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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Page: 2671


Mr LAMING (Bowman) (22:01): I will say a few words at this late hour in this great chamber about the people of Bowman and the city of Redlands—a city of 130,000 people who live in outer metropolitan Brisbane on that wonderful Moreton Bay fringe framed by North Stradbroke Island and hugged by a koala corridor; a city settled in the mid-1800s by German, English and Irish families who set up a market garden that would look after the colony, and that dreamed in the 1850s of being a capital and actually laid down the footprint for a great city which never eventuated but went on to have Finnish and Dutch migrant groups in that area and, eventually, significant intra-Queensland migration to a place where people can live close to Brisbane and still have a fabulous connection to Moreton Bay. I give that preface for the obvious reason that these people are quintessentially Australian.

They live in this outer metropolitan urban environment, where they have simple but fairly understandable expectations: that they can travel to work and that they can enjoy an environment that is relatively untouched and unaffected by urban growth. But they also expect to be able to afford to live there, and the hand that has been dealt them in the last five years, by the government that we have today, has been nothing but bad news for that small corner of Australia.

In June this year we will see the people of Australia having power bills that have doubled since this Labor government was elected. No-one can look in the eyes of a pensioner and say that that is justified—that they have to find that kind of money for basic essentials of living.

We have school halls in which, while they were celebrated with plaques and opening ceremonies, we have sound and lighting that cost over $120,000. This is money that could have been invested in our schools in literacy and numeracy but instead was used to pay for sound systems that subsequently had no backup. In one school, a $10,000 home entertainment system of domestic quality was put in, only to break down and have to be replaced—for which it was demanded that the school pay another $10,000.

In our hospital system, trying to get a budget under control, we have now had a federal government, for the first time in history, actually go back to hospital boards and say, 'We will take back the money that we gave you for this year's budget to pay nurses and doctors.' In my own Bayside area we have lost $1.4 million in this economic cycle. In mental health we have lost $1.4 million in our community. That does not even include the $12 million ripped out of PA Hospital and Logan. It does not even include the $400,000 ripped out of dental care this year for my community. It is unprecedented for any government to reach into this economic cycle of this financial year and remove money that had been provided to run our hospital system.

The year 2007 in my community of Redlands will be remembered for the moment that broadband rollout stopped in our community, and there has not been a fibre laid since that election day—no; it has been left in suspended animation under the pretext of the ACCC choosing points of interconnect. We know that that is a hideous misrepresentation. The ACCC demanded that NBN Co. identify 120 points of interconnect, mostly Telstra exchanges. But they were chosen by NBN Co. I have said before in this place that, by the end of the next three years, senior Labor members in this place will have over 80 per cent of their areas covered by the NBN. If you are a Labor minnow, it will be around 60 per cent. And if you are a coalition MP it will be around eight per cent of your area receiving NBN as a result of the NBN Co. after three years. That has been shameful pork-barrelling by an organisation from which all of us expected much better. There will not be a single fibre of broadband laid in the Redlands area for the next three years.

My people love fishing—they love to be able to wet a line and have access to the bay. They have already struggled with years of political molestation around the laws of fishing, and with prevention from being able to do something simple like taking your family to go and fish. They have large areas of Moreton Bay locked up. They are now watching very carefully the marine park zoning approaches by this government, to make sure those are based firmly on evidence—that is all that anyone can ask, and we will be insisting that that occurs.

Turning from our schools to our hospitals to our small business families: they set up Green Loans to invest thousands of dollars in the dream of a new business, only to have it vaporised by an SMS message from the minister's department. That is a great tragedy. There were people who bought into the business of laying pink batts in ceilings, only to see that one also destroyed; $70-million-turnover businesses became nothing as a result of the damage done by this government. We have heard of competitive neutrality, but nothing can really justify the damage that has been done by this government to the people of Redlands in the last five years.