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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2512


Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (15:09): Will the Minister update the House on how the coalition government's regional jobs and investment package for North Queensland is unlocking job opportunities for hardworking Australians in my electorate of Leichhardt? How does this compare with alternative approaches?

Dr McVEIGH (GroomMinister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government) (15:09): I thank the member for Leichhardt for his question. As I'm sure everyone in this House would agree, when we think of tropical North Queensland we all think of a hardworking, diverse community which has immense opportunities. The member for Leichhardt's experience is as varied as the opportunities that exist in his home city of Cairns and, of course, tropical North Queensland.

Cairns is an economy that is turning the corner. For the first time in many years, the CBD of Cairns is a hive of activity, with some six cranes dotting the Cairns skyline, undertaking development. The Cairns Performing Arts Centre, which is responsible for one of those cranes, is being delivered thanks to $10 million from the coalition and the advocacy of the member for Leichhardt. As the member said during my visit last week, the Cairns community has got a spring in its step and confidence is returning. The member for Leichhardt proudly said in front of Mayor Bob Manning that Cairns is a community that has got its tail up, and the tail is starting to wag. Cairns is underway.

This confidence is returning because the coalition is supporting more and better paying jobs. We've provided tax cuts to small and medium businesses so that they can invest more and employ more locals. There are 21 projects creating 1,000 jobs, delivered for tropical North Queensland, thanks to the Regional Jobs and Investment Package we delivered just last week. This is generating some 400 jobs during construction and nearly 650 ongoing jobs in tropical North Queensland. No project embodies the renewed energy and confidence in Cairns like the refurbishment of the Cairns courthouse, which will help unlock a whole new cultural arts centre in the centre of this magnificent city. As a $2.1 million investment, the project will go from creative vision to construction. So, nearly $40 million worth of projects have been created out of this investment.

The opposition, on the other hand, may parrot lines about wanting to create jobs in regional Australia and regional Queensland, but the Leader of the Opposition has no credibility whatsoever, as we've seen, when it comes to creating jobs in regional areas of my home state of Queensland. He says a different thing to the Labor aligned mayors of Townsville and Rockhampton and Labor candidates such as the former mayor for Bowen in Burdekin than what he says to Geoff Cousins and, of course, the Green-aligned voters of Batman. Unlike those opposite, we're delivering jobs for regional Queensland. We won't shirk our commitment to do that—ever.

Mr Turnbull: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.