APPROPRIATION (2013-2014) BILL 2013
Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — I think it was when I heard the new, unelected Premier being referred to as a ‘back to the future’ Premier that I contextualised the 2013 budget as being one delivered by the Dodgy Brothers. I am sure all members remember the Dodgy Brothers. There was the loud, brash show pony who was Arthur, a sure fit for our Premier, and the younger, flashier and equally dubious Wayne, a perfect fit for our
ambitious new Treasurer. With their fast-moving dialogue, they would go out and
try to sell all sorts of dodgy things to all sorts of unsuspecting people, which is exactly what this budget is like.
But do you know what? Victorians are not suckers. They know a dodgy deal when they see one. If you spend a little time looking through the budget papers, rather than reading the handouts you are given by the Treasurer or the spin doctors, you cannot help but see that this is a budget brought to you by the Dodgy Brothers.
We have had government members talking about how bad debt is, yet debt is up. We have gobbledygook that describes cuts as ‘unspecified reprioritisation adjustments’. That is gobbledygook for cuts. There are promises made on the never-never. I have never seen budget papers more littered with ‘to be confirmed’ — it is everywhere in these budget papers. In other words, nothing in these budget papers has money beside it and nothing will be delivered on a lot of the things talked about in the budget.
In true Dodgy Brothers fashion, there are no guarantees, and we know about that out in the south-east because there have been lots of things promised to people. Liberal Party people have gone out and promised all sorts of things like upgrades to the Monash Freeway with ramps here and there, but there are absolutely no guarantees that anything will happen in the south-east, especially around road infrastructure. At least the
Dodgy Brothers threw in a free motivational tape with their stuff to get everybody a little excited.
I think it was the member for Mildura who I heard say that just a few little things count. Do members know what we wanted in the seat of Narre Warren South? We wanted a public toilet at Hallam railway station. That is what we wanted, but, as the shadow Minister for Public Transport, the member for Northcote, said, there is no dunny money coming our way in this budget. It is a poor reflection on the government that it cannot
find just a little money, as the member for Mildura said, to assist people to go to the toilet when they are busily going about their day on the way to work.
Let us have a look at what this budget really does. There is not a single cent in this budget for the extra 800 hospital beds that this government promised. There is not one extra bed for Casey Hospital. The Minister for Health is out there saying that Casey Hospital is at capacity. He acknowledges that it is a busy hospital that people like to use. It has got a
very busy emergency department and people like to have their treatments close by.
It is a good little hospital for a growing community. But one of the things that happens in my office every week is that somebody rings up and says they are on the waiting list for surgery. Let us have a look at the surgery waiting lists in the south-east. In the first three months of this year only 36 per cent of category 2 elective surgery patients and just 54 per cent of category 3 patients received their surgery on time.
Yet here we have a budget that does not provide any assistance to reduce those waiting lists and provide extra beds at Casey Hospital.
As for the Monash Children’s hospital, that was an election promise that both sides of politics made in good faith to the people of the south-east. What do we see in this lot of budget papers? Very little. The government is saying, ‘Just throw them a little bit of money, keep them happy, make it look like we are doing something when we are not doing very much’. It is in typical Dodgy Brothers fashion. The estimated time to deliver is now 2017. This is something that was going to happen in this term of office. I am going to keep this government accountable about even this 2017 delivery date, because the people in the south-east are not sure it is going to happen.
Let us have a further look at this budget. Victorians will be paying more in taxes and fines than at any time in the past, and that is a fact.
As Arthur used to say in the Dodgy Brothers, ‘Your money is my money’. You have to say he was absolutely right where this government is concerned. I do not approve of speeding, I do not like hoons, and I want our police to catch people who speed and hoon. Speed does kill. But in this budget speed camera fines will be up by a whopping $38 million. Vehicle registration fees will go up by an extraordinary $56 million. We all know that people in the outer suburbs, especially those in the south-east, have a high level of car ownership — multiple car ownership. They spend more time in theircars than most people in Melbourne because they are stuck on congested roads. The likelihood of them having to swallow these increased fines and costs in a disproportionate manner — —
Ms Ryall — I assume this is speeding fines.
Ms GRALEY— It is not just about speeding, it is about vehicle registration fees. There are many people in my electorate who have three or four cars in their household and this is going to have a real impact on their cost of living situation.
