Thursday, 18 March 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: Regional Australia
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 is supporting jobs in rural and regional Australia as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mr Husic interjecting—
Honourable members interjecting—
You want it, don't you! Okay. We've got the regional airline network support. We've got RANS. We've got the domestic aviation network support. We've got DANS. So we've got DANS, we've got RANS; we've got the tourism aviation network support, so we've got TANS. And we've got fans—the member for Chifley, and so many others who are getting onto those cheap airline tickets! And of course we want to get people to Cairns, and other destinations as well. In the member's electorate, we've got SAM—that is, the Shepparton Art Museum.
An opposition member interjecting—
I thought you were about to do a point of order on how good our measures are that we're rolling out right across the nation! Of course, we've got roadworks and we've got investment in fruit-packing sheds.
Importantly, 16,751 employees in the member for Nicholls's electorate are no longer relying on JobKeeper. They've graduated from that important program. They're getting on with the job of building a better Victoria. They're getting on with the job of building a better Australia and a better life for themselves. They needed that support, of course; they've had it and they're now moving on. But our $110 billion investment right across the nation is supporting 100,000 jobs—100,000 workers—and that is so important.
The Move to More campaign that is being put up by the Regional Australia Institute has been doing good work since 2012, and they've got a campaign to get city dwellers out into the regions. The RAI, headed up by Liz Ritchie, has identified 54,000 jobs in regional Australia right now. They're good, well-paying jobs, and not just in agriculture and resources and those sectors that are so important and vibrant in regional Australia, but, indeed, in law firms, accountancy practices, health and hospitality—so many areas of endeavour in regional Australia that are crying out for people to come to those regions and take those jobs and to have a better lifestyle, have a family home where they can live like a king or a queen, have a big backyard, have a swimming pool, have a three-car lock-up garage. There are opportunities in regional Australia now like never before. There are jobs. And, importantly, those areas have been largely COVID-free, because of the great work that regional Australians have done. They've listened to the best possible medical advice, they've followed the best possible medical advice and they've kept their communities largely COVID-free.
We're getting on with the job of rolling out that infrastructure package, and I'm proud of the fact that a third of that infrastructure package is going to regional areas, because regional areas are keeping this country great, have always done, will always do.