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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6322

Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (18:25): I move:

(1) recognises the important role that local government plays in Australia;

(2) notes the continuing support that the Australian Government provides to local governments around Australia including:

(a) Black Spot Program funding;

(b) the Bridges Renewal Program; and

(c) the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative; and

(3) recognises that strong local government is important for strong and healthy communities.

Many of us in this place, including me, have served our local community by representing them on council. In my case, I was a councillor on the former Warringah Council from 2008 to 2012, and what fond memories those four years hold.

Our first tier of government is instrumental to communities right across Australia. As I saw and learnt during my time in local government, you are on the ground; you are in and amongst the people you serve. It teaches you to listen and it teaches you to bring everything that we do in this place back to a local level. In fact, I often muse that when I was a local councillor the thing that everyone wanted to talk to me about was Julia Gillard's carbon tax, and now that I'm a federal member everyone wants to talk to me about footpaths.

Local government is often considered the closest to the community. Councils focus on the basics: roads, rates and rubbish. As outlined in this year's budget, the Turnbull government will continue to support local councils in doing just this. Thanks to the economic management of this government, we have committed to $2.4 billion in untied funds to over 500 local councils—councils from Tasmania to the Northern Territory, from Perth to Sydney—$4.8 billion to our Roads to Recovery Program; $744 million for the Black Spot Program, a program that has saved countless lives; $480 million for our Bridges Renewal Program, with over 160 bridges having already been updated, and the economic benefits that this has provided to rural and regional areas, where farmers can now get their product to ports to export and sell overseas has not been fully calculated; and $3½ billion for our Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

The Roads to Recovery Program is a program that has significantly improved local roads in the Northern Beaches. We have been able to secure almost a million dollars for our local roads. This includes upgrades to Darius Avenue in North Narrabeen, Darley Street in Forestville, Government Road in Beacon Hill, Jacksons Road in Mona Vale, Matthews Street in Davidson, Old Barrenjoey Road in Avalon, Victor Road in Dee Why, Wheeler Parade in Dee Why, Charleroi Road in Belrose, Bower Street in Manly, Clontarf Street in Seaforth, Cross Street in Brookvale, Ernest Street in Balgowlah Heights, Kirra Road in Allambie Heights, Manning Street in North Balgowlah, Morgan Road, where I grew up, in Oxford Falls in Belrose, Oxford Falls Road, also in Oxford Falls, Victoria Parade in Manly, Wyndora Avenue in Freshwater and Clearview Street in Brookvale. These are all significant and important projects to members of my local community.

Recently, the New South Wales government amalgamated 45 councils to 20 new councils, in which my former council of Warringah merged with Manly and Pittwater to create the Northern Beaches Council. That is unlike a previous New South Wales Labor government—truly the most inept and corrupt government in the history of our Federation—which, in 2003, forcibly merged and sacked over 30 councils through a Friday afternoon fax, with no support and no funding, just a 'thanks but no thanks'.

We on this side know that this is not a surprise. Those opposite do not support the aspirations of local communities. The same former Labor government forced councils in my electorate to prepare for an influx of 100,000 people, all the while closing two schools and a TAFE and with no investment in infrastructure—nothing like the investment this government is making, as I have mentioned. It seems nothing has changed since those times, as those opposite and their counterparts in New South Wales continue to push for the axing of much-needed infrastructure, like the Beaches Link tunnel. So sick and tired are they of cancelling their own projects, they're now beginning to cancel ours.

The difference cannot be starker. My local council was provided with $15 million for infrastructure and investment in community projects and $10 million to help with the set up and formation of the council. At this point I should congratulate great councillors like Rory Amon, Kylie Ferguson, David Walton, Pat Daley and, of course, Stuart Sprott. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): Is the motion seconded?

Mr Drum: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.