House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Infrastructure

2:08 pm

Photo of Pat ConaghanPat Conaghan (Cowper, 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's JobMaker plan is continuing to fast-track the rollout of infrastructure, both nationally and locally, to support and create jobs as part of the recovery from COVID-19?

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

JobMaker and infrastructure—there's a member who gets it. Unlike those opposite, he understands the importance of creating jobs to build back better. He understands the importance of creating jobs to help us through COVID-19. He understands the importance of jobs, particularly regional jobs, in the Cowper electorate, and he's been fighting hard for them. Since long before he even got to this place he has been fighting hard and absolutely delivering. On Saturday, Port Macquarie Airport received $3½ million and Kempsey Airport received $327,000 as part of the 60 regional airports that received money under the Regional Airports Program.

It's been very clear from COVID-19 that we need a recovery plan, and we have it, and it's all about jobs. It's all about creating opportunity, and we are doing the investing, part of our $100 billion pipeline of investment that sustains and supports 85,000 jobs—85,000 people who need that work to help them have the prospect of a better future. And everything the member for Cowper does is building towards a better future in his North Coast electorate. Around half of the Commonwealth government's $100 billion decade-long transport infrastructure pipeline will be spent over the next four years. It includes the recent steps to accelerate spending, which totals more than $9.3 billion, as the Prime Minister has just said, in the past eight months, including a $4.2 billion infrastructure boost at MYEFO. I know those opposite don't care about that; I know they didn't listen to that. But, certainly, we're getting on with putting in the infrastructure that's creating jobs across the economy.

This is in addition to $16.3 million brought forward through the Financial Assistance Grants, which we did recently. Cowper councils Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Nambucca Valley and Port Macquarie-Hastings will all benefit from those FAGs. They are included in the 537 councils across Australia that are getting a doubling of their Roads to Recovery funding under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. I know how belligerent the member has been about the Pacific Highway. He has fought hard for that. He has made sure that as part of his campaign, as part of his advocacy, we are building a better, safer Pacific Highway. That involves a 2½-hour reduction in travel time. It's all well and good to talk about how many millions of dollars we're spending, but it really gets granular and people really understand it when you talk about a 2½-hour reduction in travel time from Hexham to the Queensland border.

That is just part of the advantages, the benefits, that people will receive from our rollout of the infrastructure in today's announcement, where we're cutting through the red tape and we're getting rid of those hurdles towards building better infrastructure, particularly for regional Australia. (Time expired)