The issues - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Post-Budget Butler Bulletin

This year's Budget didn't do much for Australians. There were cuts to education, cuts to the ABC, and even cuts to the pension.

You can read the latest edition of the Butler Bulletin here.

Greenslopes Red Cross Hall

I have been lobbying the Federal Government for over a year to do something to remediate the Commonwealth-owned hall on Newdegate Street, Greenslopes. But they just won't listen.

Please join me in calling on the government to deal with the site by signing the below letter, and sending it to my office by post or email.

You can find the letter here.

Labor's Plan for Skills, TAFE, and Apprenticeships

TAFE is a vital institution that provides access to quality vocational education across Australian communities. It has educated and trained millions of Australians and continues to support the learning of hundreds and thousands of others, despite on-going cuts and neglect from Mr Turnbull and the Liberals.

The Coalition has cut $3 billion from Skills, TAFE and apprenticeships funding since they came to office. In the last budget they cut a further $270 million, this time from the Skilling Australians Fund, their apprenticeship policy ‘centrepiece’. Given the insecure and diminishing nature of the fund, to date the State and Territory Governments have refused to sign up to the associated agreement.

Meanwhile, apprenticeship and TAFE numbers continue to fall. There are over 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees in training than when the Coalition took office, a drop of more than a third. Over the same period, delivery of government-funded training hours in TAFEs have also collapsed by more than 30 per cent.

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Labor will build Cross River Rail

A Shorten Labor Government will help end the gridlock in South East Queensland by investing $2.24 billion towards the congestion-busting Cross River Rail project.

This is South East Queensland’s number one infrastructure project – that’s why Labor is making it a priority.

This will allow more trains, more often. It will take cars off the road and get traffic moving. And it will provide a major boost to the economy – with 7700 jobs in the construction phase alone, and 550 ongoing operating jobs.

Labor will partner with the Queensland Government on the project, which will build a new 10.2 kilometre north-south passenger rail line from Bowen Hills to Dutton Park.

The project will incorporate 5.9 kilometres of tunnelling under the Brisbane River and CBD, as well as four new underground stations constructed at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street, and the upgrade of the existing Dutton Park and Exhibition stations.

When completed, the Cross River Rail will remove current bottlenecks by doubling the capacity across the River and allowing more trains to run more often – along every major train line.

And it will mean commuters spend less time in transit and more time doing the things that are important to them. Passengers will save 15 minutes commuting from Beenleigh or the Gold Coast to the Southern CNB.

This is a critical project for South East Queensland’s future – with the population of the region forecast to grow from 3.5 million today to 4.9 million in 2036, investment in good infrastructure is critical.

Demand for passenger rail services is forecast to almost triple by 2036, and passenger train lines are already currently over capacity.

Failure to build the cross river rail will severely limit the region’s ability to grow, and will put more pressure on already congested roads.

Only an out-of-touch prime minister would ignore the critical need for investment in public transport infrastructure.

South East Queensland is crying out for investment in this project – but Mr Turnbull has been ignoring it. He hasn’t put in a dollar of Federal funding to get construction off the ground.

Labor knows that the solution to South East Queensland’s congestion issues is more roads and more rail – that’s why a Shorten Labor Government will build both.

In addition to this $2.24 billion commitment to Cross River Rail, a Shorten Labor Government will invest $1 billion to widen the M1 from Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill to eight lanes as well as widening the M1 to six lanes from Varsity Lakes to Tugun.

In supporting the M1 upgrade but ignoring the Cross River Rail Project, Mr Turnbull and the LNP are only doing half the job. This will result in Queenslanders spending more time on a train platform or stuck in traffic.

Only Labor will build more roads and more rail – boosting infrastructure, creating jobs and cutting travel times for Queenslanders.

