House debates

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Questions without Notice

Regional Australia

2:12 pm

Photo of Anne WebsterAnne Webster (Mallee, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House how the Morrison-McCormack government's economic recovery plan is creating jobs and driving growth in regional Australia?

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

The member for Mallee represents an electorate in regional Victoria in which the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program is having such a benefit. Indeed, the dozen councils in her electorate, just like the councils throughout each and every member's electorate, are receiving valuable funds under the LRCI program. In the member for Mallee's electorate, it is $73.5 million. That is substantial. That is getting jobs on the ground, workers on site, construction happening, and making such a difference. I visited Mallee last week and one of the projects that I saw was in the small town of Warracknabeal: population, 2,400. The local community, through Woodbine, a disability residential facility, has contributed $1.3 million to build a new disability accommodation centre. Through the Building Better Regions Fund, we contributed a further $1.2 million to build a new facility and refurbish the old one. The new facility will provide a fit-for-purpose accommodation unit for five people with acute disabilities. The project will support half a dozen jobs through construction and create a further 3.5 FTE jobs ongoing. They're not big numbers but they make such a difference to a small town, such a difference to the local community.

I also visited Mildura, where the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct has to be seen to be believed. It is one of the best sporting precinct—albeit not finished yet, but it's well on the way—in regional Australia. While you may laugh, but it's only a couple of months away. In only a couple of months it will be open and I look forward to going down there for the opening. When you look at that facility—last time I visited the site it was just a dusty old paddock, but, under the Liberals and Nationals, we've converted that, with the help of the local community and the local council, into a magnificent sporting precinct, comprising two full-sized football ovals with 500-lux light towers to AFL standard, a two-storey stadium with six indoor netball and basketball courts and more to come.

You know, when we invest in regional programs, we put it into the regions—unlike Labor. When they were in, it was Watson that got funding under a regional program! It's meant for country areas, it's not meant for the former member for Lalor's electorate; it's meant for the regions. That's why we support these important regional programs.

Daniel MacLeod, a director of local firm Building Solutions, said that the project had been an amazing opportunity for builders in his firm to use their skills to employ more apprentices. That's local delivery. (Time expired)