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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10135

Mr ROB MITCHELL (McEwen) (16:13): When you look past the empty promises and buzzwords of the failing Liberal government's election campaign, there are some dodgy numbers to be found. Somewhere not far under the surface a fair go for Australians has turned into a Turnbull-Joyce government taxpayer funded pork barrelling rampage to try to hold onto the Prime Minister's job. While the Turnbull government spent $132 million on community development grants in New South Wales seats, only $3.5 million was spent in Labor electorates—a 37 to one ratio, which puts the government's desperation into numbers. The Prime Minister's seat of Wentworth got $12 million in community grants under the Point Piper pork barrel program—nine per cent of the state total—while the under siege Deputy Prime Minister's seat of new England raked in 13 per cent of New South Wales's entire community grant income. It just goes to show how low this government will stoop to buy their way to electoral victory at the expense of communities genuinely in need.

The government also spent $138 million on community development grants in their own Queensland electorates. What did they give to the rest? They gave just over $1 million. Something doesn't add up. Why did North Sydney get $9.5 million in grants when it's the electorate with the highest socioeconomic advantage in the entire country? I'm not sure how this government justifies giving Parramatta, one of the most disadvantaged areas, a pathetic $11,000. Are they punishing Australians for voting Labor? Are they punishing Australians for choosing a party that is devoted to putting people first?

But what is phenomenal is that the government has ignored Victoria so much that we don't even have figures. It's abysmal that the Liberal candidate for McEwen came to the last election with one promise—$150,000 to upgrade Sunbury Memorial Hall. That's all he could manage. And guess what? That one commitment in the fastest growing region in Australia hasn't been delivered. Surprise, surprise! It hasn't been found because this government has snubbed Victoria. While they pump $6.5 million into their seat of La Trobe, they've done nothing to address the roads in McEwen. Our population continues to rise while the Liberal government pork-barrels stagnant populations.

The government have been warned by Infrastructure Australia that, unless they act now, traffic congestion will cost us $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031, yet we're left to deal with single-lane roads and dangerous intersections, and neither the Abbott nor Turnbull government invested one single cent into roads in McEwen. Somehow, all this government focuses on is fighting for their own jobs rather than actually taking steps to address real issues. We on this side are committed to delivering the much-needed railway line and roads for our communities. That's why the Shorten Labor government committed to a full duplication of Bridge Inn Road and Craigieburn Road. We are committed to addressing traffic congestion in McEwen to ensure better productivity and better quality of life for all members of our communities.