STATE MEMBER FOR MALVERN
SHADOW TREASURER

Portfolio Speeches

Government: policy initiatives

The SPEAKER -- Order! I have accepted a statement from the member for South-West Coast proposing the following matter of public importance for discussion:
  • That this house congratulates the Liberal-Nationals coalition government for its many recent policy and funding announcements which will continue to ensure the provision of first-class services to Victorian families and businesses, reflecting the record levels of infrastructure investment and program funding being undertaken by the government as it continues to build for growth.

Dr NAPTHINE (Premier) -- It is a pleasure to speak to this matter of public importance.

 

Yesterday's budget, to which I will make passing reference, has set a great direction for the state of Victoria with the announcement of stage 1 of the east-west link. A couple of days prior to that I was with the Prime Minister of Australia for the historic signing of the national disability insurance scheme agreement, which will benefit over 100 000 Victorians with significant and profound disabilities. Also in the budget was a record $6.1 billion infrastructure spend, all delivered in a sound, economically responsible way and with a budget surplus.

But what I want to emphasise this morning are announcements that have been made over the last few weeks. I want to talk in particular about announcements made in areas of Labor's heartland, such as Melbourne's west, which was ignored and treated with contempt by the Labor Party for 11 years when in government. Labor Party members treated the voters in that area with absolute and utter contempt. The members are proud to represent those seats but did not deliver for them.

 

In fact most of its members do not even have the decency to live in the seats they represent.

Let us talk about Melbourne's west. In the time I have been Premier of this state I have been to Melbourne's west on a number of occasions. Recently I was with the Minister for Education in Melbourne's west, where we announced significant funding for much-needed new schools in the growth areas of the cities of Wyndham and Melton. These areas have rapidly growing communities which include families with young children who need and deserve new schools, but these people were ignored and neglected under the Labor government. Local Labor members treated those areas with absolute and utter contempt.

Victoria is fortunate now in having Liberal members in the upper house who stand up for the western suburbs -- Bernie Finn and Andrew Elsbury. Those members put up their hands and are standing up and getting results for the western suburbs. I was pleased to be in the western suburbs, in Werribee, to announce $11.5 million for the Wyndham Vale South primary school, $11.5 million for the Melton North West primary school and $10 million for stage 1 of the Truganina P-9 college.

One of the projects Bernie Finn, a member for Western Metropolitan Region in the Council, is particularly proud of is additional funding of $8 million for the Western Autistic School at Laverton. This project had $4 million in 2011 -- --

 

Ms Campbell -- On a point of order, Speaker, as you know, a matter of public importance does not cover the state budget. Every single item that has just been articulated by the member for South-West Coast is in the state budget, and he is not permitted to run through the state budget; this is not his response time.

The SPEAKER -- Order! To make it clear there is a ruling in Rulings from the Chair by Deputy Speaker Barker regarding the budget being discussed in a matter of public importance (MPI) debate. It is up to the Speaker to exercise his or her discretion in allowing debate on an MPI which concerns budget matters, and I am allowing it to go through.

Dr NAPTHINE -- In response to the member for Pascoe Vale, if she had not been asleep at the wheel she would have noticed that these announcements were made before the budget.

 

In respect of health in the western suburbs, in Werribee we announced funding of $34 million for a new 54-bed mental health facility at Werribee Mercy Hospital, including funding for 25 new beds, and funding of $9.7 million for a long-awaited replacement of the Western Region Health Centre's public dental clinic. That dental clinic has been described as the worst public dental service in the state, and it was ignored for 11 years by the Labor government. Labor's heartland in Footscray was ignored by the Labor Party, and it has taken a Liberal-Nationals government to come in and deliver for all Victorians, particularly those in Melbourne's west.

The Minister for Planning, Minister Guy, does a great job in planning, and on 2 May he announced funding of $72 million for transport and planning infrastructure for East Werribee and Point Cook, including $17 million for upgrading the Sneydes Road interchange with the Princes Highway.

 

The people in the city of Wyndham are rapt about that investment, because they know they finally have a government that is listening to the needs of the western suburbs, listening to the needs of Wyndham and Melton and delivering.

Ms Beattie -- What about Craigieburn?

Dr NAPTHINE -- The member for Yuroke urges me to talk about Melbourne's north, another area ignored by the Labor government, and I will happily take up the challenge. The people in Melbourne's north are lucky they have two hardworking upper house members for Northern Metropolitan Region, Craig Ondarchie and Matthew Guy, after 11 years of Labor treating that area with absolute neglect and contempt.

What have we announced in Melbourne's north? There is funding of $11.5 million for stage 1 of the new Doreen secondary college.

 

How many times have we heard the member for Yan Yean talk about the need for a secondary college at Doreen? She represented that area during a period of Labor government when Labor had money to burn, but she could not deliver a secondary college in her own electorate.

She is an absolute failure as a shadow minister, as a member and in representing her community. That funding is on top of the previous announcement of $10 million for Doreen South Primary School, which is going to open in 2014. These are major educational investments in Melbourne's north.

An honourable member -- Not enough.

Dr NAPTHINE -- It is not enough for her, the member says. But of course there is more.

 

I was out in the northern suburbs recently to announce a $29 million investment in a new wing for the Northern Hospital in Epping which will include 32 additional beds. That is on top of an announcement in 2011 of $24.5 million for a new emergency department and a new special-care nursery.

This government is delivering for areas neglected under the previous government -- Melbourne's growing north and west. That is what we are on about, because we are a government that cares about all Victorians. We are prepared to stand up for the west and the north, in contrast to members who treat those areas with contempt and who are only interested in factional deals. When they were looking to replace the member for Lyndhurst and find someone to represent Western Metropolitan Region in the Council, did they go to the local people and say, 'Who do you want as your representative?'? Did they give the members of their local Labor branches a chance to choose their new member? What did they do? We had two things: we had the captain's pick endorsed by the national executive -- not even the Victorian executive. And what did we get? We got a third-rate, failed Labor Party union hack. That is who we have.

Mr Eren -- On a point of order, Speaker, government members may be enjoying the theatrics by the Premier, but I ask you to bring him to order in relation to the matter of public importance (MPI) before the house. His speech is totally irrelevant to the MPI, and I urge you to bring him back to it.

Ms Asher -- On the point of order, Speaker, the MPI before the house is wide ranging. Traditionally MPIs are very wide ranging, and the Premier is keeping to the tenor of the motion before the house.

 

The SPEAKER -- Order! I do not uphold the point of order.

Dr NAPTHINE -- I will move on from Mr Melhem, who will be a new member for Western Metropolitan Region in the Council, and wish him well as he moves straight from the picket line to the front line of the Labor Party.

I will move on to Bendigo Hospital, another matter on which local Labor members in Bendigo failed. The former government promised a small, moderate hospital in Bendigo, but when we came to the election in 2010 we said we would invest in a larger and more appropriate hospital for Bendigo, and I was pleased to announce a couple of weeks ago that we have delivered above and beyond that. We have committed $630 million for a new regional hospital, the biggest health infrastructure investment in regional Australia. This funding will deliver a hospital with 372 beds on one site in Barnard Street. That is 190 more beds than currently exist at that hospital.

 

There will be 190 extra beds, 10 operating theatres, an integrated cancer centre and a mental health unit with 80 beds.

There will be a great new car park for the staff on Lucan Street with a helipad on top of it. It was not one of the previous government's options to have a helipad at Bendigo Hospital, despite the fact that it saves lives, but we have delivered on that helipad. Guess what! That is because we are a government that knows how to deal with business and get the best value for the taxpayers dollar. There will not just be a hospital in Bendigo, there will be a redevelopment of the whole central business district of Bendigo. Our development will include a retail precinct, a 100-place child-care centre, a 180-seat conference centre and 128 serviced apartments, and it will generate 770 jobs. This is a revolutionary change for Bendigo which could only be delivered by a coalition government that cares about regional Victoria and can do the best deal possible with business.

 

Let me give you another example: the Ringwood railway station, where we are investing $66 million, as promised, to upgrade the station-bus interchange. We are going to deliver a safer, more efficient station-bus interchange. Because of that investment, because of negotiations with the local businesses and community, that will trigger an investment by the owners of Eastland into a $500 million expansion of Eastland and the Ringwood town centre, which will create 2000 construction jobs and 2000 retail jobs. Of course there is more. The Maroondah City Council has announced that because of all this investment and activity in its area it will redevelop the Ringwood library, learning and cultural centre in that area.

Finally, let me refer to port capacity. We know how important port capacity is for this state. We are the freight and logistics capital of Australia. We are the area that depends so much for our economy, jobs and future on our port capacity.

 

We know that the port of Melbourne when we came to government was reaching capacity because of the failure of the Labor government and the failure of the Labor minister to make any decisions on port capacity. The previous government procrastinated, delayed and would not make a decision. This government made decisions and got on with the job. The capacity project at the port of Melbourne is a $1.6 billion development. There will be a new container facility at Webb Dock, a new automotive facility and the expansion of east and west Swanson Dock. It is a $1.6 billion program -- a $1.6 billion investment -- which will create 3000 jobs. This is a great investment in jobs, in capacity building and in securing the future of Melbourne and Victoria as the freight and logistics capital of Australia.

But there is more to be done. We know that by 2030 the port of Melbourne, even with the expanded capacity, will once again be reaching its limits and that further investments will need to be made.

 

We have again made long-term decisions about that. We understand that we need to build ports where ships can go. The new deep-draught ships, the next generation of ships, need to go somewhere where there is the draught and the capacity for those ships. The logical place is the port of Hastings. We are not the only ones who believe that Hastings is the right place to go for a port. The member for Tarneit when he was the Minister for Roads and Ports said:

  • ... the government has confirmed that Hastings is the preferred site for a second container port ...

