Terri Butler MP – Labor Candidate for Griffith

QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN FEEDBACK – Kurilpa Futures

  1. What do you consider are the main concerns of the people of Griffith? How have these changed since the last election in 2016?

When I’m out in the community, speaking to Southsiders, there are a few concerns that keep coming up – health, education, transport, and climate change. Griffith is a different place to what it was in 2016 – about 40 per cent of Southsiders have moved here in the last three years – but the concerns are largely the same.

Southsiders want to see more investment in our local schools, better access to healthcare, congestion busting infrastructure, and real action taken on climate change.

We will deliver $16.43 million to local schools, restore the $26.7 million cut from Southside hospitals, invest in traffic busting infrastructure like Cross River Rail, and deliver a clean energy future for Australia.

Only a Labor government can deliver on these priorities for Southsiders.

  1. Climate change impacts are now widely felt and increasingly damaging. How would your party’s policies help the Kurilpa community to adapt to these impacts?

The federal government needs to lead on protecting the health and well-being of Australian communities from the impacts of climate change, and in fulfilling it’s international obligations under the Paris Agreement.

That is why a Shorten Labor Government will develop Australia’s first National Strategy on Climate Change and Health, to address the health impacts of climate change.

The health impacts of climate change are not a concern purely for the future, they are with us here and now.

Labor’s Strategy will be informed by the Framework that has already been developed by the Climate and Health Alliance – a coalition of more than 30 health and medical organisations. We will work with the Alliance and groups like Doctors for the Environment and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation to develop and implement the Strategy.

Labor is committed to strong action on climate change, as outlined in our Climate Change Action plan, and we are committed to reducing the impact of the health system on the climate, as well as protecting the health of all Australians.

Our community needs federal leadership – to protect jobs, grow the economy, cut pollution and deal with extreme weather events like droughts and floods.

At the same time, Australian households are seeing their power bills soar – families and businesses are taking this into their own hands and backing renewable energy because they know more renewables means lower power prices.

Labor is committed to reducing Australia’s pollution by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.

We are also committed to 50 per cent renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030.

Labor’s plan will tackle climate change will include:

  • Investing in renewable energy and batteries to grow jobs and cut power bills Labor will empower Australians to take advantage of cheaper, clean renewable energy and storage, by offering $2000 rebates for solar batteries for 100,000 households, with a target of 1,000,000 batteries by 2025.
  • Boosting clean transport and infrastructure– A key part of tackling pollution will be tackling transport emissions. Labor will implement Australia’s first national electric vehicle policy, setting a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent new car sales by 2030 and introducing vehicle emissions standards to reduce pollution and make the cost of driving a car cheaper for consumers.
  1. The State Government and Brisbane City Council recently signed up to the South East Queensland City Deal with the Federal Coalition Government. The themes include, jobs and skills, liveability, housing, building a new digital economy and building upon tri-governmental leadership. Would your party honour this deal, or seek to change it? And in what ways?

I believe South East Queensland needs investment, not more rhetoric.  The Liberal government held a press conference when they signed the City Deal for South East Queensland without committing a single dollar to it.

A Shorten Labor Government will overhaul the Liberals’ City Deals and replace them with a transparent City Partnership program that will foster genuine collaboration between the three levels of government.

Labor will honour any City Deal that has been signed and budgeted for, however we will offer those councils the opportunity to deepen their agreement.

In contrast to the Liberals’, we will implement a proper governance framework, with clear, publicly available guidelines that will be developed in consultation with experts.

There has actually been a scaling back of Federal investment in South East Queensland’s road and public transport infrastructure.

The facts speak for themselves. Recent analysis of funding data produced by the Government’s own Infrastructure Department reveals that the LNP has committed $5.5 billion towards the delivery of major new road and rail projects during its first six years in office.

This compares to the $7.5 billion invested by the former Federal Labor Government over a similar period of time.

Worse still, of the funding announced by the Government to date, 40 per cent won’t flow until the 2022-23 financial year at the earliest.

The truth is that the LNP’s City Deals program is in disarray at a time when communities across South East Queensland are crying out for real investment and real projects that will make a real difference to their lives.

  1. The people of Kurilpa are struggling with the cumulative negative social, environmental and economic impacts of rapid and high population growth and poor planning and infrastructure provision. Can you explain how your party would provide effective leadership through its urban affairs policy to address these issues?

