Address-in-reply – GOVERNOR’S SPEECH

Mr J BULL (Sunbury) (18:19:02): It gives me great pleasure to make a contribution and respond to the Governor’s speech to the Parliament by way of an address-in-reply. It is a truly wonderful feeling to return to the Parliament for my second term and to represent the outstanding people of the Sunbury electorate.

I would like to thank my electorate for re-electing me and, in doing so, voting for a positive set of plans, a positive set of policies and initiatives that will propel our community forward. I want to thank the community for overwhelmingly voting for a record of investment in local schools, local roads, health care, public transport and community infrastructure, and I want to thank my electorate for rejecting fear and division and instead choosing to re-elect, in record numbers, a government with a big, bold, positive agenda for our great state.

I want to thank those that voted for Labor. To those that chose not to, I assure you as your local member that we in this government will work hard over the next four years, as we have over the past four, to try and win your support. I would also like to thank my incredible wife, Jasmine, whose unwavering love, advice and support is truly remarkable and a constant source of inspiration to me. I would like to thank my terrific parents, Ian and Lesley, who I adore, whose advice is endless and whose love is endless. I also thank my extended family, friends and wonderful team of volunteers, without whom I certainly would not be here today.

Can I also take this opportunity, as other members have this evening, to thank my terrific electorate office team. To Adam, Jarrod, Jules, Almendra, Mik, Josh, Sharpe and Sam, thank you for all the work you have done over these past four years and thank you for your commitment to the people of the electorate and to constantly focusing on delivering for them. To the countless volunteers, of which there are too many to name—although in saying that, I will attempt to name them—can I thank and acknowledge Brad, Ann, Cheryl, Sharon, Kylie, Juan, Peter H, Peter J, Mathew, Spiro, Cameron, Justin, Gillian, Darren, Steve, Jana, Jordan, Ross, Doug, Peter, Bob, Jean, Brad, Thommo, Ryan, Jeff, Cole, Rhys, Britt, Deyls, Tim, Dylan, Brian, Connie, Clint, Lauren, Phil, Liam, Andrew, Shannon, Barb, Maureen, Joan and so many more.

This great Labor victory was your victory, and I would like to put on the record my thanks for the incredible hard work not just through the campaign but right across the four years. Other members have mentioned the Victorian Electoral Commission staff. I think it is very important to acknowledge their work both on election day and in the lead-up, those wonderful two weeks of pre-poll that we all enjoy so much.

Mr Wynne interjected.

Mr J BULL: I hear the Minister for Multicultural Affairs also enjoys his time on pre-poll.

Whilst I am discussing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, I am incredibly proud to be the parliamentary secretary in this state for multicultural affairs and incredibly pleased to be serving with the minister.

Can I also take the opportunity to thank the ALP head office—Sam, Stephen, Kareem, Simon, Jas and Conrad—and in particular the unwavering, unstoppable Kos Samaras for his advice, for his support and for an incredible job and an incredible campaign. I want to congratulate and acknowledge of course the Premier—a stunning campaign, an incredible four years—for outlining a platform for a bold, visionary Victoria.

To all cabinet and all caucus colleagues, it is a wonderful privilege to be serving with you in this place. I particularly would like to acknowledge the member for Yuroke for her terrific friendship and unwavering support. It has been indeed truly remarkable to listen to those inaugural speeches over the past few weeks in this house—to listen to the breadth of experience that is now in the chamber.

To listen to many of the reflections that have been made over these past few weeks has been truly extraordinary. When I was first elected in November 2014 I was somewhat shocked and somewhat surprised to learn that there were no projects in my community—a community that I have lived in my entire life. No projects were underway—no school rebuilds, no new roads and no community infrastructure—and worse yet, there was huge uncertainty caused by local instability due to a potential local government split. There were those who were not sure of their future employment.

There was no pipeline of projects. It was not a good state of affairs at all, with no pipeline of works and no plans to address numerous concerns that were in my community, a community that was growing. I think this was reflected right across the state. We set out to change that. Four years ago, the Premier and this government made a promise to the people of Victoria to put them first by investing in jobs, education, health and public transport, and by getting to work on those really important matters of reinvesting in TAFE, reinvesting in schools and hospitals and ensuring that we began to set this state on a new course, a new path. And that is exactly what we did. Projects that had been set up in the previous term, projects that are underway now, are changing this state for the better.

They include the Metro Tunnel, with those five new stations and over 6000 jobs; the 75 level crossings gone by 2025; the airport rail; western rail; the Geelong high-speed rail; the Cranbourne line duplication; and the Suburban Rail Loop—has there been a more exciting project in this state? I can see that members in the house are incredibly excited about this project. There is the north-east link and the West Gate Tunnel. These are terrific projects that not only create jobs but set this state up for decades to come.