Benefits of the project:
• The CRR will double public transport capacity across the river into Brisbane CBD from the south, providing ultimate capacity for 24 rail services per hour in each direction.
• There will be a 22% reduction in train crowding by 2036.
• It will increase daily public transport patronage in 2026 by 9,000 passengers and 23,000 passengers in 2036.
• CRR will reduce private vehicle kilometres travelled by 526,000km per day – (a 24 per cent decrease in daily crowded hours in 2026 and 29 per cent in 2036)
• It will provide faster, more reliable travel times across South East Queensland, including to and from the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.


Pensioners and Seniors Kit

The first edition of the 2018 Pensioners and Seniors Kit is now available!

You can access the Kit here, or call my office on 07 3899 4031 and we can send one out to you.

More dramas for Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate NBN

A moratorium on new connections, concerns about speed and reliability, and an outcry about landlines are the latest dramas hitting Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate NBN locally.

Labor’s NBN used fibre to the premises, a superior technology. As Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull decided to use other technologies, including HFC - the same type of cable used for pay TV. The use of this so-called “multi-technology mix” instead of the better quality fibre NBN has caused significant problems.

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Uni funding cuts? No thanks.

In the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook the government announced $2.2 billion worth of cuts to higher education.

They’ve cut the equivalent of 9,500 uni places in 2018. It’s the same story in 2019. That’s a lot of people who’ll be excluded from going to university.

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The Turnbull government should restore the $17 billion cut from schools funding

In 2017 the Turnbull government was able to pass legislation cutting $17 billion from funding that had been earmarked for schools over the next decade. I voted against the bill.

These education funding cuts are being made at the same time as the Turnbull government is seeking to worsen the Budget bottom line by $65 billion over a decade, in the form of corporate tax cuts. Kids and households shouldn’t be asked to pay for tax cuts for multinationals and millionaires.

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The Liberals are the party of pension cuts

From Jenny Macklin

Before the 2013 election the Liberals promised “no cuts to pensions”.

Then in every single Budget the Liberals have tried to cut the pension. 

In the 2014 Budget they tried to cut pension indexation – a cut that would have meant pensioners would be forced to live on $80 a week less within ten years. This unfair cut would have ripped $23 billion from the pockets of pensioners of every single pensioner in Australia.

In the 2014 Budget they cut $1 billion from pensioner concessions – support designed to help pensioners with the cost of living.

In the 2014 Budget they axed the $900 seniors supplement to self funded retirees receiving the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.  

In the 2014 Budget the Liberals tried to reset deeming rates thresholds – a cut that would have seen 500,000 part-pensioners made worse off.

In 2015 the Liberals did a deal with the Greens to cut the pension to around 370,000 pensioners by as much as $12,000 a year by changing the pension assets test. 

In the 2016 Budget the Liberals tried to cut the pension to around 190,000 pensioners as part of a plan to limit overseas travel for pensioners to six weeks.

The Liberals still want to make pensioners born overseas wait longer to get the Age Pension by increasing the residency requirements from 10 to 15 years.

The Liberals still want to increase the pension age to 70 – meaning Australia would have an older pension age than the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand. In the first four years alone around 375,000 Australians will have to wait longer before they can access the pension. This is a $3.6 billion hit to the retirement income of Australians.

The Liberals still want to axe the Energy Supplement to 2 million Australians, including around 400,000 age pensioners  – a cut of $14.10 per fortnight to single pensioners or $365 a year. Couple pensioners will be $21.20 a fortnight worse off or around $550 a year worse off.

Turnbull also wants to completely take away the pension supplement from pensioners who go overseas for more than six weeks, this will see around $120 million ripped from the pockets of pensioners.

And they still refuse to adjust deeming rates for pensioners. It’s been nearly three years since the Turnbull Government last lowered deeming rates, and pensioners are paying the price, with current deeming rates now significantly higher than real rates of return. Interest rates  have fallen from 2.25 percent in February 2015 to 1.50 percent today, yet Turnbull has done nothing.

Labor will not be lectured to by Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison about standing up for pensioners.

The Liberal Party is the Party of pension cuts.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

March Butler Bulletin

I put out a community newsletter throughout the year, so people know what I get up to in the electorate and in Canberra.

You can find the March edition here.

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