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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14631

Infrastructure


Mr DRUM (MurrayNationals Whip) (14:38): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Would the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how the government's record infrastructure investment is benefitting Australian communities, including those in my electorate of Murray? And how would another approach affect jobs and opportunities in the regions?


Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Leader of The Nationals) (14:39): I thank the member for Murray, who, like me and everybody else, lives today in the age of infrastructure. The age of infrastructure is upon us! No matter where you live, no matter where you work, we're investing to get you home sooner and safer. It is part of our $100 billion investment in infrastructure over the next 10 years. How fantastic is that? The Liberals and Nationals have committed $208 million to deliver stage 1 of the Goulburn Valley Highway bypass at Shepparton. I know how much that means not only to the member for Murray but certainly to the people he represents in the great Goulburn Valley. It's a vital boost to road safety in that region. The bypass will mean that transport companies, of which there are many, can get product to market sooner, improving the competitiveness of local businesses—particularly those small businesses paying less tax with the instant asset write-off, thanks to the budget—and helping them create even more jobs for locals. Stage 1 of the bypass involves a 10-kilometre road starting at the Midland Highway in Mooroopna, and this is something that the member for Murray has fought for, campaigned for and advocated for—and he has delivered, as part of a Liberal-Nationals government. The chair of the Goulburn Valley Highway Shepparton Bypass Action Group, Peter Johnson, welcomed the investment, and he told the member for Murray: 'To have a financial commitment of this magnitude to the project is magnificent and the best news we could've hoped for.' The mayor of Shepparton, Kim O'Keeffe, said, 'The bypass will improve local business by helping our transport companies to move product as quickly as possible,' and of course she's correct, too.

We've already invested in the Echuca-Moama Bridge. It's currently under construction.

Last month we announced a $15 million investment in the FRUITCo project in Shepparton to lower production costs, to help reduce waste and to get a better return at the farm gate. I know how important that is for our farmers.

It's jobs; it's opportunities; it's safer roads: last night's was a budget for the bush, a budget for infrastructure, a surplus budget. Hallelujah! A surplus budget! This is what the Nationals and the Liberals are doing. This is what we're delivering. We're investing in infrastructure. We're investing in country, coastal, remote and regional communities—and metropolitan, too.

And of course, if you look at Victoria, 79 more councils will receive money under R2R, Roads to Recovery. That's significant. That's a significant investment in those local councils, so they can make decisions about which streets and which roads can have better bitumen and more bitumen. In some cases, they haven't had asphalt. They're going to get it, thanks to the Liberals and the Nationals.

Faster rail to Geelong—I know how important that is for the member for Corangamite. Delivering the regional rail revival; $60 million to replace the Swan Hill Bridge—it just goes on and on.

The age of infrastructure has dawned! It's upon us! Well done, Liberals! Well done, Nationals! Well done, Treasurer!