Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure. Will the minister update the House on the Morrison government's plan to accelerate infrastructure spending that will drive jobs, strengthen the economy and get people home safer and sooner?
I thank the member for Chisholm for her question and for the incredible work that she does for her community, indeed right across Australia, particularly in relation to the coronavirus in recent weeks. The work that she has been doing has been truly remarkable.
Last year the Prime Minister formally approached the states and territories and asked them if they had infrastructure projects that they could bring forward in order to get construction and more jobs going more quickly. As a result of that, late last year we announced $4.2 billion worth of either new money or money which we could bring into the forward estimates that otherwise was not. That has enabled significant projects to get going now which otherwise would not have been underway. For example, next week we'll be formally starting the construction of stage 2 of the Monash Freeway Upgrade. I note that the member for La Trobe is particularly interested in this. This is a $1.3 billion project which will support 1,000 jobs. This will begin next week. It's only able to begin because of the decision which we made late last year to add a further $184 million to that project, which enables the construction to get going and those thousand jobs to kick off and get going immediately.
Similarly with the massive North East Link project in Melbourne, a $16 billion project which I know the member for Chisholm and the member for Menzies are interested in.
I withdraw. The North East Link is another massive project which will be able to get underway this year because we've brought forward money in relation to that—similarly with the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A in Queensland, the Tonkin Highway over in Western Australia and so many other projects. Again, we are going back to the states and territories. The Deputy Prime Minister and I have again formally approached the premiers and the infrastructure ministers at the state level, along with the councils, to say to them, 'Are there further projects that they can bring forward to get going in the next three to six months?' We want those projects to get underway. We want to partner with our delivery agencies, be they state and territory governments or local councils, to get those projects underway. If you do, it means more jobs, it means a stronger economy and, of course, it enables people to get home sooner and safer. It's all part of our $100 billion plan, which we on this side of the House are delivering.