Budget papers 2015-16
Mr J. BULL (Sunbury) — It gives me great pleasure to rise to support the budget. This budget delivers for Victoria. It is a budget that delivers for families. The budget shows that we on this side of the house are focused on doing things that Victorians have asked for for so long. Other members of the house have commented on how well the budget has been received, and I back this up completely. Locally and across the state this is a budget that delivers.
After four long, lonely, dark years Victoria has been awoken by a budget that supports vital programs, services and key infrastructure that will propel us into the next decade and beyond. The Appropriation
(2015–2016) Bill 2015 outlines numerous outstanding projects and announcements. To name a few: $1.5 billion brought forward for Melbourne Metro rail; $4 billion for schools, TAFEs and kindergartens; $1.3 billion for the Tullamarine Freeway widening; $508 million for the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Fund; $50 million for Homesafe to run 24-hour public transport for a 24-hour city; $600 million for new trains and trams; $6 billion to remove 50 of our most dangerous level crossings, three of those on the Sunbury line; $150 million for the widening of the M80 ring-road; $200 million to establish the Future Industries Fund — —
Mr Battin — Acting Speaker, I draw your attention to the state of the house.
Mr J. BULL — Where was I before the quorum was called? There is $6 billion to remove 50 of our most dangerous level crossings, three of those on the Sunbury line; $150 million for the widening of the M80 ring-road; $200 million to establish the Future Industries Fund; $80 million to attract more major events to Melbourne and boost tourism; $100 million for the bus package; $178 million for uniforms, textbooks, free breakfasts and free eye tests for the most disadvantaged Victorian students; $2.7 million for lifesaving defibrillator units; and of course — who could forget? — $50 million for the interface fund to support our 10 interface councils. Member for Frankston, the list simply goes on.
Mr Edbrooke — Yeah, it does, doesn’t it? Shame!
Mr J. BULL — I am proud of the priorities and the direction we have set ourselves. Victorians can have faith that this government delivers what it has promised. I would like to commend the Premier and the Treasurer and his department for their outstanding work in delivering a budget that understands the needs of Victoria and sets a course for delivering them.
At its core this budget is about jobs, education, health and transport. I have heard many people say it is a predictable Labor budget, and we are very proud of that. This is a budget about families. Both federally and at a state level over the past four years we saw cut after cut, so much so that community morale was at an all-time low. This budget is a beacon of hope from a new kind of government with a new kind of budget, one that supports families and one that works for people who want a job. This is a budget focused firmly on what we can achieve, with a stronger education system, a more resilient healthcare system and a jobs-building plan. This budget is about following through with what we said we were going to do. It is a budget that delivers on 96 per cent of our election commitments.
Headlining our infrastructure program is the Melbourne Metro rail project that will get Victoria moving again and bring our capital city into the 21st century. There will be no need for a timetable, with the construction of two, 9-kilometre tunnels to connect the Sunbury and Pakenham and Cranbourne lines. There will be five new stations in the hospital precinct at Parkville, enabling people to get in and out of the city from the north. Coupled with our Homesafe 24-hour public transport plan, $600 million for new trains and trams and $100 million to get our bus services up and running again, finally Victoria has a government that understands the benefit of a world-class public transport system. The budget makes good on our promise to remove 50 level crossings from the grid over the next eight years. It is about getting rid of dangerous and congestion-causing crossings that frustrate people and, sadly, take lives.
The budget delivers $1.3 billion for the widening of the Tullamarine Freeway, a project that is a positive boost for my local community. It means jobs in construction and an estimated 20-minute reduction in travel time from Sunbury to the CBD. We are continuing the M80 ring-road widening project and working towards getting one of the most important roads in Melbourne up to the standard that our state needs.
In my inaugural speech I discussed my passion for an improvement in mental health services, and I am thrilled to see $118 million to treat and support people with a mental health illness.
The government stands by its commitment to make Victoria the education state. We understand that an investment in education is an investment in life. That is why this is the single biggest education budget in Victoria’s history, with almost $4 billion for kindergartens, schools and TAFE.
An honourable member interjected.
Mr J. BULL — Nothing. We are giving families the help they need to cover the expensive but essential parts of their child’s education, and that is something I am extremely passionate about. This budget is about fairness. Breaking the cycle of disadvantage starts in the schoolyard, and our kids deserve the best start no matter what their background might be. The value and necessity of a strong education system cannot be overstated. Our students at all levels need a variety of pathways, whether it be to TAFE or university or in having a strong primary and secondary schooling system that meets the needs of today’s students and their families. This government knows that is not an easy thing to do, and that is why the Andrews Labor government has put an emphasis on rebuilding our education system, which was torn apart by years of Liberal neglect. I am so proud of the $178 million to help Victorian families and students to get uniforms, textbooks and health checks, because we know that every day spent at school means a better future.
These commitments will make huge differences to schools in my electorate, and I have already visited Sunbury Heights Primary School, which is my old school, Sunbury Primary School, Killara primary School and Diggers Rest Primary School. I am proud that the budget delivers for the Sunbury electorate. We have been able to secure two multimillion-dollar projects that were committed to during the election. Sunbury College is a fantastic school that does fantastic work, and I was thrilled last week to join the Minister for Education, who is also the Deputy Premier, to tour the school to discuss our election commitment to build a new science wing. The $3 million investment will enable students to get the high-class education they deserve. In the existing science wing trolleys actually move on their own because of the gradient of the floor. They roll down the corridor of their own accord. Despite repeated calls for assistance the former government failed to come to the party.
Another local commitment we are delivering is the noise barriers along the M80 ring-road for the people of Gowanbrae. While doorknocking in Gowanbrae I received a terrific response to the announcement. I also recognise the work of the former member for Pascoe Vale, who fought long and hard for these barriers. With a $10 million noise barrier commitment in the budget, the project will change the lives of everyone who lives in the area. It is a key example of our commitment to put people first.
I was very pleased to see $2.7 million being allocated for lifesaving defibrillator units. During the election I was a vocal advocate for the placing of these important devices around our communities, and I am proud that the Andrews Labor government has made the commitment. As I have already mentioned, residents in my electorate will benefit from the exciting $50 million Interface Councils Infrastructure Fund, with Hume City Council being one of the councils. The government recognises the significant growth in these areas, and this fund, the first of its kind, will provide funding for the local community infrastructure that is so desperately needed in high growth corridors.
This side of the house stands for jobs, and that is why our first action in coming to government was to pass the Back to Work Bill 2015. Everything in and about this budget is about getting Victoria working again and building the confidence, the skills and the projects that we know Victorians need and want, and equipping people with the skills for technology and manufacturing to generate the ideas of the future today that we need tomorrow. Whether it is massive and life-changing construction projects like Melbourne Metro rail or the removal of dangerous and congestion-causing level crossings across the grid, the government is getting on with it. Each and every aspect of this budget is about getting our families, our communities and our state working towards a common goal — that is, a better, fairer, safer, stronger and more prosperous Victoria. I commend the bill to the house.