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Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Page: 6114

Ms COLLINS (4:48 PM) —I cannot believe the hypocrisy of those opposite when it comes to the accountability for taxpayers’ dollars. We can see clearly on the dispatch box in front of me two inches of Auditor-General’s reports about the rorts those opposite were responsible for under the Regional Partnerships program. They went on forever and ever. We heard about companies which went bust and kept the money. We heard about money going into National Party seats. Those rorts went on and on and the lack of accountability for taxpayers’ money was just unbelievable.

I also want to talk about the shadow minister for education’s comments during this MPI and during the last few question times. It has been made very clear by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education that the shadow minister has one policy on education—that is, to spend less. We have called on the opposition to come into this House to tell us which schools they think do not deserve money under Building the Education Revolution. Clearly, they believe that fewer schools should be receiving money, that schools already have adequate facilities. In my electorate of Franklin, I know that that is not the case. I have been around virtually every school in my electorate. I have contacted every school more than once to talk to them about projects under Building the Education Revolution. I have talked to school communities, to parents and friends and to principals about the investment this government is making in the largest school modernisation program in Australia’s history. All the principals and all the parents and friends I talk to in the electorate of Franklin say one thing about Building the Education Revolution—that it is fantastic. They cannot spend the money fast enough.

Under the National School Pride Program one of my schools has already substantially undertaken the work. I have heard from tradesmen in my electorate. In fact, in the last few weeks there was a four-page spread in our local newspaper from Mitre 10 saying that they will be opening a new trade centre due to the federal government’s stimulus National Building and Jobs Plan. I welcome that new centre. My office contacted the company and I am going to have a talk to them about their investment, which is a direct result of this government’s investment in Building the Education Revolution and in other national-building investments going on in Franklin.

Those opposite show unbelievable hypocrisy when they nitpick, whinge and moan about Building the Education Revolution and how it is being implemented when they voted against it. They seem to forget there is currently a global financial crisis. They seem to forget that this program is about stimulating local economies and providing jobs in rural and regional areas right across this nation. To say that the government do not know and that we have not spoken to people in our electorate is absolutely untrue. Every member I know on this side of the House has been contacting their schools and principals, and their state governments, to ensure that this money has been delivered as was intended—that is, as quickly as possible while supporting local jobs. That is what is happening in my electorate of Franklin, in Tasmania and around the nation.

This government is serious about the stimulating effect the Building the Education Revolution is supposed to be having—and certainly is having in my electorate and in other electorates around the country. I am really pleased and proud to be supporting the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Education, today on Building the Education Revolution and to be talking about what a wonderful investment in local schools it is. I certainly support it. I know my local communities support it, my principals support it, local school communities support it and the parents and friends support it. Certainly, the architects, the tradesmen and the other building and project people involved in the rollout of Building the Education Revolution all support it. It is a large program. With over 9,500 schools across the country and 23,000 projects in schools, of course there are going to be some minor hiccups along the way. Anybody who has ever renovated a home knows that nothing goes perfectly all of the time.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Peter Slipper)—Order! It being 4.53 pm, the time for discussion on this matter has concluded.