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    MALCOLM TURNBULL MISFIRES WITH LIBERAL-DOMINATED BANK COMMITTEE HEARING

    There is nothing a weak Prime Minister won’t do to protect the big banks from a royal commission.

    Scott Morrison only a few days ago was trying to defend the banks' decision.

    Then he was embarrassingly forced into line by Mr Turnbull a day later.

    Now the best the Government can do in some sort of wet lettuce exercise, is to give a reference to a Liberal-run House of Representatives Economics Standing Committee.

    Let’s call this for what it is – it’s what you do when you want to be seen to be doing something but can’t possibly be seen to call a Royal Commission into the financial services sector.

    We all remember the embarrassing saga in April this year of the Treasurer arguing that all you needed was the regulator, ASIC, and that there was no need for a royal commission or another inquiry.

    The Prime Minister and Treasurer acknowledge they checked with the big four banks before making this announcement. That was awful nice of them.

    This idea that a once a year appearance at a House of Representatives Economics Committee hearing run by the Liberal Party will change culture is ridiculous.

    How will annual appearances which may occur months and months after one or two rate changes or other events, help make banks accountable?

    Homeowners lose money every single day between when banks refuse to cut rates and when they appear before the committee – does anyone really think the banks are going to pass on cuts today because in six or twelve months’ time they’ll have to come to Parliament and explain why?

    Bank CEOs have fronted committee hearings before. Does anyone suggest that’s created cultural change?

    And why was the Prime Minister so keen to give a reference to a house committee as opposed to a joint committee?

    The Australian people can have no confidence that a Liberal-dominated committee will be able to or have any interest in holding the big banks to account.

    Following several high profile scandals and rip-off after rip-off, the only way to improve the culture in our banks is a royal commission.

    THURSDAY, 4 AUGUST 2016

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

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    APPOINTMENT AS SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

    I am honoured to be appointed as Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services today in Bill Shorten's front bench team. 

    Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy comprising 97% of all businesses employing more than 4.7 million Australians.

    Bill Shorten has recognised the important role that these businesses play in the economy by ensuring that the portfolio remains at the shadow cabinet level. This is in stark contrast to Malcolm Turnbull who has muted the voice of small business by making it a non-cabinet position in his government.

    Talking to and listening to small businesses, supporting a level playing field for small business, lowering the small business tax rate, addressing access to capital, increasing employment opportunities and ensuring a modern and efficient regulatory environment are all key priorities for me in this new role.

    In the financial services portfolio it is clear that the Government continues to be deeply divided over their planned changes to superannuation. Ensuring the integrity and fairness of the super system remains a priority for Labor.

    A strong financial services industry is critical to Australia's continued economic prosperity.

    Our commitment to hold a Royal Commission into the financial services industry was to ensure that any systemic issues facing the industry were examined and addressed in a thorough and transparent way. Labor will continue to call for measures that address systemic issues and ensure that the sector responds and meets the needs of its customers.

    I look forward to working with portfolio stakeholders and my caucus and parliamentary colleagues in my new role and particularly acknowledge the hard work of Michelle Rowland and Jim Chalmers in these portfolio areas over the past year. 

    There is much work ahead to hold the Turnbull Government to account and I look forward to the challenges ahead. 

    SUNDAY, 24 JULY 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services.

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    TURNBULL IGNORES HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS

    The Prime Minister continues to ignore Australia's housing affordability crisis by failing to appoint a dedicated minister for housing in the Turnbull Ministry announced earlier today.

    Housing affordability was a significant issue in the federal election and in recent days the property industry and non-government organisations have urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the new Cabinet arrangements reflect the urgent need for national leadership when it comes to dealing with Australia's housing affordability crisis.

    Over the past three years the Abbott-Turnbull Government failed to produce any national housing strategy, made cuts to homelessness funding and Malcolm Turnbull’s only advice on how to address housing affordability was to tell parents to “shell out” and buy their kids a house.

    At a time when it's never been harder to break into the housing market, particularly in the major metropolitan markets, and thousands of Australians are living in rental or mortgage stress we need a federal government that will work with the states and territories to address this concerning trend rather than sweep it under the carpet.

