Local media releases - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Post-Budget Politics in the Pub

Terri Butler MP will be hosting a post-Budget Politics in the Pub next Friday evening for locals to hear what the Budget will mean for them.

“Scott Morrison has handed down a Budget that could only come from a government that’s completely out of touch” Ms Butler said.

“Mr Turnbull has steadfastly refused to reverse his $2.2 billion cuts to university funding, his $17 billion cuts to schools funding, or his $80 billion tax cuts for multinationals and millionaires.

“This government isn’t working well for Queenslanders, and continues to pursue policies that harm young people, families, and communities.

“That’s why I’m hosting a Politics in the Pub next Friday night – so Southsiders can hear what this Budget will mean for them.

“I am pleased that Sam Pidgeon, Vice President of the Queensland Teachers’ Union, and Mark Pace, President of the National Union of Students, have agreed to join me for this event.

“Sam and Mark are both committed activists who are passionate about eliminating inequality and ensuring that all Australians have access to quality services,” Terri Butler said.

The Politics in the Pub will be at the Stones Corner Hotel, 346 Logan Rd, Stones Corner, at 6pm on Friday 18 May.

THURSDAY, 10 MAY 2018


A Budget of missed opportunity for the Southside

This was Budget afforded the Turnbull government with a chance to bring back fairness, and reverse some of the damage done since 2014, Terri Butler said.

"The Turnbull government missed an opportunity to bring fairness back tonight," she said.

"It was a Budget of missed opportunity for the nation and for the Southside.

"It was a Budget that is affected by this government's propensity to fight culture wars. Cutting the ABC is nothing more than a further attempt to pander to Pauline Hanson and One Nation.  

"Worse, it's a Budget that still seeks to spend $80 billion on corporate tax cuts, while finding ways to make pensioners, families, and students pay.

"The Budget has confirmed that Mr Turnbull is cutting the energy supplement, costing pensioners $14 a fortnight, and forcing people to keep working until they are 70. 

"The Turnbull government is also still cutting $17 billion from schools, and has $270 million in new cuts to TAFE.

"The latter is particularly outrageous after last year's Budget cuts to vocational education. 

"In tonight's Budget, there's a freeze on the rebate for specialists. That will be passed on to patients. Out-of-pocket costs are already excessive. 

"The electorate of Griffith has Queensland's fourth-highest out-of-pocket costs for specialist visits, at 
$79.16 on average. People need relief, not a further imposition.

"Funding just 14,000 new in-home aged care packages over four years is another failure. Funding is being cut from residential aged care to pay for this measure. There are still 100,000 people on the Turnbull government’s waiting list for in-home care.  

"A Shorten Labor Government will make different budgetary choices. 

"We will improve schools, fix hospitals and save Medicare. We will make university more accessible, guarantee the future of TAFE and put local jobs first. We will deliver genuine tax relief for working Australians, protect pensioners and improve the budget bottom line," she said.

TUESDAY, 8 May 2018

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Labor will Axe the "Tampon Tax"

A Shorten Labor Government will end Australia’s unfair and discriminatory “tampon tax”, partnering with the states and territories to remove the GST on women’s sanitary products.

This is a tax on women in Griffith.

Member for Griffith, Terri Butler, said it was time the unfair tax was ended.

“Australian women are hit with the 10 per cent GST on these products– around $30 million a year in tax – because they are not considered necessities. 

“The tax shouldn’t have been applied in the first place – there is no question that sanitary products aren’t a luxury item. They are necessary for reproductive health and hygiene.

“At the same time, products such as incontinence pads, sunscreen and nicotine patches – even Viagra – are exempt from the tax. 

“That’s why Labor is leading the way to abolish this tax on sanitary items.”

Terri Butler said that Malcolm Turnbull should announce plans in next month’s Budget to scrap the tampon tax.

“Labor is offering a solution to end this tax - there is no reason for Malcolm Turnbull to refuse it.

“If Mr Turnbull fails to adopt Labor’s policy, a Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to scrap the tax urgently upon coming to office.” 

To offset the loss of revenue to the states from GST on sanitary items, GST will be applied consistently to 12 natural therapies that are sometimes GST free, such as herbalism and naturopathy.

