House debates

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Statements by Members

Hinkler Electorate

4:28 pm

Photo of Paul NevillePaul Neville (Hinkler, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Hinkler has again defied the ALP doom and gloom merchants by achieving Queensland’s second highest increase in bulk-billing rates between 2004 and 2005. Hinkler’s bulk-billing rate reached an average of 69.9 per cent last year, a whopping 9.4 per cent improvement on 2004. It was the second-biggest percentage increase for any Queensland electorate, and way ahead of the 5.3 per cent average increase for the state during the same period. It builds on the 14.2 per cent bulk-billing increase achieved between June 2003-04 and June 2004-05, which was actually the biggest percentage increase in Queensland for that time frame. I have worked hard to see that Hinkler gets its fair share of bulk-billing doctors, and we have been well and truly beating many urban seats in lifting our bulk-billing services. I recognise that not all doctors wish to be part of this and have particular needs they wish to convey to their patients, but I would like to think that seven out of ten of my constituents have access to a bulk-billing doctor if they need one.

Hand in hand with that achievement is another increase in the number of employed people in the Wide Bay Burnett region, in which Bundaberg is located. In the 12 months to December 2005 an extra 6,800 people in the region found paid work, bringing the total number of employed people to 106,500. The region has also recorded an increase of 0.7 per cent in its employment rate, which can be attributed to new industries and businesses being established and an expansion in real estate and building activity.

I wager we will not hear the Labor Party saying a good word about these achievements. After all, it was that party that tore the Hinkler schools to shreds for taking the initiative and applying for Investing in Our Schools funding. The IOSP specifically targets projects that have been identified by the school communities themselves—I stress ‘themselves’. It has been critical to the schools, which never seem to make it to the Labor state government funding priorities lists.

Federal Labor should be putting more energy into convincing its state colleagues to adequately fund state schools rather than attacking a successful government program that seeks to redress the failure of state governments to support their schools. What could be fairer than having the school communities—the P&Cs and the principals—putting an application to the federal government for those things that have been missed out by state Labor governments?

Things are going very well in Hinkler, and it is largely attributed to the activities of the Howard-Vaile government. I trust that it will continue for many years to come.

Photo of Harry JenkinsHarry Jenkins (Scullin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! In accordance with the resolution agreed to in the House yesterday, the time for statements by members has concluded.