Talking about roads, I had a real giggle, I must admit, about this east-west link. The shadow Minister for Roads calls it the ‘just east link’. I understand that at the current rate of funding you will not be able to drive to work until 2067. This is a headline project for this government. We have got the Premier out there with his hard hat on pretending he has got a shovel and is digging up the earth, but this project is a big con. My locals look at it and say, ‘Yes, there is promised money going off to –just east link– and what about us? What about what is happening in the city of Casey?’. It is one of the fastest
growing areas in Melbourne and there is not an extra cent, no new money, for road infrastructure.
I have heard people in the chamber — I think it was the member for Caulfield — talking about the fact that time spent sitting in cars is a loss of productivity, that it is not good for your family life and all that sort of stuff. Out our way people are going to be stuck in traffic
longer and longer because there is no new road funding for the city of Casey. I have raised this issue with the Minister for Roads a number of times. I refer to an article by Catherine Watson from the Casey Weekly Cranbourne entitled ‘Residents demand action at Pound and Shrives roads intersection’. She writes:
Despairing Hampton Park residents say someone will die before action is taken over one of Casey’s most notorious corners.
I fear that this may be the case. As I said, I have raised it a number of times. There is also Thompsons Road between the South Gippsland Highway and the Western Port Highway.
Thompsons Road, which was last upgraded by Labor, is a key arterial road and a really important east to west link for local residents and businesses. There are now 24 000 vehicles using this section of Thompsons Road each and every day, and that is well in excess of traffic volumes that would normally trigger a duplication. We have also seen a
worsening safety record on this section of the road with 48 casualty collisions in the five-year period to 31 December 2011. This includes two fatal and 18 serious injury collisions.
This section of the road really needs to be upgraded. The government needs to continue, as Labor was doing, to upgrade, duplicate and improve major road infrastructure. Every year in the budget there was a new road project and there was a continuous stream of activity. It was good for local jobs as well.
What is happening with this Dodgy Brothers budget is no money for new roads, no
shovels hitting the ground and very poor outcomes for the people who do, as I said, spend a lot of time in cars in my electorate.
I would like to finish by talking about the fact that education is a really important issue in my electorate. When Labor was in office we built nine new schools in my electorate. It is very disappointing to see the cuts, the delays, the playing of favourites and the rolling out of excuses around education.
There is no funding in this budget for the much-needed Casey central east primary school. I have primary schools in my electorate with over 1000 students in them, but this government could not find the heart to establish a new school to relieve some of the overcrowding in these local schools.
In budget paper 3 there is usually a section on existing projects, finished projects and new schools; I notice that is missing this year. It is not there.
As the local council has had to do, as developers have had to do and as schools have had to do, I had to access the Twitter feedof a member for South Eastern Metropolitan in the Council, Mrs Peulich, to find out that there was going to be a new school in Cranbourne East, I think it was. I had to read the press releases of the member for Gembrook to find out there was going to be some funding — albeit a small amount of funding — for a new
school in Officer. If those opposite are going to have an open and transparent government, not a dodgy one, they should have a list of the new schools so that we can all find them where it is supposed to be, in budget paper 3, meaning those who need to access that information can find it.
As we know, there was a cut to education funding of $69 million, as part of a total of $625 million since this government came to office. One of the things that has hit people in my electorate very hard is that the completion bonus for apprentices has been cut. That is just not fair. Many kids in my electorate want to take up apprenticeships, they want to go to
TAFE and do some further study, and some of them want to go on to university also. But those dreams parents have had for their children are at risk.
This is a budget that is just not fair on so many families. There is more. There are cuts to sporting facilities, and people in Narre Warren South love their sport. And what about that cruel increase in the fees applying to people living in disability housing? That is a very callous thing to do to people. I tell you what: I have had people ringing my office
saying they cannot believe a minister would do that to such disadvantaged people. As the Dodgy Brothers said, ‘You’ll go crazy’.
Well, this budget is one that will send people in the outer suburbs crazy with disbelief and despair. It is a cruel and callous budget. It is a budget that does not deliver for the people of the outer suburbs. As the local paper said, it is a slap in the face for the people of
While we wait for new road infrastructure, the people of Brighton get moved up that list. You’ve moved no. 223 to the top. They get their problems fixed, and the people of the outer suburbs are getting left behind. Where is our new school? Where is our share of the pie? Where is our new road? Where, the people of the outer suburbs are asking, are our
This is a Dodgy Brothers budget, but in this case it is no laughing matter for the people of the outer suburbs. They are not chuckling as I used to when I used to watch the Dodgy Brothers.