Ensuring the GST is applied to these therapies will bring their GST treatment into line with bipartisan policy to remove the private health insurance rebate from them.

These natural therapies are not supported by clinical evidence, as the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and the National Health and Medical Research Council found in a review in 2015.

At a time when government budgets are tight, the GST health exemption should only cover items with proven clinical effectiveness.

“Scrapping the tampon tax will make sanitary products more affordable – but just as importantly, it will be an important step forward in gender equity,” Terri Butler said.

MONDAY, 30 APRIL 2018


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.”

 

FACTS ON PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

  • 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.

THURSDAY, 26 APRIL


ANZAC Day in Griffith community

Today’s Anzac Day marks 103 years since our ANZACs first landed on the beaches at Gallipoli in the First World War.

This year also marks the final Anzac Day of the Anzac Centenary commemorations in which we remember the original Anzacs and why they fought.

This year on Anzac Day we also commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.

Throughout April of 1918 Australian and British forces fought tirelessly on the Western Front to recapture the town of Villers-Bretonneux, successfully doing so exactly 3 years after our diggers first stormed the beaches at Gallipoli. This ongoing battle was costly with more than a thousand lives lost during throughout the month.

This year we also commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Hamel, Centenary of the Battle of Amiens and the Centenary of the First World War Armistice on 11 November.

On Anzac Day we remember all Australians who served and died in all conflicts, wars and operational service.

This year we also remember significant World War II anniversaries, in particular the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and the 75th Anniversary of the Hellfire Pass and the Thai Burma Railway.

This year also marks 65 years since the Korean War Armistice in which more than 17,000 Australian Diggers served, with 340 killed and more than 1,200 wounded.

The 50th Anniversary of the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral will also be remembered in May for their significance during the Vietnam War.

We reflect on these conflicts and are reminded of the impacts of war - the depth of our gratitude remains unchanged.

This morning I attended the Bulimba District RSL Sub Branch dawn service at Morningside, the Greenslopes Private Hospital dawn service, the Bulimba march and service, and the Camp Hill State School service, to pay respect to all of our men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice. At noon I will attend the Bulimba Memorial Bowls service.

Each town across the country has its own story and connection of war and today we honour and renew that personal connection.

We are reminded of the spirit of Anzac, with its qualities of courage, mateship, endurance and sacrifice, which continue to beat in the hearts of all Australians today.

Lest we forget.

WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL 2018


Griffith School Leaders Breakfast

Terri Butler has today hosted a breakfast for Griffith’s school leaders.

“One of my favourite parts of being a Member of Parliament is visiting schools and seeing the fantastic work that they and their students are doing,” Terri Butler said.

“So it was a pleasure to be able to host, and speak with, the leaders of Griffith’s secondary schools.

“I was very happy that thirteen local schools were represented at this morning’s event.

“I know that the young people I met with today will do an excellent job in their leadership positions, and I wish each of them the best of luck in finishing their final year of school, and in their future endeavours.

“The school leaders heard from Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, Director of Social Marketing at Griffith University, and Breeanna Brock, Women’s Football CEO with the Brisbane Lions AFC.

“I thank Sharyn and Breeanna for giving up their time to speak to us, and I also thank the Queensland Cricketers Club for their hospitality,” Ms Butler said.

 

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018


Southsiders Left Behind Under Mr Turnbull's NBN

Southsiders are being left behind and getting second class broadband services while Mr Turnbull enjoys 100 megabits per second (Mbps) at home, Terri Butler said.

“Less than half of the electorate of Griffith is connected to the NBN, and those who are connected are suffering with poor speeds and unreliable services,” Terri Butler said.

Malcolm Turnbull has been a long-term sceptic of the need for 100 Mbps speeds, yet answers given at Senate Estimates have revealed that he has taken out a 100 Mbps NBN plan himself.

“Malcolm Turnbull has one standard for himself and another for everyone else,” Terri Butler said.
 
“The government has stubbornly pushed ahead with the rollout of a second-rate NBN, which is slower and more expensive than Labor’s planned Fibre to the Premises.

“The announcement last week that the NBN would start rolling out Fibre to the Curb is an admission that the long-term economics of fibre are superior to those of Malcolm Turnbull’s copper and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial.