Further on he said:

  • The port of Hastings is well positioned to serve as Melbourne's second container port.

He also said:

  • No other port location offers the same overall advantages as Hastings, and it holds major economic potential for the state of Victoria.

The former minister said Hastings was the best place for a port, and we agree with him. We are getting on with the job.

 

We are developing the port of Hastings under the leadership of the Minister for Ports. There is $110 million on the table. We need this port capacity. We are getting on with the job of building this port capacity, because we are about governing for all Victorians.

Mr BROOKS (Bundoora) -- I say to the Premier that self-praise is no recommendation. This matter of public importance staggers me. It staggers me that the Premier of this state after inflicting savage cuts on some of the most vulnerable people in our community would come in here seeking to pat himself and his government on the back for their performance in providing services to Victorians. To describe the service levels in the education system as first class is nothing but misleading and a sick joke. This matter, which is full of self-congratulation, and the Premier's contribution, which contained personal abuse of members of the other house, are completely unacceptable. I speak against the matter put by the member for South-West Coast.

 

I turn to the services provided by this government in the health system and one of the greatest frauds that this government has committed on the people of Victoria. In particular there is its promise to the people of Victoria that it would add an additional 800 beds to the hospital system in Victoria. The coalition promised that 800 beds would be delivered in its first year of government. We know that was a great big fraud on the people of Victoria. Not one of those extra beds has been delivered. In fact 36 beds have been taken away from the hospital system in Victoria, despite the fact that our population is growing and the need for health services is growing as well.

Every member on the other side of the house should hang their head in shame.

 

I do not begrudge the Premier coming in here and talking about the positives of his budget and trying to sell it, but I think it is completely inappropriate for him to congratulate himself and his government on these things and not address the cuts that his government has made to important health services right across the state. We see 55 000 people sitting on waiting lists for surgery -- an extra 20 000 people have been added to those lists in the term of this government. In his contribution the Premier did not once mention those waiting lists, and one can draw the conclusion that he is not concerned about those 55 000 people -- an Etihad Stadium full of people -- who are waiting for important health services. This is what happens when you rip $616 million out of the health system. We did not hear the Premier talking about those cuts to the health system today; he wanted to focus on abusing people in other parts of the Parliament.

At the Austin Hospital in my area of Melbourne there are 4300 people on the waiting list for surgery. That is a disgrace.

 

Instead of the Premier coming in here and patting himself on the back he should apologise to the people in the north-east of Melbourne. In his contribution he spent much of his time talking about this government's supposed investment in Labor areas. He should come up and apologise to each one of the 4300 people on the waiting list at the Austin Hospital, not to mention the blow-out in the waiting list at the Northern Hospital at Epping.

I turn to education, which is another area that has been savaged by the Napthine government. We have heard the government talking tough about the need to improve school performance. We saw this government drag its heels in its negotiations with the federal government on the national plan for school improvement -- in fact it came up with its own version of that plan.

 

It was supposed to cost $400 million, with the cost to be shared between the commonwealth and state governments, but in yesterday's budget there was no funding for either of those options, so one can only assume again that this was a great big fraud on the people of Victoria. There was no intention to engage in Gonski and the reforms that the federal government has been talking about, and not even any intention to deliver on its own plan for school improvement. It was just 29 pages of public relations spin. There was not one cent in yesterday's budget for the plan for school improvement that the Premier, the former Premier and the Minister for Education put forward to the Victorian people. This is another fraud committed on the people of Victoria.

Just another example of fraud on the education system is the Minister for Education continually talking about the introduction of a new Victorian baccalaureate as an addition to the Victorian certificate of education option for young people studying in the senior secondary years. That has been announced three times now -- in 2011, in 2012 and again this year -- but we have not seen one cent allocated for schools to implement the program. This is another fraud committed on the people of Victoria by the government.

I want to speak about the 18 dedicated drug education officer positions in our system. Those officers were employed in the education department to ensure that our kids got an appropriate education about the dangers of drugs as they grew up. You would think there would not be a much more important position in the education system, but all 18 positions have gone. As the Premier walks out of the chamber with his head hung in shame, the 18 drug education officers in this state have all gone.

Honourable members interjecting.

 

Mr BROOKS -- I can tell by the interjections from members opposite that they fully support the Premier's axing of those positions. They should go back to their communities and tell them that they support the removal of those drug education officers. Government members have gone quiet. I do not think they knew about the axing of those positions until they had already gone. It is a great shame for the education of our young people in the state. We have had the removal of regional network leaders from the education system. These people work to support schools in the area of school improvement and to help kids who have particular welfare needs. We have seen a massive reduction in the number of regional network leaders, which is having a direct impact on the education of our kids.

We have seen the government engage in a legislative program of improving school discipline. We have seen principals given the power to search bags and even parents' cars for weapons.

 

We now have a bill before the house, which I will not talk about, that will see parents being fined in relation to the truancy of their children. What we have seen in the education system is an increase in the incidence of ill-discipline at schools. There are more lockdowns, and we are certainly not seeing any decrease in the number of knife-related incidents in schools. The government and the Minister for Education have no fix on this issue.

Next I come to the issue of school capital, which we know from the government's pre-election policy commitments is driven by politics and not by good policy. Nearly all the government's election commitments for school rebuilds were for schools in coalition seats. They were pretty hastily cobbled together -- --

Honourable members interjecting.

 

Mr BROOKS -- I must admit that one of the schools that did not make the list of coalition promises was the Sale Specialist School in the Deputy Premier's electorate. Members of The Nationals should check their promises; they probably did not have the guts to get that one on the list. That is a great school servicing the local community in Sale. It is only a few hundred metres down the road from the Deputy Premier's electorate office, but it has not been upgraded. The kids at the school, and the teachers who do such a fantastic job, have suffered under some pretty poor conditions. The Deputy Premier did not raise the issue in the last Parliament, he did not get it into his election commitments and he has not raised it again -- he has been dragging his heels. I think in yesterday's budget there was finally some money for planning to try to get that school into a new location. However, there is no way the school will be built in this term of government; it will have to wait until the next Parliament, if it is lucky, and if the government commits further funds for it.

 

That delay is a great example of the damage that was done by this government by the removal of the Labor government's schools plan, which saw investment in a range of schools across the state for them to be upgraded. I know that the Greensborough College community in my electorate was looking forward to the school being rebuilt. It is a fantastic school with a growing enrolment that needs an upgrade -- in fact, it needs to be rebuilt -- because the facilities are coming to the end of their life. The school community was very disappointed about the election of the Liberal-Nationals government, because that funding was scrapped in favour of those party political promises as soon as the government came to office.

Just the other day the Liberal and National parties announced maintenance funding that was supposed to have been provided to those schools that were in the greatest need. It is $51.5 million, which I would argue is insufficient for the maintenance needs of schools across the state.

 

We saw 72 per cent of the allocated funding going to Liberal and Nationals electorates. We know that when there is an allegation of pork-barrelling the people who squeal the loudest are The Nationals.

I think the Auditor-General will have a lot of fun working out how that funding was allocated, because I cannot see how over half the population of this state can live in electorates that get less than 23 per cent of the funding allocated for school maintenance. There is obviously a rort going on here, and we are looking forward to finding out how that allocation was done -- whether the notepad was passed around the party room and people put down their promises.

Some big dollars went into marginal seats on the other side of the house while a lot of schools in the northern suburbs of Melbourne that the Premier was so keen to talk about have missed out completely. Every school in the city of Banyule missed out completely, but in the Premier's own electorate eight schools were funded for a total of $1.1 million. It sounds pretty good if you can get it; it does not sound like a pork-barrelling exercise to me! Then again we know The Nationals love having a bit of a pork barrel.

The figures show that total funding for schools was about $51.5 million, with $11.7 million directed to schools in Labor electorates -- again about half the Victorian population -- and $30.9 million going to schools in Liberal and Nationals electorates.

 

We can see a pattern here: the skewing of funding for party-political purposes by a government desperate to cling to power. We see that with its dealings with the member for Frankston, the Independent member. The government is desperate to cling to power.

We have also seen this government's heartless attitude in terms of its cuts to the Victorian certificate of applied learning (VCAL) and TAFE. We know VCAL is a vital program for schoolkids, particularly kids who want to take vocational or trade pathways. For members opposite to continue to argue that coordination funding for VCAL is not required is wrong. Members opposite, as they talk to their local schools, are being told exactly the same thing, and they know that. That is why members are silent on the other side of the house at the moment. They know that the funding is important, particularly in rural areas, where it is tougher for kids doing VCAL to get training placements and employment opportunities.

 

Those coordinators in rural areas work harder than anywhere else because it is a bit harder to get those kids placements with a local employer or local planning provider, so that coordination funding is vital. It is even more vital if you talk about the needs of kids with disabilities, which I have spoken about before in this house. The cuts made by the Napthine government to VCAL, which were perpetuated in the budget yesterday, are unfair and unjust, and certainly they are no cause for this government to be patting itself on the back as this matter seeks to do.

We have seen the TAFE cuts, campuses closing and families having to undergo severe hardship to put their kids through TAFE. In my part of the world the Greensborough campus of Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE is being flogged off. My community is outraged that this government is happy to see TAFEs run down the way they are, and again we will hold this government to account for its actions.

 

I have spoken about the impact of the budget on health services in my area, particularly on people in the older age bracket. They are concerned about being able to access quality health services. As our population ages many older people are very anxious about being able to get into a hospital to receive good care. The good work done in our hospital system by our health workers -- doctors and nurses -- is being undercut. The cuts made by this government are simply shameful.

Up in my part of the world in the northern suburbs -- again an area the Premier was interested in -- in previous years cuts were obviously made to public transport and bus services were removed. In this budget there is no money to improve any transport services in the northern suburbs. Again, the Premier was happy to talk about one school in Doreen that was funded. That was important and should have been funded before. The member for Yan Yean had to run a campaign -- --

Dr Sykes interjected.

