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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2936

Senator MOLAN (New South Wales) (16:09): I rise very slowly today to speak to Senator Marshall's motion to take note of answers by Senator Cormann during question time. He mentioned economic management in relation to the budget, and he said that the budget that we have brought down is 'only good for the Liberal Party'. I had the pleasure this morning of hosting the Treasurer and the Prime Minister in the electorate of Eden-Monaro, where I live. They met with Australians with a real interest in this budget. They met 12 seniors from Queanbeyan in that federal electorate, the electorate of Eden-Monaro.

The reason why we went there was that this budget does work for a vast range of Australians. Let me give you some examples that relate particularly to the electorate of Eden-Monaro. There are more than 63,000 low- to middle-income earners across Eden-Monaro who will get tax relief as a result of this budget. There are 5,000 local families who are eligible for childcare provisions as a result of this budget. There are 16,000 local businesses throughout Eden-Monaro who have benefitted already from the legislated enterprise tax cuts; 1,000 of them have already accessed the $20,000 instant asset write-off facility. There is $23.7 billion being spent on infrastructure that will go to New South Wales, an increase of $9 billion over five years.

Let me talk for a minute about infrastructure, for the simple reason that the people of Eden-Monaro who met the Treasurer and the Prime Minister this morning were very, very interested in infrastructure. Over the next 10 years, because of this budget, we will invest over $75 billion in new and upgraded transport infrastructure projects across Australia through a 10-year infrastructure investment pipeline. We are building on our current investments to improve our road, freight, rail and urban public transport networks. In New South Wales, we're investing $17.2 billion through the Infrastructure Investment Program up to 2021-22, with $1.7 billion to be funded in 2018-19.

The coalition's vision to deliver infrastructure of critical importance can be seen right across New South Wales, which is of basic interest to those people in Eden-Monaro, with investment in projects from the Western Sydney Airport and infrastructure plan to Inland Rail and the duplication of the Pacific Highway. In my home electorate of Eden-Monaro the benefits of the Turnbull government's infrastructure investment for the community include an additional $100 million for the Barton Highway upgrade package and a $100 million investment in the Monaro Highway upgrade package. These investments will bust congestion for people travelling to Canberra from Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman, Yass and beyond. It will help to move freight more efficiently, better connect our regions, grow our economy and create new local jobs. Importantly, it will improve safety so that our neighbours and friends can get home sooner and safer.

This money, this $200 million, is real money and it's having a real effect, unlike the pie-in-the-sky promises of those in the Labor Party. The local member for Eden-Monaro, Mr Mike Kelly, described that $200 million for the Barton and Monaro highways as 'a con job'. That's sad and I think, unfortunately, it's a bit shifty. Ongoing activities are also occurring in Eden-Monaro: for example, the port of Eden, the Bega sewage treatment plant, regional development grants for Men's Sheds and RFS facilities, the Shoalhaven bridge and an ACT overpass, which is also of value to Eden-Monaro residents. The local member, Mr Mike Kelly, describes this budget as 'a great disappointment'. It would be a great disappointment to him because it's the truth. There are no cuts to education or health; each year both education and health budgets in Eden-Monaro increase, not decrease, and it's duplicitous to say otherwise. That is why the people who the Prime Minister and the Treasurer met this morning, who were locals, believe that this budget is a manifestation of the superior economic management of the coalition government.