House debates

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Questions without Notice


2:10 pm

Photo of Ken O'DowdKen O'Dowd (Flynn, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government, through the infrastructure rollout, is supporting the JobMaker program as a foundation for the recovery from COVID-19?

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

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

I might actually use that interjection, when the member for Flynn got to his feet and there were the usual growls. He'd buy and sell all of you before breakfast, when it comes to business acumen; he would. But I'm going to change the tone a bit. I'm going to be a little bit magnanimous. I'm going to actually praise and acknowledge somebody from the Australian Labor Party. So here you go. Listen up!

It's Matt Burnett, mayor of Gladstone Regional Council. He's a mate of the member for Flynn, he's a mate of mine and I'm sure he's probably a mate of many of those opposite. I see the member for Whitlam nodding. His family has been in the Gladstone area for five generations. He understands business. He even started up his own newspaper. He's been in local government for 20 long years. He got elected when he was just 24. He described the Building Better Regions Fund, through one of the projects in Flynn, which I'll come to, as 'game-changing for all of Flynn'. 'Council is very excited to receive this funding,' he said. 'What this will allow us to do is have a central landfill facility and have the ability to grow our region. This funding is perfect timing for our community right now and will really help our council through our current budget process. Thank you, thank you, thank you.' I'm not being repetitive; that's exactly what Councillor Burnett said, because he understands the value of investing in regional areas, particularly in this difficult time of COVID-19 and particularly through the drought.

Of the 163 projects through the Building Better Regions Fund, the waste facility infrastructure expansion was just one, and that is the particular project which Councillor Burnett is so excited about, as well he should be. This round was a drought dedicated round, and $207 million is now going to those desperate communities. They're not out of the drought yet. Many of them will still feel the effects of the droughts for weeks and months—if not years—ahead. But the Liberals and Nationals are there for them, and certainly Councillor Burnett appreciates the support that we're providing. He appreciates the support that the member for Flynn provides, because he is a great fighter. He understands business. He understands the importance of funding these local projects. These local projects provide local procurement and they provide local jobs. As part of our JobMaker scheme going forward, this is going to create hope, opportunity and wealth for communities which are doing it really, really tough.

Mr Albanese interjecting

You can go on all you like, Leader of the Opposition, but this is actually creating help on the ground where it's most needed. When you get a mayor who's as independent as Matt Burnett is—though he is a member of the ALP—going and praising the Building Better Regions Fund, you know it's a good thing. We are backing those local councils. We are backing those local projects through the back of COVID-19 because we know our regional communities need every bit of support— (Time expired)