19 June 2017

Speech in Parliament: Building and delivering for Corangamite

It is my great pleasure to rise and talk about the many ways in which the Turnbull government is building and delivering in Corangamite. In doing so, I reflect on the comments by the member for Corio, who quite falsely, as I will demonstrate, gave these quotes to the Geelong Advertiser: ‘All Liberal governments give our city is rhetoric,’ and ‘They do a lot of talking, but no building.’ I am really very disappointed that the member for Corio would seek to misrepresent matters so gravely, given our outstanding record of achievement. It is a really good opportunity tonight to put on the record the many things that we are doing, delivering and building.

As residents in the south-western part of my electorate—in Colac, Birregurra, Winchelsea and further west—would know, we are building the Princes Highway duplication. That is an outstanding project. So many people are saying to me that the progress on that duplication is wonderful. The duplication between Winchelsea and Colac is well underway. This is a project for which I fought so hard, and it has received $185.5 million from the Turnbull government. That is just one example.

We are building better roads. There is probably no better example than the $50 million that we have put towards the upgrade of the Great Ocean Road, which is a very significant and iconic road not just in Victoria, not just in Australia but internationally. I fought tooth and nail for that particular project. In stark contrast, this was a project that Labor, when it was in government, refused to support. That was a very big mistake, and now we are seeing matching funding from the state and a great deal of energy and a great deal of commitment to this upgrade.

We are building the National Disability Insurance Agency a $120 million state-of-the-art building. We are so proud of the way in which we are supporting our great city and our great region. The member for Corio a number of years ago spoke about how Geelong was going to be on its knees. The way he talked down our local economy was very unfortunate. But in fact our unemployment rate is tracking very much with the national rate, despite the challenges that we have had, particularly in manufacturing. We have delivered, just under the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund, 857 jobs—building new factories, new workshops and new installations to support those jobs and to support so many wonderful businesses such as Cotton On and the Australian Lamb Company, just a couple of examples. We have built—and it is well and truly underway—the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Data Acquisition Centre. That opened in April last year. That is a very exciting Commonwealth agency, right in the middle of Geelong, creating some 260 local jobs. There will be a total workforce of 300 at any one time.

And, of course, we are building the duplicated rail track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds, a $100 million commitment made in this budget. We are very, very proud of the way that we are focusing on very important transport infrastructure projects. This was a project that worried my mother—my beautiful mum—when she was the member for Geelong some 20 years ago, and it is really a great credit to the Turnbull government, to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, that we recognise the importance of this project. We are of course hoping that the Victorian government will release its plans, its costings. We need that matching funding. Rather than a wish list, which is what we have seen in the budget from the Victorian government, we need funding allocated.

Of course, we are also trying to build the East West Link, which is a critically important project for Victoria. We have allocated $3 billion in our budget to the first state government which wants to build this road, because, regrettably, as even Labor members in Western Melbourne know, the West Gate Tunnel project is really a poor cousin to this project. We have to do a lot better than that.

19 June 2017