Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has visited Penrith, checking in on the seat that remained stoically Liberal at last year’s Federal Election.
He was joined by Lindsay MP Melissa McIntosh at Penrith Community Kitchen on Thursday, where more than 1000 meals a week are served to vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
According to McIntosh, she invited Dutton to see the difference that local charities are making.
“I spoke with this organisation and other housing and homelessness organisations a few months ago and they were raising alarm bells around the cost of living,” she said.
“They used to feed people experiencing homelessness, but they are now feeding families of double incomes.
“People are really struggling to pay their bills and pay their mortgages.”
Dutton acknowledged that the community kitchen is holding people’s lives together, especially as cost of living pressures continue to mount up.
“The volunteers at the community kitchen here in Penrith, they’re amazing people and they contribute to make a difference in people’s lives every day,” he said.
“There are many people now who are in the category of ‘working poor’ Australians.
“Australians are working harder than ever, and it’s great to see women going back into the workforce, but let’s be very clear about it, the reason for that is that many families are struggling to pay their mortgages.
“This might be the only meal that family gets during the course of the day.”
Meantime, on the back of the Matildas’ loss to England, Dutton said the women’s team have done us proud.
“Like most Australians, I just had an incredible sense of pride in the effort of the Matildas’,” he said.
“They’re inspiring not just young girls but young boys and our Australian kids into sport participation.
“It’s why, earlier this week, we made an announcement that a coalition government would provide $250 million worth of funding to try and improve the facilities that girls can utilise at local sporting clubs around the country.
“It’s unacceptable in our country, when we see a massive spike in female presentations or participation in sport, that we’re expecting young girls to get changed in the car park or to go into the boys toilets.”
Dutton criticised the current government, saying they don’t know how to manage the economy.
When answering a question related to housing, he said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese makes announcements then doesn’t deliver.
” We all want to see more houses,” he said.
“As you bring in a million and a half people, as the government’s proposing at the moment, over the course of the next five years, they’re going to be lining up for rental accommodation.”
Formerly with the ABC, Makayla is a graduate of Western Sydney University. She covers a variety of news topics for the Weekender, including courts.