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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6327

Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (18:51): It's no secret that there are issues on which the Sunshine Coast Council and I disagree. In particular, I'm strongly opposed to the council's efforts to encourage the construction of a casino in the SunCentral Maroochydore CBD. I've campaigned strongly and publicly against this proposed development on behalf of local residents, and I will continue do so until my last breath. While I appreciate the council's desire to encourage investment in our region, the evidence suggests a casino would hollow out our local economy and bring with it disastrous social consequences.

It's also no secret that I also disagree strongly with the Sunshine Coast Council on their approach to the federal government's grant of $140,000 to the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce to install CCTV cameras on Bulcock Street. The Turnbull government provided the chamber with this grant under the Safer Communities Fund last year to construct 23 CCTV cameras around Caloundra. While council have approved the chamber's application to construct these cameras, they've done so with many onerous conditions. Despite their previous support for the project, this puts the completion of this camera project under direct threat.

However, despite these differences of opinion that I have with some, but by no means all, of the current elected representatives of the Sunshine Coast Council, I acknowledge the vital day-to-day role that council plays in our community, and the value of the projects that we have collaborated on during my time as the federal member for Fisher. Despite our occasional disagreements, I know that, like me, they as a council have grand ambitions for our region and, like me, they want to see the coast get the infrastructure that it needs.

In Fisher, the Turnbull government has provided a great deal of support for the work of the Sunshine Coast Council over the past two years. In last year's federal budget, for example, we allocated $3 million under the Building Better Regions Fund for upgrades to the council's Events Centre Caloundra. The events centre is getting improved acoustics and upgraded foyer, bar, cafe and box office facilities, as well as new air conditioning throughout the building. Importantly, the grant is also allowing the centre to increase accessibility at the main entrance and install facilities for patrons with a disability, which is extremely important. I was actively involved in supporting this application from the beginning, and its success remains a testament to the hard work of council staff in maintaining such a valued community facility.

Sunshine Coast Council also benefited to the tune of $2½ million from the Turnbull government's Roads to Recovery Program. In Fisher, this has led to the Commonwealth government paying for upgrade works for Currimundi Road between Buderim and Farlow streets, as well as the resurfacing of a stretch of Coonowrin Street in Battery Hill. Under our Black Spot Program, the Turnbull government have delivered a further $17,000 in funding to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians by installing a fully controlled right-hand turn with arrows at the intersection of University Way and Chancellor Village Boulevard.

We also delivered a $205,000 federal grant under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program for a collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Council, the University of Queensland, QUT and Stockland to install cutting-edge bioacoustic monitors in the new Aura development. This project will help engage local community groups and schools to assess if threatened frogs can be preserved through restored and newly created habitat. I'm grateful to the then Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation and the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security for coming to Fisher to launch this initiative.

Just this month, the Sunshine Coast Council handed down their draft integrated transport strategy. This draft strategy lists projects which are, by a very great deal, not the responsibility of council, but which are widely accepted to be important to providing an efficient transport system on the coast. The Turnbull government has delivered unprecedented funding for many of these projects. We've delivered $390 million towards the duplication of the north coast railway line and millions of dollars in funding towards a business case for the North Coast Connect faster rail project. Of course we've also contributed more than $3.2 billion to upgrades to the Bruce Highway between Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

The Turnbull government appreciates the value of local government, and in the electorate of Fisher we are delivering record Commonwealth funding to support that work. I look forward to continuing to work with council, with its elected representatives, to continue to provide good outcomes for the Sunshine Coast people. I'm sure we can work past these differences of opinion we have on some issues.