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Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Page: 1517

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (12:24): This government's record on economic management has resulted in lower taxes, stronger growth, lower interest rates, lower unemployment and inflation in a low band. This government's economic management is the envy of the OECD. This government's economic management has seen a stimulus which has retained jobs. About 250,000 people would have been thrown on the scrap heap if those opposite had followed what they thought was the New Zealand model, and we would have seen unemployment rates in excess of seven per cent in this country. The rate is about 5.2 per cent.

Those opposite have said no to my electorate and no to the country—no to Blair, no to Ipswich and no to Somerset. There is not a road-funding bill that has been passed through this House in the last four years since I have been elected that those opposite have not opposed. There has not been a health-funding bill that those opposite have opposed that has not made an impact on my electorate. There has not been a bill in relation to education that has made a positive impact on my electorate that those opposite have not opposed. There has not been a regional development infrastructure funding commitment and execution in my electorate that those opposite have not opposed. Time and again they have opposed every single thing. They say no to Ipswich, no to Somerset and no to Queensland.

What we have done with respect to road funding in my home state, doubling the funding to $8.5 billion, those opposite failed to do. We have increased the funding for rail 10 times and doubled the road funding—$36 billion for road, rail and ports. Those opposite should stand condemned with respect to road funding in South-East Queensland in particular.

They have opposed, for three elections in a row, the most important road-funding commitment that this government has made, the Ipswich Motorway. It will be completed by the middle of or late this year. The Ipswich Motorway links Brisbane to Ipswich and goes on, linking from there to the Warrego and Cunningham highways, to western Queensland, Toowoomba, the Darling Downs, the Lockyer Valley, the Brisbane Valley et cetera. That is where we get the minerals through—on those roads. That is where farmers take their produce to the Rocklea markets and on to the ports. That is where mums and dads drive through. We have done the Ipswich Motorway against the opposition of those opposite. All the mayors in South-East Queensland supported it. Even Campbell Newman, the alternative Premier of Queensland, supported it. Those opposite opposed it.

They opposed the funding for the Blacksoil Interchange—again, one of the magnificent seven projects that we were urged to do by the mayors of South-East Queensland. We put in $54 million, and the state Labor government has just closed the tender. Those opposite opposed it for 11½ years. They opposed the Dinmore to Goodna section of the Ipswich Motorway, doing nothing on the Blacksoil Interchange for 11½ years.

Let us look at road funding. Those opposite gave such little amounts. For example, let us talk about the Somerset Regional Council. Under Roads to Recovery from 2005-06 to 2008-09, the total amount that the Somerset Regional Council received under those opposite—and this is the local council with the largest area in South-East Queensland—was only $714,468. That council has the largest area of the councils in South-East Queensland, and it got $714,000. We increased it to $3.266 million in local road funding from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

For Ipswich City Council again we did that. We increased it from $5.9 million to $6.55 million. Even in the electorate of the member for Groom, the road funding increased from $3.9 million to $14.9 million, with those opposite opposing all funding for roads. Brisbane City Council got the same. Road funding was massively increased for South-East Queensland, with those opposite opposing it time and time again.

The member for Wannon talks about waste. Is the road funding in South-East Queensland a waste? One in seven Australians lives in South-East Queensland. Is that a waste? Yet they opposed the funding for it. They should stand condemned for that. It is ridiculous to oppose that

What about regional infrastructure in that area? They opposed all the regional infrastructure in that area in my electorate. They opposed the funding for the Ipswich civic centre upgrade. They opposed the funding for the Ipswich Baptist Church community hall upgrade. They opposed the funding for the aquatic facilities and also for the River Heart Parklands on the Bremer River in my electorate. They opposed the corporate centre in the north Ipswich football area, where the Ipswich Jets play every week. They opposed the funding for the Fernvale Indoor Sports Centre, the skate parks at Esk and the skate part at Kilcoy. They opposed the funding for the Somerset Civic Centre—$2 million under Regional Development Australia funding. They say no to every regional infrastructure fund in my electorate. They also opposed the road funding.

Let's talk about health funding. They opposed the GP superclinic in Ipswich, which was so influential and helpful during the flood. They opposed the funding of the Medicare Locals program and for the health and hospital networks. They also opposed the funding we put into the Ipswich general hospital and they opposed the rehabilitation, geriatric and palliative care funding that we provided.

They opposed the BER in my electorate. The member for Wannon talks about the BER and that it is all a waste. Tell the people of Esk, the people of Fernvale and the people of Patrick Estate in my electorate who used those BER halls and sheds as the place they went to to shelter from the flood. That helped them to rebuild their homes and their communities. Those opposite say that is a waste. The BER projects provided jobs and vital infrastructure. In my seat, I cannot find one community that does not think the BER was a good thing for their school community. BER has been so important.

