House debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Regional Australia

2:07 pm

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

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister please inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government is creating jobs and driving regional Australia's economic recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?

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

I thank the member for Flynn for his question and acknowledge his great representation of his electorate. It's a diverse electorate. It's an electorate which relies on agriculture. It's an electorate which heavily relies on resources. It's an electorate which has a wonderful port in Gladstone, a deep port, which is doing so much good for Queensland. When you talk about agriculture, when you talk about resources, you talk about the COVID economic recovery, because those two sectors are leading the way through the COVID recovery. The resources sector, as the minister, the member for Hinkler, advised us yesterday, is going from strength to strength. In Queensland, where both the member for Hinkler and the member for Flynn reside, there's been a 17.9 per cent growth in the resources sector over the past 12 months. The vaccines have arrived in Australia, and frontline workers and vulnerable people will be getting vaccinated starting next week, as the Prime Minister has just indicated.

The government has been dealing with COVID both on the health front, of course, and in terms of the economic situation, providing $251 billion in direct economic support to individuals, families, businesses and industry. One of the support packages, the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, has provided that much-needed and vital support, as far as infrastructure is concerned, right across 537 councils—eight of them in Flynn. That has been so well received. But there is also the economic support to small businesses. I know—and the member for Flynn knows—a fellow in Emerald, in Flynn: Ross Drayton.

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

Name him!

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

Yes, I just did name him—Ross Drayton. Thank you, Member for McMahon. I'm sure you'll be interested to hear that he runs the Central Bike Centre. He said, 'With the government's support, our business has been able to employ three female apprentices.' That's fantastic! He continued: 'These apprentices are able to develop their skills while helping to grow our business. Without the support of the government, we would not have been able to take them on. It's a win-win.'

Ms Catherine King interjecting

Shadow minister, I would have thought you would have liked the fact that we have three female apprentices getting employed. You are rubbishing everything. You are so negative. But this is about real support, in a really good community, getting to the ground. And that's what we're providing right across Australia—$1½ billion to 537 local councils. From Cumberland Council in Sydney, represented by Labor members, right through to Carnarvon, which is well represented by the member for Durack, it is getting support on the ground. It is getting money in the pockets of those hardworking people. These are local contractors, local suppliers and local small businesses providing local workers as we get out of COVID-19—the recession that, unfortunately, we had to have. (Time expired)