House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Constituency Statements

Australian Natural Disasters, Hume Electorate: Infrastructure

11:07 am

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity) Share this | | Hansard source

In the last two weeks, we've seen natural disasters at either end of the country. We've seen two category 2 cyclones hit the north of the country; we've seen the south ravaged by bushfires; and we've seen floods on the North Coast of New South Wales. Of course, this year is the first anniversary of Cyclone Debbie, which ravaged the Whitsundays, in Queensland.

The Commonwealth government provides funding to assist those communities with rebuilding infrastructure and environmental recovery. We've also provided disaster assistance for the communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, following the cyclones, and for Tathra and Cobden, which were both devastated by fires. I managed to visit, with the Prime Minister, Tathra and Cobden in the last week, and we saw firsthand that devastation, but we also saw extraordinary selflessness, courage and resilience.

Seeing these impacts firsthand has highlighted to me the importance of having resilient communities and resilient infrastructure. We have a role as the Commonwealth to work with state and local government to make sure that we do have that resilient infrastructure. Ensuring that we have good roads and mobile phone coverage, fixing blackspots, means that our communities are not isolated, which becomes crucial in times of disaster.

Just last month, 29 new mobile-phone towers were switched on under the coalition's $220 million program. That's 29 more regional communities in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria getting reliable phone coverage. In my electorate of Hume, towers are now live in Mayfield, not far from where we are here today, and Mount Hunter, near Camden. Blackspot towers will also be servicing communities around Tarlo and Dalton, two locations at serious risk of bushfire in extreme conditions. In fact, we saw a fire at Tarlo in recent weeks. I know that locals, many of them volunteer firefighters, will welcome them.

We all know that access to safe roads is essential, particularly in times of emergency, and that's one of the reasons why we invest as a federal government in programs like the Black Spot Program for roads, providing $60 million a year from 2021 onwards. I can announce for the first time today that two more locations in my electorate, at Gunning and Blakney Creek, will receive more than $570,000 for fixing road blackspots. The community's input has been essential in identifying these locations.

Under the Bridges Renewal Program, we're also announcing more than $162 million to fix another 186 bridges, including the Nadgigomar Creek Bridge, near Tarago, and the Matthews Creek bridge near Thirlmere. The coalition's unprecedented investment— (Time expired)