Mr BROOKS -- I am happy to take up the interjection from the member for Benalla because he should understand that in growth areas you need to continually provide new facilities. I think Labor provided five new schools in the Yan Yean electorate in its last term of government. It is not unreasonable to suggest that if you build a primary school, then you need to build a secondary school. This government has been dragging its heels on providing for that area. It is also interesting to see the government's approach to the east-west tunnel. We will be watching very closely to see how it intends to pay for these things and manage the different expectations of communities on these issues.

 

In conclusion, as I said at the start of my contribution, I was staggered that the Premier would come into this place with a matter congratulating himself and his government without acknowledging the pain suffered by so many Victorians because of this government's policies. Whether it be the health system, where health waiting lists are blowing out; the education system, where kids who need extra support are missing out; or the cuts to the education maintenance allowance, which provides support to some of our poorest families -- and again in yesterday's budget more money was cut -- this is a shameful situation. Instead of patting itself on the back this government should be apologising to the Victorian people. It should be saying, 'We got some of these things wrong. We need to address these things'. But we see none of this from the Victorian government. We only see the arrogance that will eventually bring it down.

Mr RYAN (Minister for State Development) -- It is my great pleasure to join this matter of public importance which is before the house today. We have as a government made a series of announcements over the course of the past days and weeks. Those announcements have been focused around building for growth for the future of our wonderful state. They have been about the economic performance of the Victorian government and about the fact that we comparatively have the best performing economy in Australia. We have made announcements to do with infrastructure development totalling $6.1 billion. We have made announcements around families and how we can better the situation with regard to families, who are the backbone of the Victorian community. We have made announcements about improved service provision in a variety of areas.

 

One of the clear focuses around those announcements is that so many of them relate to areas where the Labor Party would not, could not and did not make provision on behalf of Victorians. This matter therefore goes substantially to those critical areas, and we as a Liberal-Nationals coalition government have made announcements about those initiatives which further the interests of families and businesses in this state and ensure that we do in fact build for growth.

I want to go through some of those initiatives. I had a particular order in mind, but I will go straight to a matter that the member for Bundoora chose to highlight in the course of his contribution when he made reference to the Sale Specialist School. As members of the house know, I live in the wonderful city of Sale. People also know that for 11 years the Labor Party did absolutely nothing for the community of Sale and particularly for the Sale Specialist School.

 

For the 11 years it was in government -- for 11 consecutive budgets -- Labor ignored the plight of the Sale Specialist School. It did not fund anything at all in any budget with regard to the acquisition of land or with regard to planning, let alone with regard to building any new facility for the Sale Specialist School. It did absolutely zero, zilch, zip.

Now what do we get from those opposite? We have the member for Bundoora coming to Sale, winding up the local school community, getting his photo in the paper and apparently pleading the cause for these people, when for 11 years Labor absolutely ignored them and did nothing for them. He stood up here this morning to compound the sin, saying that our government has done nothing for this community. In fact in this budget we have allocated the money for the purchase of land for the Sale Specialist School. In this budget we have the appropriate money for the planning of the facility which will be built for the Sale Specialist School.

 

On the one hand we have the member for Bundoora in particular -- the primary whinger -- whingeing about this issue on behalf of the Labor Party. What is the Labor Party's score? Zero, zip, nothing. On the other hand we have the Liberal-Nationals coalition government, two and a half years into government, in its third budget, providing the money to buy the land. We are then providing the money for the planning.

Mr Nardella -- You're buying the land.

Mr RYAN -- The member for Melton screams out, 'You're buying the land'. As a matter of fact we have to buy the land before we put the school on it. That is how it works. The member for Melton has so little experience of building anything that he would not know that you have to get the land first before you can put a school on it. We are in the process of doing exactly what we said we would do. What did the Labor Party do? Absolutely zero.

 

The member for Bundoora has very graciously provided a great focal point for this debate. He has shown the way and has demonstrated again during his own contribution that Labor is all words, all hot air and all spin, with no delivery, whereas from our government's point of view we are actually doing the things we said we would do. I am proud to say that we have in fact made provision in this budget for the land purchase which will enable this new school to be built, and I for one am very proud that we have been able to achieve that. This is but one great example, which the member for Bundoora has so graciously highlighted, which shows how Labor does a lot in terms of talking about an issue but in terms of delivery does zero.

In the limited time available I will talk about the issue of natural gas extending through regional Victoria. As we know, the Labor Party turned its back on regional communities over this all-important issue.

 

In an article which appeared in the Weekly Times of 6 December 2012 the member for Bendigo East is quoted as saying:

  • We did all this work when we were in government, and the gas network is extended as far as it could be.

The Labor Party, led by the then Premier Mr Brumby, made it very clear in the lead-up to the election in 2010 that there would be no more extensions. Well, the Liberal-Nationals coalition government is doing it. We started with an announcement that the natural gas supply to Mildura will be augmented by 50 per cent. We have also announced that we are going to supply natural gas to the lovely community of Huntly, and we anticipate that that work will be finished by next winter. This town is in the heartland of a seat held by the member for Bendigo East, who was a senior minister in the former Labor government -- a government which turned its back on and spurned these country communities. It has taken a Liberal-Nationals coalition government to deliver the natural gas which the people of Huntly have for so long pined for.

In the last few days I have been to Avoca to announce the fulfilment of the promise to bring natural gas to that lovely town -- and still the Labor Party whinges about it. Still we have opposition members casting aspersions upon the fact that this sort of an undertaking can be kept; still they are out there complaining about it. It is all accompanied by plenty of American-style politics and dog whistling.

 

They say, 'We're pleased to have this come to the communities', but on the other hand they try to bag us and say that as a government we will not be able to do it -- but we have said we will do it, and we will do it. Again the Labor Party has plenty to say -- bearing in mind that the Labor Party while in government promised to bring natural gas to the people of Avoca and did not do it, could not do it and did not have the will to do it. It has taken a Liberal-Nationals coalition government to do it.

Another example is the fire services levy (FSL). For years the people of the regions campaigned hard to get a fair and equitable system which would enable fire services to be funded appropriately across the state of Victoria. Labor could not do it. It did not want to do it and did not have the guts to take it on. It had no heart in it and conducted these half-baked inquiries over the course of the years, but it turned its back on these communities, not only in the regions but in the metropolitan areas as well. Labor could not do it.

 

Recommendation 64 of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission said that it should be done, and it has taken the Liberal-Nationals coalition government to do it. After decades of campaigning by so many people we have actually been able to do it. It will mean that instead of paying on average $262 a year for an FSL component in the Country Fire Authority areas, people in our residential communities are only going to pay about $142. It is a significant saving, and it applies across the six sectors which in combination fund the fire services levy.

Labor could never do it. It did not want to do it; it was dragged to do it. It said in its last, dying days of government that it would do it, but we know it would never ever have done it.

It has taken the Liberal-Nationals coalition government to clean up the absolute mess left to us by the former government in the TAFE area -- yet another one. I heard the member for Bundoora whingeing about this as well.

 

He knows that in 2008-09 the former government said it would cost about $850 million to run the show. In fact within four or five years it had gone up by $500 million a year, not the $100 million a year Labor said would be the case. We fixed that mess as well, and already we are seeing the benefits of it.

I could continue to go through reams of these examples, but the matter of public importance before the house reflects the fact that over the past few days and weeks this government has been able to make announcements that Labor was never able to make. It was never able to make them because it did not want to make them and it did not have the will to make them. This government has on both scores. We are proud of the fact that we are delivered for all Victorians, particularly those in the regions of our great state.

Mr CARBINES (Ivanhoe) -- I am pleased to rise to make a contribution in relation to the matter of public importance.

 

I would like to start my remarks by pointing out that I came to this place to uphold standards of decency and integrity in public office, particularly in relation to Labor values of defending the rights of people in the workplace, and to make sure that we advocate consistently for those who continue to miss out on the long-term economic prosperity and growth that we have enjoyed here in Victoria.

I start off by making the point that there continue to be a number of people in the community of Ivanhoe continue to miss out and their voices continue to fall on deaf ears under this Napthine Liberal government. I might start with police and emergency services in Victoria, particularly under the former police minister, the Minister for State Development, who is now perhaps nothing more than a broken-down full forward being shuffled off into the forward pocket. He has been moved out. He continues to make it into the team but he has been dumped to the forward pocket. They have moved him out of the key roles.

 

They have done that because out in the Ivanhoe electorate we continue to miss out on the things that this government talks about in relation to services.

We know the former police minister continues to drop his head every time the pressure is applied. We have seen him time and again tell untruths in this Parliament and tell untruths to the community of Heidelberg in relation to police services. We know that because on 28 April 2011 he said there would continue to be staffing of 80 hours per fortnight at the police station in West Heidelberg. That police station has been closed since January 2012, under this government. I note that in a letter dated 17 May 2011 Dean Stevenson, the superintendent, said:

  • ... as you are aware, the Heidelberg West police station is currently under review and until a decision is made into its future, the directional signage will remain in place.

The superintendent knows the police station is under review and everyone in West Heidelberg knows the police station is closed, yet we continue to get these untruths from the former police minister in relation to services for people in West Heidelberg.

 

I point out that he continues to say, as he did on 27 February 2012, that a shopfront available to the folk of West Heidelberg is supplemented by many additional patrols in the region. That is just totally incorrect: the police station is closed. If the minister took the time to come out to West Heidelberg, he would know that. We in the Ivanhoe electorate continue to be ignored.

