National Stronger Regions Fund

28 November 2016

It is amazing that when the National Party want to be congratulated for so-called

funding projects they will not acknowledge that they have cut funding for infrastructure in Australia. Today I want

to address the issue of the chronic cuts and lack of infrastructure funding for my home state of Queensland. We

had the member for Forde in here earlier wanting to be congratulated for getting people around his community,

but the single one obstacle that is blocking funding for the M1 is the member for Forde. There is money on a table

from the state government; money on the table from the federal opposition; money on the table and endorsement

and support from the chamber of commerce, by the Logan City Council mayor and the full council, residents

and chamber of commerce associations. But the member for Forde refuses to back his community. He refuses to

stand up to this government that is chronically underinvesting in Queensland.

I note that we heard the National Party saying that this is all about the regions—and I note the term 'stronger

regions'—but we also note that today's motion should acknowledge the $13.2 million National Stronger Regions

Fund grant in the member for Warringah's electorate and the fact we are spending $3.2 million in the minister

for the environment's electorate of Kooyong. I do not know if there has been a definition change for 'region'—

A government member interjecting—

Mr DICK: I will take the interjection, through you, Madam Chair: not a dollar has been spent in the southwest of

Brisbane, and that brings me to the issue of infrastructure. For 13 long years under the Howard government, those

opposite sat there—year in, year out—and refused to spend a dollar on the Ipswich Motorway. And they have

the gall to come in here and lecture anyone else about infrastructure funding. It took a Labor federal government

and a Labor state government to deliver billions of dollars worth of infrastructure upgrade.

We have also seen now, finally, the missing piece of the puzzle: the Darra to Rocklea upgrade. Money was set

aside back under the federal Labor government, and what happened? The Queensland LNP state government

under Campbell Newman ripped it up and refused to fund that project, time and time again, just like Cross River

Rail in Brisbane.

But it gets worse. In the case of Cross River Rail, the LNP state government were prepared to fund it, and I am

advised that it actually had gone through the cabinet process after the former government led by Julia Gillard

and Wayne Swan allocated $716 million for the Cross River Rail project. The media release was written. The

media opportunity was organised by the then LNP state transport minister and the then LNP Premier, alongside

the government. What happened? This time, former Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister Tony

Abbott got in the road and refused to support the project. So, of course, the LNP state government under the

leadership of Campbell Newman ripped up that project as well, and we are still waiting for infrastructure to be

built—a critical piece of public transport infrastructure.

It is just like, in my electorate, the Ipswich Motorway upgrade: it always takes a Labor state government and

an activist federal Labor opposition to make sure that these projects are delivered. Because of that commitment

made by Bill Shorten alongside me, the member for Moreton and the member for Blair earlier this year, we

finally saw action from the coalition. But it should not have to take years and years of years of lobbying. More

importantly, it is not about the politicians; it is about the people in my community who have had to sit in traffic

week in, week out because this government is refusing to invest. We have seen close to $1 billion slashed from

local government financial assistance since the budget of 2014-15. In the 2014 budget, the government promised

$8 billion in infrastructure, but we know only $5.5 billion was spent.

I say again that time and time again we hear great, great motions in this chamber, but doing and acting is another

thing once we get out into the community. I know that infrastructure is critical, but real investment is needed,

and this government has shown no willingness to seriously deliver on the vital funding. To have the audacity to

come in here when this government is letting Queensland down on projects like the M1 is sickening. But I will

continue to fight to make sure that we hold this government to account.