Senate debates

Thursday, 16 November 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:05 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Senator Watt) to a question without notice asked by Senator McKenzie today relating to infrastructure.

In May last year, just 17 months ago, the Australian Labor Party, while working very hard to attain office, said that it would stand up for Western Australia. And it didn't just say that. Around Perth suburbs, there were corflutes and signs. That commitment to stand up for WA was plastered across Perth's northern and southern suburbs. Tracey Roberts, the Labor candidate for Pearce, said that she would stand up for WA. Anne Aly, the Labor Party candidate for Cowan, said that she would stand up for WA. Tania Lawrence, the Labor Party candidate for Hasluck, said that she would stand up for WA.

Well, guess what we've heard today? In a decision by Minister King, the Labor government's infrastructure minister, we have heard further news that Labor will cut important road infrastructure spending from Western Australia. Just think about this for a moment—this is in addition to the $639 million that was previously cut in the October budget, the first Labor budget. So, rather than standing up for WA like Labor said they would, in just 17 months they have made a high priority of cutting infrastructure spending in Western Australia, and in today's announcement they have decided to cut important road projects that are critical to the mining industry in our state and critical to agricultural producers in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.

And remember this—this is just another example of Labor's commitment not to WA but to breaking its election promises. On two occasions now, Labor has consciously chosen not to stand up for Western Australia and has chosen to cut infrastructure spending. Let me remind you that, in the $639 million that was cut last year, they cut upgrades to Kwinana Freeway, Mitchell Freeway, Reid Highway, Great Northern Highway and the Tonkin Highway extension. They cut upgrades to the Great Northern Highway between Broome and Kununurra. Anyone who understands that part of the world knows that those single-lane roads are hugely dangerous, and they're the only way to travel across the far north of our state in times of natural disaster. In addition to that, they cut the Tanami Road project, which is important to me, and many other projects. Today we heard news that they were cutting the future road and rail connection project in Perth, the Great Southern Secondary Freight Network, the Marble Bar Road project and stages 1 and 2 of the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation project.

Labor knows no end. There is no end in sight to Labor's commitment to breaking promises. And the broken promises in regard to WA infrastructure spending come on the back of Labor's commitment to make life cheaper for Australian families. That has not happened. They come on the back of Labor's promise to change Australia for the better. There is no way anyone in our country can argue honestly that things have got better in the first 17 months of this Labor government. Things have got considerably worse, and they've got worse for working families. Labor said that life would be cheaper under them, and it has only got more and more expensive. It's not just us saying that anymore; international commentators, the Economist magazine, others, are saying that living standards in Australia are now dropping. Western Australians deserve better from this Labor government. There is no end in sight to Labor's commitment to breaking promises, whether it's on infrastructure spending, economic performance or other things. Labor must do better, because Tracey Roberts, Tania Lawrence and Anne Aly said they would do better and they would look after WA families, and they have not.


No comments