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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14995


Mr DRUM (MurrayNationals Whip) (10:52): The Liberal-National coalition's strong and responsible economic management over the last 5½ years is delivering great results for rural and regional Australia and certainly in my electorate of Murray. Since being elected to represent the people of Murray, I've had the honour to work with primary producers, local government, business owners, industry leaders, community groups and health providers to deliver a range of productive outcomes for the whole community.

One of the most important infrastructure projects for the region that has been advocated over the last 10 to 20 years has been the Shepparton bypass. It was a fantastic honour to be able to announce federal funding for the first stage of the Shepparton bypass earlier this week. We've only been able to achieve this $208 million in funding because of the financially strong position that the federal government finds itself in, and because of the Nationals playing a strong part in that responsible government. I've been able to work very closely with the Deputy Prime Minister, who is Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, over the last few years. I want to thank Minister McCormack for making the bypass funding a reality.

It is a core belief of the National Party and I'm sure of the Liberal Party that we have to at least make sure we can balance the books before we can deliver for all Australians and before we can look after all of the vulnerable people, which is our main aim. As most people would know, the poorest Australians tend to live in National Party seats. We are proud to represent them and fight for them as hard as we possibly can.

A few weeks ago, we were also able to announce a $15 million injection into FRUITCo. The fruit industry has an opportunity to bring its competitiveness forward when it comes to the processing and the packing side of its industry. In Australia we're currently let down by our packing and sorting processes. This injection into the infrastructure around the fruit industry is much needed.

Also in relation to infrastructure, the Mitiamo pipeline project is in the throes of being funded. We've been working very closely with Minister McCormack, and that announcement is imminent. It's a fantastic project that will bring reliable, clean, high-quality water to over 200 farms that currently don't have it.

Only last week I was able to announce, with Minister Chester, a memorial to Brigadier Sir Murray Bourchier. He was a fantastic military figure from the Goulburn Valley who led the charge at the Battle of Beersheba and helped turn the course of the First World War. His great-great-niece Lucy is in the parliament as part of a delegation as well.