Monday, 9 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Why has the Prime Minister ignored seven calls from the Reserve Bank governor since the election to increase infrastructure spending?
Let me quote from the Reserve Bank governor on 9 August, at the House Standing Committee on Economics:
… if the economy is not doing well and the global economy is not doing well, we need all arms of public policy to support the Australian economy. But that's not a call for the government to do more now.
That's what he said. He went on:
I just want to be clear about that.
He also said:
Can I just clarify something: I have not called on the government to do fiscal expansion.
I am quoting the Governor of the Reserve Bank giving evidence—not some chat to a journalist but evidence—to the House economics committee. He said:
… I have not called on the government to do fiscal expansion.
In fact, on 11 July, he said:
I agree 100 per cent with you that the Australian economy is growing and the fundamentals are strong.
That's what he said. He went on:
But I don't think we should forget that more Australians have jobs today than ever before—
I think the Reserve Bank, on the evidence before the parliamentary committee, has been very clear. Others might want to verbal what it all means, but what I know is that I've been working with the Reserve Bank governor, as both a Treasurer and a Prime Minister, for four years, and it is as a result of the Reserve Bank governor's suggestions to us many years ago about the need to move on infrastructure that we have the $100 billion infrastructure pipeline that has been in the budget since April of this year and has featured in previous budgets.
I know those opposite, if they had the opportunity—if they had won the election—would be spending, spending, spending, and that's only because they would have been taxing, taxing, taxing. The first whiff of a surplus, and the Labor Party would blow it all in a heartbeat. By contrast, my government is showing sober, cautious, disciplined financial management, to ensure we both achieve the first surplus in 12 years and deliver on the $100 billion infrastructure program and on the tax cuts that we promised to Australians and that we've achieved in this parliament, which those opposite fought tooth and nail to try and stop. We heard a little earlier today that apparently we're not going to find out what the policies of those opposite are until 2022. You'll need a time machine to find out their policies, Mr Speaker, but, whether you go backwards or forwards, they'll all equate to economic irresponsibility.
I seek leave to table a document that shows that the Reserve Bank governor has called seven times since the election, and spoken 17 times since he became governor, for increased infrastructure spending from the government.
Leave not granted.
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is delivering stability and certainty by investing in $100 billion worth of infrastructure across the country, including in my seat of Groom?
The member for Groom is excited and he should be. I know the member for Wright is really excited and he should be, and so am I because yesterday we opened—wait for it—the eighth wonder of the modern world: the Toowoomba bypass. How exciting is that! If you haven't seen it, go onto the internet and have a look at it. It is an ingenious architectural masterpiece—unbelievable. His electorate is benefitting, as are all 151 electorates, from our $100 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects. Just yesterday, the $1.6 billion—that's a big amount—Toowoomba bypass was opened. That's how much it cost. It started under our government and it finished under our government. That's delivering.
Ms Catherine King interjecting—
There are many more, Member for Ballarat. Here are just a few statistics on this: 41 kilometres of new road, 24 bridges, almost 60,000 cubic metres of concrete, more than 10,000 tonnes of steel, 4½ million work hours—that's jobs, Australian jobs. It will cut travel time by up to 40 minutes, and that's improving productivity, improving efficiencies. It will eliminate 18 sets of traffic lights and remove thousands of trucks from the Toowoomba CBD each and every day. It truly is, as I said at the start, an engineering masterpiece. It's a masterpiece in design, it's a masterpiece in architecture, and it's been created through Australian hard work, Australian sweat by Australian ingenuity. I was so proud to be there yesterday.
As the member for Groom said, Toowoomba locals can now take back James Street. James Street will return to being a magnificent thoroughfare through this beautiful regional city. Local roads will be less noisy, less congested and, most importantly, safer for both motorists and pedestrians. The Toowoomba bypass is just one example of a major piece of nation-building infrastructure that this government has started—and now finished—providing ongoing certainty and stability for the Australian people.
On Saturday, I was at the Queensland Trucking Association awards night, and Gary Mahon, the CEO of that organisation, said—listen to this; it's really important—'This project will enable heavy vehicles to travel west of Toowoomba to the Port of Brisbane without having to encounter a single set of traffic lights.' You can imagine that, if you're a truckie trying to get from A to B and you've got about 130 or so kilometres from west of Toowoomba to the Port of Brisbane and you don't have to encounter a set of traffic lights—how good is that! Can you imagine the freight efficiencies that's going provide, the safety aspects and the productivity boost this is going to enhance?
I'm proud to announce that more than 98 per cent of business generated by the Toowoomba bypass construction between 2016 and 2018 was secured by Australian companies. That's certainty; that's delivery; that's the Liberal-Nationals. (Time expired)
Mr Perrett interjecting—