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    VALE ROMALDO GIURGOLA

    It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Romaldo ‘Aldo’ Giurgola, the renowned architect who designed Australia’s new Parliament House.

    In so doing he made a profound contribution to our national identity.

    Aldo, then a Columbia University academic, turned down an offer to judge the design competition because he wanted to enter himself.

    In 1980, he won from a field of 328 entrants from 28 countries.

    His design for Parliament House stayed true to Walter Burley Griffin’s vision of Australia’s capital as a complement to humanity and the landscape.

    Aldo didn’t want a monument. He placed his building under a modest hill and called it a nest for the people’s Parliament.

    Parliament House is a love letter to Australian democracy, designed so any citizen could walk across its grassy flanks. Every room is filled with daylight.

    Aldo designed Parliament House to last 200 years. He wanted it to have room for people and functions not yet dreamed of.

    While Aldo described Parliament House as his crowning achievement, it was not his only contribution to Canberra – he also designed St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Charnwood.

    It is a privilege to work in Parliament House and represent Canberrans.

    This building holds a special place in the hearts of Canberrans but also in the hearts of Australians who visit it every year.

    Aldo Giurgola may have passed, but we in the nation’s capital will always remember his legacy and contribution to our city and country.

    In 2005, a journalist asked Aldo how he would like his epitaph to read. “He was an architect,” he began, then paused. “That’s enough.”

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP (Fenner) and Gai Brodtmann MP (Canberra).

     

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    VULNERABLE YOUNG SOUTH AUSTRALIANS THE TARGET OF TURNBULL’S LATEST HEALTH CUTS

    A Shorten Labor Government would restore funding to six early psychosis centres around Australia to ensure that the young people with serious mental health problems get the support they need to live healthy and productive lives.

    Young people in Adelaide with early stage psychosis will miss out on a specialised early intervention service under Malcolm Turnbull’s latest round of health cuts.

    Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, have defunded the specialist headspace Early Psychosis Youth Service (EPYS) in Adelaide, which only opened a few months ago and has already helped around 70 young people.

    Malcolm Turnbull must explain to South Australians why his Government has defunded this centre just months after $2 million was spent establishing it.

    Early intervention is proven to help young people at the more severe end of the mental illness spectrum and is crucial to stop conditions deteriorating, preventing more serious illness and taking pressure off an already stretched public health system.

    When announcing the Turnbull Government’s mental health reforms last year Sussan Ley said:

    “There won't be any turning away of anyone.”

    Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, Press Conference, November 26, 2015.

    The Adelaide centre’s closure would slam the door in the face of some of South Australia’s most vulnerable young people.

    The Turnbull Liberal Government’s funding cut has thrown the future of the successful EPYS programs into doubt and left centres across the country with little time to prepare the young people who use the services or the staff who work with them.

    Headspace centres need funding certainty if they are to continue to be successful and a Shorten Labor Government is committed to providing that funding certainty.

    WEDNESDAY, 18 MAY 2016

    **For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 **

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

     

    This is a joint release with Senator Penny Wong, Kate Ellis MP, and Senator Anne McEwen.

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    MENTAL HEALTH REFORMS MUST PUT PEOPLE FIRST

    Reports today that the Butterfly Foundation, a helpline for people with eating disorders, has only been given 12 months funding certainty is another example of the chaos being created across the mental health system.

    Minister for Health Sussan Ley’s refusal to take responsibility for the mess and guarantee continuity of care for those who rely on mental health services is symptomatic of the broader reform implementation which is leaving many services in limbo.

    “Everyone knows that it’s the people living with a mental illness who must be at the centre of mental health reforms yet it’s increasingly clear that the Turnbull Government is bent on pursuing the reforms at the expense of the very people who use and rely on these services,” Senator Gallagher said.

    “The implementation of these reforms has been nothing short of chaotic. The timelines are unreasonable, there is a lack of information available and no implementation plan to speak of.

