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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 858


Ms PRICE (Durack) (16:59): I rise today to speak on the member for Capricornia's private member's motion. It highlights exactly why I decided to run to be a Liberal, regional member of parliament—to develop regional, rural and remote Australia.

Pardon the pun, but, as I said in this chamber earlier today, the federal government is making significant inroads in developing regional and rural Australia across all states and territories, not just New South Wales and Victoria. Following my election in September 2013, the northern Australia white paper, Our north, our future, was written and published, and as a result we now have a minister for northern Australia for the first time in over 20 years.

The federal government is investing in the most comprehensive infrastructure program in Australia's history—a $50 billion infrastructure program, which will create jobs and stimulate economic growth in not just the metropolitan cities, but also regional, rural and remote Australia, both north and south. The $50 billion infrastructure program is part of the long-term economic plan of those of us on this side of the chamber, and, as you know, Deputy Speaker Wicks, there is no alternative from those on the other side of the chamber.

Transport infrastructure, including the beef roads program, can change people's lives and save lives. That is why in September last year I announced 12 road upgrades in my vast electorate of Durack through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. Transportation of essential basics such as food and other supplies, especially for mining operations, is vital in Durack, which spans over 1.6 million square kilometres from Southern Cross in the wheat belt to Wyndham in the Kimberley.

The North West Coastal Highway is an incredibly important road in Western Australia, connecting Geraldton to the Pilbara, one of Australia's economic heartlands. A truck bay will be constructed on the North West Coastal Highway near Ogilvie, just north of Northampton, which will enhance the safety for all commuters along one of WA's largest roads. This is a welcome addition to what is a very busy passage in regional WA.

A new road train assembly area will be constructed in Port Hedland adjacent to the Town of Port Hedland's area zoned for heavy vehicle industries, which will be another mammoth blessing for the safety of people passing through this very busy town. The Marble Bar Road upgrade will improve the safety of Pilbara road, with a four kilometre section of the road to be realigned and reconstructed to a single carriageway, fixing the current narrowness of the road. The truck bay on the North West Coastal Highway and the Port Hedland road train assembly area are just two of the 12 projects I announced last year, all of which will make our roads safer in the bush in WA.

As well as other benefits, such as creating jobs and economic growth, building roads has a greater effect in the community. The $52 million upgrade of the Great Northern Highway in the Kimberley will improve freight access to and from the region. The Great Northern Highway is a major freight route in the Kimberley, providing access to the Wyndham port, the only deepwater port between Broome and Darwin, which is vital for expanding the local mining and agricultural industries.

About 90,000 head of live cattle and minerals from mines in the East Kimberley are exported through the Wyndham port annually, with this figure to rise as the region experiences strong growth in this particular industry. The upgrade will ensure continued access for heavy vehicles travelling to the port and residents and tourists travelling between Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham. As I have said before in this place on a couple of occasions, the Cape Leveque Road upgrade will open up the tourism potential of the Dampier Peninsula, a gorgeous tourism destination in the Kimberley, and support the local communities that live along the Cape Leveque Road.

As I have just illustrated, seven months after being re-elected, I am getting on with the job I promised to do, and I am delivering for regional, rural and remote WA to make Durack a better place to live. Often things like safety relating to roads is not talked about enough. But I can assure those people who may have an opportunity to listen to this speech that it makes a big difference to people who live in regional Australia, including those who travel the great lengths of the Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal Highway, and I am very proud to represent those people.