Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1735 ..
who have died in military service for Australia. I encourage all who have not been to this ceremony to attend one of these services.
There were many more ceremonies, both in the weeks leading up to and on the day. Unfortunately I do not have time to mention them all in this speech, but I do want to thank the various ex-service organisations and the other groups who have been working hard to make them all happen. In closing, I thank the ACT Branch of the RSL, the Australian War Memorial, the French embassy and DEFGLIS for organising the ceremonies on that day, helping those who have served, their families and the general public to pause and to reflect on what it means to serve in the Defence Force. I thank the members of the community who attended various ceremonies throughout the day. It certainly was an honour to be there to represent the people of the ACT.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.59): I rise today to talk about last night's federal budget and its impacts for the ACT. Yesterday Mr Coe stood up in the chamber to oppose a vacancy tax. He said that it did not address housing affordability issues. Just a few hours later, Scott Morrison delivered a budget that taxed owners of vacant land and, again, did absolutely nothing about housing affordability. It is really amazing to me the difference it makes to hear a Liberal Treasurer in government versus a Liberal shadow treasurer in opposition.
Getting back to the budget, there was nothing on housing affordability. It all but abandoned renters and first homebuyers. But, of course, there were billions of dollars for more highways. There was no increase in Newstart. I must admit that I am shocked to see today that even former Prime Minister Howard thought there should have been an increase in Newstart. But tax breaks were given to the top 20 per cent of income earners.
The budget for fighting climate change was halved, but the government can find half a billion to apply bandaids to the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, this will not stop it dying. There was no action on poverty, no action on climate change. The RET is not continuing. There are cuts to overseas aid, but plenty of tax cuts for the rich.
The Liberals' budget has left the task of transitioning to renewable energy entirely up to progressive states and territories like the ACT. Instead of working to save our one and only environment, the Liberals have once again cut funds to the department of the environment. Its budget is being halved between 2013 and 2022.
I could spend all day talking about this budget and what it is going to do, or not do, for Canberra. There will be job cuts. There will be lots of job cuts, despite what Senator Seselja may say. Over 2,000 public servants, many of them living right here, are going to lose their jobs as a result of this budget. Fifteen per cent of the ABS gone; history. Twenty per cent of AIATSIS gone. Who would care about them?
A total of 2,500 staff will go from DHS over two years because, again, who cares about poor people? Centrelink call times—clearly they are not an issue. Cut the jobs