House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Questions without Notice


2:10 pm

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Would the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government is providing stability and certainty through the delivery of infrastructure projects, particularly in my electorate of Page?

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

I want to acknowledge the role and the presence of the member for Page during the very trying bushfires in his area. He, like other members of this House on all sides of the parliament, has been there for his people. We will continue to be there through this difficult summer.

I do thank the member for Page for his question. He is correct; the government is spending $100 billion on infrastructure. There's a particular presence in the electorate of Page, as there is in the other 150 electorates right throughout Australia. It's a pipeline of investment over the next decade being rolled out to get people home sooner and safer. Last week, we committed more than $3.8 billion in bring-forwards, as well as new funding for infrastructure projects right across this nation. In every state and in both territories, we're driving jobs and we're strengthening the economy by paving the way for key projects that are going to be economic drivers and job-creators.

In New South Wales, we brought forward $530 million in funding and provided an additional $41 million to deliver projects to improve safety and efficiency across that state. In the member's electorate of Page, the Woolgoolga-to-Ballina section of the Pacific Highway has been allocated an extra $20 million in funding to enable the completion of this project in late 2020. This project, as the member for Page well knows, has 129 kilometres currently under construction, employing more than 3,200 people. It's a lot of people. That's a lot of workers. That's a lot of money being invested in the member's electorate. A 26-kilometre stretch of road is already open to traffic.

A core focus of this upgrade has been road safety outcomes. This additional funding completes infrastructure projects already under construction and underway in the electorate of Page. The new bridge over the Clarence River at Harwood is an integral component of the Woolgoolga-to-Ballina upgrade of the Pacific Highway. The people of Woolgoolga, the people of Ballina, and everyone in between—everybody who uses that highway, and that's most of us, if not all of us—knows how important this is for road safety. Indeed, it spans four lanes and accommodates a mid-river shipping lane height of 30 metres above water level to allow road and maritime traffic to flow simultaneously. It is a magnificent structure. It needs to be seen to be believed. The architecture, the design work is something that all of us can be proud of. The work that's gone into that is something truly to behold.

The total $5.64 billion suite of upgrades for the Pacific Highway will cut up to 2½ hours of travel time between Hexham and the Queensland border. That's the Liberals and Nationals getting on with building the infrastructure that Australians need. That's the provision of stability and certainty our nation needs, our nation wants, our nation expects, our nation deserves.