I will also look at health. Just recently we have had a merger proposal put forward by the Liberal government. Last time they were in office -- we reclaimed the seat of Ivanhoe from the Liberal Party in 1996 -- they had plans to privatise the Austin Hospital. They just cannot help meddling in services for the public at the Austin Hospital. Now the secret is out: a merger between Northern Health and Austin Health. We all know about that. Rather than address the systemic and endemic funding and service issues at Northern Health, the government's plan is to poison the well at Austin Health.

 

It wants to put members of the Ivanhoe community to the back of the queue and send maternity and birthing services up to Northern Hospital. The government wants to take services away from people at the Austin Hospital and put those people at the back of the queue rather than addressing the needs of the growth areas in the outer northern suburbs. We are not going to stand for it; we have caught this government out again.

There was $45 million that we had to fight for to secure the completion of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, for which we had 3000 signatures on a petition in March 2011. We may well have lost government at the end of 2010, and we accept that we got booted out. But I can tell you we pulled out 3000 signatures from the Ivanhoe community, from people who wanted that $45 million secured. We had to fight for that, and we got it with the community's support, because they know that when it comes to the Austin Hospital the Liberals cannot be trusted.

 

They know that from past experience, and they know that from the government's plans to merge our hospital with Northern Hospital.

We will not stand by and watch while you appoint your Liberal cretins to run the Austin Hospital -- Judith Troeth and the rest of those people in the Liberal Party that you just think you can park to run organisations in our community, who do not speak up or stand up for the people at the Austin, while you refuse to appoint a CEO to run Northern Health because you just want it to let it run into the ground. Because you only want to appoint your own mouthpieces -- --

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! Through the Chair -- the use of 'you' is not permitted.

Mr CARBINES -- Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Education is another weak link that this government has in the local community.

 

We have seen several school sites in my electorate being sold off -- in Heidelberg West in Heidelberg Heights and the Bellfield Primary School site -- being sold off. The government refused to upgrade the Olympic Village Primary School site. The Haig Street Primary School site is now being sold off, and we have also seen the Banksia-La Trobe Secondary College site being sold off. None of that money is being invested into local schools. They are currently all at capacity. Three years, three budgets, three strikes -- there has not been one bit of funding for capital projects in the Ivanhoe electorate under this government; that is what it is doing.

One government secondary college, Viewbank College, with 1200 students -- some 3000 parents send their kids to that school -- has not received one cracker from this government in three years. Rosanna Golf Links Primary School had a $1.5 million master plan done by the previous government. It is now sitting collecting dust under this government.

 

The only money we have got from this government in relation to education services came when classrooms at Olympic Village Primary School in West Heidelberg burnt down and the government decided it would cough up a couple of dollars from insurance to rebuild a couple of buildings. We still had to put out petitions and fight to get those funds. This government is not committed to schools in the Ivanhoe electorate, and we will hold it accountable again for its failure to deliver to local communities in West Heidelberg. It is not acceptable.

Let us look at transport services and bus services. There are no additional services for people travelling on the 517 bus service through Viewbank. Rosanna train station is falling down, and there is not one dollar to upgrade that station; it is in the same state as it has been for the last 30 or 40 years. We know that this government is not committed to duplicating the Chandler Highway to address significant bottleneck issues. We have a new fair weather Treasurer, who stands there and thinks it is all nice and easy at the moment. However, when the clouds starts to descend and the chickens come home to roost where will we he be? That is what I would like to know, because he certainly has not spent any time in the Ivanhoe electorate.

The Ivanhoe electorate also has a problem in relation to services and livability for people. The crooks who run Places Victoria were appointed by this government. They are Liberal Party hacks, and they have totally stuffed it up. The former Premier appointed his mates. Not only did the former chair of Places Victoria, Peter Clarke, get the flick, so did the former Premier. If you put your mates in to run these shows, we will remember. We remember the gravy train. We remember the Kennett days. We remember the gravy train that appointed these people. How is Places Victoria going?

 

The government is sitting on public housing land and school sites in the Ivanhoe electorate but is refusing to do anything with the land because Places Victoria has fallen into a heap. The government continues to appoint cronies to run these organisations, and people in the Ivanhoe electorate continue to suffer. They are suffering in relation to the Austin Hospital. They are suffering in relation to vacant school sites. They are suffering in relation to public housing rental increases. They are suffering in relation to public housing properties being sold off. People are being pressured and muscled to leave their homes.

We sought to have the Ivanhoe structure plan scrapped and redone by the Banyule City Council. We sought interim planning controls from the local upper house member, Matthew Guy, the Minister for Planning and a member for Northern Metropolitan Region, to protect our suburbs from developers until he approves the Ivanhoe structure plan. He says that he accepts the Ivanhoe structure plan, but he is waving the developers through.

 

He is saying, 'Get out there and make sure that you develop and get your planning approvals for mega-monster, 8-storey buildings in Ivanhoe before the Ivanhoe structure plan is completed'. That is what he is allowing them to do, instead of putting in interim building controls to protect people in the Ivanhoe electorate. We will hold him to account for as long as he continues to look after his developer mates and gives them free rein and a green light to build whatever they like in the electorate.

We all remember when those opposite cut out the supply of whooping cough vaccine. These people do not care about families. We all remember them jacking up the rents for public housing. We have a range of concerns in relation to this government. This government is responsible for the lowest ever investment in new public housing stock in Victoria. Not since 1956 have we seen a government provide such low levels of investment in public housing in Heidelberg West.

 

The only activity we see are the 'For sale' signs going up on public housing sites for the government's developer mates. When I walked down to the Palladium at Crown this morning there they all were, making lots of money with their developer mates instead of coming in here and doing business for the people of Victoria.

There is one point on which I fundamentally disagree with what others have said -- this is not the same old government. This is a new government with a new Premier and a new Treasurer. It has moved a few people on who did not perform -- it has tried to hide them -- but it still believes in the same rubbish and still protects the same cronies. On this side of the house we accept and understand that this is a new government. We hold it to account for what it is doing in the community. We will not get let it get away with cosying up to its developer mates and its cronies trying to silence the people of Victoria.

 

The sooner we get a better understanding on this side of the house of what we need to do to attack this new government for what it does and the beliefs it holds, the sooner we will remove it from office.

Mr MULDER (Minister for Public Transport) -- What a delight it is to rise on such a great day in support of the matter of public importance put forward by the member for South-West Coast. What a fantastic budget. What an unbelievable response from the business community and the broader media. This was a budget that no-one thought could be delivered. It is an absolutely fantastic budget for all Victorians. If I had time, I would go through my entire list of projects, but I will instead concentrate on the public transport sector because 10 minutes is nowhere near long enough to talk about all our fantastic initiatives. We have provided $78.2 million for protective services officers (PSOs) to protect people on our railway stations and around our railway station precincts. This policy was attacked by the Labor government and by members in this house.

 

Have a look at them turn and switch and change, when they ask, 'When are our PSOs coming on board?'. These calls are coming from the other side all the time.

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change and member for Warrandyte, who is sitting beside me, is responsible for the Ringwood railway station precinct upgrade. What a fantastic project, valued at $66 million and leveraging about $500 million worth of investment. This rolls into our process of railway station enhancement projects. We are very keen to make railway stations living areas that people can come to and enjoy as well as places to feel safe and comfortable. We have upgraded stations and improved facilities and amenities. These stations are going to be safe. That is what this government is on about.

Railway station upgrades announced in this budget include Grovedale station. The member for South Barwon worked very hard to get Grovedale station for his community. This station was left behind by the former Labor member for South Barwon, who had 11 years to have a crack at it but did not touch it. The current member for South Barwon put his shoulder to the wheel and fought all the way for that great project for the people of his electorate. He recognised the growth potential of the Armstrong Creek area. He recognised that people make a trip down the road to Marshall station.

 

This is a wonderful station for his community, and he has delivered it -- he has delivered for his community. Then there is Southland station. The member for Bentleigh fought tooth and nail for Southland station, and now we are in commercial negotiations with the owner of the shopping centre to deliver that project. Those negotiations are going very well. The member for Bentleigh can hang her hat on that; she fought very strongly for that project. It is going to be a fantastic project for people in the Bentleigh electorate.

The people of Bendigo must wonder what on earth has happened. They have a beautiful new multimillion-dollar hospital, a brand-new railway station and new services at Eaglehawk. What were the member for Bendigo East and the member for Bendigo West doing for the last 11 years? It took a coalition government to not only deliver the new hospital but also improve rail services, build new stations and add new services in that community. What a fantastic outcome.

 

They would have thought, out of the blue, 'This is not going to happen', but once again we have delivered for the people of Bendigo.

I go back to the opposition leader's commentary on what went wrong and why the former government lost the last election. 'We failed to plan for growth', was the opposition leader's commentary. If you look at the former government's 2010 election policy, under capital investment in rolling stock there were no trains planned for Melbourne. There was a growing population and more people were coming on board for public transport, but there were no plans in place for new trains. We are delivering new trains for the metropolitan network. We ordered seven trains as soon as we came to government. They are now either out there, being tested or at Ballarat being prepared for use. A further eight new trains have been ordered for the metropolitan network to take pressure off overcrowded trains. The breaches of standards have been coming down since we came to office.

 

We have planned for the future and for growth with a high-capacity signalling project. That is why the Labor government was thrown out. We are planning for growth on the metropolitan rail network, and we are putting money into upgrading the signalling system. The signals come from at the side of the track, inside the cab, which means you can run more trains and carry more people. That is the sort of thinking the community expects that we would be involved in.

Another of the government's projects is the Syndal station car park expansion. The member for Mount Waverley fought very hard for this project, which will add additional capacity and improve the amenity around that area and the safety for people who take their cars to the railway station to travel to the city and back. They will now be able to do so in a very safe environment.

There is also the Bayside rail upgrade. I will talk about this project again. It goes right through to Frankston and will cost $100 million.

