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Monday, 7 September 2015
Page: 6078

Canning Electorate


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:52): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Why is the Prime Minister cutting $5.8 billion from Western Australia's hospitals over the next 10 years, including $3.5 billion from the South Metropolitan Health Service and the WA Country Health Service, which both serve the Canning electorate?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Arts and Attorney-General) (14:52): Senator Lines, I am afraid that the proposition that you have put to me is entirely false. During tight budgetary conditions, I can inform you that the Commonwealth is increasing annual funding for Western Australia's hospitals by 27 per cent over the next four years, on top of growth of 16 per cent in 2014-15. So, Senator Lines, you can come in here with the misinformation that we know the Labor Party specialises in, but the facts are a 27 per cent increase in funding for Western Australian hospitals by the Commonwealth over the next four years on top of the 16 per cent increase in 2014-15. By the way, we are also increasing funding for Western Australian schools by 42 per cent over the next four years, on top of a growth of eight per cent for Western Australian schools in 2014-15.

As well as that, Senator Lines, you might be interested to know that the government is investing $5.2 billion in Western Australia to build the infrastructure of the 21st century, including: $925 million for the Perth Freight Link, $675 million to the Gateway at Perth airport, $615 million to the NorthLink WA Swan Valley Bypass and $308 million to upgrade the Great Northern Highway from Muchea to Wubin. The Abbott government has given Western Australia an additional $500 million for infrastructure projects which will be exempt from the GST distribution system. So, Senator Lines, contrary to what you assert in your question, not only on hospitals but across a whole range of policies, Western Australia has been treated very well by this government. (Time expired)


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:55): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Why is the Prime Minister cutting $3.15 billion from Western Australian schools over the next 10 years, including $193.5 million—

Senator Cormann interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Cormann!

Senator LINES: Mr President, should I start the question again?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Lines, you shall start the question again.

Senator LINES: Why is the Prime Minister cutting $3.15 billion from Western Australian schools over the next 10 years, including $193.5 million from schools in the Canning electorate?






Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Arts and Attorney-General) (14:55): Senator Lines, once again, I am afraid you have misled the Senate. In fact, it was when Mr Bill Shorten was the minister that $1.2 billion was taken out of the Commonwealth budget for schools in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. As I pointed out before, the Abbott government has increased school funding to Western Australian schools by 42 per cent over four years—42 per cent, $619 million, over the next four years. Since the 2013 election—Senator Lines, you might be interested to know—the Abbott government has created almost 45,000 new jobs in Western Australia, many of them in the Canning electorate. More than 170,000 pensioners with modest assets, including those in Canning, have had their payments increased by an average of— (Time expired)


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:56): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Why is the Prime Minister backing an increase to the GST, exposing Canning families, who are already doing it tough, to even higher costs of living?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Arts and Attorney-General) (14:57): Mr President, the last refuge of a scoundrel is a GST scare campaign. So far as I am aware, Senator Lines, the only leader of government in Australia who is openly calling for an increase in the GST rate is the Labor Premier of South Australia, Mr Jay Weatherill. The Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, has said no such thing. What the Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, is very proud of is that: under this government Commonwealth expenditure on hospitals in Western Australia will increase by 27 per cent over the next four years; under this government Commonwealth expenditure on schools in Western Australia will increase by 42 per cent over the next four years; and under this government an additional $5.2 billion will be invested in Western Australian infrastructure, much of it in the electorate of Canning, to meet the needs of the people of Western Australia and the particular needs of the people of Canning.