Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Regional Infrastructure
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister please inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government's continued investment in regional Australia is creating a stronger Australia as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?
What a fierce advocate the member for Cowper is for the Mid North Coast and, indeed, for regional Australia. In his role as chair of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, he is also an unwavering advocate for road safety, as all of us in this place know. As a former police officer, he has experienced firsthand the consequences of road trauma.
In the October budget, the federal government allocated an additional $2 billion for a new road safety program. This will be rolled out in every state and territory to improve road safety outcomes. It will save lives, and that's the most important thing—
Ms Catherine King interjecting—
In regional seats, Member for Ballarat, it will save lives. An important component in improving road safety—
Ms Catherine King interjecting—
is improving road infrastructure, which is exactly what this government is delivering. In the member's electorate, over the next decade, we are delivering the transformational Coffs Harbour bypass as part of our $110 billion pipeline of infrastructure, supporting, encouraging, enhancing and ensuring 100,000 jobs. That's what it's about as we build out of COVID-19—jobs, jobs and more jobs.
This project will take more than 12,000 vehicles out of the Coffs Harbour town centre, bypass 12 sets of traffic lights and save 11 minutes of travel for road users. It's a 14-kilometre bypass, and it's made possible by the $1.46 billion allocation and investment by this government. I know how hard the member for Cowper has worked towards achieving that. Safety and efficiency benefits are a priority in the delivery of this project. But, importantly and vitally, it's supporting 12,000 jobs over its lifetime. That means local procurement. People and their small businesses in Coffs Harbour's town centre are going to benefit from this project. It's but one example of the stability and certainty provided by this government's infrastructure package and programs.
Through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, we've committed $15.4 million across the electorate of Cowper. Five local government areas share in this allocation, allowing each to deliver infrastructure works from small to large. But, again, it's about local procurement and local jobs. Projects such as the Crown Street rehabilitation in Bellingen demonstrate how these programs are supporting local jobs and small businesses.
The Assistant Treasurer, the Minister for Housing, will be delighted to know that Pycon Homes and Constructions in Port Macquarie, a second-generation family owned small business, are doing very well out of the HomeBuilder program. They're building homes on the Mid North Coast, they're supporting jobs, they're supporting the economy and they're supporting local families to get that first dream home. (Time expired)