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Tuesday, 11 October 1983
Page: 1560

Mr McVEIGH(5.34) —I wish to join the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) in paying tribute to officers of the Department of Housing and Construction. I was thrilled to think that he was so very generous in his message of congratulations to them. It also applies to officers in the housing branch of the Department of Housing and Construction. I am most grateful to the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford) for giving me one and a half minutes in which to speak, because I wish to talk about Brisbane Airport. Brisbane Airport is a tremendously important airport. When I was Minister for Housing and Construction the Government was going ahead to ensure that the airport would be completed by 1985-86. I noticed that as soon as the Hawke Government came to power-this is indicative of the fact that, for some reason, it hates Queenslanders-it chopped $20m off the allocation. That was a terrible thing to do. I am surprised at the honourable member for Lilley (Mrs Darling), who when I was a Minister showed a great deal of interest in Brisbane Airport. She used to come and see me and indicate how important and how necessary it was that it be completed as a matter of urgency. She has been silent, struck dumb. But in our time she was always talking about the importance of Brisbane Airport. Mr Chairman, I excuse you because you are an honourable gentleman, but the moment the Hawke Government got into power, for some unknown reason the Brisbane Airport was of no importance to the honourable member for Lilley. I wish to say, on behalf of all other Queenslanders besides the honourable member for Lilley, that Brisbane Airport is of absolute importance. It is great to see the work going ahead there. Of course, all those contracts were awarded very competitively in the time when either the honourable member for Gwydir or I was the responsible Minister. We were able to make enormous savings for the Australian taxpayer by virtue of the fact that we programmed the work and ensured that we got top quality men and great workers. We gave them the incentive to get on with the job, secure in the knowledge that there would be no shortcomings, the work would continue and it would be completed in 1985-86. I make that very brief comment to show that in our day the honourable member for Lilley thought that Brisbane Airport was important. Now it is not important. I am disappointed with that attitude.

Mr Cadman —Mr Chairman--

The CHAIRMAN —Is the honourable member proceeding to seek the call?

Mr Cadman —No. I have been informed that we have an agreement.