 

I was with the Premier on Bentleigh station along with the members for Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Caulfield for this fantastic announcement. The new X'trapolis trains will now be able to run right along that corridor. There will be upgrades to signalling and crossings. There will be extensions to cover on the platforms -- more shelter and more seating. There will be CCTV cameras. Add to that the PSOs, the new trains going past and the removal of the North Road, Ormond, level crossing, and it is a fantastic outcome. Let us not forget the member for Frankston, who has fought very hard for his community to get these new services delivered to that area.

You have to ask yourself the question: how did the former government lose the last election? What went wrong? An article in the Age of 6 October 2011 by Clay Lucas and Jason Dowling reports that Rob Hudson, the former Labor member for Bentleigh, said in reference to the Frankston line's performance in an election year, 'It was just a disaster'. It was an absolute disaster.

 

Between July 2009 and May 2010 the number of trains arriving within 5 minutes of the scheduled time declined from 80.6 per cent to 62.6 per cent. Rob Hudson also raised questions about level crossings. Who listened to him? No-one listened to him. The former government took the people living along that Frankston corridor for granted and turned its back on them. It has taken a coalition government in a very short period of time to lift that performance from the gutter and take it right up. Until the end of March this year nearly 92 per cent of trains running along that line were running on time. Now those people will be able to travel on new X'trapolis trains, and they will go to stations where the canopies have been extended. There will be shelter, new seating and CCTV cameras. The member for Bentleigh has been out to the North Road, Ormond, grade separation project, and the protective services officer pods have built along that line.

What a transformation has taken place in a very short period of time as a result of hardworking members of Parliament! These are people who were put into office, who are interested in and have fought for their communities to get these fantastic improvements right along that line.

 

I will be delighted to be out there with those members as each and every one of those projects -- small though some of them may be -- are built, to remind community members of who stood up for them, fought for them and did not forget them. The coalition government has come to the fore in making sure that we deliver the best possible services. On the Frankston line at weekends there are services every 10 minutes. That is something that could only have been dreamt of and would never have been delivered under a Labor government. It has taken the coalition government to make those huge investments.

I will touch on another aspect: grade separations. In 11 long years of the previous government there were two grade separations undertaken. In our first term of government there were five. There were two in Anderson Road, right in the middle of Labor Party heartland, which Labor members turned their backs on. There was no money for the project -- not a dollar for the project -- yet we are delivering.

 

Labor members turned their backs on Labor Party heartland, and we are delivering.

Rooks Road, Mitcham, is another government project. Why did the former member for Mitcham get the boot? He would not fight for his community either, but the current member for Mitcham does. She put in the hard yards, the work and the dollars to look after her community. Members should go and have a look at the modelling for the Springvale Road project. What a beautiful station and precinct that will be!

There is also $50 million plus to address the next seven grade separations. A fantastic -- --

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member's time has expired.

 

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) -- I rise today to speak on this self-congratulatory matter of public importance (MPI). I can hardly get the words out after having listening to the Minister for Public Transport bragging about all these things he is supposed to have delivered. He took money from Labor's last budget that was allocated for the Hallam railway station. Despite the minister delivering some money to the Frankston line and some money here and there, we cannot even get a toilet at Hallam station. There is no toilet! I have asked the minister many times if we could have a toilet at Hallam station, but we cannot even get that.

This matter of public importance is reflective of the conceit amongst those on the other side of the chamber about yesterday's budget. Members on that side of the chamber are dripping with conceit. What they are trying to do is to disguise just how callous, cruel and heartless yesterday's budget was. This MPI talks about first-class services and building for growth. What an absolute joke!

 

I will give members a few reasons why that is so.

I represent an area that even the member for Gembrook was talking about last night as being one of the fastest growing areas in Melbourne -- and there are a number of members in the chamber who represent very fast growing areas. In fact some of my fellow Labor Party MPs represent the fastest growing areas in Australia. There is a lot of growth going on in Melbourne; in fact I think Melbourne is the fastest growing city in Australia. But this government is not investing in the outer suburbs. Even a little bit of investment would be a lot, because we have had nothing in the past. It would be better than anything we have had so far, but let us face it, the bar was pretty low under the former Premier -- what's his name? Premier Baillieu; remember him? Yes, members are laughing about him; I would be too. The member for Hawthorn He is a distant memory; pack him away. The government has a new Premier and a new Treasurer, but they have not done any better with this budget.

 

This budget does not deliver first-class services to people who live in the outer suburbs, it does not commit to major infrastructure and it does not build for growth.

I will give members just one example. The budget is totally about smoke and mirrors. The whole thing is a cruel illusion, a charade, to people who live in the outer suburbs. I had to laugh yesterday at seeing the reference to a Melbourne Metro rail tunnel. The tunnel is supposed to unclog the transport problems so that other trains can be put on and the trains will go faster and all that sort of stuff. The $10 million that was in the budget yesterday was something the government announced in last year's budget. In fact there has not been one dollar extra put in this budget for the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, but there is $2.4 million for the construction of the Brighton level crossing. If we add up all the money that has gone into the Brighton level crossing, we will see it is more than this government has committed to the major infrastructure project to build the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.

What am I suggesting? I am suggesting that my constituents should ask: why is it the people in the outer suburbs cannot get a toilet at Hallam station, yet there is more money in this budget and previous budgets for a level crossing, which was I think no. 223 on the list held by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure. We cannot get a toilet at Hallam station -- small infrastructure, not even major infrastructure -- but the people of Brighton can get a level crossing worth more than the commitment made by this government to the whole Melbourne Metro rail tunnel project.

This is a budget full of illusions and cuts.

 

Let us have a look at the cuts: $200 million to the health system, no money to address the ambulance crisis and no mention of the location of the coalition's promised 800 new beds. Last night in this chamber I asked the Minister for Health to put some new beds into Casey Hospital. By his own admission that hospital is at capacity. We are, as we all agree here, in one of the fastest growing growth corridors in Victoria, and yet there is not one extra bed for Casey Hospital. In fact things are slowing down; they are deteriorating. I am having an increasing number of people ringing my office saying they are waiting in pain and crying because they cannot get their surgery done, yet there is no solution to their problem in this budget, there are more cuts. But if you like you can go out and get some private health insurance on a shrinking household budget -- a budget which has had concessions taken from it. Also, because the people in my electorate have a high level of car ownership, their car expenses are going to increase.

 

Members should look at the money the government expects to reap from speeding fines -- a tenfold increase in speeding fines -- which is in the budget. Who do we think is going to get fined? I gather it will be those people who are spending more time on roads that are inadequate, slow and very frustrating for residents and commuters. This comes as no surprise, because if you look at the budget and this MPI that brags about major infrastructure, you will see there is no money for new arterial roads in the outer suburbs except for a small handpass to the member for Gembrook for part of Cardinia Road.

But in the city of Casey, which under previous Labor governments has been used to getting money for roads, not one cent has been allocated. Residents there should be thinking, 'What do we have to do to get some road infrastructure?'. My suggestion is that maybe they should move to Frankston.

 

The member for Frankston -- I will give him his due; I do not know what he has got going for him, but he certainly has the ear of government -- has been lavished with budget promises for railway station upgrades worth tens of millions of dollars, but we cannot even get a toilet at Hallam station.

I refer members to something the Deputy Premier said in this chamber about how you need to acquire land to build a school. A couple of years ago this government -- and I will give it some credit -- acknowledged that the city of Casey is a growth area and that it needs a new primary school. We promised a school at the last election, because we had built nine schools in the Narre Warren South electorate. The government went out and acquired the land, but two budgets have now gone past and there has not been a cent, not one dollar, put in a budget to build the school.

 

Last night in this chamber I noticed the member for Gembrook quite correctly raising the issue of an Officer secondary college. Even he was complaining that although he lives in a growth area the school will not be built. I had to laugh when I saw the response of the Minister for Education. He said:

  • We have purchased the land there, and I am more than happy to come out and speak to the member's community about that.

The people of Officer and Narre Warren South might get a visit from the Minister for Education. There is no school, no classrooms, no teachers and nothing going on in the paddock that has been acquired -- just a visit from the mealy-mouthed Minister for Education.

I will finish as I began, by talking about conceit. I quote Benjamin Disraeli on conceit.

 

He said, 'Every man has a right to be conceited until he is successful'. Look at the interface councils' budget submission and their wish list; it is a fail all around. Nothing has been delivered -- no first-class services and no major infrastructure in the interface areas. It is a fail on the part of the government. This is not a successful budget, and the government should not be conceited about it; instead it should be ashamed.

Mr O'BRIEN (Treasurer) -- What an extraordinary contribution from the member for Narre Warren South.

Ms Graley interjected.Mr O'BRIEN -- 'Nothing for first-class services in the south-east', she says as she leaves the chamber. Obviously the member for Narre Warren South does not think a brand-new, first-class, world-class children's hospital at Monash is useful to her constituents. We think having a second world-class children's hospital in the state to complement the wonderful treatment families get at the Royal Children's Hospital is a terrific thing. This is a coalition project. We are building it; we are funding it; we are delivering those first-class services. The member for Narre Warren South is either ignorant of the fact that we are building this new world-class children's hospital in the south-east or has chosen to disregard it. Either way it does not reflect well on her.

The member for Narre Warren South also claimed that concessions were being taken from families. This is the government that extended the electricity concession from 6 months of the year to 12 months of the year. Labor had 11 years in government in which it kept the concession at only six months of the year.

 

It thought that pensioners and other people who are hard up and are doing it tough only used electricity for six months of the year. Did it think they lived in tents for the other six months of the year? We are the government that has extended the concession, making it apply year round, which has made a huge impact in addressing the cost of living. While members opposite cheer for the carbon tax, with all that has done to electricity and gas bills -- they are cheering these cost increases for the people in our community who are least able to afford it -- they come in here and bag us on concessions when we are the government that has doubled the concession availability from 6 months of the year to 12 months of the year.

