House debates

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Questions without Notice

Victoria: Infrastructure

3:05 pm

Photo of Jason WoodJason Wood (La Trobe, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. I refer to the government's $1.5 billion Victorian infrastructure package announced in the 2016 budget, including funding for the Murray Basin rail project, the Monash Freeway and the rural and regional roads package. Will the minister explain how these projects will deliver on the government's economic plan?

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party, Deputy Leader of the House) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for La Trobe for his question and his longstanding interest in road, rail and other infrastructure in his electorate and right across Victoria. He has been an outstanding advocate for the people of La Trobe when it comes to infrastructure funding because, like all members on this side, he understands what a difference good infrastructure can make in people's lives. We know that if you invest in good infrastructure you can change lives and actually save people's lives. It is all about reducing congestion, improving productivity, cutting costs for small business owners and, of course, saving lives by reducing serious injuries through building safer roads. The $1.5 billion Victorian infrastructure package announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year is all about getting Victoria moving again. It is a great package, it is a fair package and it benefits Melbourne as much as it benefits regional Victoria.

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

I am not sure why the member for McEwen is interjecting. Those opposite virtually copied our entire plan. When the future leader, the member for Grayndler, the people's choice, copies our plans we are flattered by that.

When the Andrews government failed Victoria over the East West Link, members on this side of the House knew their communities were getting ripped off. We knew they were getting ripped off. On no other occasion in Australian history has any government made such an expensive decision—$1 billion to not build a road.

But we have set about trying to fix the mess, and along with my ministerial colleague, the member for Bradfield and Minister for Urban Infrastructure, I put forward a $1.5 billion package to the Victorian government that will help get Victoria moving again.

This government under this Prime Minister is committed to getting on with the job, delivering the projects and the infrastructure that Australia needs for the 21st century. We have committed to delivering $500 million to the Monash Freeway

Government members: Hear, hear!

And I hear members behind me cheering. It is not surprising—the member for La Trobe and the members for Aston, Deakin and Menzies. Even the member for McMillan, and the new member for Chisholm, of course, as well. They all understand how this investment will change the lives of Victorians. Mr Speaker, you understand yourself in your own electorate how the $500 million in the seat of Casey will benefit Victorian families—get them home to their families sooner.

We have also allocated $75 million to ease urban congestion in Melbourne. As I said at the outset, this is a fair plan. It is a plan that extends out into our regional communities. There is the Murray Basin Rail Project as well. On top of that, we are allocating $345 million to the Rural and Regional Roads Package in the seat of Murray. The new member for Murray would appreciate the $97 million for the Echuca Murray bridge. Again in McMillan there is $25 million for the South Gippsland Highway. There is $25 million for the Great Ocean Road upgrade—the member for Corangamite is very happy with that. The member for Mallee was satisfied with a $10 million increase in funding for the Calder Highway, to improve safety on that section of road. And the member for Wannon's community will benefit from upgrades in his community.

I thank the member for La Trobe for his question. This is a government which does have a plan for stronger economic growth, and part of that planning is building our future through investing in infrastructure we need. (Time expired)