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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 1098


Mr HODGMAN(11.15) —On behalf of the five Liberal Party Federal members in the House of Representatives from Tasmania, I take the opportunity to speak on the estimates for the Department of Housing and Construction and to condemn the Hawke socialist Government and the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford) for the most disgraceful treatment handed out by this Government to Australia's smallest but most beautiful State. There has never been a worse Federal Budget, in terms of Commonwealth capital works for Tasmania, in living memory. It is shameful and disgraceful that the Hawke socialist Government, having done so much to damage Tasmania last year, continues the war by bringing down in this Parliament the lowest, tiniest Commonwealth capital civil works program for Tasmania in living memory. I can go back eight years in the Tasmanian Parliament and eight years in the Federal Parliament and I emphasise that there has never been a worse Budget in terms of Commonwealth capital works for Tasmania than the one brought down by the Treasurer.


Mr Hurford —What are the figures?


Mr HODGMAN —The Minister of Housing and Construction, who has declared war on Tasmania, is to be contrasted to the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), the former Minister for Transport and Construction, who was one of the best Ministers in that portfolio that this country has ever seen.

I put the figures before the jury-the jury of the people of Tasmania who will shortly have a chance to vote on this-and let them make up their minds. Let us take the year 1982-83, the last year of the Fraser Government. Incidentally, I am delighted to see in the chamber the honourable members for Franklin (Mr Goodluck), Braddon (Mr Groom) and Wilmot (Mr Burr), or Lyons as it is about to become. The honourable member for Bass (Mr Newman), unfortunately, is out of the country. I take the figures for 1982-83 under the stewardship of the honourable member for Gwydir. I have in this document the civil works program for that year . Does the House know how much that program totalled for Tasmania in that year? The answer is $37.5m. The longer the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) remains in that office, the more Malcolm Fraser is starting to look like Father Christmas as far as Tasmania is concerned. Let us remind ourselves of some of the projects that went through in the 1982-83 civil works program. In the electorate of Denison we had, for example, in the Department of Administrative Services the erection of the stores building at Glenorchy. Turning to the Attorney-General's Department, again in the electorate of Denison, we saw the erection of the Commonwealth Law Courts Building in Davey Street and the amount appropriated was $8.707m.

I turn to the Department of Aviation and to the electorate of the honourable member for Franklin. What did the Fraser Government provide? For the strengthening of runways, taxiways and apron and provision of additional apron parking at Hobart Airport it provided $3.45m. There was an appropriation for the extension of the maintenance building and a further $1m was appropriated for the erection of the international terminal building. Launceston was not forgotten. It received an appropriation for the extension of the maintenance building. I turn to the Department of Home Affairs and Environment. Again in the electorate of Franklin, due to the efforts of the hard working member for Franklin, there was a further appropriation for the erection of the Archives Repository at Bellerive.


Mr Bilney —The what?


Mr HODGMAN —The archives repository. That is where the honourable member will be put after the next election, except that it will be in South Australia, not in Tasmania. We come to the appropriations, which I just mention in passing, for our Antarctic work, which again reflects on Tasmania and benefits Tasmania.


Mr Goodluck —No, it reflects on you for the hard work you did on it.


Mr HODGMAN —The honourable member is very kind indeed. The appropriation for that was $5.7m. Then we come to an appropriation for the light tower and power house at Bluff Hill Point. There are many more appropriations in the book to which I wish to refer. There was an appropriation for alterations to the operating theatre at the Hobart Repatriation General Hospital in the electorate of Denison. Then we come to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Marine Laboratories. An amount of $11.84m was allocated for those magnificent laboratories for the Divisions of Fisheries Research and Oceanography at Castray Esplanade in the electorate of Denison. Some $37.5m was allocated in the last year of the Fraser Government.

