Thursday, 27 February 2020
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading
We are talking about appropriation bills that underpin the budget and the way governments spend money. And today we've had an extraordinary example of how the government is spending money. We found out that $10 million was spent by this government for 'the noted country town of North Sydney' so that it could get a swimming pool upgrade, which is fantastic! When challenged on why North Sydney got $10 million in another example of the rorts that have been uncovered in the last few months, the mayor described this as a totally justifiable decision on the basis that people from the country would swim in North Sydney and this would justify a regional grant. I've heard of Pitt Street farmers but not Boorowa backstrokers—and that's what this is facilitating in this place.
The member for North Sydney is singing 'I've been everywhere man'—from Waverton to Wollstonecraft, from Mosman to Artarmon, from Chatswood to Cremorne, from Naremburn to Castlecrag! This is a joke. It goes to show you how bad this government is when they try to funnel into North Sydney $10 million of money that was supposed to support the regions.
But who knows, this could be a plan by the member for North Sydney to usurp the Deputy Prime Minister by becoming a National Party MP in North Sydney. I think this is what we are looking at; they could have a National Party MP from North Sydney. That's the type of A-grade rorting that the National Party has become renowned for—and now they're bringing it to North Sydney. What an absolute embarrassment it is that you could use taxpayer funds in that way.
And that's where the joke ends. The way this government spends money on rorts—be it sports rorts or be it road rorts—has made a joke of programs like this, which notionally should be providing support to communities. And it demonstrates yet again that this is a budget from a government with no plan. They have no clue, no idea, no plan and no care for the Australian people. When it comes to using a budget that might be able to, for example, deal with the skills crisis—every industry is saying they don't have enough people—we have a government with no plan for how to fix that and no funding to back it up.
It's costing people more and more to go to a doctor. Every time they go to a doctor the out-of-pocket expenses have jumped up. In my part of western Sydney, for the people who I represent, they've jumped up 40 per cent. Yet there's no plan by this government to make health care and access to it easier.
We've got clogged roads and clogged railways in our part of Sydney, and yet all we've got, when it comes to infrastructure, is an ad plan. We've got a plan that can advertise claimed spending but none of the actual dollars going to the people when they need it most, which is right now, and to also help the economy on the way through. Again, this budget has no answers for people who want to see those types of things—health, schools, broader education, infrastructure—fixed up; nothing. But you can get $10 million for a pool in North Sydney as you're trying to save people from losing their seats, potentially, either there or elsewhere. You'll be—
Mr Tim Wilson interjecting—
Dr Allen interjecting—
I'm sure the member for Higgins, who's interjecting right now, will probably be a beneficiary as well, and the member for Goldstein, too. They are noted regional members! You could be the luminaries of the Victorian branch of the LNP. You should take that Queensland idea and bring it down here. I mean, look who you're competing with—this is going to be a walk in the park for you. Look at these luminaries that you're up against! You should definitely export this from Queensland. Bert van Manen's up there, the member for Forde—he could give you an idea on how well these things work. And I'm sure that there'd be others as well. Julian Leeser, the member for Berowra—