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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11678


Mr HAASE (3:06 PM) —My question is directed to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. In a motion appearing on the Notice Paper in the minister’s name calling on the House to support borrowing for his nation building for recovery program, every electorate in Australia is listed, except Kalgoorlie. Will the minister explain to the House and the hardworking people of the electorate of Kalgoorlie why they, when they represent the current powerhouse of the nation and make up 91 per cent of Western Australia and nearly one-third of the Australian landmass, have been excluded from the minister’s list?


Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) —I sincerely thank the member for Kalgoorlie for his question. I can assure the member for Kalgoorlie of this: his electorate is benefiting from this government’s economic stimulus plan. His electorate is benefiting from the jobs that are going into Kalgoorlie right now as a result of this government’s economic strategy. He clearly is not aware of what is going on in his electorate, but of course he might be aware of a little project called the Oakajee Port project, the Commonwealth’s first ever investment in our ports.


Mr Haase —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is a matter of relevance. The minister was asked simply why Kalgoorlie was excluded from his list. It was not meant as an opportunity to pontificate on other matters.


The SPEAKER —The minister has the call. The minister is responding to the question.


Mr ALBANESE —I thank the member for Kalgoorlie for his question. I repeat that I am happy for the member for Kalgoorlie to have a debate on the motion that we have put forward, and we might be able to arrange that at some time in this coming fortnight. What those opposite have done is voted against economic stimulus in their own electorates, voted against community infrastructure, voted against the Black Spot Program increase, voted against the rail safety programs, voted against the new ports infrastructure—


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The minister was not asked a general question about infrastructure. He was asked a specific question about why Kalgoorlie was the poor cousin of the parliament when it came to the list of seats named in the motion, and he should either explain why Kalgoorlie was left off the list or sit down.


The SPEAKER —The minister is responding to the question.


Mr ALBANESE —I assure those members opposite—because clearly their tactics committee has decided that they want the opportunity to vote on this motion—that we will be giving them the opportunity over the coming fortnight to vote on this motion, to vote on whether they support infrastructure funding in their own electorates.


The SPEAKER —Order! Has the minister concluded his answer?


Mr ALBANESE —No, Mr Speaker.


The SPEAKER —The minister will resume his seat. The member for Mackellar on a point of order.


Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on the question of relevance. Clearly, to be relevant to this question the minister must at least use the word ‘list’ on at least one occasion. He has yet to do it. Why was Kalgoorlie left off the list?


The SPEAKER —The minister is responding to the question.


Mr ALBANESE —We have got lists, Mr Speaker. We have got lists of projects right around the nation—33,000 of them. That is what is on our list: 33,000 economic infrastructure projects that are supporting jobs today in each and every electorate around the nation while building the infrastructure that Australia needs for tomorrow.