Bizarrely the member for Narre Warren South also claimed there was an issue with the fact that speeding fines are predicted to rise. Obviously the member has identified the politically significant hoon element as one of the key demographics she is trying to target.

 

The member for Narre Warren South wants to be the member for hoons; she wants to be the member who stands up and protects hoons because she thinks it is a terrible thing that people who break the law get fined. This government would much rather take not a single dollar in road fines, because if people obeyed the law and drove safely that would lead not only to a much better outcome in terms of people's health -- we would see fewer deaths and fewer catastrophic injuries on the road -- but also to a much better financial outcome. The number of people who die or are critically injured in road accidents across Victoria is significant in terms of both human cost and financial cost.

We are keen to improve road safety. We will not have any truck with standing up for hoons -- --

Ms Graley interjected.

 

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Narre Warren South has had her opportunity.

Mr O'BRIEN -- We are quite happy to let -- --

Ms Graley interjected.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! I ask the member for Narre Warren South to cease interjecting.

Mr O'BRIEN -- We are quite happy to let the member for Narre Warren South stand up for the hoons in her electorate. She can be the friend of hoons; we on this side of the Parliament will be the friends of road safety.

 

This is a significant budget in terms of delivering additional services and infrastructure for Victorians. We have seen the commitment to build stage 1 of the east-west link. This will be a state-changing and nation-changing project. It is an enormous project for Victoria. When in the 1990s the Kennett government had the foresight to build CityLink it was opposed by the Labor Party. The then Leader of the Opposition, John Brumby, said he was opposed to CityLink. The Age of 13 March 1996 has the headline 'CityLink, tolls would be scrapped, says Brumby'. Another article in the Age that day says 'Mr Brumby made an absolute commitment to scrap the CityLink project'. It just shows you how myopic and short-term focused the Labor Party is and how little it understands the needs of a growing city and a growing state.

John Brumby opposed CityLink and tolls.

 

Then he and his great friend Steve Bracks perpetrated one of the greatest political frauds in Australian history by promising to build the Scoresby-Frankston freeway without tolls and then saying, 'Sorry, guys, we lied -- we are going to build it with tolls'. You just cannot trust Labor. You cannot trust Labor on major projects, on managing the budget or on delivering major infrastructure for this state.

Just as the Labor opposition of the day opposed CityLink, we can already hear from the yapping that is coming across the chamber that members of the Labor opposition of today will oppose the east-west link. We have been hearing the yap yap yap and all the interjections. They do not like it; they hate it. But as soon as you ask them to put a position they go quiet. It will be interesting when the opportunity comes along -- and I suspect it will -- and the Labor Partyhas to stand up in this chamber and make a call. The Labor Party will actually have to make a decision. Will it back the east-west link or oppose it?

Let us see what the people of eastern and south-eastern Melbourne and eastern and south-eastern Victoria say when they see what their Labor representatives do. I will be very interested to see how they vote. This is a nation-building project the cost of which will be significant, but the cost of doing nothing will be much greater. If we do nothing, we will be consigning this state to traffic gridlock and traffic chaos. As the government, we are not prepared to let that happen, and we will make the call. We need to invest in this project because we need this infrastructure. We are a growing state with a growing population, and we need to build infrastructure to meet that growth. That is what this government is committed to doing.

 

We can do this because we are managing the budget, and we can afford it -- unlike our colleagues in the federal Labor government in Canberra, who have gone from a $12 billion deficit last week to a $17 billion deficit this week. The federal government has lost $5 billion in a week. What is the deficit going to be next Tuesday night when federal Treasurer Wayne Swan hands down his budget? This is a clear indication that if you cannot manage your budget, you cannot deliver projects for the benefit of your citizens. We are committed to making sure that we keep the budget under control. We have strong finances, a growing economy, growing employment, growing surpluses and the capacity to implement major new projects and build major new infrastructure for this state.

It is not just about the roads; it is also about public transport.

 

We have made a massive investment in public transport in this budget, including $100 million for the Frankston rail line, $25 million for the Dandenong rail line, $25 million for new bus services and eight new trains for the metropolitan rail system, fitted out in Ballarat to secure regional jobs. We will see new train stations at Grovedale, Epsom, Southland and Ringwood. Because we are committing $66 million to the Ringwood development, we will leverage $500 million of private investment, 2000 construction jobs and 2000 ongoing retail and services jobs. This will be a jobs bonanza, and we are doing it because we are prepared to make the investment in infrastructure, get private sector money in there and create more jobs for Victorians.

Budgets are about choices. We can choose to go down the federal Labor path of debt and deficit, or we can choose a different path.

 

The choice is clear: Victoria is stronger with a coalition government that manages the finances and cuts inefficiency so it can invest in more services, more infrastructure, more jobs and growing the economy. Victoria is a much stronger place for the 2013-14 Victorian budget.

Mr McGUIRE (Broadmeadows) -- The dirty secret buried in the government's budget is that it implements a reverse Robin Hood strategy, robbing Victoria's poorest community -- Broadmeadows -- to buy the tainted vote of the member for Frankston. The coalition has axed almost $75 million from vital infrastructure projects in Broadmeadows. It has slashed by stealth and kept it secret from the city of Hume and the people of Broadmeadows -- one of the most vulnerable electorates in Victoria, historically neglected by conservative governments.

Here is the symbol that says it all: not one plaque can be found in Broadmeadows with a Liberal Premier's name on it for a Liberal-funded project.

 

In this budget almost $60 million has been axed from the Broadmeadows central activities area, which was to provide a social and economic hub. There was also $30 million for the redevelopment of the Broadmeadows railway station. These iconic projects have been axed. The city of Hume is gutted, and so are members of the community, as they realise that years of consultation and input have yet again been dismissed out of hand by the coalition.

Where did the money go? The Age tells the story today under the headline 'Frankston upgrade is a Shaw thing'. The fix was in; the deal was done. That is where the money has gone. The article reads:

  • Voters in rogue MP Geoff Shaw's marginal seat of Frankston have reaped a series of multimillion-dollar sweeteners in the budget.

  • Frankston railway station and its surrounds will benefit from a $13.8 million makeover as part of a $117 million package for the bayside electorate.

That is where the money has gone. The commentary goes on:

  • The money for Frankston is not just a win for the Independent MP -- who holds the balance of power -- but could be seen as an attempt by the Liberals to shore up support in the marginal seat if they run a candidate against Mr Shaw in next year's election.

That is an accurate and astute observation and insight. That is what has gone on, and the government was out there spruiking it. In the pre-budget announcement last week the government also announced a $100 million cash injection into the Frankston train line. It is obvious what the priorities have become. That is where the money has gone. Take the money out of Broadmeadows; take it from the people who are in greatest need -- these are the priorities. It is just about politics, and that is all it has ever been about. Just as the axed Treasurer, the member for Scoresby, failed to mention jobs in his first budget, the first budget speech of his successor, the current Treasurer, does not mention equality. The reason is showcased in Broadmeadows.

Let me continue. Fairness is mentioned in the Treasurer's speech in relation to the delivery of 'Fairer fire services funding', yet the Treasurer has even cut the coalition's commitment to buy a site for an essential service -- a new fire station in Broadmeadows -- claiming that the government has been unable to find suitable land in, of all places, Broadmeadows. That is unbelievable and has no credibility. The government should honour its promise of a new era of transparency by simply declaring to the state of Victoria that it does not care instead of misleading the families of Broadmeadows.

 

Broadmeadows is the capital of Melbourne's north, and it produces one-third of Victoria's manufactured exports, and for generations has been the economic engine room of this state and has underwritten Victoria's prosperity; that is the issue at hand here. This is an area in which we should invest, not make cuts. This is an area where a credible and responsible government would do just that. That is how to grow a community and build a state for growth. Such cynicism from this government undermines the credibility of its budget and reveals the coalition's election-winning pledge to govern for all as spin. This budget perpetuates the historic neglect of Broadmeadows by Liberal and conservative governments. Just think of how government members have even tried to rationalise the scrapping of a fire station.

So what has changed since I called the coalition 'the Baillieu-Ryan regime'? The former Premier has resigned, the Deputy Premier has been demoted and the former Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade has been axed.

 

It is still a regime; it just spins faster. That is all that has changed. This regime is on a faster spin cycle; that is all that has changed.

In his contribution to this debate the new Premier hailed the Minister for Planning and claimed that Craig Ondarchie, a member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the upper house, is delivering for Melbourne's north, and the Minister for Planning has taken to promoting himself in the media as the upper house member for Broadmeadows, but what has he delivered? Let us have a look at what he has delivered.

Funding of $14.7 million for a government services building and a commercial hub in Broadmeadows was taken out of last year's budget, and trying to pin down the Minister for Planning on the issue was like having a worm on a fishing line -- he kept moving and shifting his position.

 

The minister then went back to the City of Hume and said, 'What we'll do is we won't redistribute, because what happened was in the budget'. Basically he said that the government was going to redistribute this money from the poorest community in the state to the more prosperous -- the reverse Robin Hood. So what ended up happening? Government members came back and said, 'We'll put the money back into the city of Hume'. Where has that money gone?

As far as Mr Ondarchie is concerned, a lot of questions will be asked as this debate continues about where he has been missing in action, so I thank the Premier for naming him in this debate. Let us see how well Mr Ondarchie stands up in the future for his electorate. This is not the way a government should conduct itself and it is not the way to build communities.

The next issue is about what we have. What has changed? What we really have is just a faster spin cycle.

