House debates

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Questions without Notice


2:36 pm

Photo of Luke HartsuykerLuke Hartsuyker (Cowper, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how a strong economy assists the government to create jobs and opportunities in regional areas such as in my electorate of Cowper? Are there any risks to this approach?

2:37 pm

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

Life teaches us many lessons, and the member for Cowper has just taught Labor how to ask a question! He asked an important question about jobs, because jobs are important. Not only do we have the economic policies of the Liberals and Nationals that have helped support small and medium enterprises and big business to create more than a million jobs in five years; we have also had a decentralisation agenda which is helping rural, regional and remote areas to create local jobs.

The Liberals and the Nationals believe in regional jobs. We believe in those employment opportunities way away from the big city lights—good jobs, well-paid jobs, local jobs, long-term jobs and sustainable jobs. Through our decentralisation program, we are delivering for the regions, and we will continue to do so. Just last week, I joined the member for Cowper; Australia's first decentralisation minister, Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie; and the excellent National Party candidate for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, to make an historic announcement: 50 new jobs for Coffs Harbour. We will establish the regional headquarters of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Coffs Harbour, to be operational within the next 12 months. Think about that. Contemplate that for a moment: 50 careers, 50 families, 50 opportunities, 50 people coming to call Coffs Harbour home. What a great future those people have. This is only possible because we have a strong economy. The member for Cowper has delivered the $971 million Coffs Harbour bypass, part of a $1.2 billion project with the New South Wales government in collaboration with the Liberals and Nationals from Macquarie Street. We are providing the services that the regions deserve.

Why shouldn't regional Australia have the same opportunities for good, long-term, local Public Service jobs? Why shouldn't they? Thanks to our investment, AMSA will also provide up to 16 further positions across Australia, including in places such as, but not limited to, Cairns, Mackay, Gladstone, Geraldton, Karratha and Port Hedland, taking the total number of relocated jobs across Australia to 69.

As Gary Prosser, the acting CEO of AMSA, said on Friday:

We're a maritime authority. Being in Canberra is fantastic for Government and other relations but a lot of us like myself as an ex-mariner love the smell of salt in the air.

He's delighted. He's absolutely delighted, as I'm sure—

Dr Mike Kelly interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Eden-Monaro, the Deputy Prime Minister has the call.

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

I don't know why he is against it. I also don't know why the Labor candidate for Cowper came out and bagged this proposal. What's to mock about this? By creating local jobs in the region through decentralisation, such as the 50 jobs in Coffs, we can keep more young people in the region, to stay, grow their career and start a family.