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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 8889

Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (19:17): I rise to make a contribution on what is becoming my special subject, the electorate of Grey. In doing so I just want to preface my remarks by noting the contribution of Senator Macdonald and actually quoting Senator Macdonald, because his contribution in the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Reference Committee debate earlier ended with, 'So, in the end we have a complete failure from a dysfunctional government that has absolutely no interest in anyone outside the capital cities of this country.'

I am going to place on the record the abundance of interests that the Labor government has in regional Australia that I can personally attest to. I think the fact that Senator Macdonald does make some provocative remarks is part of the political process. But if he makes factually incorrect remarks then I think it is incumbent on me and others to take him to task on that.

I can start off in Wallaroo: $925,000 under the Building the Education Revolution and the National School Pride project. For those who do not know where Wallaroo is, it is on the Yorke Peninsula. Port Kenny Primary School: $250,000 for a new covered outdoor learning centre. Port Kenny is between Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay. Roxby Downs Area School got $3 million to build a new multipurpose hall. For Roxby Downs we have now moved to the medium to far north. At Elliston Area School, back between Port Lincoln and Streaky Bay, there was $850,000 for new classrooms and $75,000 for a new shade structure. At Spalding, back in the mid-north, there was $250,000 for a covered outdoor learning centre and $50,000 for refurbishments. At Flinders View Primary School there was $2 million for new classrooms and the refurbishment of classrooms. Flinders View is in Port Augusta.

At Solomontown Primary School—we are now back to Port Pirie—there was $2.5 million for the rebuild of their library and classrooms, and $150,000 for a new shade structure. At Snowtown, just across the road from Port Pirie, there was $925,000 for a refurbishment of their classrooms. Samaritan College—we are up at Whyalla now—got $3 million for a new multipurpose hall and $1.9 million for a 21st century science centre. Back in Roxby now, in the far to mid north, St Barbara's Parish School got $2 million for a multipurpose hall. Curramulka Primary School got $925,000 for building refurbishment and a new multipurpose hall. Curramulka is on the Yorke Peninsula.

At Yorketown, just down the road, there was $1.7 million for the refurbishment of their library, their hall and their dual science and language laboratory. At Eudunda, just outside the Barossa Valley, there was $2.8 million to refurbish their library and to construct a new science centre. Cummins Area School received $2 million out of the BER for a new library and $150,000 for refurbishments. Cummins is on the Eyre Peninsula. Waikerie Primary School—we are now in the Riverland—received $500,000 to refurbish their library. Loveday Primary School, just down the road from Waikerie received $300,000 for their covered outdoor learning centre, and Crystal Brook Primary School—we are back over near the Port Pirie area—received $2 million for the construction of a new multipurpose hall. These BER projects are just a tiny percentage of the openings that I have attended in regional South Australia. My predecessor, Senator Hurley, officiated at hundreds. The fact is that in August 2011 133 schools in Grey had received BER funding. Interestingly, whilst attending many of these openings, the member for Grey actually voted against the BER. This vitally important infrastructure has given our schoolchildren 21st century facilities within which to learn. But, most importantly, it has sustained the regional and rural economies of these towns and in some cases very small towns. It has sustained employment of apprentices, plumbers, electricians and architects. This is what the Labor government has actually done. It is not fiction. By any stretch of the imagination, you could not say that Grey is not heart-and-soul regional Australia.

But there is more—trade training centres. The trade training centres are another important contribution to education throughout Australia and are vitally important in regional Australia. I have represented Minister Garrett for two openings: the Cummins Area School trade training centre, specialising in agriculture; and Caritas College, specialising in electrotechnology—both training local kids to get local jobs in local areas.

I move on to the Regional Development Australia Fund, which delivered a grant to the APY Lands arts centres—no surprise there—of $2,841,084. There was the construction of a shared bicycle and walking path from Tanunda to Gawler, constructed by the Barossa Council and located in the Barossa Valley. The total cost of the project was $5.446 million. The Regional Development Australia grant was $810,000. There was Energising the Flinders—a green infrastructure project for the future. The Regional Development Australia grant was $830,000. There was the Port Lincoln airport upgrade. The total cost of the project is $12,669,518. The Regional Development Australia grant was $4.5 million. There is the Streaky Bay Oval Precinct Development. The District Council of Streaky Bay will be delivering the project and the total cost of the project is $2,851,400. The Regional Development Australia Fund grant is $1,721,000. There was also a project to rebuild the Port Pirie Men's Shed and community complex in Port Pirie. Uniting Care Wesley is delivering the project with a Regional Development Australia Fund grant of $1.1 million.

I could go on and on to list these projects in regional Australia from only the very short time that I have been a senator. I would note a couple of really interesting projects. I had the absolute pleasure of officiating last week at Bungaree Station. For those who do not know Bungaree Station, it is a very interesting story. The fact that the principal of the station, George Hawker, is the brother of David Hawker, ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, had no impact. They received their grant because of the value of the proposal. I saw an extremely vibrant tourism project co-funded by this Labor government.

I move on to another Tourism Quality Project recipient. I have not visited this project, but I read about it with great interest. It is the extension of the David Ruston Rose Visitor Centre at the National Rose Centre of Australia, which received a grant of $100,000. Former minister the Hon. Nick Sherry stated:

Nearly half a million visitors spent $111 million in the Riverland region last financial year.

More than 700 businesses on the Riverland region depend on tourism to some extent.

Nearly half of those companies employ fewer than 20 people, so the vibrancy of the region's small business sector increasingly hinges on tourism.

And that's a picture mirrored across the country.

So the National Rose Centre is not just good for roses—it's good for the regional economy.

In that quick snapshot I have placed on the record factual events and factual spending, displaying the absolute commitment of this government to regional Australia. I could go on to criticise and lay out the coalition record in this matter. But in my concluding one remarks I want to simply say this to Senator Macdonald: if he is really serious about placing factual statements on the record, it may well be a good idea to have a cup of coffee with the latest senator to come to this place, Senator Ruston, whose company was the recipient of $100,000 in Tourism Quality Project grants—and a very worthy recipient.