House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020


Fisher Electorate: 2021

12:03 pm

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This year has been an incredibly difficult time on the Sunshine Coast and right across Australia. However, there are important signs that our economic comeback is well underway. The road ahead will be long, hard and bumpy, but, thanks in part to the strong financial management and decisive action of the Morrison government, the Australian economy has remained resilient and is well placed now to grow next year. In my electorate of Fisher, I have a clear vision for 2021 and the major projects I believe we need to drive that recovery. My plan for Fisher in 2021 is all about creating jobs and building a more resilient and better connected Sunshine Coast as we emerge from the COVID pandemic.

First, I'll be fighting for a real public transport plan that would be a catalyst to transform our community: heavy rail from Brisbane via Beerwah and along the CAMCOS to Caloundra, Kawana and Maroochydore. This project would provide public transport connecting the largest communities on the coastal strip and, critically, it would be linked by the North Coast line to Brisbane. Residents could use it not only to move around our community on the coast but also to travel to Brisbane, transforming our economic links with the state's capital as well as taking cars off the Bruce Highway and the major coastal roads that connect to it. This project would leave our region better connected than ever and could form the foundation of a stronger future for the Sunshine Coast.

Second, a growing and increasingly connected community needs cultural and supporting infrastructure to match. I'll be fighting to help make the Sunshine Coast Stadium ready to host some of the biggest games and acts. I'm already advocating for federal government funding to allow a planned 12,000-seat upgrade to begin next year. A bigger, better stadium would draw more professional sports and big shows for our Sunshine Coast locals and boost our region's local economy.

Finally, as we recover from this COVID-19 recession and our improving infrastructure brings more people to the Sunshine Coast, I believe we need to diversify our local economy. We must reduce our reliance on the ups and downs of the construction and tourism sectors and bring the jobs of the future into the Sunshine Coast. I'll be working hard next year to make the most of the Morrison government's $1½ billion modern manufacturing strategy in Fisher. I believe we have a terrific opportunity to take advantage of this investment and bring new jobs to our region in sectors like high-tech manufacturing, defence, agribusiness and medical products. By bringing local businesses together, I'm hoping to help make the connections and build the collaborations that will make the Sunshine Coast a leader in these growing sectors and create jobs for our growing, connected community.

As we close parliament for 2020, Christmas is, as ever, a time to reflect and to plan for the future. However, it is also a time to be grateful. This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us, but, when we look around at what has happened in other parts of the world, I think we should take time to be more grateful than ever that we live in the best place on earth.

On a personal note, I'm grateful to all the people who made this incredibly busy working year possible for me. I want to thank, first of all, my incredibly supportive family: Leonie, Emma, Caroline, and Sarah—and Rebecca. I almost forgot Rebecca. How could I forget Rebecca! Thank you to the secretariat staff here in Parliament House on the two committees which I chair: Ashley Stephens, Shennia Spillane, Kathy Blunden, Nathan Fewkes, Alisdair Nicholson, Julia Morris, Lynley Ducker, Tony Evans and Steven Ferguson. Thank you to the cleaners and support staff who keep our parliamentary offices running.

I want to thank you my own hardworking office staff, who have perhaps given more to serve their community this year than ever before: Alaina Megson, Leanne Welch, Simon Thwaites, Katie Beesley, Nic Phantomhive, Jak Hardy, Joh Cleary and Lauralie Knight.

Last but not least, I want to say thank you to the dozens of volunteers in Fisher who help me out week in, week out, in my office or in our community and give up their own time to support our work to improve the lives of people on the Sunshine Coast.

Finally, to everyone watching and all of my constituents back home: I wish them a very, very merry Christmas and all the best in 2021.