House debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Questions without Notice


2:30 pm

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how the government's infrastructure program will deliver positive outcomes for regional Australia, and are there any alternative approaches?

2:31 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Calare. I was in the member for Calare's electorate the week before last, visiting Orange and seeing the great infrastructure rollouts that the Liberals and Nationals are doing in his electorate. He's a fine advocate for rural and regional Australia, a fine advocate indeed.

The Liberals and Nationals have a positive plan over the next decade, with $75 billion on infrastructure—a record rollout. For Inland Rail there is $9.1 billion, for the Bruce Highway duplication there is $6.7 billion, for the Pacific Highway there is $5.6 billion, for the Black Spot Program—enabling local councils to make local decisions on behalf of local people—there is $684 million, for Northern Australia Roads there is $600 million, for Beef Roads there is $100 million and for the National Rail Program, overall, there is $10 billion. We are pumping money into the economy. Sure, they are big figures, but what it's doing is easing congestion.

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

You might find it funny, but it's also saving people's lives. It's building community capacity. It benefits regional Australia and cities alike: supporting local families and workers, stimulating local economies, building local communities and creating local jobs.

This is in stark contrast to Labor, stark contrast indeed. They don't understand regional Australia—couldn't find it on the map. Today there was yet another Labor backflip, the latest in underdone policy on the run. How could we forget the napkin-designed NBN, the back-of-the-envelope school halls, cash for clunkers, pink batts schemes, grocery watch and Fuelwatch? Who could forget 2012 budget night on this very spot? The member for Lilley is sitting up the back, but he was right here then. He said:

The four years of surpluses I announce tonight …

He wouldn't know how spell 'surplus', let alone produce one. Poor planning and thought bubbles—business as usual. That's what it equals—business as usual for Labor.

Labor is now coming after workers' wages and retirees' pensions. That's what you're doing, member for Maribyrnong—coming after retirees' pensions and superannuation. The opposition think they know how to spend someone else's money better than the people themselves.

Opposition members interjecting

That's right. You've just said that's right. They want to snatch the coins from the piggy banks, they want to pinch the notes from people's wallets and take the money out of people's purses—indeed they do—and raid business tills. Why? Because they have an addiction to spending. They have an addiction to spending and to chasing inner-city Greens votes and trying to placate the Greens, whilst at the same time abandoning regional Australia. The opposition leader will say anything, he will do anything and he will backflip on anything just to get votes. The people of Australia know that under Labor they will pay more.