I am incredibly proud to be the local member, with a record pipeline of local projects: $53 million for the Sunbury recycled water plant; $10 million for the noise barriers at Gowanbrae, that the member for Pascoe Vale mentioned; $3.5 million for a new science wing at Sunbury College, my old school, and $4.8 million on top of that for a new library; $1.5 million for Gladstone Park Primary School; $3.5 million for Sunbury Primary School; $700 000 to my old primary school, Sunbury Heights Primary School; $3.1 million for the Mickleham Road–Melrose Drive intersection upgrade; 300 additional car parks at the Sunbury station, which is a terrific announcement; $700 000 for Kismet Park Primary School; $2 million for the warm water pool; signalising the Gap Road and Horne Street roundabout; building the Sunbury men’s shed expansion; $3 million for the Sunbury global learning centre; nearly $500 000 for Boardman Reserve; and $400 000 for the Sunbury Lawn Tennis Club.

The list just goes on and on and on: $3.9 million for Sunbury Downs College; $7.2 million for a terrific project of a shared facility, to have an early learning centre and a local council facility on both primary school land and secondary school land; $4.5 million for Tullamarine Primary School; and for the first time a new future for the Jacksons Hill historic site, including $3 million for an arts and community precinct.

I should acknowledge the work of the Minister for Planning in having the Victorian Planning Authority do some very important work around ensuring a great future for this site, something that I am incredibly proud of as the local member.

The list goes on, but in looking towards the next four years, I as the local member and a member of this government will be focused on a number of things. They will be removing the Sunbury level crossing; upgrading the Sunbury Day Hospital to turn it into the Sunbury community hospital; building on that record investment in schools, starting with upgrades at Gladstone Views Primary School and Gladstone Park Primary School; those 300 car parks at the Sunbury station; exciting new upgrades to Langama Park and Boardman Reserve in partnership with Hume City Council; ensuring the delivery of the arts precinct; and upgrading the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Specialist School. I do want to take this moment to just reflect on a conversation. I think your being the chair, Acting Speaker Dimopoulos, may have led to this reflection.

It was a conversation I had with a parent of a student at that specialist school. It would have been perhaps six to eight weeks before the election. This parent said to me one evening, ‘Make sure you guys win, because we need you’. I know that each member on this side of the house can reflect on the importance of ensuring our schools, and in particular our special schools, are well funded and well supported to give every single student the very best opportunity in life.

We will continue to get on with duplicating Sunbury Road. We will continue to deliver free TAFE. We have got an extraordinary Solar Homes package. For the very first time this state will be prioritising panels for Victorian homes, driving down prices. Not only are we reducing people’s power bills, but it is also good for the planet, and that is what this government supports. There is also the airport rail link, the Suburban Rail Loop and so much more.

I am conscious of time, but I did want to touch on something briefly. In my first speech in this Parliament I reflected on the need for our state to do more in mental health. After four years as a local member I have had the opportunity, like a number of members have had, to meet with constituents who themselves are dealing with mental health issues or whose families are dealing with poor mental health. I think of all the matters that you deal with, in not having the answers and not knowing what to say in many respects to these wonderful Victorians, this would have to be one of the toughest.

The triggers and causes are many and varied, but the solutions are never simple. This year 3000 Australians will take their own lives and countless more are trying to cope. Last year alone we lost 621 Victorians to suicide. That is a devastating statistic. That is why I was so very pleased that this government established the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. It is widely supported by my local community and I imagine it is supported by all communities. This is important work. It is work that will save lives, and what could be more important than that? This government is focused on delivering for all Victorians.

It is focused on investing in health and hospitals. It is focused on building the Education State. It is focused on ensuring that we are giving our young people the best start in life. We know that skills and training provide opportunity.

That is why we are going to make TAFE bigger and better and it is why we are going to continue to invest in all our wonderful skills and training facilities that operate through TAFE and give people a great start in life. We know that clean energy is the way of the future, and our Solar Homes package is exceptional. I referenced it earlier, but it is an extraordinary package and something that I am incredibly thrilled to have a part in delivering. We have removed 29 level crossings.

There are 46 to go in order to have 75 removed by 2025. One of those is the Sunbury level crossing. There is also the Metro Tunnel, the north-east link, the West Gate Tunnel and the Suburban Rail Loop.

We are getting on with building the road and rail projects that our state needs. It has been an incredible journey over the past four years. We have the opportunity now over the next four years to continue to deliver those projects, those initiatives and those elements of government that can improve people’s lives every day.

Whether it is the royal commission into mental health or investing in schools, TAFEs and hospitals, they are the things that this government will continue to do, and they are the things I have been incredibly proud to be a part of.