 

On infrastructure, Victoria's biggest public transport project has been sidelined; that is really what has happened. In the 2013-14 budget the government has made only a $10 million commitment to the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel. Where has this money gone? It has gone to further planning. This government has delivered its third budget, yet we are still waiting for it to deliver planning. The government has not delivered infrastructure, unlike the claim in the matter before the house. It is a false claim; the government has not delivered -- that is the point. We have faster spin and greater arrogance. This government's arrogance outweighs its ignorance. That is the critical proposition about how to build communities; that is what has happened.

We in Melbourne's north are still waiting for the rail link to Melbourne's airport. Where is that piece of infrastructure? It would be a critical piece of infrastructure, so what is happening?

 

The planning of new railway lines to Melbourne Airport, Doncaster and Rowville have all been made conditional upon building the Melbourne Metro tunnel first, so only $10 million has been announced. It is a conditional deal, and it is subject to funding from, perhaps, a new federal government, if that occurs, and then private funding. Is this the showcase item? Is the government kidding me? It beggars belief. Nothing has been delivered. Nothing is being delivered. That is the point, so the Premier should not come in and boast about how the Ministerfor Planning has delivered. The minister has been all over the place and claiming he represents Broadmeadows, and that claim will catch up with him. He will be made accountable for it, and so will Mr Ondarchie; that will occur.

The critical issue in trying to build a community is shown by what we have been able to achieve in bringing people together in Broadmeadows. Broadmeadows matters because it symbolises hope. It is an emblem for that diminishing Australian value: a fair go for all. People have come to Australia from more than 140 countries and now call Australia home, and many of them live in Broadmeadows. Most are poor, many do not speak English, very few have a tertiary education compared to everywhere else and they have to deal with this complexity.

Let us have a look at what Victorians will get from this government. A new Children's Court -- is the government kidding me?

 

For 14 years I have been building the Hume Global Learning Village, a coordinated strategy to get the three tiers of government, business and civil society together to deliver what is needed. We do not need more of the criminal justice system. We do not need punishment and a punitive response.

Dr SYKES (Benalla) -- It gives me great pleasure to contribute to the debate on the matter of public importance. I will commence by commending the Treasurer and the Premier and the former Treasurer and the former Premier for putting in place a budget that will build growth for Victoria. This budget will put in place infrastructure and services that will improve the lifestyle of people, create wealth and create jobs, and it is certainly looking to do that in regional Victoria, with government policies now ensuring that people will be encouraged to come to regional Victoria. There will be no negative impact on regional Victoria from our government policies. In fact there will be a positive impact, so I commend the Treasurer and the Premier.

 

I also indicate that while the budget is something that happens on one day in May, the commitment and support of the coalition government is delivered to all Victorians, including regional Victorians, on each and every one of the 365 days of the year.

I will comment briefly on the contributions of some of the opposition speakers, starting with that made by the member for Bundoora, who commented on hospital waiting lists. I ask the member for Bundoora: how many patients could be treated with the $1.8 million a day that is going towards the desalination plant for the next three decades? The member for Bundoora also commented on education and said there had not yet been a commitment to fund the Gonski proposition. The proposition put by the Prime Minister is a little light on detail. Our Premier is in negotiation mode with the Prime Minister, and he wants more detail because he wants to be assured that no Victorian student will be disadvantaged by the state signing up to Gonski.

 

He has just demonstrated that he can deliver in negotiations with a fantastic outcome on the national disability insurance scheme. I say well done to the Premier!

I also want to comment on school upgrades, about which we had criticism by the member for Bundoora. Can I remind the member for Bundoora that the Labor Party had 200 schools shovel-ready for upgrades but no budget for them -- no money. Imagine, if the $16 billion allocated to the Building the Education Revolution had been spent wisely, we would have had another $6 billion-plus for our school upgrades. Fancy members of the Labor opposition criticising this side of the house in relation to money! I have one last comment on the member for Bundoora's contribution, and it is on his reference to Victorian certificate of applied learning and TAFE funding. This side of the house is putting $300 million more each year into the education of our students.

 

In northern Victoria, GOTAFE has had a record number of student enrolments this year and is running very well, because the management of GOTAFE, like the coalition government, can manage money, unlike the Labor opposition.

Then we had the member for Ivanhoe's contribution, and the irony of a member of the Labor Party criticising the government for putting cronies in positions of influence. We had a member of the Labor Party making that commentary. He then commented about the poor state of public housing. I encourage the member for Ivanhoe to read the Auditor-General's report on public housing. There are over 10 000 public housing houses in an appalling state of disrepair, courtesy of the failure of the previous Labor government to look after the people it claims to care about. Then there is the irony of the member for Broadmeadows lecturing the government on spin and arrogance. That is amazing.

 

I turn to the budget and some of the announcements that have been made over the previous three weeks. I am very pleased that last weekend it was announced that $7 million will go into the upgrade of the Mount Buffalo Chalet. That has been warmly welcomed in my electorate. We are also extremely pleased that the recovery effort following the bushfires has been funded to the extent of $7 million and includes funding for the removal of many dangerous trees on the Great Alpine Road and the Bogong High Plains Road. That funding will ensure that the arteries that many vehicles use as they drive to the alpine resorts this coming winter will be open and unclogged. That means that our local economies will be back on their feet. There have been many other announcements in my electorate in recent times that highlight the ongoing support of the coalition government for regional Victoria. Recently I was at Merimbah at the foot of Mount Buller, where I was able to announce $375 000 towards the creation of an epic mountain bike trail, part of a $750 000 project that will see thousands of visitors, including international visitors, coming to our area. I also indicate that in the post-fire period the government was able to announce over $300 000 towards an all-year-round playground at Dinner Plain and a further $60 000 towards developing a master plan for the future of Dinner Plain.

In that area we were also able to announce funding of $1 million from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund -- I repeat: $1 million from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund -- for the Harrietville rail trail.

 

That announcement has been particularly welcomed. Just last week I was at Nagambie, where I joined representatives of the federal government at the opening of the Nagambie bypass. I should make it very clear that this was a joint project between the federal and state governments. The federal government contributed around $150 million and the state government contributed $37 million. The state government is supporting that development at Nagambie, and I point out that once the town of Nagambie is bypassed it is going to be an even more wonderful place to visit. The coalition government is putting in in excess of $3.5 million to improve the streetscaping and ambience of Nagambie to further enhance the natural beauty of its lakes and the surrounding vineyards. It is a truly wonderful area to call home and to visit.

Looking at the bigger picture, perhaps the most significant aspect of recent announcements for the electorate of Benalla, for north-eastern Victoria and for Victorians in general is the change in the fire services levy.

 

It was Nationals policy for over 10 years, it was coalition policy going into the 2010 election and in 2013 we have delivered. I thank the Treasurer and the former Treasurer for delivering this major tax reform, because we now have a situation where everyone who benefits from fire services will contribute equitably to the cost of those services -- well done! That measure has been extremely well received throughout my electorate.

Similarly, throughout my electorate there is gratitude for the commitment of increased funding, $170 million extra, for our state roads. That will go a long way to improving maintenance, and of course it is on top of the $1 million a year for each of our first four years in government towards local councils fixing and repairing their roads and bridges. That is on top of more money coming out of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

 

Through the fund there is $2 million going to each of our local government areas for local infrastructure, and on top of that there is another $2 million going into each of our local government areas for projects of community priority that improve the lifestyle, wealth creation and job prospects in those communities.

I am extremely proud to be part of a coalition government that cares for all Victorians, is managing the budget responsibly and is delivering outcomes that will see wealth creation, job creation and our most vulnerable looked after.

Ms EDWARDS (Bendigo West) -- It astounds me that the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is still $1 billion after three years. I wonder where any of that money has been spent in regional Victoria. After all the backslapping, handshaking, cheek kissing and handclapping from the government has died down -- thank goodness -- in the cold light of day the reality of this year's budget for many regional Victorians is woeful.

 

At the heart of a narcissist is a lack of empathy. Not only is it clear that this Liberal-Nationals government has lost its heart but its lack of empathy for the disadvantaged, our youth, the elderly, families and students clearly demonstrates its narcissism.

Regional Victorians have been angry and disappointed with this government for a long time -- for three years. The government's continual failure to invest in services and infrastructure in the regions is shocking. Over the last three budgets regional Victorians have seen this government take regional Victoria back to the future. Look at the table: the member for South-West Coast, the member for Gippsland South and the member for Brighton were all sitting at the table back in 1999. What has changed? Not a lot.

Education has long been the core policy of Labor in this state. For three years we have seen an erosion of education services across Bendigo and the region.

 

One hundred jobs have been lost from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in the Loddon Mallee region, which is now being administered from Coburg. I ask you -- Coburg! How does anyone in Coburg know what the schools in Mildura or Swan Hill or even in Bendigo need and want? They do not.

TAFEs across the region are still hurting and will continue to hurt for many long years. Bendigo TAFE alone has lost 74 jobs and has had over 30 courses cut,including the certificate course in agriculture, a cut which The Nationals have fully supported. While fees for courses are rising and courses are being cut, as we speak another rally is being held at the Bendigo TAFE campus to highlight this government's cruel and ill-conceived cuts to our training and skills sector. This attack on our TAFE system has not been forgotten, and yesterday's announcement of a paltry $50 million per year for TAFEs is a slap in the face of all TAFEs, which are struggling to meet their commitments.

To add further insult to injury, yesterday's budget announcement of $20 million to be cut from the apprentice trade training bonus program gives little credibility to the Liberal-Nationals government's claim that it supports skills training. I cannot wait to see how The Nationals are going to spin this cut to the many young people in their electorates who will be disadvantaged by it. On top of that, apprenticeship enrolment numbers are expected to drop by 10 000, or 16 per cent, on last year's numbers.

