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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1650

Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (09:38): I rise to speak on Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2013-2014, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2013-2014 and Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 2013-2014. These bills seek appropriation authority from the parliament for the measures announced since the 2013-14 budget. The most significant items for appropriation are just over $8.8 billion to the Department of the Treasury for a one-off grant to the Reserve Bank to meet its request to strengthen its financial position; and just over $2.5 million to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade re-appropriating amounts previously provided to the former agency AusAID which are required this financial year for expenditure by DFAT.

This debate is an important chance to discuss how our government is working hard to build a strong and prosperous economy, to get Australia back on track, to tackle the $123 billion of accumulated deficits that we face in the forward estimates the $667 billion of debt that is crippling our nation unless we take the appropriate action in the next few years.

I noted with some bemusement the member for Grayndler's discussion about negativity that we have just heard in this chamber. It is remarkable that the Labor Party spent most of its six years in government condemning its prime ministers—first Prime Minister Rudd and then Prime Minster Gillard—in what was the most destructive campaign, the most negative campaign that we have probably ever seen in this parliament, tearing down not just one prime minister but two prime ministers. The Labor Party was ripping itself apart. I have to say I find these quaint comments about negativity fairly amusing. Look at what happened in my electorate as a result of the former member, Darren Cheeseman, coming out and condemning Prime Minister Gillard's leadership. I know the member for Ballarat was fairly upset about that. By doing that he ensured that the rollout of the NBN in Corangamite was basically left off the list. The people of Corangamite were punished because of what the former member did. He also placed in jeopardy a whole range of other projects because of his conduct in ripping down a prime minister. As I say, when we look at negativity the Labor Party knows no bounds.

In contributing to this debate I reflect on my own electorate of Corangamite and the damage that Labor has caused over the past six years. Look at the carbon tax. Again I find it amusing that the member for Grayndler is holding up the carbon tax as a great achievement for the airline industry. The fact of the matter is that the carbon tax is costing Qantas $106 million and Virgin $27 million in one year alone. Let me quote Mr Borghetti, the CEO of Virgin:

The best assistance the Government and the Opposition can provide is the removal of the carbon tax, which has cost this industry hundreds of millions of dollars and to that end may I say we applaud the Government's position on this.

What we are trying to do is unshackle the airline industry, put Qantas on a level playing field and get rid of a tax which is causing a hit to manufacturing of $1.1 billion a year. The carbon tax in my electorate is a tax on manufacturing. It is a tax on jobs. It is a tax on the people of Geelong.

When I hear about the infrastructure achievements of the previous government, I reflect on the so-called support that Labor provided for one of our most iconic tourism roads, the Great Ocean Road. We were very proud of our $50 million commitment, combined with the state, for the upgrade of the Great Ocean Road—one of the great tourism icons of our nation. What did Labor do? Labor campaigned against it in a very destructive and negative way. Our minister for tourism is in the chamber, and I can say that we are incredibly proud of our commitment to tourism. We know how important tourism is to our economy. We have shown that in our actions and we are delivering on the commitment that we have made in my electorate to the Great Ocean Road.

Another great infrastructure project we are investing in is the duplication of the Princes Highway—$257.5 million for the duplication of the stretch of road between Winchelsea and Colac. On 26 May 2010 the member for Grayndler claimed, obviously quite incorrectly:

The Federal Opposition has abandoned its promise to duplicate the Princes Highway between Winchelsea and Colac, exposing the spin and dishonesty of Phoney Tony’s candidate for Corangamite Sarah Henderson.

Clearly, the member for Grayndler was not cognisant of the facts. He was not cognisant of what we were planning to do, and within a month, unlike Labor, we proudly announced our commitment, and Labor was left kicking and screaming just a couple of days before that election in matching our commitment. Here already we have seen a couple of examples on those very big infrastructure projects where the member for Grayndler has let Australians down and has also misled the people of my electorate.

We are very proud of the work that we are doing in my electorate to create jobs. I would like to draw your attention to this morning's Geelong Advertiser:

Job scheme starts rolling: hundreds of positions likely as government, car industry help fund factory.

This is an example of the work we are doing to create new jobs, to bring new opportunities to our region and to look at the new industries that we need to invest in.