    During the election campaign Bill Shorten and Labor committed to develop a national housing strategy, appoint a dedicated Minister for Housing and Homelessness and to have housing as a standing item on the COAG agenda.

    Labor also committed to reforming negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements to enable first home buyers to compete on a level playing field when it came out buying a home.

    The Prime Minister’s failure to appoint a minister for housing confirms yet again that national housing policy will continue on as it has for the past 3 years - neglected and ignored by Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet - at the expense of millions of Australians who are struggling to make pay the rent or mortgage and for those whose dream of owning a home is slipping away from them.

    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 COMMITS FUNDING TO DEMENTIA CARE TRIALS

    A Shorten Labor Government will fund a trial of respite care on the Central Coast specifically for people living with dementia and their carers.

    Labor’s $10 million commitment will enable Alzheimer’s Australia and the University of Wollongong to trial models of respite care and to monitor and evaluate which methods are most effective across selected regions, including the Central Coast.

    Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Katy Gallagher, and Labor candidate for Dobell, Emma McBride said the Central Coast has been chosen as one of the trial regions.

    “Appropriate support for the more than 1.2 million carers is a critical factor in dementia treatment, which allows 70 per cent of people living with dementia to live at home and in the community,” Senator Gallagher said.  

    More than nine in 10 people with dementia living in the community do so with informal carer support. A recent Alzheimer’s Australia survey of consumers revealed limited respite care was identified as the top area of support that needed to be addressed.

    “More than half of primary carers of people living with dementia at home have indicated they need more support, and the greatest single unmet area of demand is for respite care,” Senator Gallagher said.

    “This program will make a real difference for families living with dementia, the trial aims to give people living with dementia and their families greater capacity to choose how, when and who delivers their care-offering them more flexible respite and support.”

    “Respite care not only provides a much needed break for carers but more importantly provides an opportunity for social engagement for people with dementia” Ms McBride said.

    Senator Gallagher said Labor’s policy would address the shortage of respite services specifically designed to support people living with dementia.

    “The trial will evaluate a range of care models, while at the same time providing a significant increase in the supply of respite places for carers and patients on the Coast,” Ms McBride said.

    “These trials will specifically target dementia respite services for harder-to-reach groups such as people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the LGBTI community and veterans.”

    This is part of Labor’s $25 million commitment to a National Dementia Strategy.

    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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    MALCOLM TURNBULL AND SUSSAN LEY AT ODDS OVER HEADSPACE FUNDING

    Sussan Ley has confirmed that 95 headspace centres across Australia have just two years of funding left before they will be put out to tender by the Turnbull Government.

    Sussan Ley confirmed in a statement that the Turnbull Government will only guarantee $200 million of funding for headspace which is due to expire on 30 June 2018.

    The Minister is already on the record that headspaces around the country will have to compete with other providers for funding through Primary Health Networks after 2018.

    The Minister’s comments are in conflict with the Prime Minister, who said yesterday that:

    “Can I say that the Headspace services will continue to receive support. There is about 100 of them now and more will open and they will continue to have the same level of support into the future” - Malcolm Turnbull. Doorstop Sunday June 19, 2016.

    The Health Minister’s statements make it very clear that there is no guaranteed support for headspace beyond June 2018, despite what the Prime Minister has said.

    Headspace has been evaluated twice and has been found to be a high quality and effective intervention for young people with mental health concerns.

    A Shorten Labor Government supports a nationally consistent model to support young people and will provide the certainty needed to ensure young people with mental illness have access to headspace and early psychosis centres across Australia.

    **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 **

    MONDAY, 20 JUNE 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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    MORE DETAIL NEEDED ON TURNBULL’S BACKFLIP ON HEADSPACE AND EARLY PSYCHOSIS

    Last night on Q&A the Prime Minister publically overruled his Health Minister by agreeing to protect headspace centres and to restore funding to early psychosis centres exposing deep divisions between the Prime Minister and his Health Minister.  

    Prior to the Prime Minister’s intervention, early psychosis centres were due to be closed permanently in South Australia; other centres were facing funding cuts of 25 per cent growing to 70 per cent before being wound down completely in 2018; and headspace centres were going to be put out to competitive tender.

