| February 15, 2017

Damian Drum talks Infrastructure

Delivered: House of Representatives, Parliament House. 15th February 2017.

This MPI gives me a great opportunity to stand up and talk about this government's infrastructure spending and to compare it to that of our political opponents.

I spent a short time in Western Australia, and it is interesting that now, with an election looming, all of a sudden the Labor Party have got themselves all excited and all the Western Australians that you never hear from have finally taken to their feet to make a bit of a statement.

It is great to see all of them finally having something to say when it comes to infrastructure.

I am going through my check list to actually find out who these members are who have been so silent for all of this time and who now have actually found their voices with an election in Western Australia coming up next month.

Previous speakers have been talking about this $1.2 billion project in the west that somehow or other is a little bit incomplete.

Where I come from in Victoria, we have a Labor Premier down there and he actually spent $1.1 billion to do nothing.

He had a program on the books—and I am sure the shadow minister would be aware of this project.

His good mate Daniel Andrews actually spent $1.1 billion of taxpayers' money in Victoria to scrap a road—a road that Infrastructure Australia and Infrastructure Victoria have now identified as an essential part of the infrastructure needs of the Melbourne network.

It has to be built by a future government, but Mr Albanese's friend Daniel Andrews has actually spent $1.1 billion of Victorian money to not build a road at all.

Mr Hill: What's Victoria's share?

Mr Drum: I am not quite sure what that shout-out is actually supposed to mean.

It is also interesting how someone would say that Victoria is not getting a fair share of the federal funds because they have 24 per cent of the Australian population.

It is interesting when you get into Victoria and you see the spend between Melbourne and regional Victoria. Twenty-four per cent of Victorians actually live in the regions; yet, when they have a big windfall, they are prepared to spend three per cent of their money in regional Victoria.

We have a Labor Party in Victoria that get a windfall by selling the Port of Melbourne for $8 billion and, out of that $8 billion, they are prepared to spend 97 per cent of it in Melbourne and they will spend three per cent in regional Victoria.

The Labor Party are very, very selective when it comes to who they want to criticise when talking about certain jurisdictions not getting their fair share.

What I can see here is a government that is truly committed to an infrastructure spend from 2013-14 right through to the end of the decade in 2019-20.

It is a $50 billion spend.

This is something that is going to be very well received by the people of Victoria and by the people of Australia.

On the project to widen the Tullamarine Freeway—apart from the Labor Party absolutely botching the arrangement with the contractors; however, we have got what we have got—the Commonwealth is putting forward 80 per cent of that money.

For the M80 Ring Road, there will be a $500 million contribution from the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth contribution to the Monash Freeway upgrade is 50 per cent of the total cost, which is $500 million.

Then we have the Murray Basin freight rail upgrade—a long-awaited project to standardise that line so that the freight can get to Portland, Geelong or into Melbourne.

The Commonwealth is contributing $220 million to that $440 million project.

This is just a short list of projects around Victoria which are being funded by this government, and they are making a huge difference.

In my electorate alone, after 45 years, we have finally got the funding for the Echuca-Moama bridge.

Minister Chester was there to announce that project, with $97 million from the Commonwealth.

We have $20 million going into two roundabouts to make the arterial roads around Shepparton safer.

We have $20 million of water infrastructure pipelines for the west Loddon project. We also have further projects.

Critically, we have this government's continued investment in communications and mobile black spots—something which the Labor Party did absolutely nothing about in six years.


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