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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 15006


Mr IRONS (SwanAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (11:56): I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance for delivering a budget for all Australians on Tuesday night. For the first time in 12 years the budget is back in black and Australia is back on track, and our country is far stronger than it was when we came to government six years ago.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr IRONS: I hear the opposition cheering over there! By restoring our nation's finances and strengthening our economy, we're able to invest in a significant new skills and infrastructure agenda and continue to deliver essential services Australians rely on.

I'd like to update the House with a few of the exciting projects that will be happening in my electorate of Swan—I'm sure the member for Hunter can't wait to hear! It was a pleasure to host the Prime Minister last week in my electorate of Swan, where he announced that the Morrison Liberal government 2019-20 federal budget would lock in an additional $1.6 billion investment for critical infrastructure across Perth and regional Western Australia. Of that, I secured $207.5 million for the removal of three key level crossings at Oats Street, Welshpool Road and Mint Street, and a further $13.25 million for the Abernethy Road upgrade in High Wycombe. The replacement of these three key level crossings in Swan will change the way we move around our city and benefit the entire community. I know that constituents of mine who have to sit for 10 or 15 minutes at a railway crossing will be very pleased about this.

The federal government has provided the money, and the state will do the work. This is real money in a real budget that will help many people in Swan get home to their families quicker and safer. You might not enjoy this, Madam Deputy Speaker Vamvakinou—or you might but you won't be surprised—but what Bill Shorten and his candidate decided to do the next day was announce that, if elected, they will match the commitment. But, of course, that's only if Bill's candidate is elected. Did they miss the announcement? It's already funded, it's already in the budget, it's real money, but they're going out and announcing it the next day.

Labor always love to boast that they care for hospitals and that they're the ones to trust on health. But as I've always said in this House: don't believe what they say; look at what they do. I assure you that there is a stark contrast. The WA Labor government don't support Bentley Hospital in my electorate of Swan. They started their attacks when I was first elected in 2007 and ramped them back up in 2017 when they came into government. When Jim McGinty was the state health minister in 2007, he attempted to close down the maternity services for Bentley Hospital. Under the leadership of the WA Liberals, we stopped Labor's campaign to undermine one of the key services offered at Bentley Hospital.

It doesn't end there, though. Following the WA Labor government's 2017 budget, the Southern Gazette reported, in September 2017:

Ten million dollars earmarked for the redevelopment of Bentley Hospital was quietly passed to Royal Perth Hospital's fire needs in the recent State Budget.

They took $10 million out of Bentley Hospital. Guess what happened recently? It's one of the oldest hospitals in Perth's south, it's still in operation, but Labor believed it wasn't important, so they cut $10 million. Conveniently, Bill Shorten's candidate was in the Premier's office at the time as an adviser during the preparation of this budget that decided that Bentley Hospital did not need an upgrade. But now the Leader of the Opposition's candidate and Labor have attempted to hide their cuts to Bentley Hospital, and Bill Shorten has come over to announce—wait for it—$10 million with his candidate for Swan.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr IRONS: They don't want to hear this, because it's a contrast. WA Labor take $10 million out of the operating budget, and then the Leader of the Opposition comes over and announces it like it is new. How hypocritical! I hope you're keeping up. If you are, you would have worked out that Labor has done absolutely nothing for the hospital except return the initial funding that it cut in the first place.

Under the Liberals, as the Treasurer announced, we are back in the black, and we will stay that way. Western Australians know that when the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer come to WA they will be in their back pocket quicker than they can say, 'Tax and spend.' The people of Swan are far smarter than the Leader of the Opposition and his candidates take them for. It's disappointing that they're pulling political stunts like this with hospitals in my electorate of Swan. I've said it once and I'll say it again: when Labor run out of money, they come after your money. Under the Liberals, as the Treasurer announced, we are now back in the black.