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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3545


Dr McVEIGH (GroomMinister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government) (10:03): I'm thrilled to welcome more support for the Groom electorate from the federal budget released last night. Toowoomba and the Darling Downs are certainly setting the pace for regional Australia. We have a proven, strong local economy. We have the largest inland road project in Australia in the form of the Toowoomba second range crossing, currently under construction. We're progressing very well with plans for inland rail, Melbourne to Brisbane, and that will have a significant impact in my part of the world, on the Darling Downs. We continue to enjoy the benefits of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, which is internationally capable. We continue to see, through the budget in particular, major highway upgrades on the Warrego Highway, particularly west of Oakey. World-class agriculture remains the signature of our region. As a regional centre for southern inland Queensland and northern inland New South Wales, we continue to attract health and education experts and services for people right throughout the regions. We're focused on a burgeoning tourism industry. As an early rollout site for both NBN and NDIS, we have progressed a long way. But we know there is plenty more to do to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from opportunities in our part of the world.

I'm particularly pleased to see my desire of studies proceeding towards passenger rail from Toowoomba to Brisbane, with a $15 million business case announced just last night as part of the budget, through the federal government's $250 million Major Project Business Case Fund. After decades of discussion and dreaming, we are taking this project from the drawing board through to delivery, and this will bring tremendous benefits to the whole region.

In Groom, I've been very humbled to receive the continuing support of my party members as the re-endorsed candidate for the next federal election. And I note the interesting commentary from minor parties, in particular, who seem to focus on single issues, are ill-informed about local issues in Groom and across the Darling Downs, and yet seem to forget their own experience to date. I use the example of the performance of minor parties in the recent South Australian state election: theirs was an unmitigated disaster. In contrast to that, my region knows that our government is focused on tax relief to reward working Australians. We want to support our communities, ensure the essential services are in place and ensure the future.