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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1646

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (09:18): I rise to continue my remarks on the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2013-2014 and the related bills. As I finished last night, I was reflecting on the fact that the Forde electorate remains one of the fastest-growing regions in South-East Queensland but has often been overlooked for infrastructure. There continues to be a huge potential for small business to thrive, not only in Beenleigh and its surrounds but throughout the electorate and the entire country, thanks to the coalition's positive plans for the future.

I recently spent some time doorknocking in the Upper Coomera area of the electorate. It is always wonderful to get out into our communities and have a listen to what they have to say, unfiltered by the daily glare of the media. In Upper Coomera the No. 1 issue is infrastructure related. Exit 54 on Days Road is notorious for its lengthy delays and congestion during peak hour and at school drop-off and pick-up times. One of the residents who takes her children to school just outside the electorate at Helensvale said that her return journey would normally take 10 to 15 minutes, but during peak hours when she is taking her children to school it can take up to an hour to complete.

Last year we put together a petition for the local residents to sign, to voice their concern over the issue, and that petition remains open and has already received more than 1,000 signatures. Along with my colleague Stuart Robert, I have recently raised this issue with the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, and we will continue to pursue the upgrade of this area until this issue is resolved. This issue is important because, in the surrounding area, there are nearly $1 billion worth of planned developments over the next five to 10 years, and it is critical that we get this infrastructure in place to facilitate those developments.

Other issues raised by local residents include cost-of-living pressures, particularly with the cost of electricity, and the need for more local jobs. I have just touched on the $1 billion worth of planned developments, and, with that, local job opportunities will be created. I spoke to a construction worker who said he had to travel three hours a day to get to a job site because of the lack of local jobs. However, he was confident and positive that things were picking up in the building industry and he hoped to be working closer to home in the not-too-distant future.

Most of the residents I have spoken to feel confident about the direction and actions the government is taking. It is great to get a positive response to the work we have been doing since being elected. But we still have a lot to do. The Rudd-Gillard government's six years of chaos, waste and mismanagement delivered higher taxes, record boat arrivals, and debt and deficit as far as the eye can see. It would have been nice to inherit a $20 billion surplus. We would have been able to do so much more for our communities. Not only did Labor inherit a $20 billion surplus; they left behind a $30 billion deficit and turned nearly $50 billion in the bank into projected net debt of well over $200 billion—the fastest deterioration in debt, in dollar terms and as a share of GDP, in modern Australian history. They left us with over $10 billion a year in net interest payments and they left us with a jobless queue almost 200,000 people longer than when they started. More than 50,000 illegal boat people arrived on Labor's watch, creating an $11.6 billion blow-out in border protection costs. I could go on. Suffice to say, the purpose of these bills, along with the other actions we are taking as a government, is to end the waste and bring the budget and the financial situation of this country back to order so that we can fulfil our promises and leave a positive inheritance for future generations to come.