What do we find in the 1984-85 civil works program? A damning indictment of the Hawke socialist Government. The Minister for Housing and Construction should be sacked. He will not want to come to Tasmania in the election campaign. Do honourable members know what the Government has come up with? Do they know how much has been allocated this year for Commonwealth new works in Tasmania? An amount of $3.5m has been allocated. It is less than one-tenth of the appropriation of the Fraser Government in 1982-83. Let us listen to the Press. The Hobart Mercury summed it up well. It said that it was quite clear that the Hawke Government had decided it was not worth trying to win any seats in Tasmania. It made it quite clear that the Hawke Government had decided it was not going to try to buy any seats in Tasmania.


Mr Hurford —What a pity you don't have any credibility whatsoever. You are making an arse of yourself again.


Mr HODGMAN —Isn't that parliamentary! I would like the boys and girls and the men and women of Australia to hear the lovely language of this man, educated at the London School of Economics. The Hansard will show the words that he used. He is rattled. The amount of $3.5m is the lowest appropriation for new Commonwealth capital works.


Mr Hurford —It is not the right figure.


Mr HODGMAN —Of course it is the right figure, as the Minister well knows.


Mr Hurford —You don't know how to read the documents.


Mr HODGMAN —I am sorry; the Minister is a con. He is an absolute con. I am comparing the Commonwealth civil works program 1982-83, Budget Paper No. 6, with the Commonwealth civil works program 1984-85, Budget Paper No. 6. Let me put the figures on the record so that the Minister will be exposed for exactly what he is.


Mr Hurford —We will catch you later on.


Mr HODGMAN —All right; just hold on a minute. On page 12 of this year's Budget Paper No. 6 under the Department of Administrative Services we see such great appropriations as that for the Hobart Commonwealth Centre. How much is the Government going to spend on 'alterations for installation of PPW system computer facilities for the Australian Taxation Office'? It will spend $35,874. Big deal! We come to the Attorney-General's Department. The sum of $25,769 has been allocated for sundry works. What do we find for Tasmania in the estimates for the Department of Aviation? For the erection of the international terminal building at Hobart Airport the remaining sum of $5,093 is allocated.

How much further do I have to go? An amount of $750,000 is allocated for the strengthening of the freight apron at Launceston Airport. There is an allocation of $123,000 for the erection of a dormitory, a lecture room and a fire station at the Launceston Airport. For the Australian Broadcasting Corporation headquarters which should have been started this year-they are not just my words ; they are the words of Mr Jim Bacon, the State Secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation, and every other trade union leader-the Government has appropriated $300,000 for this year, which would barely cover the cost of plans and specifications and the construction of an amenities building or, as it is called, a dunny on the construction site.

The Minister has condemned Tasmania to the smallest capital works program in living memory-$3.5m, less than one-tenth of what Malcolm Fraser provided. As I said in the Minister's absence from the chamber, the longer the Prime Minister ( Mr Hawke) remains Prime Minister the more Malcolm Fraser is starting to look like Father Christmas as far as Tasmania is concerned.


Mr Keogh —Impossible!


Mr HODGMAN —The Minister is condemned. I am pleased to see that the honourable member for Bowman is here. He was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works that came to Tasmania. It was pointed out to the Committee that the Commonwealth Law Courts building would be finished, which it now is; that the CSIRO Marine Laboratories would be finished, which they now are; and that Tasmania needed a major Commonwealth works project ready to start so that hundreds of workers would not be retrenched. The Minister has declared war on Tasmania. He has sold out our smallest State. I wish that we could sack him and bring back the honourable member for Gwydir, because at least under him we got fair treatment. The people of Tasmania will have a chance to vote on the Minister's disgraceful civil works program. I tell honourable members opposite now that, even with the cooked boundaries, they will not win a single seat in Tasmania at the next Federal election. The Government will be condemned. The people of Tasmania-Liberal, Labor or of whatever political persuasion-will vote it out.


The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mrs Darling) —Order! This is a debate on the Estimates, not a policy speech.


Mr HODGMAN —Thank you, Madam Deputy Chairman. I wish it could be a policy speech because I look forward to making that in Denison even with the rigged boundaries .


The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.