Budget Papers 2016-17
Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — It is a pleasure this afternoon to rise to speak on the budget papers and to resume the debate. I think it must be nearly six months since I started this speech, but the real pleasure of resuming the debate in December is the fact that what we said we would do we are actually getting on with doing, so it is a real pleasure to be able to report that major commitments by this government to my electorate of Narre Warren South are being delivered. There are a number of them that I would like to highlight: the Monash hospital at Casey is now not only going to be delivered by the government, it is going to be bigger and better, and that is thanks to an additional $28.61 million boost from the Andrews Labor government.
I recently had the pleasure of joining the Premier and the Minister for Health to announce this, because it will now mean that Casey Hospital will have 160 new beds, 4 additional operating theatres, an intensive care unit and a day surgery unit, and we will also partner with Monash University to build a new education and training facility for medical, nursing and allied health students at Casey Hospital. So it is not only a win for the patients who will get to use this new Casey Hospital; it will also mean that local students will be able to take advantage of the learning experiences that are provided in a hospital setting.
In that area I would also like to speak to the fact that I had the Minister for Training and Skills visit only last Friday. In keeping with the fact that we are trying to build a health and education precinct on both the Chisholm TAFE and Monash University sites — soon to become the Federation University site — we have now committed that we are going to have a centre of excellence for health and education learning at Chisholm TAFE. This will be in partnership with La Trobe University, which is going to deliver nursing places and allied health education for the local area as well.
In the six-month break I have had from speaking on the budget papers, lots has been happening in that health and education precinct. But there is more to report.
This government is very committed to making sure that the road network in the south-east catches up and then keeps pace with the requirements of people to get to work, get home earlier and be able to enjoy more time with their family and less time stuck in traffic. That is why we have committed to the duplication of Thompsons Road. That will also mean the removal of the level crossing at Thompsons Road on the Cranbourne line, which will make an enormous difference.
I remember during the election campaign that we made this commitment, a substantial commitment of well over $100 million, and it was very popular with the local community. It took those opposite weeks to come into this space and to agree that this was a priority. It is a good thing that we won the election because we have already committed the funding for this project. The good news is that contracts have been awarded and I think we are very, very close to that first sod being turned and the people in Narre Warren South, Cranbourne and Carrum will have a lot to celebrate when that Thompsons Road project gets underway. If you drive down the Monash Freeway, you will see that that project has started as well, and there has been a lot of activity around the Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road too, with some intersection improvements in the Greaves Road area. This is all good news for local residents.
I would also like to report to the house that in the interim, since the further allocation of funding for Hampton Park Primary School, the architect has done the drawings and it is looking like a fantastic project. It is certainly something that has never been seen in Hampton Park before. There are going to be some excellent classrooms there that are going to provide specifically learning in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics subject area. This is going to be a great advantage to those students who have been studying and learning in poorly constituted buildings and who now will be able to work and learn in a 21st century environment.
It is a pleasure to speak further on the budget. I would like to conclude by just putting on the record that one of the highlights of this budget is the fact that there has been a real focus on the outer suburbs. Yes, the outer suburbs have lots of needs in terms of community infrastructure and facilities, and the Growing Suburbs Fund has provided them with an excellent way of getting the additional funding they need to deliver on community sporting and recreation facilities earlier than would normally have happened. Only last week I was with the mayor of the City of Casey announcing some joint funding — I think it was $1.4 million — for the Strathaird Children’s Centre. There is a baby boom on in Casey, but the fact of the matter is that that baby boom is going to get even bigger. They expect the number of babies born in Casey Hospital to double in the next 10 years, and that is going to mean more mothers and more children in need of maternal and child health services, so it is excellent that this government in partnership with the City of Casey have provided some significant funding to build an extension to the Strathaird Children’s Centre.
But it does not stop there. There are other facilities that have also benefited from the extra funding from the Growing Suburbs Fund, such as the Bridgewater Kindergarten. I think it is in the coming weeks that we are going to be down there to open that facility. I can tell members that the parents in the Berwick Chase estate are very, very pleased to know that that facility will provide kindergarten spaces for their children — three and four-year-olds — because we know that if you can get those foundation years in education correct, every child has a better opportunity in life.
I started my speech by quoting from the Bible. I would like to finish with what is probably a new-age version of what I was talking about. The Andrews Labor government understands that the prize of winning government is the chance to work hard, work wisely, and work with others and for others. I think the new-age version would probably go something like, ‘Don’t talk; just act. Don’t say; just show. Don’t promise; just prove’. This is certainly a government that has encapsulated that in this budget. This is a government that acts, shows, proves and delivers on its election commitments. Those bulldozers in the south-east are working overtime. This Andrews Labor government is about putting people first and getting things done.
It has been a pleasure to resume debate on the budget papers, and I wish the budget papers a speedy passage. I know that the member for Brighton has been waiting to speak on the budget so I really look forward to hearing what she has to say. I commend the budget papers to the house.