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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2803

Senator RONALDSON (Victoria) (15:25): I rise this afternoon to refer to a press release put out by Catherine King, the member for Ballarat in the other place. With great fanfare on Tuesday night, Ms King announced that the budget provided $9.1 million for the Ballarat freight hub. The press release said:

The Federal Budget delivered tonight includes funding of $9.1 million towards Stage 1 …

Then Ms King yesterday said: 'Under this Labor government, the funding is on the table. It is there this financial year.' And on radio 3BA yesterday, I understand, Ms King said: 'The Ballarat freight hub to come into effect next year, which is, you know, only a short, you know—we're almost halfway through the year now, so it's to come into effect next year; in other words, in seven months time.'

So what actually was put into the budget, do you think, Mr Deputy President? What I can tell the chamber is that there is no funding this year for the hub. We know there is no funding. As John Fitzgibbon, the Liberal Party candidate for Ballarat, said, this is an important project, but what Mr Fitzgibbon said, and what I say, is that the minister responsible was being completely untruthful when she said that this would be funded this year. It was an untruth. It is no secret that Ms King is joined at the hip with the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. As we know, she was given an eleventh-hour job because of her support for Ms Gillard. But the reason that she is joined at the hip is that she suffers from the same malaise as the Prime Minister and Mr Swan, and that malaise is: all spin and no substance.

In the time left to me, I will briefly go through the budget papers so that the utter fallacy of Ms King's press release can be seen by all who would like to have a look at it. What Ms King's own department said is this:

Accordingly, after consulting with the State Government and Infrastructure Australia , we are now in a position to release a preliminary schedule of new projects to be funded and delivered over the five year life of our next Nation Building Program (2014-15 to 2018-19).

There was no funding allocated for this precinct, for this hub, in this year's budget. The very best that Ms King, if she were being truthful about this, could have said was that, if this second Nation Building Program money is funded in next year's budget, then there may be funding allocated between 2014-15 and possibly as late as 2018-19—not in this financial year. It was a complete untruth, a deliberate attempt by Ms King to get herself elected, when everyone knows that Ms Catherine King is now Canberra's representative in Ballarat and she is no longer Ballarat's representative in Canberra. Ms King has abrogated her responsibility to the people of the Ballarat electorate. Fortunately, we have someone there by the name of John Fitzgibbon, the Liberal Party candidate, ready, willing and able to stand up and start representing his community. If Ms King thinks she can get re-elected on the back of a complete untruth about a so-called budget measure, then, quite frankly, I think she is sadly mistaken.

I also want to speak about another broken promise of this government. The member for Eden-Monaro, Dr Michael Kelly—I think he goes by the title of 'Dr' these days—has been running around with the military superannuants for about four weeks before the budget, saying, 'Listen—don't talk about it; I'm going to get this fixed. I'll get this fixed.' Do you think this budget had anything in there for the fair indexation of DFRDB and DFRB military superannuants? No, they did not. So Mr Kelly from the other place— (Time expired)

Question agreed to.