Housing Affordability (1)

28 November 2016

Mister Speaker

With the end of the parliamentary year upon us, as a new member I want to emphasise what is important to my electorate. I have seen that what grabs the headlines is not what is important to the people of Macarthur. The Sunday papers, but not the latest ABS data, suggest Sydney is set for a housing construction boom. If it happens, a lot of the proposed construction will be in and around my electorate of Macarthur, and we are up for the challenge. There will be lots of jobs for people who work in my electorate and live in my electorate. But as Badgerys Creek airport—unsupported by adequate rail services—looks more likely to happen than not, we are also primed for the predictable transport chaos that will follow.

I hope also that new housing development in Sydney's south-west is not scuppered by the continuing drift in federal housing policy. Maybe the government will face up to the issue of housing affordability. It could do worse than take the lead of the member for Bennelong, who is showing remarkable tenacity in dragging his leadership to realise the importance of actually doing something about housing policy. The Treasurer too might take seriously the New South Wales planning minister's criticism of the taxation policy.

Locally, our national seniors in Macarthur are wondering why there is no government money to fund the dedicated geriatric clinic that they need but heaps to subsidise property speculation and high-end tax breaks.

The Macarthur community groups are bewildered by this government's inability to constrain the debate on section 18C of the Radial Discrimination Act. Most just cannot see the point of the endless chatter. Our ethnic communities are a pretty tolerant bunch, but they, like me, have had it up to here with the grandstanders on this one. Admirably, the members for Berowra and McMillan want their government to take a more tolerant line as well. I am pleased to see one of them here today.

Out my way people are more interested in why they cannot afford specialist medical appointments, why they cannot afford legal services and why they struggle to get literacy support for their children. Local seniors want government to stop categorising age pensioners as welfare recipients, and to do more to help with superannuation for low- and middle-income earners, particularly women.

Macarthur is a slice of middle Australia and an honour to represent. It is an increasingly diverse group of people with great optimism for the future. They, I have found, are an intelligent group who are sick of politicians not telling the truth, and they are more interested in answers than arguments. From young to old, they want to work. They need our help to find work. I, like my electorate, am optimistic about our future. I have been very happy and grateful for all the support I have received from both sides in this parliament, and I thank the members present for that. I look forward to our future with optimism.