I will work together with my state and local counterparts to ensure that careful consideration is paid to the Griffith electorate when it comes to transport and infrastructure.

I have advocated for Federal funding for the Cross River Rail project, and am pleased to say that a Shorten Labor Government will contribute $2.24 billion for Cross River Rail. This will boost the capacity of the entire South-East Queensland rail network by providing a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s central business district.

But the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has refused to invest, despite Infrastructure Australia rating the project the nation’s highest infrastructure priority in 2012.

This policy blunder has contributed to a worsening of traffic congestion in South-East Queensland.

Without transformative projects like Cross River Rail, the economic cost of traffic congestion in Brisbane and across South East Queensland will increase almost five-fold to $9.2 billion a year by as early as 2031.

  1. The UNSW City Futures Research Centre recently reported that Queensland has a severe shortage of social and affordable housing. How would your party address the public and social housing shortfall in Brisbane?

Labor believes affordable and secure housing is essential to wellbeing, participation and social inclusion, and that all Australians have a right to safe, affordable and appropriate housing throughout their lives.

Housing affordability and increasing homelessness are significant social and economic challenges that must be addressed, requiring national leadership and the Commonwealth has a substantial role to play.

There are a number of things that a Shorten Labor Government will do to make housing more affordable.

A Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Level the playing field in terms of home ownership, by reforming negative gearing so that deductions can only be claimed on newly built homes, which will increase new housing supply and support jobs. Reform capital gains tax concession and allow existing investors maintain their current CGT and negative gearing entitlements. There will be no retrospective taxation or impost on existing investors.
  • Build 250,000 new affordable rental homes over the next decade in partnership with the community housing sector for Australians on low and moderate incomes. We will also ensure that 1 in 10 employees engaged in building new housing stock under our scheme are apprentices.
  • Provide a timely boost to the housing market by encouraging institutional investors into the housing market.  Labor will revamp the Build to Rent scheme – giving institutional investors better tax concessions, encouraging more construction and stimulating the housing market. We will cut the managed investment trust withholding rate in half, on tax distributions attributable to investments in build-to-rent housing. The rate will be lowered from 30 per cent to 15 per cent – encouraging new housing supply.
  • Provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing Fund to increase transitional housing options for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, young people exiting out-of-home care and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness.
  • Develop and implement a national plan to reduce homelessness through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
  • Limit direct borrowing by self-managed superannuation funds. Limited recourse borrowing in SMSFs has exploded in recent years – from about $2.5 billion in 2012 to more than $42billion today.
  • Facilitate COAG processes to introduce a uniform vacant property tax across all major cities.
  • Increase fees for overseas investors buying Australian real estate and increase penalties when they break the law.
  • Achieve better results from National Agreements, including better rights for renters, planning reform, inclusionary zoning, and accelerated land release.
  • Re-establish the National Housing Supply Council and appoint a dedicated Federal Housing and Homelessness minister.
  • Establish a new and independent COAG Economic Reform Council that will be given the autonomy to examine, track and report to COAG on long-term reform priorities, including on housing affordability and supply.
  1. What is your policy regarding donations from developers and other groups?

Labor is proud to have continually fought for improved transparency and greater accountability in Australia’s political donation system. We took a policy of significant donation reform to the 2016 Federal election, and introduced legislation into the Parliament that would significantly improve our donation laws.

Labor’s reforms include;

  • Reduce the donation disclosure limit from the current level of $13,800 (indexed to inflation) to a fixed $1000.
  • Prohibit the receipt of foreign donations.
  • Ban ‘donation splitting’ where donations are spread between different branches of political parties and associated entities to avoid disclosure obligations.
  • Ban the receipt of anonymous donations above $50.
  • Link public funding to campaign expenditure.
  • Introduce new offences and increased penalties for abuses of the political donation disclosure regime.

Labor has successfully secured reform on many of these commitments. A ban on foreign political donations is now in place, and public funding has been successfully linked to campaign expenditure; preventing candidates and parties from profiting off our electoral system.

Labor is committed to reform on those priorities remaining. Labor will reduce the donation disclosure threshold from $13,800 indexed to inflation to a fixed $1,000 as a priority.

There is also a pressing need to improve transparency in the political system so we will continue to consult widely to establish a real time disclosure regime for political donations.

 

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