Federal Parliament - Western Australia & COVID-19

18 February 2021

Dr ALYI'd like to take the opportunity this afternoon to thank Premier Mark McGowan and the WA state Labor team on behalf of all Cowan residents for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery. The WA McGowan government, particularly Mr McGowan, have been so successful that people are getting tattoos on their thighs of Mark McGowan now! I'm not sure I would feel if somebody had a tattoo of me on their thigh, but I'm sure it's a positive message!

While this Federal LNP Government has abrogated their constitutional responsibility for quarantine, the Mark McGowan Government has risen to the challenge to keep WA safe and moving. But it's not just in regard to COVID-19 that the State Labor Government has literally had to pick up the slack where this Federal Government has refused to hold the hose, so to speak. The Federal Government has been remiss in delivering promises to the people of WA, particularly to the people of Cowan.

In the 2019 Federal election, this Government promised $50 million for training which was supposed to see a training hub in Wanneroo delivering 400 scholarships. We're yet to see that training hub emerge. Instead, what we've seen is the loss of 140,000 apprenticeships and 17,000 jobs in higher education. But Mark McGowan has come to the rescue. The McGowan Government has undertaken a number of reforms in the training sector to pick up the slack of this federal government. They've frozen TAFE fees for another four years. They've committed $29.8 million to provide an additional 9,000 places in vocational education and training for school leavers by 2024. And, while this government left behind older workers who needed retraining to re-enter the workforce post the pandemic, the McGowan government has dedicated $5.2 million to getting 200 more apprenticeships for people over the age of 21.

But there's more. This government abandoned grandparents raising grandchildren—some of the most compassionate and valued members of our society. They are the grandparents who find themselves in the position of having to take on full-time care of their grandchildren, many in some very, very heartbreaking circumstances and many already struggling on a meagre pension. They're doing everything they can to ensure that their grandchildren grow up to have a bright and positive future in Australia. Well, once again the McGowan Government has come to the rescue with a promised $6 million grandcarers support package that will go a long way to helping this group of grandparents and carers—a group which this government has left behind and forgotten.

And, while this Federal Government hugs chunks of coal and struggles to answer the urgent call for a modern energy policy that would see Australia into the future, the McGowan Government is investing in renewable energy and building wind turbines in WA. While this Government leaves hospitality and tourism operators to languish without an income and without any access to assistance, the McGowan State Government continues its record of reform designed to promote and expand these businesses in WA.

In terms of HomeBuilder: I've had many approaches from Cowan residents who have been unable to access the Federal Government's HomeBuilder scheme. In fact, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, AHURI, recently released a report and I'll quote that report, which was talking about the Federal Government's HomeBuilder scheme. They said that there are some concerns about the administrative settings. But they found that the steps undertaken by the WA Government in releasing a variety of schemes to increase incentives for homebuyers—including a Building Bonus Grant scheme, an extension to the Off-the-Plan Duty Rebate Scheme for multitiered developments, the Regional Land Booster program and the Social Housing Economy Recovery package—have filled that gap.

But perhaps the biggest blow to WA from this Government comes in the form of Clive Palmer and the backing he received from WA members of this Government—including the member for Pearce and the Attorney-General—in his bid to try and bring down the WA border and then to bankrupt the state. He has shown his face again— (Time expired)