Over the break I have been travelling through my beautiful electorate of Corangamite. I met with over 100 organisations: local community, environmental and sporting groups, as well as aged care, health facilities and local businesses. I visited 29 schools and held 16 coffee shop meetings, where I spoke with hundreds of local residents and listened to their concerns and ideas.
Everywhere I travelled in the electorate, people raised similar issues. In our rapidly growing electorate, young families are feeling the effects of the increasing cost of living and the pressure of stagnant wages. They are concerned about their future. They understand that the economy is slowing under this government and they worry about the future of their children. They want to know that we are doing everything we can to give them access to secure work and economic stability.
They’re finding it hard to gain secure employment and they feel that this government needs to do more to reverse the casualisation of the workforce. Over 40 per cent of the workforce is now in casual, part-time or contract jobs. Sham contracting is rife. Young families who have to travel to work and school and access services are in need of better infrastructure and roads. They rightly want to see more federal funding for important services, including education, aged care and the NDIS. The people of Corangamite can see that Newstart is grossly inadequate on $40 a day for a single person. It hasn’t been increased in real terms for 25 years. Many people I talked to called for more support for local residents who are going through difficult times. They support an increase in Newstart.
In Corangamite, we are blessed with a stunning environment. Across the electorate, residents are telling me they’re witnessing the impact of climate change. They’re concerned about the lack of national action on this vital issue, action to make a positive shift towards renewable energy and a low-emissions economy. This is action that will stimulate and grow our economy. I met with the Great Ocean Road Authority, Southern Otways Sustainable, Bellarine Catchment Network and other environment groups who are trying to make a real difference.
People in Corangamite also want action to protect our precious environment and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change. They’re already seeing coastal erosion, damage to vital infrastructure and the loss of natural habitats, flora and fauna. At Apollo Bay, the sea has washed away 30 metres of dunes and the high tide is within a few metres of the Great Ocean Road. At Anglesea the hooded plover beach habitat has nearly been wiped out as the high tides cut into the dunes. We need a national coastal strategy, and this government must do more with the states on this issue.
I’ll continue to listen to people across my electorate so that I can speak out on the issues that are important to them and help them to achieve a fair future