Peter Khalil: Over the last few weeks I have sought and received over 150 submissions from my constituents in Wills on the government’s newly released ‘Technology investment roadmap discussion paper’. All of these submissions will go towards a joint submission from Wills, a community submission, calling on the government to commit to an ambitious emissions reduction target and actual strong investment in cheap, clean renewable energy for Australia’s energy future. The government’s paper outlines what the Wills community already know—that renewable energy is the cheapest and cleanest form of energy for Australia. We also know that, when it comes to accepting the reality of climate change, facts matter little to this government.
I want to read to you some of the thoughts that we received, and I think you’ll hear a common message, Mr Deputy Speaker:
We need to get to net zero emissions as soon as possible, and Australia is well placed to lead the world in this. But the first step is to commit to that target.
Another submission said:
After yet another federal report on climate change, the evidence is clear renewable energy is critical in our fight against climate change. The community is frustrated with denial and no action. It is time to protect our future and that of generations to come
A final example:
Read the room, Liberal government. Make a national commitment to climate change action—enough of this ambulance at the bottom of the cliff tactic.
My constituents have also contacted me expressing their concern about the government’s announcement that they are ‘snapping back’ to their old childcare system, which means families will be back paying some of the highest childcare fees in the world. You know, Mr Deputy Speaker, that Australian families were already struggling with childcare fees prepandemic. Now that we’re in a recession, a lot of those families are doing it tough, with parents unemployed, underemployed, or on JobKeeper or jobseeker payments. These fees will put child care out of reach for many.
The subsidy wasn’t perfect in the first place. The shortfalls of the government’s relief packages have meant that many childcare centres have fallen through the cracks, including centres run by charities or local government. I’ve been hearing from many providers, educators and parents in my electorate, and I know the extreme stress they’re experiencing from the impact of COVID-19. A lot of centres in my electorate have struggled to remain viable with only 50 per cent of their previous revenue. I’ve made representations on behalf of many of these centres, including Hartnett House in Brunswick and other childcare centres that have fallen through the cracks.
The truth is that the free child care promise made by Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister, and this government has been a disaster for many early learning services. The promise of free child care for all Australian workers during this crisis basically has been a failure in funding and proper delivery. The government has failed childcare centres and it has failed families.