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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 3871


Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (21:50): It is a pleasure to make a contribution to the adjournment debate tonight. Here we are in the last week of parliament, before we depart this place for the winter break—and I can see the relief on your face, Mr Acting Deputy President O'Sullivan, as much as I can on everyone else's face around here. But, while we will be departing parliament, electors in five electorates across the country will be going to the polls in a number of by-elections, courtesy of our good friends who drafted the Constitution and of course those members who failed to comply with it when they ran for parliament earlier on.

On 28 July, voters will be going to the polls in the electorate of Braddon, on the beautiful north-west coast of Tasmania where I hail from originally. It's an electorate where voters will be confronted with a very stark choice between former member and Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley and former Labor member Justine Keay. It's a choice about a proven record of delivery, of being able to keep the economy strong, of being able to do things that actually grow the economy and create conditions where people want to invest, create jobs and grow our regional communities. It is about the plan that Brett Whiteley and the Turnbull Liberal government have for creating much-needed jobs—jobs we heard about in question time today, which I will turn to later—and guaranteeing essential services, which have been budgeted for, fully funded, fully costed and paid for, in health, in education and, of course, in public safety.

Going back to that choice, we have the stark contrast between Brett Whiteley, who has a record of delivery, and a Labor candidate who can't deliver. The reason she can't deliver is that she comes from a party that is not in government. How can you deliver on promises that you are making willy-nilly across the electorate when, if you are returned to this place, you will still be in opposition and you will not able to deliver on any one of those promises? It's a bit like a 'terms and conditions apply' when it comes to any of those promises that are made in this election campaign, and voters in Braddon need to be aware of that.

In addition, we face the same story we have faced in Tasmania time and time again, where Labor members are often captive to the Greens—and in Braddon it's no exception. Those of us who hail from the north-west coast will remember the damaging days between 2010 and 2013 when Bob Brown and Julia Gillard signed up to a lovely coalition agreement and, at the same time, we had a double whammy with the Giddings and McKim Labor-Greens government in Hobart, which did nothing but wreak havoc on the regional economy and regional communities in north-west Tasmania, in the electorate of Braddon. That is what voters will get when casting a vote for the Labor candidate in Braddon. So I strongly counsel them against that.

As I said, voters will be confronted with a choice on 28 July. They can vote for a stable strong, majority Liberal government and an economy that is growing, where jobs are being created and where people have the confidence to invest, like they do in Tasmania—and all economic indicators show we are the highest in the nation when it comes to business confidence—and where we have tax relief for hardworking Australians who deserve to keep the money they earn and spend it how they see fit, such as saving and putting it away for their kids' futures, for their university education or for whatever it might be. Or they could vote for Labor for higher taxes, for higher power prices—$300 per annum, per household, on average—for more debt and, of course, for higher deficits and for red ink as far as the eye can see.

But, rather than talk about what the candidates are saying they are going to offer, I think it's important to talk about their records, what the candidates have delivered in the past—both of them former members for Braddon and both of them former members of this very parliament. I want to start with Mr Brett Whiteley's record of achievement when he was the federal member for Braddon between the years 2013 and 2016. I'll start with some significant ones, include the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme. That was a massive enabler for the Tasmanian economy. It's something that has helped manufacturers and other businesses that rely on getting goods to market, interstate and overseas, to be able to compete with their mainland counterparts. That's something that Brett had a great hand in securing: the extension of that scheme.

The Circular Head Irrigation Scheme was something Brett championed and worked very hard for. There were also the University of Tasmania Burnie upgrade, the $25 million jobs and investment package and, of course—even though my colleagues on the other side don't like to talk about it—the west coast NBN fibre-to-the-node package of $18.5 million, where we see west coast residents being able to connect. That's something that those opposite never delivered on, and probably wouldn't be able to if they were still in charge.

I'm talking about local projects as well. It's great to talk about some of those small projects that matter to small communities that aren't in big cities like Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Sydney or wherever. The Devonport Country Club facilities will open up a number of recreational facilities to many, many community groups to the value of $3.5 million, delivered by Brett Whitely. The new Dial Regional Sports Complex, also to the value of $3.5 million, will be a great regional sporting complex that will enable young Tasmanians from the north-west coast to compete in sporting events at a very high standard on a premium sporting ground. There is the Circular Head indoor pool, with the value of $3.6 million, the new facilities for the Cradle Coast outriggers and mobile phone blackspot funding for both Sisters Beach and Sulphur Creek. I have to say I was most disappointed about Sisters Beach: I used to go there for holidays with no phone reception, now I get it better than I do at home! But good on Brett Whiteley for delivering that, along with other things, including the dairy assistance package, the Wonders of Wynyard funding, the Cape Wickham Golf Course funding and the funding for the Tasmanian pickled onions processing facility to the tune of $500,000.

Senator Ruston interjecting

Senator DUNIAM: Yes, pickled onions, Senator Ruston. You should come down and try them. Brett Whiteley has delivered all of this for his community. He was able to secure and provide funding to the Mersey-Leven cycling club, a great club, for their clubroom upgrades. There was also funding for the Wynyard Bowls Club new air conditioners, the McKenna Park scoreboard, $4,000 for the Vietnam veterans' Mersey-Leven memorial board, the South Burnie Bowls Club disability toilet facilities and the East Devonport Community House garden. The list goes on and on, including some critical improvements to infrastructure for safety along the Bass Highway at eight north-west intersections valued at $4.8 million. It's an extensive list, but that's Brett Whiteley's record. That's what he has delivered. That's what people can look to when they make a decision on 28 July. They can see that this man has delivered for that region.

Compare that to the record left behind by former member—a former member, so someone who should have a record we can judge her on—Justine Keay. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can point to, because she's in opposition. That is what voters in Braddon need to remember. In voting for Labor at this election, you are voting someone who cannot deliver back into opposition.

The one reminder I need to give to the voters in Braddon is that Labor and the Greens are bad for Braddon. I go back to that point about the Labor-Green government in Canberra and the Labor-Green government in Tasmania between the years of 2010 and 2013. What did they do? They shut down the forestry industry; thousands of jobs were gone and several regional communities were decimated. That was Labor and the Greens. They also targeted the aquaculture industry. The same thing is happening again: over 5,000 jobs in regional Tasmania are under threat because of a Labor Party captive to the Greens in my home state. My message to voters in Braddon is this: Labor are captive to the Greens and they are bad for Braddon. Vote Liberal. Vote Brett Whiteley.