Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2019-2020, Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020; Second Reading
I rise to speak on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020. It is a bill that brings into force a budget of missed opportunities—a budget that doesn't serve the Australian people in the way they should have been served when it comes to investing in the infrastructure, the community services and the education services that this country needs. It is a missed opportunity when it comes to addressing stagnant wages. It is a missed opportunity when it comes to closing the gender pay gap. It is a missed opportunity to fire up economic growth. It is a missed opportunity to properly support small businesses, many of whom have sadly had to shut their doors in my electorate in recent months as the economic downturn really hits them hard. And it's a missed opportunity for so many things in the electorate of Perth.
One of the things that has not progressed since the former Prime Minister Turnbull promised it is the Perth City Deal. The Perth City Deal should be embedded in this budget; it should be embedded in these appropriation documents, but it's not there. There is no Perth City Deal. Nothing has progressed since it was promised by former Prime Minister Turnbull. If the government doesn't have any ideas on the Perth City Deal, I've taken it upon myself to write to the minister with some of the initiatives that could be in that city deal. Indeed, I encourage all members of my electorate and all Western Australians to write to the minister with their initiatives that could go into this city deal, whether they be transport initiatives, initiatives that could help the people in the electorate of Cowan or initiatives that could ensure we continue to fire up the Western Australia economy.
One of the things that I'm very passionate about is a light rail for Perth city. I know Queenslanders are working towards a light-rail-like proposal in Brisbane city. In fact, Perth will be the only mainland capital city that does not have a light rail or similar service when the Sydney light rail eventually opens in coming months. There have been so many great proposals of light rail. It'll do something truly transformative for Western Australia. We could go with the Knowledge Arc proposal that would not only connect the great universities of Curtin University and the University of Western Australia with some of our most important tourism assets, including Elizabeth Quay, Kings Park, Perth Stadium and indeed thecasino, if that's your thing, but also connect huge parts of our business community together. It would be a shame for Perth to be the only city that doesn't have hop-on hop-off truly accessible light rail. I know that the member for Stirling is a passionate advocate for other light rail projects. The Scarborough Beach light rail proposal that is pushed by the City of Stirling is something else that would connect the Perth city to the beach, something that is sorely missing in our public transport network.
I've also written to the minister about the need to fund a Common Ground homeless facility. During the global financial crisis, a number of states received funding for Common Ground facilities. There is one in Brisbane. It does fantastic work taking people from homelessness to secure, affordable accommodation. Western Australia does not have one of those facilities and it is sorely needed. We've seen a huge increase in homelessness in the west driven by economic downturn, complex drug and alcohol problems and a change in economic circumstances that has really hit people hard. Our job in this place is to make sure we have services that help lift people out of poverty and homelessness. The review of the Common Ground facility in Brisbane done by the University of Queensland found that it gave government a saving of $13,100 per tenant per annum. Not only are you lifting someone out of poverty, but you are going to save the government money by investing in these services. I'd love to see it in the Perth City Deal.
There has also been lots of conversation in Western Australia about the need for an inner-city university campus. I have a slightly different view: we need an inner-city TAFE campus. We have some small TAFE campuses—Northbridge, East Perth, Leederville and Mount Lawley—in my electorate. They all do fantastic work, but, if I were given the choice, I would take a big new state-of-the-art TAFE facility in the heart of the CBD, open 40 weeks a year. One of the great things about TAFE is that it doesn't shut down for half the year—no offence to the learned academics in the room, who do very important work in that time when they are not doing important teaching and learning work.