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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 511

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (11:35): It is with great delight that I rise this morning to support my friend and colleague the member for Corangamite and commend her on what is an excellent motion. It is a motion about how the Abbott government is delivering for regional and rural Australia and how it is delivering by co-investing with the Victorian government, the Napthine government, in a major project which will deliver real economic benefits to the state of Victoria and to the nation as a whole.

The private member's motion that went before this one was just about politics and playing games. It was actually shameful. This motion is about this government delivering for our communities. I commend Prime Minister Tony Abbott for setting out to become the infrastructure Prime Minister. He wants to make sure that that is one of his key legacies, and this commitment to the Great Ocean Road will help him to achieve that legacy.

The Great Ocean Road is iconic. There is no other way of describing it. It carries 1.7 million tourists a year, and with those tourists comes an economic contribution to the state of Victoria and to the nation. The Great Ocean Road sustains 10,000 jobs and is the centrepiece of a $2.1 billion regional tourism industry. So this money is being well spent. It shows that the member for Corangamite knows her priorities. She knows that the Great Ocean Road is a strategic asset to her electorate, just as I know that the Great Ocean Road is a strategic asset for my electorate. It was with great pleasure I heard that the Abbott government, as soon as it was elected, thought so much of this commitment that it brought $15 million of the funding forward to this financial year. Already the member for Corangamite has been out announcing where the much-needed stretch of road will be fixed. I, too, have joined with the Premier of Victoria in announcing the much-needed repair of the road near the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. That factory is key to our local dairy industry. It provides significant income to our region, to our state and to the nation.

I find it strange that those opposite will not wholeheartedly get behind this motion: $25 million from the Victorian government will be matched by $25 million from the federal government to ensure that this iconic landmark will continue to deliver tourists safely to the Twelve Apostles and to other locations and to ensure that it will carry the freight, in particular dairy freight, which makes Victoria such an economic contributor. It also will carry the mums and dads and it will carry children safely to and from school and from sporting events. This is money well spent. This is an election commitment which, had the Labor Party done their due diligence, Labor would have wholeheartedly supported in the lead-up to the last election. We would not have seen scaremongering and fearmongering from those opposite on this project about blowing up this iconic road. It was shameful. I wholeheartedly support the motion by the member for Corangamite. It is an excellent motion because it reminds people that the Abbott government is hell-bent on delivering the infrastructure that this nation needs.