They opposed the trade training centres. They opposed the Ipswich trade training centre at St Edmund's. They have a fantastic facility there that is linked to Ipswich Girls Grammar School and Ipswich Grammar School. That project was $3 million. Those opposite also opposed all the computers in schools. They would rip up that program. They criticised us for not delivering them fast enough and then went to the last election with a policy opposed to it. They opposed the funding for the trade training centre at St Peter Claver College. They opposed the funding for the trade training centre at Ipswich State High School which is linked to other schools in Ipswich and the lower Somerset. They opposed the language learning centres and the science laboratories at places like St Peter Claver College and Ipswich State High School.

They cannot find a school funding project that they would not oppose in the BER. The Leader of the Opposition actually belled the cat on this because he does not want certain people to be educated well. He only wants the right people to be educated well. That is what he said: only the right people. They opposed all the BER funding. Those opposite do not want to fund areas of social and economic disadvantage. Only Labor governments provide for the Ipswich and Somerset region. Only Labor governments provide the road funding in that area.

Think of all the national school partnerships. Think of all the things in the 20 schools in the Ipswich and the Somerset region that are taking part. I have seen the advantage that has been provided in real working-class areas like One Mile and Leichhardt. I have seen the pride in the schools there and their pride in the extra facilities they have received. I have seen the improvements in literacy and numeracy in those schools. To have seen the great things that have been done in those schools is fantastic. I have 64 schools in my electorate and five more have recently opened. We have invested in those schools. Also, we have provided additional funding for chaplains in those schools. They helped so much during the flood. We are rolling out more chaplaincy services in those areas and I know that they will be warmly appreciated.

With respect to funding in my electorate, all those opposite can do is say no. On this side, we know how important these projects are. I was not intending to do this, but I want to go through this because the member for Wannon talked about waste and the BER. When I got elected in 2007, I was approached by the community at Brassall State School, the third biggest primary school in my electorate, about the need for a new school hall. The P&C president, Shelly McDonald, came and talked to me about it. She said that the previous member for Blair could not get them funding. They kept on asking for it all the time. We rolled out that funding under the BER and the Prime Minister was with me when we opened that school hall at Brassall State School on 21 July last year. Peter Doyle was the principal then. That school lost all of its computers owing to flooding. It had buildings demolished because they were flooded. There was not a piece of paper left as a result of the flood. It was entirely trashed. All credit goes to Peter Doyle and the whole school community for rebuilding the school and having the kids back on time. That school hall was a symbol of the pride of that school. They were so happy that day to see that school hall officially opened by the Prime Minister. Does the member for Wannon think that was a waste?

What about the new facilities for St Joseph's? St Joseph's Primary School in North Ipswich was the flood evacuation centre for the people of Brassall and North Ipswich during the flood in January 2011. I was there and opened the new facilities at that school. They received $2.625 million for a new library, new classrooms and other improvements. The people of Brassall and North Ipswich suffered in the flood. I saw the happiness, the joy, the enthusiasm, the pride and the self-respect of the people and the whole Catholic community in North Ipswich and Brassall on the day that was opened. Does the member for Wannon think that was a waste? I do not think it was.

What about Esk? That was where the SES and the rural fire brigade stayed. That is where people bunked as the waters from Redbank Creek flooded through the CBD of Esk and through people's houses. Esk Caravan Park was destroyed. People went to that hall. Without that hall there was nothing in Esk and no place to go. Was that a waste of money? Do not tell the people of Esk that was a waste of money because it certainly was not. The new library and the new hall are an important part of the education of the children there.

What about the heritage in my home city of Ipswich? We have seen refurbishments, a new multipurpose hall and a new gym, in one of the oldest schools in Ipswich, Ipswich Central State School—my dad's old school. It got $3.2 million. I know that is one of Ipswich's oldest schools and it is important. What about poor Karalee, where hundreds and hundreds of homes were flooded in January 2011? A grant of $3 million effectively gave them their own civic centre at the Karalee State School—a new performing arts and resources centre. I know that is so important for that area. I saw the happiness on the young people's faces as they performed on that Saturday afternoon when we opened it. Karalee was badly hit during the flood. Was the funding there wasted? I say it was not.

What about the new kitchen gardens at WoodLinks State School and Lowood State School? We gave them $60,000 grants under the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Was that a waste? I think not, and the people do not believe that either. What about Claremont Special School and Ipswich West Special School? After I got elected Ipswich West Special School approached me because they needed a hydrotherapy complex—a pool for their kids with severe disabilities. They had not been able to get the money under the coalition. For over 20 years Peter Davis was the principal there and he could not convince coalition members in the federal government to give him the money. They would not do it. We provided that funding. We did it for them and now they have got a hydrotherapy complex there under the BER. Was that waste? I think not.

I could go on and on and on. Those opposite stand condemned for their refusal to invest in health, education, community and road infrastructure in South-East Queensland. They say one thing down here and they visit all those schools and facilities back in their electorates and want to take the credit for it. We have seen their websites and their newsletters.

This appropriation bill is in the spirit of this Labor government. It wants to make a difference in the lives of people through the length and breadth of this country. I commend the legislation to the House.