15 May | '2023

Angie Bell MP
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth
Federal Member for Moncrieff



12 May 2023

Subjects: 2023-24 Budget, Budget-in-Reply


As we heard in the news, the Opposition Leader used last night’s Budget Reply speech to lay the blame for any future increase to interest rates at the feet of the Albanese Government. Peter Dutton argued the government’s budget will fuel inflation and make cost of living pressures worse for millions of Australians. He said the budget risks creating a generation of working poor Australians.

Federal Member for Moncrief, Angie Bell is our guest this morning. Hello Angie.

Good morning, Sarah. Thanks for having me on.

Your leader said last night the Budget does nothing for middle income Australians. How will they be worse off?

That’s right, Sarah. We needed a Budget that reduces inflation and actually reigns in spending to combat as we know, the cost of living crisis facing so many on the Gold Coast and Australians across the nation who are struggling to make ends meet.

This Budget makes it harder for those families, certainly for small businesses on the Gold Coast and self-funded retirees and mortgage holders as well. Many of those live in my electorate and Moncrieff.

The Coalition’s Budget Reply, in terms of that last night- I was in the chamber when Peter Dutton delivered his speech and he highlighted the very, very bad news for 10 million Australians who earn under $126,000, who will face a tax hike. We know Labor loves to tax and spend, and around 175,000 more Australians will be unemployed. So, they’ve actually said that 175,000 more Australians will be unemployed. That’s bad news for our economy and for our country.

As you said, those middle Australians, the backbone of our country, are much worse off and this government is spending an extra $185 billion, yet middle income Australians won’t receive one cent.

It was interesting this focus on the increase in migration that Peter Dutton spoke about, predictions of an extra 1.5 million people moving here, and there were concerns raised about what pressure that would put on the housing market. What is the problem there, we are desperate for workers across Southeast Queensland?

Yes, we are desperate for workers across Southeast Queensland and many areas around the country and we are in a housing crisis. We know on the Gold Coast, we’re pretty much full. We need to put some billboards up to say we’re full. But our migration numbers will increase by 1.5 million people over the next five years and that’s bigger than the number of people that live in Adelaide. Without addressing housing supply, and particularly infrastructure, where will they actually move? I think that’s a very good question.

We support a well-planned migration plan, but over five years it will increase by 1.5 million people. That’s a lot of people coming into our country. We support migration, but we need a better plan.

Our cities and towns and suburbs are already choked with congestion. We know what it’s like on the Gold Coast, trying to find a park even, is getting harder and harder. It’s very important that Labor should be looking at infrastructure, not cutting infrastructure as they are.

We are chatting to Federal Member for Moncrieff, Angie Bell, our guest this morning on ABC Gold Coast and ABC Sunshine Coast this morning after Peter Dutton’s Budget Reply speech last night.

You mentioned infrastructure, this is a major issue for Southeast Queensland, a major focus for residents who live here particularly ahead of the Olympics. Funding for light rail stage four for instance on the Gold Coast, there was no new funding in the Budget for that. How concerned are you? Or are you confident that projects like this, obviously, there’s that heavy rail into the heart of Maroochydore, as well so many infrastructure projects right across the region that are desperately needed.

We have this review of Infrastructure Australia and with the government focusing on what projects will indeed be a priority. How confident are you that we’ll get the projects we need here in the region?

Well, what Catherine King has said is that there will be a 90-day review, as you highlighted, but what she didn’t say is which projects will go ahead. There is a lot of uncertainty around light rail stage four for the 2032 Olympics. They have said that anything that has already started, for example, light rail stage three from Broadbeach to Burleigh will continue, that’s good news for us, that will help us with our congestion problems on the central Gold Coast.

In terms of anything beyond that, we don’t know. There was $120 billion in the pipeline from the Coalition Government for infrastructure, to bust congestion, which is so important, and we have an uncertain future when it comes to that sort of investment.

Mr. Dutton also vowed a Coalition Government would move to ban sports betting advertising during an hour either side of sports matches. Why this announcement now?