    “Mental health services have been trying desperately for months to get information about what will happen to the people who rely on their services after the majority of reforms kick-in from 1 July, and it appears some have now been given a band-aid solution with just weeks to go before the end of their current funding arrangements,” Senator Gallagher said.

    The concerns raised by the Butterfly Foundation today are not isolated. There are widespread concerns across the sector including over the lack of transparency for funding decisions by the Turnbull Government with some services getting funding extensions for nine months, others for 12 months, while others are being defunded completely.

    At the same time the early psychosis programs have been told they will be wound down.

    Headspace centres will be required to compete for their funding with other services and many crucial services will be lost completely, such as the vital work being done by the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network.

    On top of this, the Turnbull Government stopped funding the $45 million National Partnership on Mental Health Reform in the Budget, leaving many services across the country scrambling to identify ways to keep operating after 1 July.

    The Budget also scrapped funding for the Drought Assistance Package, which had a focus on mental health and well-being.

    A Shorten Labor Government will work with service providers to enable a smooth transition under the reform agenda and ensure that people with a mental illness are put first.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

     

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    CANBERRA’S CLASSROOMS TO RECEIVE $25M BOOST UNDER A SHORTEN LABOR GOVERNMENT

    Under Malcolm Turnbull’s plans Canberra’s classrooms would be $515 million worse off over the next ten years.

    In contrast, a Shorten Labor Government will reverse all of the Liberal’s cuts and commit deliver the Gonski reforms on-time and in-full.

    Labor will invest an additional $25 million in Canberra schools in 2018 and 2019 alone.

    Without Labor’s investment the schools and students needing the most support will be the hardest hit.

    Only Labor will give principals and educators the support and resources they need to equip students with the skills to get a good job.

    The Turnbull Government’s plan to cut school funding is not a plan for jobs and growth.

    Every school and every student in Canberra will be better off under a Shorten Labor Government.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP (Fenner) and Gai Brodtmann MP (Canberra).

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    MALCOLM TURNBULL’S POLICY ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY – HAVE RICH PARENTS WHO CAN BUY YOU A HOUSE

    Malcolm Turnbull has wasted no time reminding Australians how out of touch he is with every day Australians struggling to buy their first home by having his Joe Hockey “get a good job” moment on radio this morning.

    Today on 774 ABC Melbourne Malcolm Turnbull suggested presenter John Faine “shell out” to help buy his kids a house to provide a bit of “inter-generational equity” when questioned about his opposition to Labor’s plans to level out the property market for first home buyers.

    FAINE: Yeah but my question was specifically about the inter-generational aspects of it. It's created conflict with effectively the kids of your and my generation who can't get into the market and they're saying oh for goodness sake you baby boomers you just want everything and you're locking us out.

    TURNBULL: Are your kids locked out of the housing market?

    FAINE: Yes

    TURNBULL: Well you should shell out for them; you should support them, a wealthy man like you.

    FAINE: That's what they say.

    TURNBULL: Exactly, well there you go, you see you've got the solution in your own hands. You can provide a bit of inter-generational equity in the Faine family.

    It is astounding but not surprising that the Prime Minister, less than a day after the budget was released, could dismiss an issue that is facing millions of Australians who are looking to achieve the great Australian dream of home ownership but are locked out of a market that favours property speculators.

    The Abbott-Turnbull Government has been in office almost three years, delivered three budgets and still has not released one plan that will help first home buyers or address the housing affordability crisis in this nation.

    It seems that Malcolm Turnbull’s policy for first home buyers is for their parents, many of whom are still paying off their own homes, should “shell out” and buy their children a first home.

    Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop joking about this issue and actually come up with a credible plan to help address housing affordability.

    Today’s distasteful joke is more evidence that Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch with everyday Australians and will back the big end of town at every opportunity.

    WEDNESDAY 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Chris Bowen, Labor's Shadow Treasurer.

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    TURNBULL SIDESTEPS SENATE TO SLUG PATIENTS

    Malcolm Turnbull has today defied a direct order from the Senate, so he can continue his unfair attack on pathology and diagnostic imaging patients.