Yes, we have had some tough times but let us not forget that we have seen thousands of jobs lost under Labor in my electorate: 510 job losses just at Ford alone, and there were Qantas, Target, Fonterra and Boral. It has been a very sorry couple of years because of Labor's policies and what they have done. The Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund, which is a combined fund from the federal and state governments and also Ford—and we do thank Ford for its contribution of $5 million to this fund—is getting on with the business of investing in new industries and new opportunities.

Yesterday, it was with great pride that we announced $5 million to Carbon Revolution to invest in a $23 million project which will take Carbon Revolutions manufacture of carbon fibre wheels from around 4,000 a year to 50,000. This is going to help make Carbon Revolution a tier 1 auto component manufacturer, selling their product to the world. This is a great story; carbon fibre is a great story for our region. This is an example of the sort of work that we are doing in advance manufacturing.

I also want to note on that point that round 2 of the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund is now open. It opened yesterday and it is open until 29 May. This provides businesses in my region, in my electorate, with a great opportunity to look at how we can work with industry to grow new opportunities and to deliver more jobs to our region. I do want to make the point that despite the name of the fund, this fund also extends to the Colac Otway Shire. So this is a great opportunity for the communities in the western part of my electorate to have a look at how we can support industry and work closely with industry to create jobs and to drive innovation in our region.

We are also working very hard as a region to bring an incredibly important project to Geelong. This is the LAND 400 Defence project, one of the biggest army projects of this generation. I have to commend my community in Geelong, led by the City of Greater Geelong mayor, Councillor Darryn Lyons, for being so proactive in championing our city and in telling the nation of our capacity, skills and potential to be the home of a LAND 400 project.

On Friday, the Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon. Stuart Robert, will be visiting Geelong and providing a briefing to industry and community leaders. I am very excited about the prospects of us putting our best foot forward to become the home of LAND 400.

We are very proud of the election commitments that we have made in Corangamite, and it is a good opportunity today as part of this debate to remind the nation and to remind the people of my electorate about what we are doing. We have heard, of course, about our commitment to the duplication of the Princes Highway, which is so important in so far as bringing new industries, new opportunities and new investment to our region. Of course at the moment there is the $171-million duplication works underway on the stretch between Waurn Ponds and Winchelsea. It is terrific to see that work underway and we are hoping that we will be able to unveil that road by the end of this year.

We have made some really important local community infrastructure commitments: $3.5 million to build a new sports pavilion at Shell Road Reserve in Ocean Grove. It is great news. That application has gone into the City of Greater Geelong and has been returned. So we are moving very quickly to deliver that funding, because for the people of Ocean Grove not having a proper sports pavilion has been an open wound in their community for some 20 years.

We are doing the same in Colac at Colac Central Reserve—$2.5 million towards the upgrade of a new pavilion there. We have committed $300,000 to the Surf Coast Solar Towns Project. That is a wonderful opportunity and it shows our commitment to renewable energy. We will be making an amount of $300,000 available so that local community groups—the surf clubs, the senior citizens clubs—can apply for some funding support to put solar panels on their community buildings. I am a great believer in the strength of solar. I think every house has the potential to power its own future with the use of solar. This shows a great commitment to the environment and to renewable energy.

We are also investing $200,000 for new lights in the Burdoo Reserve in Grovedale. These commitments are very important because they go to our commitment to local communities. For the people of Grovedale I know how much this is going to mean for the young teams in football and in netball for the adjoining Grovedale College. Again, another example of our investment in local communities.

We have our Green Army projects being rolled out. In my electorate there are four Green Army projects. This is a great commitment not just to the environment but also to engaging and employing young men and women to give them the opportunity to work on a project, to build pride, to build skills and to give them opportunities for the future.

I am also very proud of some significant commitments that we have made since the election. We have committed $3 million to the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases. This was also a commitment of the previous government. But, unfortunately, like so many commitments that we saw, they never got around to signing the contract. As we know, without a contract, it is very hard to deliver the project. One of the things that I have said to every group who has been successful in achieving some funding through us is: 'If there are any pick-ups, if there are any problems, come to us straight away. We will cut through the red tape, we will cut through the bureaucracy, to make sure that we deliver these projects quickly and efficiently, unlike what happened under Labor.'