Well, look, I think, as Peter outlined, footy time is family time and I think this is a practical approach. The bombardment of betting ads is just taking the joy out of televised sports and normalising gambling for our youngest Australians. As a grandmother, I don’t like to see our six year old and four year old grandsons looking at betting ads when they’re watching NRL or AFL on the TV when they come to visit.

I think this is a sensible approach. It’s measured and reasonable. I think that families will support this. Particularly also as the Shadow for Youth, I am invested in young people in terms of their future and I think that gambling ads will just enhance their risk of further gambling. I think what we’re doing, what Peter’s doing is a sensible approach to that.

And the Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, calling on the government to consider his proposal to allow people on welfare payments to earn more income before their support is affected, saying there is more incentive to work under this proposal.

And the Opposition criticizing Labor’s move to increase payments for programs including JobSeeker, I think it was by $40 a fortnight. Given the cost of living at the moment surely that $40 a fortnight payment is fairly modest in the current circumstance?

I know it is difficult for those who are on low incomes or relying on welfare to make ends meet. But I think it’s also important that we incentivise people to go back to work. This is a Liberal Party value, reward for effort. It is the reason that I joined the Liberal Party through my life experience, which is when you get a job, it changes your life and when you get a job, you have options and you have choices.

I think that is so important for young people and for families who may be relying on welfare to try to get a job. But what’s the point if you can’t make ends meet? I think that if you incentivise it for people who are on JobSeeker, so that they can earn more and together with what they get their allowance or their stipend, that they can then put the money that they’ve worked in a part time job towards making ends meet.

I think that’s reasonable, and I hope that the Labor Party will consider it. I think it’s a great approach.

Angie, Graham has messaged in our text line this morning, he says ‘re the Budget Reply, I thought it was a complete miracle that Peter Dutton, as part of the government of the past 10 years, and architects of policies that got us into this situation we are in, by design or failure, to rectify existing problems is all of a sudden, an expert on how to fix it all. What a hypocrite’. Graham goes on to say. What would your response be to Graham Angie?

I would say that it’s Anthony Albanese and his team who are now in government, and so it is up to them to fix the problems that Australians face. The biggest problem that Australians face right now is cost of living pressure.

There are so many families, millions of families across the country who have been ignored in this Budget, they haven’t been helped. There are 72,000 small businesses across the Gold Coast Sarah, who have got very little out of this Budget. There was an Instant Asset Write off announcement of $20,000. Well, under the Coalition Government, it was $150,000 and during COVID, it was unlimited, and that kept our small businesses and families going, because let’s not forget, small businesses are Gold Coast families.

I would say that we are now in Opposition. Our job is to keep the government as honest as we can keep them and take them to task. It is our job over the next two years to put policies together that will solve some of these problems should Australians put their faith in Peter Dutton and the Coalition team.

A lot of movement in federal politics in our region, Karen Andrews former Human Resources Minister announcing her decision that she won’t re-contest the next election. Stuart Robert, of course Member for Fadden, announcing his resignation, forcing a by-election in that seat. Who do you think will win pre-selection for Fadden?

Well, there are some terrific candidates that we’ve seen on the front pages of the Gold Coast Bulletin. I think all of the candidates that are in the running-in terms of Cameron Caldwell, Cameron is a is a terrific advocate for the Gold Coast, very experienced, he would be a terrific Member. Fran Ward is a small businesswoman, who is heavily involved in Rotary down in that region of the coast, or up in that region of the coast I should say, She’s a terrific candidate, of course we’d like to see more women in the Parliament. And Dinesh Palipana, of course, Gold Coast Australian of the Year, a few years ago. What a terrific story. What a resilient young man, it would be a delight to have him in the Federal Parliament.

So it’s nice to have so many people to choose from?

Well, that will be up to the Federal Division of Council. They’ll have a preselection. I won’t have a say in that. They’ll send to Canberra who they think is the best person for the job to represent them and their community and we always respect that.

Angie Bell, thank you so much for your time this morning.

My pleasure, thanks, Sarah.


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