Federation Chamber;CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS; Fowler Electorate

May 31, 2018

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:12): Recently the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas data drawn from the 2016 census was released. It found that my electorate of Fowler is the most disadvantaged area across the nation. Fowler has been ranked first among the 150 federal electorates in terms of the socioeconomic index of disadvantage, with more than 50 per cent of my electorate falling within the bottom 10 per cent of the rankings. By comparison, electorates such as Wentworth, Kooyong and Menzies had no area in the bottom 10 per cent of the rankings.

To add some context to this: a range of factors are utilised by the ABS in calculating the index for socioeconomic disadvantage. These include education level, type of work, rent, levels of English, disabilities and family status. While there are a number of reasons why Fowler has ranked as the most disadvantaged electorate, it is important to consider the significant role that my community plays with regard to the settlement of a disproportionate number of migrants and refugees. The ABS finding demonstrates that there is clearly a broader issue in respect of fairness and equity concerning this government and the measures that have been introduced under its watch.

The 2018 budget only re-enforces the Liberal government's misplaced priorities, with the government playing a hoax with the electorate, particularly in relation to the Personal Income Tax Plan. While we are talking about a plan that is estimated to climb to more than $18 billion a year, they are delivering the biggest gains under this budget to the wealthiest people in the country.

The Turnbull government must stop favouring the big end of town and certainly must look at the dire inequity it's creating, particularly in relation to families across our nation and families that live in my electorate. If the government is serious about helping Australians, they would dump their cuts to Medicare and hospitals, reverse their cuts to schools, give up their cuts to families and pensioners and scrap their $80 billion tax handout to the big end of town. This is a government which favours millionaires and multinationals over middle-class Australia. We have a housing affordability crisis, we have household debt at record levels, we have underemployment at a record level, together with job insecurity, and this government is pinning the future of our nation on trickle-down economics.