Infrastructure Victoria Bill 2015
Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — It is a pleasure to follow the former Premier of that lazy, crazy government, which talked a lot and did nothing. I have been sitting here this afternoon listening to the contributions — —
Honourable members interjecting.
The ACTING SPEAKER (Ms McLeish) — Order! Members of the government and members of the opposition should cease yelling out and let the member continue.
Ms GRALEY — I will provide a reasoned and historically correct contribution on the Infrastructure Victoria Bill 2015. Even after all the delusional outbursts from those opposite I am pleased that they are not opposing the bill. I implore them to get on board with the team that will make sure that Victoria remains a livable and prosperous place for Victorians. That is essentially what the bill is about. It is about making sure that not only is Melbourne the world’s most livable city but that Victoria is a place that thrives well into the future. It is about building infrastructure, a lot of which could have been built some time ago had previous governments had an organisation like Infrastructure Victoria providing them with advice in a transparent way.
What we witnessed with the previous government was a lot of people trying to think up ideas that were not their own. They did not want to continue with projects put forward by the previous Labor government, so they came up with crazy versions of major projects. Frankly, had they followed the Melbourne Metro rail project, which was the no. 1 one project that Sir Ron Eddington supported — —
Mr Carroll — And Infrastructure Australia.
Ms GRALEY — And Infrastructure Australia supported. It was a fantastic project and we would now have been four years into the building of the Melbourne Metro rail link. It would have been an extraordinary achievement, but instead the former Liberal government botched it. It did not want the project going down Swanston Street. It wanted a station built at Fishermans Bend where nobody lives at the moment. It would have had stops that were closer to the casino than to a world-class medical precinct. People from Narre Warren South could have caught the train to have treatment at the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre. Instead there would have been stops at the casino where people could get a dim sim before they went to lose their money.
It is extraordinary that governments have behaved so badly, and the last one worse than most, and let us face it, it was a one-term government. Let me remind members of the Liberal Party that their federal leader, the Prime Minister, said that the last election was a referendum on the east–west tunnel — the east-east link — and yet they are still telling us what a fantastic project it was. The Victorian electors comprehensively sent us all a message that they did not want the tunnel built. During the election campaign Labor said that it was not going to build it. In fact we committed to the establishment of Infrastructure Victoria, and that is exactly why we have the bill before the house. It is an excellent bill for lots of reasons. It is not just because the previous government botched the projects and we need to do something to rectify all the mistakes, all the thought bubbles that went haywire, and virtually nothing happened. Infrastructure Victoria is something Victorian electors want.
People say to me that not many people went into the election and decided to tick a box that said, ‘I want Infrastructure Victoria’, but in my experience standing on booths and talking to lots of people in my electorate, especially people a little older than me, they said over and again that they are sick of the political games being played with infrastructure. They are sick of the fact that not enough planning is done. They are sick of the fact that governments do not get on with the job and that they play ping-pong. They waste time and they waste money.
Many people hark back to what they perceive to have been the good old days when we had the Metropolitan Board of Works and we had a planning authority that went out to size up what the community needed. It was not a perfect organisation; we can certainly have arguments about that. I am sure we can all recall the Mornington Peninsula scandals that Liberal members were involved with at the board of works, but let us not go there. But it is an example of how people are crying out loudly for governments to look beyond the political cycle, beyond what is best for those in certain electorates and beyond what is cheap in order to think about the long-term viability of projects and to get on with the job of delivering for all Victorians.
In the last four years of the former lazy, crazy government not one new road was funded and completed by the previous government in my electorate, which is one of the fastest growing electorates in Victoria. