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Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4233

Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (16:30): I rise to speak on the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2018-2019.

Under this coalition government, the electorate of Mackellar is strong. For nearly two years I have represented the great people of Mackellar in this place and on the streets of the Northern Beaches. In my maiden speech in this House, I said that governments should do less, but that what they do they should do much better. I'm proud and humbled to say that this government is doing just that. We are providing smaller government and creating more equality of opportunity, because a fair society is a society that gives back as much as it takes.

Under this government's policies, our country is getting fairer. The coalition government has delivered on education, health, transport, veterans' affairs and Medicare, while delivering much-needed upgrades to sporting facilities and roads, and, of course, backing small businesses and their employees. I've also fought hard and have secured over 21 community grants for Mackellar community groups, and I am constantly working to deliver more.

I'd like to start off by pointing out some of the wonderful community organisations in Mackellar who have benefitted from government grants. There are too many to name, but I would like to point out a few which I believe deserve a special mention. We provided important funding for new computer equipment for the Tibetan Community in Australia. This will make it easier for them to learn English so that they can better take advantage of all that our great country has to offer. There was a $10,000 grant to The Burdekin Association, which has established a youth hub at Avalon. This will provide support for young people in Mackellar who are struggling with mental illness. Youth mental health is a serious issue which affects many in the community, with one in seven young people experiencing a mental health disorder.

I helped to secure funding for a much-needed station upgrade to the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade. Thank you to Trent Dowling and his team, and to all the volunteers at the RFS, for their work in keeping our community safe during summer and in all seasons of the year. A grant was awarded to Easylink to purchase a much-needed new vehicle. Easylink is an organisation, largely volunteer based, which provides taxi-like transport options for the elderly and disabled around the Northern Beaches. Thank you to Susan Watson, John Wilson and their team, who do an excellent job. Just a few weeks ago they took me for a ride on a bus to meet members of the community, and to take them—

An honourable member interjecting

Mr FALINSKI: That's not true! I get on buses all the time! Just ask Barry Unsworth!

The Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade, under the leadership of Captain Peter Lalor, received funding for new community fire unit boxes. The Marine Rescue Centre in Terrey Hills had an upgrade to their radio room so that they can continue to do their job of keeping our waterways safe for the residents and tourists who use them. The Manly Warringah Women's Resource Centre received funding for the installation of new appliances in their building. And I will just make a special mention of Tracy Sheedy and the team there, who do an excellent job in providing crisis accommodation for the victims of domestic violence.

There are simply too many community groups in Mackellar to name, and not enough time to name them all today. But each of them provide unique service and support to the people of the Northern Beaches, and I am proud to be able to do what I can to support them.

We are fortunate to have numerous schools which offer a high standard of education for our children. This government places great emphasis on education and the need for strong funding models which will help to give the next generation the best platform to succeed. Over the 10 years from 2018 to 2027, non-systemic independent schools in Mackellar will receive a total of $788 million in Commonwealth funding. Under the coalition, local schools now have more certainty, with an increase in funding. Over the next 10 years every public school in Mackellar—there are 25 of them—will receive 51 per cent more funding per student. Unlike Labor, we don't just talk about education policy; we deliver on it. There are numerous independent and Catholic schools in Mackellar who will also benefit from funding increases. Pittwater House students will benefit from a funding increase of over 11 per cent between 2018 and 2021, so that under the leadership of Dr Nancy Hillier those students can continue to receive one of the highest standards of education in the world.

I'd also like to make special mention of a few principals who I have met with and toured their schools recently. These principals are just some of the most excellent school leaders in Mackellar, who are consistently delivering outstanding results for their students. Mrs Leesa Martin of Elanora Heights Public School; Dr Peter Downey, who was just here last night, of Oxford Falls Grammar; Mrs Jodie Hoenig of the Sydney Japanese School; as well as Mrs Susan Tickle of Narrabeen Lakes Public School. I was also fortunate to attend a play they held there a few weeks ago, so thank you to Susan and the students for having me along. I also look forward to meeting with the school captains of all the senior schools in Mackellar in a couple of weeks to discuss politics and how we, the current crop of politicians, can continue to engage with the next generation of leaders.

As someone who started his own small business many years ago, I understand the daily pressures and stresses of a small business owner, and so does this government. In Mackellar there are over 23,000 small and medium-sized businesses, which employ locally and support the local economy. Over the past few years, I've held a number of small business forums, where small business owners have been able to express to me and the Minister for Small Business some of the big issues which face them on a day-to-day basis. This is why the coalition government has provided an instant asset write-off to invest in machinery and equipment, which will help grow their businesses and will allow them to employ more local staff. Small businesses are getting a fair go at long last, through amendments to the competition law to stop big businesses from abusing market power. The government has also established the small business ombudsman. I would also like to make special mention of local businesses AL and JA Barber, who received a business growth grant. Pat Labs received a grant under the Entrepreneurs' Program.

This government's initiative to keep defence industry manufacturing here in Australia, and not overseas, has seen local businesses thrive, including HI Fraser based in my electorate. HI Fraser is a hydraulics engineering firm, who recently won a multimillion dollar contract to supply parts to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Based in Warriewood, under the leadership of managing director Chris Williams, this contract will allow them to employ more people and further support Australia's economy and defence capabilities, while also adding to R&D expenditure in this country and making us the smart economy of Asia.

Another defence contractor in Mackellar is Incat Crowther, which is now supplying the waterproofing seals for Australia's submarines. This is a very important thing, because it is important that submarines remain waterproof. So keep up the good work keep up the good work with Incat Crowther. I look forward to introducing you to Minister Pyne when he visits in a few weeks.

This government is also providing the energy security that Labor failed to provide. This government is building Snowy Hydro 2.0, creating 5,000 jobs and providing cheaper, more reliable energy for the people of Mackellar. This government is also giving Australian consumers priority access to our natural gas before it is exported, ensuring Australians no longer have to settle for the leftovers and inflated prices.

Mackellar is finally gaining access to the NBN. Under Labor, only six premises were connected, but today I am proud to stand here and say that over 20,000 homes have been connected, and another 17,000 are under construction. All the homes will be ready for service by 2020. This is an extraordinary outcome, when you consider where we started. The NBN isn't perfect. I don't need to tell anyone in this chamber that. And, truth be told, it's not a policy that the Liberals desired. But we inherited a mess, a monumental mess, from a party that excels at monumental messes. And now the NBN will be delivered sooner and cheaper. If Labor's fibre-to-the-premises fantasy had gone ahead, it would have cost $30 billion more and taken up to eight years longer in comparison to this government's far more efficient alternative.

In 2013, then Prime Minister Tony Abbott set the goal of creating a million jobs. We've achieved that goal in the last week. Like most things this government does, we have done it ahead of schedule. Because we on this side believe that the best form of welfare is a job, rather than handing out money to people we are creating jobs for them and their families. A record $75 billion investment in infrastructure over the next decade in major highway upgrades, congestion-busting roads, public transport rail projects, inland rail, improved local roads and a new airport have also benefitted Mackellar. This government co-funded the new and much-needed Frenchs Forest hospital. It helped to secure the much-needed B-Line and began upgrades on Mona Vale Road.

There is still more to be done in my electorate. The people I represent deserve a government that provides equal opportunity and that always operates in the most efficient way possible, and that is what I will continue to advocate for this place. I look forward to continuing to work with the Prime Minister and my parliamentary colleagues to further push for smaller government, individual liberty, lower taxes, and the government services people need.