I welcome the 2023 Federal Budget changes.

Since arriving in parliament, I have fought for cost of living as a key issue for families and vulnerable communities in Fowler and have held the Government to account.

It’s therefore encouraging to see that the Government has made “cost of living’ their centerpiece in this Budget. On the surface at least, families will get some relief via the energy cost relief package – a one-off (of up to) $500 power bill discounts for only a certain number of households.

I welcome the government’s decision to increase income support for our most vulnerable, by increasing the Jobseeker Payments, but the extra $40 a fortnight equates to less than $3 a day. This wouldn’t cover the cost of a train ticket to a job interview in the city.

Tripling the Medicare bulk billing incentive for GPs is a step in the right direction, but we’ll keep an eye out for whether this benefit will flow onto patients.

Yet again, Fairfield Hospital has missed out on funding, despite my repeated appeals to the Treasurer.

I am surprised that we ended up with a surplus, because when I asked for lower petrol bills a few months ago – the treasurer told me we cannot afford it. So, it now looks like we could have afforded it and people’s travel bills could have been lower for the past six months.

The biggest issue is still inflation because if inflation continues on current level, then any energy bill support payment and higher support payments will only have a short-term effect.

Families have just been hit with the 11th interest rates rise, and we are yet to feel the impact of the last 10 interest rates rises. This is like death by a thousand cuts.

For this reason, I will continue to appeal to the Prime Minister and Treasurer to significantly redesign the stage 3 tax cuts for the super-rich now. The additional $9000 in the pockets of the more well off via the tax cuts will only add to inflation, and the higher inflationary costs will be carried by the most vulnerable.

Western Sydney is one of the key industrial engines of the country, I would have liked to see more support to go into transport infrastructure, especially in light of the new emerging Western Sydney Airport. Many of our local workers already have to travel long distances on an inadequate transport network.

We have over 38,000 students in Fowler with 20% at University, 21% high school students many of whom will go to university. HECs indexation is due to go up by 7% this year. With the Budget in surplus, I had hoped the government would have considered temporarily freezing this indexation. Young people will be our future, and yet there are no initiatives to give them confidence that the Government values their skills, knowledge, and contribution.

But I’m thankful that at least five schools in our electorate will receive funding to upgrade and for new equipment:

  • Canley Vale Public School
  • Canley Vale High School
  • Cabramatta High School
  • Liverpool Boys High
  • Liverpool Public School

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, so I’m glad to see the government is providing SMEs turning over less than $10 million a $20,000 instant asset write-off. The government has also pledged SMEs will see $650 of relief in their energy bills – we look forward to more details on this initiative. Any businesses who want to install energy-efficient equipment could also see an extra 20% tax deduction.

All-in-all, I appreciate that the government is trying to provide some cost of living relief to those most in need, by address the financial pressures we’re all facing. However, whether these measures will help us weather these tough economic times in the long-term remains to be seen.