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Peter Dutton's Climate Wars

We had all hoped the climate wars were over.   
But last week, the Liberal/Nationals leader Peter Dutton criticised our current emissions reduction targets, and raised the possibility his party could withdraw from the Paris Agreement if in government.  

This is not only a backwards step on climate action — it is economically irresponsible. 

Australia is on the cusp of developing new industries — in hydrogen, green steel, and critical minerals, among others — which could set up our economy for generations to come.  Peter Dutton is wilfully undermining confidence in our economy, risking tens of billions of dollars of investment and countless jobs.  

Business needs certainty — we’ve heard that last week, repeatedly, from the Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Energy Council, the Energy Users Association, and the Investor Group on Climate Change. Even coal and gas companies want the Liberal/Nationals to at least keep to the legislated emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030.  

Australia is blessed with the best renewable energy in the world. If we get more solar farms and wind farms online and put more solar panels on roofs and batteries in homes, we could have some of the cheapest energy in the world. We can’t afford any more delay – business, investors and homeowners need to be able to trust the transition to our clean green energy future.   

In this newsletter, we’ll take a look behind the scenes at how we improved the NDIS, our fantastic recent volunteer Pizza Night, and put a call out for feedback on recent medicine shortages.  

Improving the NDIS

I’ve spent time over the past few weeks working closely with NDIS Minister Bill Shorten and his National Disability Insurance Agency on recent legislation updating the insurance scheme.  

This is the quiet work away from the cameras that I’m honoured to be able to do as a Member of Parliament.  

The NDIS insures 660,000 Australians and employs 400,000 others. Its world-class disability care is vital to the wellbeing of so many. As a paediatric neurologist I saw first-hand the life-changing nature of the scheme, as well as the minefield it could become for patients.  

Given the recent reports of extensive fraud in the NDIS, and the projectionss estimating that the Scheme could cost $100 billion per year by 2030, there is a clear need to improve the NDIS to keep it viable for generations to come

At a recent Pop-Up Office

That’s what led me to my discussions with Minister Shorten and his department.  

When I was last in Canberra and the legislation was being debated, the government agreed to four of my ideas to improve it. Greater commitments to consultation with the disability community were made, as well as a change to ensure NDIS participants have an automatic right to a replacement assessment if they are unhappy with the first evaluation. The government also accepted an additional amendment that required the legislation to be reviewed after five years.  

Despite some remaining concerns I have about the legislation, this is a positive outcome that shows what can be achieved with collaborative work with expert groups and the government. It might not get headlines, but it will improve the lives of people living with disability.  I’m continuing to work with Senate colleagues and will keep a close eye on the NDIS Rules as they are developed -- I’ll remain involved with and potentially move to amend this legislation further as it’s developed. 

Volunteer Pizza Night

Thank you to the more than 100 incredible volunteers who came to Sofia’s for one of our fabled Pizza Nights on Thursday.   

Last week's Pizza Night

For those who don’t know the story of our pizza nights: last election, we started them for a chance to unwind over a meal during a busy election campaign. 30 volunteers attended the first Pizza Night; more than 200 attended the last one before Election Day. In total we had more than 3,000 volunteers last election, which was just extraordinary.  

It’s been wonderful catching up with friends old and new as we ramp up our efforts to keep Kooyong Independent at the next election.  

There’s plenty to do. If you want to join us, click here to sign up as a volunteer and one of my team will be in touch.  

An update on medicine shortages

As many of you will know, I have a deep interest in healthcare after working in the sector previously. In recent months I’ve heard repeatedly from constituents who have concerns regarding shortages of some vaccines and medications, ranging from Ritalin to HRT, to antibiotics, to Shingrix.  
I asked the Health Minister about this in the House of Representatives last time I was in Canberra, and you can find his answer here.  
I know this is an ongoing concern for many people and am keen to hear from you if you’ve been affected by medication shortages in recent months. Please email me at [email protected] with any concerns. I’ll keep discussing the issue with the government. 

Upcoming events

Understanding Aged Care Fees and Charges (today)

In collaboration with Services Australia's Financial Information Services team, we're hosting an information session on Aged Care Fees and Charges. Come and learn about the determining care needs, fees for Home Care packages and nursing homes, means testing assessments and how Services Australia can assist you.

The first session, in English, runs from 10:30am-12:00pm today (Monday 17 June) at the South Camberwell Gospel Hall at 910 Toorak Rd, Camberwell. 

The second session, with a Chinese translator, will run from 1:00pm today at the same venue. 

Electrify Boroondara: Renters draught-proofing workshop

Keen to stay warm and lower your energy bills this winter? Thanks to funding from the City of Boroondara, Electrify Boroondara has organised a free comprehensive workshop where guest experts from the Sapien Group will walk renters through draught-proofing their rental property.

This hands-on demonstration will offer low cost, practical steps to reduce heat from escaping your home in winter and keep your home cool in summer.

Learning with other renters, you will practice finding draughty areas and receive a free draught-proofing kit, for your rental home.

Click here to RSVP to the event, running on Monday 29 July from 6:30-8:30pm at Hawthorn Community House (32 Henry St, Hawthorn).

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] if you have any thoughts or questions.

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