Question without Notice – Rural and Regional Services
Mr PITT: My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how a strong economy enables investment in the services that regional Australians rely on and how a weaker economy, through higher taxes, would put this investment at risk?
Mr McCORMACK : I thank the member for Hinkler for his question. He is as alert as usual, unlike those opposite. Those opposite are completely moribund and completely unaware of what’s going on. Next year, the Liberal-National government are delivering a surplus. Right here, on this spot, on 2 April, watch the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, deliver a budget surplus. How good will that be? It is the kind of surplus budget that those opposite could only dream about. They are very envious; they are very green about this. The member for Melbourne is just green all the time! Those opposite have their policies that are trying to appease Greens voters in the cities. Meanwhile, we’re getting on with the job of building a better Australia to make sure that we can produce budget surpluses.
This means that we can deliver the essential services that Australians rely on, such as the historic regional deal for Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. This is transformative; this is deserved. This regional deal is going to be sensational for Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast region. The member for Hinkler has fought hard for this and, as usual, he has delivered. He fought hard, and he delivered. Like the existing city deals, this regional deal will bring together all three tiers of government: local, state and federal. They will be coming together to make sure that we get the sorts of regional services that Australians deserve and expect. It’s a unique opportunity to get those three tiers of government together.
This deal will attract new businesses. This deal will create jobs. I know the member for Hinkler is passionate about creating job opportunities in his electorate, just like we all are on this side of the House. That’s why we’ve helped small and medium enterprises to create more than a million jobs in five years. You heard the Prime Minister, a little while ago, talking about the 100,000 jobs for young people in the last financial year. Jobs, like the million jobs that we have created, are helping Hinkler and are helping Central Queensland and North Queensland. Indeed, those jobs are helping in all of Queensland. There are jobs in construction, thanks to our $10 billion investment in the Bruce Highway. There are jobs in tourism. We’ve supported that through the Regional Growth Fund and through the Bundaberg Brewed Drinks superbrewery. The Liberals and Nationals have Hinkler’s back. We have the back of Queensland.
The mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, George Seymour, is fully on board with it. You should listen to this. He says, ‘The Fraser Coast Regional Council is grateful for the opportunity provided by the regional deal and excited about what this will mean for the opportunity.’ He knows, just like the member for Hinkler, it’s going to create jobs and it’s going to create opportunities and it will mean a better, stronger and improved Bundaberg-Hervey Bay region.
But none of this is possible without a strong economy, without good management and without making the decisions that regional people need to deliver the services and infrastructure that they deserve. All Labor stands for is five new taxes: on your income, on your business, on your property, on your savings and, we all know, on your electricity bill. That’s all Labor stands for—higher taxes and fewer jobs. (Time expired)