    In parliament today the Assistant Minister for Health has defied a senate order to produce the regulations the government will use to implement its $650 million in cuts to bulk billing incentives.

    The minister has done this to avoid the rejection of these measures by the Parliament, defying both the will of the Australian people and its elected representatives.

    This tactic will enable the government to now delay tabling these regulations until after the parliament rises, denying the Senate the opportunity overturn these cuts before they come into effect.

    This means patients being treated for cancer, and other serious health conditions, could now be forced to fork out thousands of dollars upfront for crucial scans and tests from July 1, the day before the federal election.

    This is despite the fact that over 500,000 Australians have signed a petition opposing the Liberals' $650 million cuts to Medicare.

    Families know these cuts will hurt the most vulnerable in our community and stop them from getting the necessary tests at an early stage.

    The very people who shouldn’t have to suffer more will be forced to pay more or put off getting tests because of Mr Turnbull. 

    Today’s sneaky move to sidestep parliamentary scrutiny confirms that a vote for the Turnbull Liberals is a vote to cut Medicare.

    It confirms that while Mr Turnbull is soft on the top end of town he is hard on people with cancer and diabetes who will have to pay more for critical tests.

    WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations

    This is a joint release with Catherine King MP, Labor's Shadow Minister for Health.

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    BUDGET IGNORES HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS

    First home buyers struggling to break into the housing market have been ignored by the Turnbull Government in the 2016-17 Budget which doesn’t include a single initiative to address housing affordability in Australia.

     After almost three years in office and three budgets, the fact that the Turnbull Government remains without a housing policy or a housing affordability strategy is an absolute disgrace.

    In fact, the only announcement this government has made on housing affordability has been about what they won't do to support first home buyers and those on modest incomes who are desperately trying to purchase their first home but are currently being locked out of an unaffordable property market.

    With the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that almost 1 million households are now living in rental or mortgage stress there are now many Australians who don't believe they will ever be able to own their own home.

    This budget does nothing to support these people to enter the housing market, increase housing supply across Australia or make housing more affordable for low and moderate income families.

    The Budget also fails to provide any certainty for homelessness services with no commitment to fund homelessness services beyond July 2017 making it very difficult for services to plan beyond the next 12 months.

    Tony Abbott’s annual cuts of $44 million to homelessness capital funding also continue under the Turnbull Government in this budget.

    Last night’s Budget was an opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to claw back some credibility when it comes to housing and the affordability crisis, however, they have chosen to ignore that responsibility and instead back the big end of town in sharp contrast to Labor who will always put people first.

    WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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    TURNBULL’S CUTS TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

    The Turnbull Government’s decision to cut funding to early psychosis intervention services by up to 70 per cent over the next two financial years as part of its mental health reforms will jeopardise the care and treatment currently available to an extremely vulnerable group of young people in Australia.

    The six early psychosis centres, who support hundreds of young people with psychotic disorders, have been told that their budgets will be cut by 25% on 1st July 2016 and  by 70% the year after that.

    This decision has thrown the future of Headspace's successful early psychosis programs into doubt with very little time to prepare the young people who use the services or the staff who work with them.

    These services will have no option but to reduce treatment for young people with psychosis in the short term with the on-going viability of the service seriously put in doubt by the funding cuts created by the government’s decision.

    It is totally unreasonable for these programs to be given just a matter of weeks to find a way to provide services to an extremely vulnerable group of young people with serious mental health illnesses whilst at the same time absorbing a 25% funding cut and preparing for further substantial cuts in 12 months’ time.   

    Early psychosis intervention is proven to help young people who are at the more severe end of the mental illness spectrum and it is clear that early intervention is crucial to stop conditions worsening and placing greater pressure on the health system.

    When announcing the Turnbull Government’s mental health reforms Sussan Ley said:

    “There won't be any turning away of anyone.” – Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, Press Conference, November 26, 2015.

    How can the Minister live up to this claim when her decisions will reduce funding for early psychosis funding on 1st July 

    The Minister must explain why these funding cuts are necessary and how young people with psychosis will be provided with the care that they need come 1st July.