    With just two weeks until the cuts were to kick in, and with the Prime Minister’s new commitment to supporting headspace into the future and keeping the early psychosis centres open, the Government must immediately provide a guarantee in writing about what the new arrangements will be.

    The latest backflip by the Prime Minister is in direct conflict with the Health Minister who has spent months defending her decision to close early psychosis centres and make headspace centres contestable.

    The Health Minister confirmed this in person to headspace managers during a speech earlier this year and letters from the Department of Health confirmed the impending closure of the early psychosis centres as recently as two weeks ago.

    It’s very clear that the Health Minister was left in the dark about the Prime Minister decision with her own media statement just three days ago confirming that the Turnbull Government’s previous position.

    The backflip from Malcolm Turnbull is welcome news for the thousands of young people with mental health problems who rely on these services and for the dedicated staff who support them.  

    After months of uncertainty for headspace centres and with early psychosis centres already planning to wind down or close their operations there can be no more delays.

    The young people who rely on these services deserve nothing less but certainty going forward.

    TUESDAY, 21 JUNE 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 WILL MAKE HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE AND WORK TO REDUCE HOMELESSNESS

    A Shorten Labor Government will provide the national leadership required to address housing affordability and take serious action to reduce homelessness.

    For too many Australians, the dream of home ownership remains out of reach while for many others high housing costs are taking up more than a third of their incomes, with more than 850,000 households living in housing stress. 

    There are as many as 105,000 people who are homeless on any given night of the year.

    At a time when more people are experiencing housing stress and the rates of homelessness remain high, we cannot continue to stand by and adopt a “business as usual” approach.

    Labor will develop a national affordable housing strategy to drive the development of an agreed, coordinated approach to addressing housing affordability in Australia.

    A Shorten Labor Government will also:

    • Appoint a Minister for Housing and Homelessness.
    • Make housing affordability a standing item on the COAG agenda.
    • Include a more comprehensive coverage of housing as part of the Closing the Gap report.
    • Develop an Affordable Housing Industry Plan to ensure the long-term development of a sustainable affordable housing sector.
    • Re-establish the National Housing Supply Council.
    • Investigate the development of national rental standards.

    A Shorten Labor Government, in partnership with State and Territories, will:

    • Aim to halve homelessness by 2025.
    • Agree on national targets to increase the supply of affordable housing dwellings.
    • Report annually through COAG on progress towards the targets. 

    Labor wants to work with homelessness services to deliver long-term certainty for the sector and will begin this important work by immediately hosting a national roundtable on homelessness and a meeting of State and Territory Housing and Homelessness Ministers.

    Labor will also provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing program, to improve transitional housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.

    We will also include more comprehensive coverage of housing in the Closing the Gap report, in recognition of the importance of housing to achieving the Closing the Gap health, education and employment targets.

    From 1 July 2017, Labor will limit negative gearing to new property.

    This is a significant policy that will provide an incentive for new construction and add thousands of jobs to the building industry.

    Labor seeks to level the playing field, particularly for first home buyers and will fully grandfather and preserve the tax offsets that are currently available to existing property owners.

    Too often, discussions on affordable housing concentrate on home ownership – yet, over 30 per cent of all households are renters. 

    It’s important that governments ensure that the needs of renting households are reviewed in light of the changes in the housing market over time.

    Labor will ensure that the needs of renting households are considered within the national strategy on affordable housing.

    A Shorten Labor Government will work with the States and Territories to reach agreement on a set of national minimum rental standards. Labor will commission work to examine:

    • Rental contract lengths.
    • Fair processes where landlords seek termination.
    • Ways to provide greater freedom of choice for tenants.

    A Shorten Labor Government will also provide a one-off establishment grant of $3 million to Homes4Homes (H4H) - a social enterprise by The Big Issue, looking to raise capital funds to invest back into affordable housing supply.  

    While Malcolm Turnbull gives tax cuts to the big end of town, Labor is working to help those in our community who need it most.

    Labor’s positive plan for affordable housing and to reduce homelessness will put people first.

    http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/a_national_affordable_housing_strategy_fact_sheet

    THURSDAY, 16 JUNE 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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    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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