Payne's Parliamentary Proceedings - September 2023

15 September 2023

It's been a big fortnight in the Parliament, including passing our Housing Australia Future Fund and a focus on our workplace relations reforms.
But before I dive into all of that I want to quickly remind you that it's less than one month until the referendum!
One month until we have a chance to accept the generous invitation from First Nations people and vote for change.

The Voice to Parliament is about listening. For too long governments of all persuasions have made policy about Indigenous Australians without consulting them first. What we've seen as a result is persistent gaps in areas such as life expectancy, infant mortality and incarceration rates.

We need to do something different. We need to listen to Indigenous Australians. That's what this referendum establishes - an advisory body to listen.
If like me you're voting yes, and would like to help the Yes campaign hand out on referendum day or pre-poll, you can sign up here! 
I was so pleased to welcome the Prime Minister to Canberra alongside colleagues from across the political spectrum to talk to Yes volunteers.
The Yes campaign is a people powered campaign and we'd love to have you on board if you aren't already.

It was a busy fortnight in the chamber with a huge agenda of legislation to get through!
I was pleased to speak on a number of important bills including:

  • Higher Education Support Amendment (Response to the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report) Bill;
  • National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry Bill;
  • Migration Amendment (Strengthening Employer Compliance) Bill;
  • Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill;
  • Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill;
  • Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards Amendment (Administrative Changes) Bill

You can watch all of the speeches I gave this fortnight here.

This sitting period has seen the issue of territory rights emerge again. This time due to cynical attacks from the Liberal and National Parties.
The Senate voted down Senator Canavan's first attempt to undermine your democratic rights but only a few days later the Opposition Leader Peter Dutton announced the Coalition would be attempting to repeal the ACT Government's nation leading drug law reform.

Regardless of what you think about the issue, it astounds me again and again that Mr Dutton and his party think they should have the right to interfere in our affairs in a way they never would to a state. If they really want to have an impact on our laws they should resign from Parliament, move to Canberra and run for election in the Legislative Assembly.
If you agree you can sign this petition to tell the Liberals Territory Rights are not negotiable.

This fortnight I was fortunate to be able to host a number of Parliamentary Friendship Group meetings. Parliamentary Friendship groups are a great way for MPs from all political persuasions to come together in support of a common cause.

I'm proud to be the co-chair of a number of these groups including the Parliamentary Friends of Ending Poverty, the Parliamentary Friends of Ending Violence against Women, and the Parliamentary Friends of Maternal Health.

This week all of these groups hosted events with important stakeholders. 

Alongside Liberal MP Aaron Violi I also hosted the launch of the People's House, an exciting new deliberative democracy platform created by DemocracyCo - the group which helped me run the Canberra Forum.

Speaking of which, the Canberra Forum has now finished its report into Housing Policy which is available in full and unchanged on my website. I encourage you to have a read. 

I'm really proud to have run this process and you can watch a short video about it below.

Also during the fortnight the National Capital and External Territories Committee which I chair held its final hearings for our Inquiry into fostering and promoting the significance of the National Capital. 
We heard from the ACT Government, the National Capital Authority, the National Capital Attractions Association and the National Capital Education Tourism Project about their visions for our city. 
Ideas included the creation of a city-pass ticket to give access to exhibitions and events around the city, greater collaboration between the national institutions, and the expansion of the PACER program for visiting schools - to name just a few.

I also had the immense privilege of welcoming 150 new Australians at a special citizenship ceremony for Australian Citizenship Day.

It was a fantastic ceremony and I was proud to address the room alongside Immigration and Citizenship Minister Andrew Giles and Senator Katy Gallagher.

Finally I want to end on a very positive note! 
On the last day of the sitting period the Parliament passed the Government's $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund. This fund will build 30,000 social and affordable homes in its first 5 years including right here in Canberra. But more than that, it'll exist into perpetuity meaning that it will continue to build houses for as long as it exists.
It was a long fought battle to get this one through the Parliament and I'm so glad we've finally got it done. We can now get onto the important work of getting shovels into the ground and start building.
Of course this is not all we’re doing in the housing space. So far in this term our housing agenda includes:

  • a $3 billion New Homes Bonus and $500 million Housing Support Program to support the states and territories as they work towards the ambitious new national target to build 1.2 million homes over five years.
  • The new $3 billion Social Housing Accelerator to deliver thousands of new social homes across Australia;
  • $350 million to deliver 10,000 affordable homes through the national Housing Accord over five years from 2024;
  • Up to $575 million in funding unlocked from the National Housing Infrastructure Facility with homes already under construction across the country;
  • Increasing the maximum rate of Commonwealth rent assistance by 15%, the largest increase in more than 30 years;
  • Additional $2 billion in financing for community housing providers for more social and affordable rental housing through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation;
  • New incentives to boost the supply of rental housing by changing arrangements for investments in build-to-rent accommodation; and
  • $1.7 billion one-year extension of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement with States and Territories, including $67.5 million boost to homelessness funding over the next year.

There’s more to be done and I’ll be sure to keep you updated!
Thanks very much if you've made it this far.

As always, if you want to get in touch you can do so at [email protected] or at 6247 8475.
Otherwise you can connect with me on my social media accounts!