    FRIDAY, 29 APRIL 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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    LABOR WELCOMES COMPLETION OF MAJURA PARKWAY PROJECT

    Canberra’s major arterial roads will be less congested and safer following the successful completion of the $288 million Majura Parkway project. 

    The project will reduce traffic congestion for Canberra motorists by linking the Federal and Monaro highways and diverting trucks and other traffic moving through Canberra away from the city centre.

    Then Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese and then ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher committed to joint funding of $144m each for the project which is the ACT’s largest ever road infrastructure project and has been delivered early.

    The Parkway will carry at least 40,000 vehicles a day, including 6000 trucks, by 2030 and will be the driver for close to $1 billion worth of economic, social and environmental benefits to the Territory. 

    “This project has not only delivered a brand new road which will make getting around the city easier and safer but it has provided an important injection into the local economy at a time when it needed a boost. This project has supported Canberra construction jobs and provided an attractive home for major retail stores like Ikea which has now opened to the public at the Majura Park precinct,” Katy Gallagher said. 

    “I am proud to have played a role in getting this project started when I was the chief minister and I am pleased to see that the project is now complete.” 

    “The Majura Parkway was my number one infrastructure priority in my first term as member for Fraser, and I was immensely proud to see Federal Labor and ACT Labor Governments partner to make it happen. The Majura Parkway will cut travel times for people driving from the Federal Highway to the Monaro Highway, make it easier for trucks to bypass central Canberra, and take pressure off local roads on the northside,” Andrew Leigh said.

    “The Majura Parkway will be a gateway directly into Canberra’s south. Its completion brings to life a long held vision for a better-connected, safer Canberra. It will make it easier for Canberrans to get around our city and will take trucks off our suburban streets,” Gai Brodtmann said.

    The Majura Parkway would not have happened without the vision and commitment of two Labor Governments working together at the federal and territory level.” 

    Labor believes in investing in the infrastructure that makes our city more liveable, safer and productive.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

    This is a joint release with Andrew Leigh MP and Gai Brodtmann MP

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    VULNERABLE AUSTRALIANS STRUGGLING TO RENT UNDER TURNBULL GOVERNMENT INACTION ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

    The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s lack of action on addressing housing affordability is leaving lower income Australians in every state and territory struggling to secure rental housing that they can afford.

    The Anglicare National Rental Affordability Snapshot, released today, shows that only a tiny proportion of the rental properties available on the market are within reach of low-income earners and those on government payments.

    Young people and single parents with dependent children are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to finding affordable rental properties with the report  finding that less than 5% of the 75,410 rental properties on the market surveyed would be accessible to single people with children, those on the aged pension or young people on New Start payments.

    The Abbott-Turnbull Government has had three ministers for housing this term and has not released any plans or strategies to deal with the growing affordability problem with housing.

    ABS data reports that there are 657,000 low income households across Australia living in rental stress and 318,000 low income households in mortgage stress in 2013-2014. At the same time 185,000 households remain on waiting lists for public or community housing across the country.

    On census night 105,000 Australians were homeless.

    Instead of coming up with a way to deal with this problem the government has instead chosen to reduce homelessness funding by $132m, cut funding to organisations that work to support those in housing stress and abolish schemes designed specifically to increase the supply  of affordable rental properties in Australia like the National Rental Affordability Scheme, introduced by the Labor Government in 2008.

    It is an indictment on Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Social Services Christian Porter that they have failed to respond to an issue that is affecting more and more Australians, both in the cities and in the regions.

    When it comes to the regions of the 18,103 properties analysed, there was not one property suitable for a single person on Youth Allowance, only 15 properties for singles on New Start and just 164 properties for a single parent on New Start across the entire country.

    Today’s report is just the latest in a long line of concerning reports on this issue confirming that the time for action is now. Malcolm Turnbull must follow Labor’s lead and outline its plans to deal with the problem of rental and housing affordability.

    THURSDAY, 21 APRIL 2016

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