.
  • Premiums have increased by 27% since the Liberals were elected in 2013 – including the rise due in April. This includes the two highest premium increases since 2005.
  • Australians are paying a lot more for their health insurance policies and getting a lot less.  Ten years ago, only 8.6 per cent of health insurance policies contained exclusion, now it’s 40 per cent.
  • Last year, the private health insurance industry raked in $1.8 billion in profit before tax. Most publicly companies get a return on equity of about 8 per cent. The banks average in excess of 10 per cent.  Some of the biggest health insurance providers pocket a return of over 20 per cent.

Southside Families to be Hit Hard by Child Care Changes

Southside families are going to be hit hard by Mr Turnbull’s changes to childcare funding, Terri Butler said.

“Over 2000 families in Griffith are going to be worse off under the new subsidy model,” Terri Butler said.

“Under the Government’s package, families will have to satisfy a complex set of rules to qualify for government assistance – with a work test and a means test set to hit vulnerable families the worst. The work test will require families to satisfy minimum levels of ‘approved activities’ each fortnight – which will knock thousands of low income families out of the system.

“On top of that, every single family that accesses child care is going to be hit with a hidden five per cent tax

“This is the latest in a long line of changes that Mr Turnbull and the Liberals have tried to hide from Australian families.

“Amongst the chaos of this complicated new package, families are being asked to apply to Centrelink to have their payments processed.

“This will add a further, unnecessary, layer of bureaucracy, as well as putting more pressure on the already overwhelmed Centrelink.

“Griffith parents deserve better than these unfair changes,” Ms Butler said.


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