Ms SHING Eastern Victoria




Wednesday, 21 February 2018



Ms SHING (Eastern Victoria) (16:49:20) — We have heard a lot in relation to this motion since it was first brought on for debate, and as Mr Eideh has just indicated, there is a lot more that could be said about it. But some of the key themes that are emerging relate to the responsibilities that properly exist for effective opposition, the responsibilities that exist for the purposes of being consistent when developing policy and the responsibilities that exist to act in the public interest when undertaking a publicly elected role.

It would seem that these concepts are relatively straightforward when you think about them on a superficial level, and yet when you get down to the brass tacks of what happens within the parliamentary process, all of a sudden everything is up for grabs. What we have seen repeatedly now from the opposition is a preparedness to oppose no matter what and to oppose despite common sense, despite merit and despite the ongoing benefits that the actions being taken by this government will convey in economic terms, in social terms and in a way that accommodates our booming population — not just now but into the future — and that provides certainty, improves the everyday lives of Victorians and maintains our place as industry leaders when it comes to not just what we deliver to our state but what we provide to the nation as a whole and what we provide when sitting amongst our international partners on a global stage as part of global economic movement and development.

We have had the benefit of three years now of a government which has absolutely prioritised action rather than prevarication and that has absolutely prioritised getting the job done in a myriad of different ways. This has culminated in actions which have delivered not just record economic investment into the state, not just the maintenance of our AAA‑plus credit rating according to both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, not just the development of, at last count, around 316 000 new jobs, over half of which are full‑time jobs, not just an investment of over $8.5 billion into regional Victoria and not just a record investment into education and into the opportunities being afforded to everyone from our smallest and newest Victorians right through to people who are reliant upon a state to provide good, effective and targeted health care.

We are seeing in this state more investment in infrastructure than has ever occurred in the state’s history. People talk about the Kennett years as years in which a lot happened in Victoria, and we know from the numberplates of that era, some of which you will still see on the roads from time to time —

Mr Ramsay — ‘Victoria — on the move’.

Ms SHING — Mr Ramsay does indicate the slogan that was in place at the time: ‘Victoria — on the move’. It is interesting to note that we have delivered over double the amount of infrastructure that was invested in when Mr Kennett was at the helm — over double. On top of that what we have done is deliver record investment in doing precisely what it was that Mr Kennett thought was such a priority that he put it on numberplates. We have invested in roads and rail. We have invested in infrastructure, including through the lease of the port of Melbourne for a record $9.729 billion, to make sure that in fact we are taking care of the infrastructure needs of this community and not just in metropolitan Melbourne, not just in the suburban areas or the peri‑urban areas but in regional Victoria as well.

Mr Ramsay interjected.

Ms SHING — I will take up your interjection, Mr Ramsay, about how much of that has been spent in regional Victoria. I can tell you, Mr Ramsay, that $8.5 billion has been spent in regional Victoria under this government. I know this because I see the benefits of this in my own community in the Latrobe Valley every single day. I see the benefits of this whenever I travel around the state and see where and how new schools are popping up, where and how new roads are popping up, where and how we are taking care of industry links and business development opportunities to maintain the potential and the momentum that we have delivered to the state through hard work, through not shying away from action, through not sitting lazily in our offices and talking about anything other than delivering outcomes that improve the everyday lives of Victorians.

We never undertook a colouring‑in competition for the purposes of understanding what might be a good look for Flinders Street. We never undertook a process that involved 3D printers as part of an education solution for secondary schools, which is a policy the former Liberal government took to the election last time. We never undertook a process involving a sneaky side deal for a project that had as its heart a negative return on the business case investment.

But what we see here now from the opposition that was then the government, a government that was all but dead and staggering in the houses of Parliament — it was staggering through the motions and doing everything it could to avoid any hard work — is the all too convenient call that everything should be blocked because there is a facile, superficial reason not to proceed. And do you know what? They can spin all of the stories they want to Victorians about why this project is so repugnant that it should not be allowed to proceed, but the bottom line for all of this — and Mr Kennett would be pleased with this — is that this project will enable Victoria to continue to be on the move. This project will create more of the jobs that those in opposition were unable to deliver when they were in government. This project translates directly to investment that will slash congestion from Geelong right through to Pakenham and that will reduce travel time more than you can say for the failed east–west link project — the traffic modelling for which, as Mr Leane indicated when he was on his feet, showed that you would arrive at the airport before you had gotten out of the shower. That is something worthwhile to consider in Hansard because it shows that those opposite, when they were in government, were unable to deliver anything of substance or of value in relation to infrastructure and large‑scale major projects that would deliver a substantive benefit.

This project that they are now seeking to block, along with their mates the Greens, will in fact create 6000 jobs, many of which, as Ms Symes indicated in her contribution, are in regional Victoria. Many of them are in areas that will bring on additional apprentices and additional trainees, and that will create job opportunities for veterans, for people who have been out of work for significant periods of time and for people who are benefiting from our jobs guarantee and from our plan to drive employment and meaningful, secure terms and conditions for Victorians now and into the future.

But those opposite do not care about that because they live in a tactical la‑la land that involves opposing things simply because. When it comes to actual policy development they are more than a little light on the ground. Their policies are to complain. Their policies are to obstruct. Their policies are to deny. Their policies, on the basis of their conduct in opposition, are to deny employment duties — to deny opportunities to up to 500 new apprentices on this job, to deny opportunities to trainees and graduates, to deny opportunities to up to 150 auto workers to be retrained and redeployed.

This attempt to stymie this progress and this project ignores the fact that on merit it has substantive benefit. On merit it is a project that enjoys the support of industry stakeholders, who are usually the ones cheering from the coalition’s corner. In this regard I note that everyone from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry through to the Australian Logistics Council through to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and the Victorian Transport Association is urging the opposition — the Liberal‑Nationals‑Greens opposition — to support this project because they know in the real world that this project makes sense, because they reject the tactical opposition that is the hallmark of those who sit opposite and because they know that taking 28 000 vehicles, including 8000 trucks, off the West Gate Bridge and 22 000 off the Bolte Bridge makes good sense. It makes good sense from a supply and logistics perspective. It makes good sense from a goods‑to‑market perspective. It makes good sense in relation to congestion and productivity. It makes good sense for a city that is, as Mr Kennett would have it occur, on the move. It makes good sense when we are looking at a state which is enjoying record growth. It makes good sense.

Business interrupted pursuant to standing orders.