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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Page: 3865


Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (15:07): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline the government's approach to delivering more infrastructure to the people of New South Wales and how this is being delivered in the budget?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:07): I thank the member for Greenway for his question. I know that he and members, such as the member for Lindsay, work hard to represent Western Sydney in this place and they do a fantastic job.

Mr Hockey interjecting

Ms GILLARD: Sorry, I should have said the member for Chifley. Thank you to the shadow Treasurer for the correction and giving me the opportunity to congratulate another Labor member on representing his community and representing the interests of Western Sydney in this place.

The member has asked me about infrastructure investments. Infrastructure investments are of course core to the budget that we delivered on Tuesday night—in transport, in broadband, in clean energy, in housing, in schools, in universities and in hospitals. I have been asked directly about investments in New South Wales and I want to make it very clear to the parliament that the federal government is delivering more funding in infrastructure to New South Wales than any other state. All up, New South Wales receives $12.1 billion through the Nation Building Program. One in every three infrastructure dollars goes to New South Wales, their fair share per capita and more than any other state. We have committed $3.5 billion directly to Sydney's transport network. Just in case anybody is asking themselves the question 'Which government has best delivered for Sydney's transport network?' I ask them to consider that $3.5 billion figure compared with the Howard government's investment of $350 million over 12 years. That is, we have spent 10 times as much in a third of the time.

This budget allocates an additional $1 billion for the Pacific Highway. That brings our investment in the Pacific Highway to $4.1 billion compared to the Howard government's $1.3 billion. On the question of our commitment to infrastructure in New South Wales, I ask people to compare and contrast those figures. Of the $4.1 billion, new funding for the Pacific Highway is $750 million and in accordance with our usual partnership we are asking the New South Wales government to match this.

There has also been money redirected from the M4 East. I know there has been some debate about this and I have been particularly surprised to hear Premier O'Farrell's claim about the M4 East. So let me advise the House of the following. First and foremost in relation to the M4 East money: this is Premier O'Farrell's contract with New South Wales—the commitments that he is going to keep—and there is no mention of the M4 East. Yesterday, in state parliament, the New South Wales Roads Minister said:

The New South Wales Liberals and Nationals have been advised that the M4 East extension is not currently shovel ready and that further work is required to define the scope of the project, to complete the planning process and to carry out an environmental assessment, including consultation with the community.

In other words, if we wanted to spend the $300 million, even if we wanted to extend this congested motorway, we could not do so. I have personally discussed this question with Premier O'Farrell and an arrangement has been reached between our two governments. So we will continue to work in a spirit of national interest with the New South Wales government. But let me say to Premier O'Farrell that I believe that spirit needs to be matched with a cooperative spirit on his side. He has said in the past that matters of infrastructure should be above party politics. We will stick to that standard and we look forward to Premier O'Farrell doing the same.