 

There have been further cuts to the education budget this year of $70 million, totalling a full $620 million since this government came to office. Further cuts to the education maintenance allowance on top of previous cuts to the education maintenance allowance, the Victorian certificate of applied learning, vocational education and training programs, the School Start bonus and the Reading Recovery program -- the most bizarre cut of all -- place education at the very bottom of the Liberal-Nationals government's priority list. It would also seem there will be no Victorian funding contribution to the federal government's much anticipated Gonski education reforms. This government is turning its back on $4 billion for Victorian schools.

Cutting the School Focused Youth Service program is another clear example of this government's lack of empathy. Cutting a service that supports young vulnerable children at risk is unconscionable.

 

This service was critical to the wellbeing of many young people in regional Victoria and played an extremely important part in keeping kids engaged with school and local services. It helped reduce the incidence of youth homelessness, substance abuse and suicide.

My repeated calls to fully fund the new Castlemaine Secondary College have again fallen on deaf ears. One new building does not a new school make. This is very disappointing for the Castlemaine community, which will continue to see this school operating from two campuses for years to come under heavy financial strain and with administrative complications.

Golden Square Primary School was not on the Liberal-Nationals government's radar until early 2011, when the school and I, together with the former shadow Minister for Education, Rob Hulls, made a lot of noise about the need for this new school to be funded.

 

This school was on top of Labor's priority list for its school rebuilding program. Finally after three years the Liberal-Nationals government caved in to pressure and produced the funding that the school desperately needs.

I would like to refer to the health cuts totalling an additional $210 million in this year's budget, which will see a continuation of long elective surgery waiting lists and make an overall total of $825 million in cuts to the health services since this government came to office.

While Bendigo waits for the government to start the construction of Labor's new Bendigo Hospital, patients will continue to languish in the emergency department waiting for a bed or while waiting months and months for elective surgery. The elective surgery waiting list at Bendigo Health has already blown out to over 400 patients. The new Bendigo Hospital, which was initiated and mostly funded by Labor, is months behind schedule.

 

Construction has not begun, and yet this government continues to crow about the project -- a project that it cannot even get started on time and is unlikely to be finished on time.

In addition, regional Victoria is facing a desperate ambulance crisis. We have ambulances ramping at Bendigo Health; we have people's lives being put at risk; we have rosters not being filled; we have whole communities being left without coverage; and just yesterday figures on responses to code 1 emergencies again failed to meet the government's benchmark of 85 per cent attendance within 15 minutes. Last year it was 74.8 per cent, and it is now down to a miserable 72 per cent. I refer to comments made by a member for Northern Victoria in the upper house, Mr Drum, prior to his becoming a government member regarding the ambulance crisis in regional Victoria. Mr Drum was very keen to draw that to the attention of the Parliament. However, since coming to government he has fallen very silent on the issue.

 

Meanwhile the ambulance crisis continues to grow in regional Victoria, and as this government fails to invest in resources for ambulances across the region, people's lives are being put at risk. I had to laugh when I heard Damian Drum on ABC radio this week boasting about the raft of infrastructure projects the Liberal-Nationals government has delivered. A raft to Mr Drum is three: the Bendigo Gaol theatre, the new Bendigo Hospital and the Bendigo library; two of which were Labor initiated and funded projects. If this is the Liberal-Nationals government raft, it is going to sink very soon, with only three planks to keep it afloat.

There has been no funding for the Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre, which is a shame. This was Bendigo council's no. 1 priority, and I have been informed on several occasions that there is absolutely no reason why this project could not be funded. It is time the government showed some leadership and put $10 million on the table instead of waiting for the federal government to commit the money. This government should put the money on the table and show some leadership to get this project under way. I could go on. This morning I mentioned the Golden Square Country Fire Authority (CFA) station that is still waiting for land on which to build a new station. Back in 2006 the Minister for Police and Emergency Service, as the then shadow minister, committed $1.4 million to this project should the coalition win government. Since then the government has walked away from it.

 

Labor said it would put money on the table for the Golden Square CFA station and have it built by 2016. Similarly, the Kangaroo Flat CFA station continues to wait to be commenced, with no sign that this government has it at the top of its agenda.

What is disgusting are the member for Northern Victoria Region's comments in today's Bendigo Advertiser, suggesting that the government should not tell the CFA which stations need upgrading. What is disgusting is that in 2006 the Liberal-Nationals opposition was prepared to put $1.4 million on the table to build a new station at Golden Square, but now it has fled from that commitment.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member's time has expired.

Ms MILLER (Bentleigh) -- The Liberal-Nationals coalition government is delivering for Victoria.

 

Our focus is on: ensuring that expenditure growth does not exceed revenue growth, thereby growing our economy, so that more Victorians are in jobs today than when we came into office; governing to improve services and infrastructure, which is what industry has been asking for; and ensuring that services and infrastructure keep pace with demand. We are also about building for growth for Victoria, building for growth for the future and building for growth for better health, with an additional $426 million for Victoria's hospitals and our health system. Because this government is responsible and has good economic management, it is delivering an operating surplus of $225 million in the 2013-14 budget. Labor would never do that.

We are investing $580 million in asset and output funding for the future of Victoria's education system. The government is growing the economy, growing employment, maintaining a surplus and making a $6.1 billion investment in infrastructure, which is reflected in the creation of jobs.

 

The budget is also about providing an additional $197 million for hospital delivery and redevelopment and a significant reduction in net debt. These are things that a Labor government would never be able to achieve. Previous coalition budgets have focused on fixing the problems and building the future. They have been about securing the future, and we are now building for growth on the strong foundation of those previous budgets.

Victorians know that the coalition government is fiscally responsible. We are building for growth in Victoria and balancing excellent service delivery while maintaining a surplus with modest borrowing. Again this is something those on the opposite side do not understand and in government did not deliver. We are responsible in our financial management, which is particularly important in today's difficult economic times. The federal government withheld Victoria's fair share of GST revenue by an estimated $1.2 billion, which has escalated to about $7 billion since we came to office.

 

Victoria's share of GST has been reduced from $0.92 in the dollar to $0.90 in the dollar. Should it not be dollar for dollar? Not only can the federal Labor government not manage money, but over the last 11 years state Labor has also demonstrated that it cannot manage money.

In 2009 the former government said its budget was about jobs. This government does not talk about jobs. We do not talk the talk, we walk the walk. We are delivering jobs for all Victorians, and that is something members on the other side do not understand and have never done. That is why we are in government and they are in opposition. We are responsible, and we commit to and deliver what we say we are going to do. A

2009-10 Labor budget spoke about the leadership and investment that a responsible government must deliver during tough economic times. It did not deliver. I am not sure Labor members know how to spell the word.

 

This government is determined to deliver, and it is doing exactly that. When we talk about being financially responsible, this government inherited a $1.8 million interest bill each day for the desalination plant. How many children could be educated, how many teachers, or nurses and doctors in hospitals, could be employed and how many infrastructure projects could be achieved with that money? Those on the other side just do not understand that.We are talking about strengthening health care. It is important for Victorians of all ages to have quality health care readily accessible. The government is delivering new hospitals and redeveloping existing ones. We have been in office for only just over two years and we are delivering in health care, which impacts our day-to-day lives. In the Bentleigh electorate the government has started the process of building a 230-bed Monash Children's hospital, something members opposite had not even contemplated. We have committed to the Victorian people by starting that process, and we will deliver it.

I also want to talk about the Royal Women's Hospital partnership with Sandringham Hospital. This recent amalgamation is fantastic for growing families in Bentleigh and a lot of young women in the south-eastern suburbs who may not necessarily want to go to Parkville. They now have a choice to go to a hospital in their local area. The redevelopment of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital will be of significant benefit to my community in Bentleigh.

 

One spectrum of the community is that there are many seniors. They welcome and embrace this new hospital being built -- it is marvellous.

We also have significant growth in the south-eastern region. Again, the previous government did not understand that there was population growth. It did not understand that there was a need for infrastructure and it did not budget for it, because it said it was not happening. Yet we in government have listened to our respective communities, the people of Victoria, and we have budgeted for these infrastructure projects, and we are delivering.

In terms of public transport, the government is delivering major investments in roads and transport. We have $160 million allocated for X'trapolis trains, the fastest, most comfortable and most reliable trains across the network.

 

Recently at the Bentleigh railway station the Premier and the Minister for Public Transport made an announcement of a $100 million upgrade to the Frankston line, one of the busiest railway lines, carrying approximately 60 000 passengers a week. This is a massive investment. Again, the previous government was in power for 11 years but did not see that growth happening. It did not see that more services were required and that more trains were required to move people along the Frankston line. We are talking about upgrades to accommodate the X'trapolis trains, which as I said will travel along the Frankston line. The amenity at the railway stations will be improved, with upgraded closed-circuit television cameras and lighting, additional myki readers and improved disability access.

We are investing in the east-west link.

Mr Angus interjected.

 

Ms MILLER -- And protective services officers. We are investing to plan, procure and deliver stage 1 of the east-west link. This is a massive investment for the people of Victoria. It is a massive infrastructure project that is going to create jobs and get the economy going. Members on the other side do not understand what all this means. It will be of great benefit to the productivity and livability of the proud state of Victoria in which we live. It is expected that this project will create a massive 3200 jobs. It is an extraordinary piece of infrastructure which reflects the vision and courage of this government to deliver for Victorians.

Turning to education, we have invested $238 million to support additional clinical training for medicine, nursing, midwifery and medical radiation. There is a clear focus on assisting children with a disability, and there is an additional $31 million for early childhood intervention services.

 

In education the government is focused on those who are very young through to those in primary and secondary schools and universities, and that includes TAFE students. Members opposite do not understand: this government has poured millions of investment dollars into TAFE to create jobs.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER -- Order! The member's time has expired. The time for discussion of the matter of public importance has now expired.

Contact Michael
Michael O'Brien MP

313 Waverley Road
MALVERN EAST VIC 3145

Phone: (03) 9576 1850
Fax: (03) 9576 1849


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