22 May 2018

Speech: Infrastructure – East West Link, Rail and Avalon Airport

I’d like every constituent in the member for Gellibrand’s electorate to listen very closely. He’s just read talking points. The most insane amount of rubbish has come out of his mouth. Here he is, a Labor member in Melbourne’s west, who didn’t have the guts, the courage, to stand up to Daniel Andrews when he cancelled the East West Link.

This was game-changing infrastructure, and the member for Gellibrand stood there and said nothing.

This is infrastructure that we need, and Daniel Andrews and Labor cancelled that project at a cost of $1.24 billion, and the people in Melbourne’s west—the people that the member for Gellibrand represents—have been left high and dry by Labor. The member for Gellibrand has the temerity to stand there when he has been so weak. He has no courage, no guts and no ticker to stand up and say, ‘Daniel Andrews we need this infrastructure.’ We have $3 billion set aside for the East West Link, and what do we get in exchange? We get the West Gate Tunnel Project, which is a poor cousin of the East West Link. It is one small part of the East West Link. Infrastructure Australia, to which the member for Gellibrand referred, says this is an absolute priority for Victoria.

One of the biggest issues that we, as a government, have had with spending infrastructure money in Victoria is that Labor has refused to put the projects on the table. I also want to correct the member for Gellibrand for saying there wasn’t one new project in Victoria except the Murray Basin Rail Project. That is absolutely untrue. We have put $1.7 billion into regional rail. I cannot believe the member for Gellibrand would be so ignorant as to stand up and try to make these comments. There will be $20 million for a new terminal for Avalon Airport, which will service Melbourne’s west. The mayors and the councillors in the very electorate of the member for Gellibrand, who is walking out because he’s so ashamed by his failure to represent his constituents, were at the announcement of the terminal. They are very proud that, as a government, we are providing Victoria’s second international terminal, which will service the people of the west, as well as Geelong and Corangamite.

As for the new projects, there is $50 million, and $150 million in total, for the Geelong rail duplication project, a new project, along with the upgrade of the Warrnambool line. The Labor Party in Victoria has put only $20 million into that project. We’ve put nearly $300 million. Member for Gellibrand, our government has committed $150 million to the rail duplication project to ensure that Geelong and Corangamite residents can get faster and more reliable rail services. This is a very important part of our city deal. Mr Deputy Speaker Hogan, in response, do you know what the Labor Party has put in? It has put in $10 million only. It can’t even get a business plan completed in under two years. The office of the Minister for Public Transport told my office, through the minister, last Friday that they had sent the business plan in the mail, and it still hasn’t arrived. They’re so incompetent that they can’t even send a business plan to the minister for infrastructure.

As for the member for Grayndler, when he was the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, AirAsia struck a deal with Avalon Airport. Labor blocked that deal. Labor would not give permission for the building of an international terminal. The member for Corio said this was not in the interests of Geelong or Australia. It was an absolutely shameful decision, and it took 10 years for AirAsia to build its confidence. We are absolutely fixing this and delivering Victoria’s second international airport. The other terrible decision made by Labor when it was in government was that it absolutely turned its back on the Great Ocean Road. That was a decision made by the member for Grayndler. He refused to put any money into the Great Ocean Road, which is one of the most iconic and important roads in our country.

Labor has a shameful record. The member for Gellibrand has failed to stand up for his constituents in the west of Melbourne. As he leaves this chamber, I say thank you to the Turnbull government for investing in regional Victoria, in regional rail, in regional airports and in infrastructure across Victoria and this nation.