Climate change legislation worrying
The legislation of the Labor Government’s emissions reduction target is worrying. I am not a climate change denier – I accept the 43 per cent reduction target that Labor took to the election. This 43 per cent is now formally recognised by the United Nations as Australia’s emissions reduction target, so there’s no need to legislate it, as the Prime Minister and Minister for Climate Change and Energy have previously admitted.
My concern is the legislating of this target, which I believe will leave future generations vulnerable to legal claims with regards to emissions reduction.
The experience overseas has shown that legislating targets hands control over major infrastructure projects to green activists. It will also make it harder for agencies like the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and Export Finance Australia (EFA) to support job-creating projects in the energy, resource and agricultural sectors.
It will mean that decisions on future development may be made by the judiciary rather than Parliament. For example, a new highway or rail line, or any other project that might advance our regions could be at risk of being stopped by activists claiming these developments will impact on Australia’s 43 per cent target.
I am open to sensible policies that support real and practical action to reduce emissions, but I could not support legislation that puts our energy and national security at risk. This virtue-signalling legislation is not thought-through and the ramifications down the track could be dire for this country.
Doctor shortage at risk of worsening
There’s no doubt there’s a shortage of doctors in this country, but changes brought in by the Labor Government will make it even harder for our rural and remote towns to attract doctors.
Last week in Parliament I spoke out against Labor’s ill-informed changes to the Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification system which will mean peri-urban and regional centres like Albury, Port Stephens and Newcastle will be competing with the likes of Bourke, Cobar and Walgett for doctors.
The DPA classification system was set to up to address shortages of doctors in rural areas, by mandating that overseas trained doctors and rurally bonded medical students spend time working in the bush. One of the factors in determining the DPA status of an area is its remoteness based on the Modified Monash Model (MMM) geographical classification system – a scale of MMM1 to MMM7. MMM1 is a major city, such as Sydney, and MMM7 is very remote, and includes towns like Bourke and Brewarrina.
Previously, MMM3 to MMM7 areas were automatically given DPA status, which means medical practices in those areas can access a broader recruitment pool of GP doctors. Now, Labor has expanded DPAs to include all large regional centres (MMM2) and some outer metro areas (MMM1). As a result, communities across the Parkes electorate are at risk of losing their doctors to areas closer to the cities and coastal towns.
This is bad policy and a backwards step – taking doctors from some of the most disadvantaged communities to fill vacant positions in much larger centres is not the answer to our healthcare problems in the bush.
For more information about Distribution Priority Areas, visit https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/rural-health-workforce/classifications/dpa
More detail needed on Voice to Parliament
As a representative of a large Indigenous population, I want to do the right thing by the people in my electorate when it comes to the introduction of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. It’s an important issue and we have to get it right.
At this stage, more detail is needed about how Labor’s proposed Voice to Parliament will function – what powers will it have, who will be eligible to be elected and how will it be made up? We must ensure that it is not just symbolic, and will actually help to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We’ve also got to remember that there’s currently 11 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been dutifully elected to Parliament and I wouldn’t want to diminish their voice as representatives of the people who put them there.
We need to have a clear and constructive policy that will help to close the gap and one that a majority of Australians will support, because it would be a tragedy if it does go to a referendum and fails.