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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 5449

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (7:34 PM) —In the short time I have: the member for Maranoa has raised the issue of the Warrego Highway. We have been busy talking to our Queensland counterparts to make sure that the $54 million funding we have committed is spent as an immediate priority. He raised a number of other issues, and I am pleased to say that the member for Maranoa is very genuine about the issues which he raises. With regard to the Birdsville Track, the Attorney-General’s office has contacted the minister responsible in South Australia on the issue of the Birdsville Track punt. Under current arrangements, it is up to the South Australian government to ask the federal government for assistance in natural disasters such as flooding.

The member for Flynn raised the issue of the commitment that we have to Gin Gin and the upgrade of the southern approaches. It is unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition went to the member for Flynn’s electorate last week and could not confirm the $20 million funding for that vital project. Nor could he confirm the funding for the Calliope crossroads—the $55 million that we have allocated to get stage 1 underway. I am very concerned with both the issues that he raised and the issues that the member for Lyne raised about Roads to Recovery funding. These untied grants for local roads are vital for local government, and they are under threat from the coalition. There was a great deal of concern raised by local government today at the Australian Local Government Association conference about those issues. I am pleased to be able to engage with local members about their specific projects on an ongoing basis.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Health and Ageing Portfolio

Proposed expenditure, $7,164,888,000