Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Matters of Public Importance
I must say that the inference by the mover of this matter of public importance that there is not already a strategy in place for housing in this country is one of the most blatant cases of fake news I have come across. This coalition government has a strong and sensible strategy to continue to improve the opportunities for Australians to have and to own a house. These measures are many and varied, but I would like to focus on just a couple.
The government is establishing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. The NHFIC is a new corporate entity dedicated to improving housing outcomes for Australians. Set to be established by 1 July 2018, the NHFIC will house a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility, which will partner with eligible recipients to finance critical infrastructure to unlock new housing supply. The NHFIC will also include an affordable housing bond aggregator, AHBA, which aims to provide cheaper and longer-term finance for community housing providers that will drive efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of affordable housing. These are real, sensible measures to deliver a market outcome, without punishing those hardworking Australians who have invested in the housing market, as those opposite would have us do.
We've heard them mention negative gearing changes, but that's all we hear from them: 'Get rid of negative gearing and everything will come good.' It is a lie, Deputy Speaker. It is a lie they are trying to use to be popular, but it is a deadset falsehood. The most important thing we can do to help people afford their housing needs is to ensure we provide them with a strategy for a strong and vibrant economy. This fundamental need has been a driving force for me during my time in this place, and it is one that I'm proud to say my colleagues on this side of the House share. This coalition government—that has committed itself time and time again to improving the lives of our constituents and giving them more opportunities—takes from them less tax. On the job front, there are plenty of commentators and observers, including those opposite, who do not believe it is possible for this coalition government to deliver on its promise to create one million jobs. We made that undertaking and we delivered on that undertaking: more than 400,000 of those jobs were created across the country last year alone, an incredible feat.
In dealing with the need to grow the economy, it is abundantly clear that you need to deal with real, job-creating infrastructure—real, job-creating infrastructure like better highways, like mobile phone towers, like damns and weirs, andreal, job-creating infrastructure like Rookwood Weir. Right across this country, this government has committed to real funding to see new water infrastructure developed. A suite of dams and weirs across the country received funding to see their feasibility tested. The long-awaited Rookwood project near Gogango received not only the $2 million it needed to conduct the business case study but also $126 million towards its construction. This contribution, once it is eventually matched by the Labor state government, means all required construction funding is on the table. Why has the state government not started building?
Rookwood Weir promises to deliver over 200 jobs through construction and to produce an economic boom for Central Queensland worth over $1 billion and over 2,000 jobs. This is a huge benefit for our region and one that would see the cities of Rockhampton and Gladstone as well as the Capricorn Coast provided with the water security they deserve and need. The vast majority of jobs delivered in the long term will be through increased agriculture output thanks to the extra water landholders will have access to. We all know the phrase 'water is life', but what many don't realise is that water is life for not only plants and animals but communities. We need projects like Rookwood Weir to make our regional communities like Rockhampton stronger.
Stronger regional communities with stronger regional economies mean more money in people's pockets and, therefore, greater access to housing. The Labor Party has made it abundantly clear that their support for major infrastructure projects is entirely dependent on political outcomes. They have no interest in supporting a project because it's a good idea—hence the long, drawn-out chain-dragging we've seen from the Queensland government on this project. It is hugely disappointing to see members opposite accuse this government of not helping Australians get in their own home, when it is only this coalition government delivering on the jobs and economic needs for all Australians.