“While Labor welcomes the Fibre to the Curb announcement, I’m concerned that Southside locals are being left with an inferior broadband service.

“Reports out today that NBN complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman increased by 204 per cent over 2017.

“I’m not surprised by these reports because my own office has received plenty of complaints about the lack of access to reliable, fast broadband locally.

“The Turnbull government has spent three years plodding around like a disinterested spectator.

“The NBN must be fixed, and Southsiders deserve services just as good and reliable as those in Point Piper,” Terri Butler said.

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018


Turnbull Government Must Come Clean on Contamination at the Barracks Site

The Turnbull government must come clean about what it has done to remediate the Barracks site and respond to any contaminants found there, Terri Butler MP said.

“The Turnbull government has been evasive, unforthcoming with information, and unspecific about the remediation they have done,” Ms Butler said.

“What seems clear is that they've done remediation only for contamination "unique" to Defence, which suggests there may still be contaminants such as asbestos at the site,” she said.

“I wrote to the Minister about this issue on 9 April 2018, following up requests I had made for information dating back to 2015,” she said.

“It’s time for the Minister and the Turnbull government to tell locals and the market exactly what has been found at the site, what has been done to fix it, and what further remediation any purchaser will need to do,” she said.

In July 2015, an environmental investigation report was written, in relation to the Bulimba Barracks site.

Though the Turnbull government has not made that report public, claiming it contained “commercially sensitive information”, it has provided a synopsis of the report’s findings.

That synopsis included references to actual or potential contamination including leaking from underground tanks; hydrocarbon impact from the previous fuel storage point; solvents, degreasers and other caustic and alkaline solutions; elevated radiation levels in surface soil, and the presence of garnet; and asbestos-containing material.

By letter to Terri Butler MP, received 30 January 2017, the then Minister the Hon Dan Tehan MP said:

"Defence has undertaken some remediation work at the site following the preparation of the environmental report in July 2015. The contaminants that were identified on the site are not unusual for any typical metropolitan redevelopment site. Defence will ensure a prospective purchaser is aware of the report and the extent of the work that has been undertaken."

Ms Butler wrote back in March asking for a further update on the remediation work, asking for specifics.

By letter received on 3 May 2017, Mr Tehan wrote back and said:

"With regard to remediation works, stage one of the environmental investigation for Bulimba Barracks was conducted in July 2015. Defence has undertaken the recommended remediation work to address contaminants unique to Defence activities and will make relevant due diligence reports available to prospective buyers. The contaminants remaining at the site are not unusual for any typical metropolitan redevelopment site."

Ms Butler wrote back in May, asking for a timeline for the sale. Mr Tehan responded in June that Defence intended to list the site for sale "in late 2017".

In August 2017, following a committee hearing that had canvassed some of the issues of the site, Mr Tehan wrote to Ms Butler again. In that letter, he said:

"Defence will make available all relevant due diligence documents, including heritage and environmental assessments to potential purchasers."

Subsequent further correspondence was exchanged, but no further detail about the contamination or remediation has been forthcoming.

Ms Butler wrote to the now Minister on 9 April 2018 stating “I have seen no detail of the remediation work that has been undertaken. Nor have I seen any information about any second stage Environmental Investigation that may have occurred. Your predecessor undertook to me that “relevant due diligence reports” in this regard would be provided to prospective buyers. I’d be grateful if you would provide such reports, and an update about what has been done to remediate the site, at your earliest convenience.”

No reply has yet been received.

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018


Holocaust Remembrance Day

Terri Butler MP expresses support for the Jewish community as its members commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, today.

“Today, the Jewish community remembers and commemorates the loss of six million Jews who perished between 1941 and 1945,” Ms Butler said.

“This day reminds all of us, Jewish or not, of the need to remain vigilant in the face of bigotry, racism, and fascism.

“We must remain ever vigilant, and never let hate or bigotry become normalised or accepted.

“We must continue to work towards a truly multicultural and inclusive society,” Terri Butler said.

Ms Butler will attend the Yom HaShoah commemoration at the Jewish Chapel at Mt Gravatt Cemetery on Sunday, 15 April.



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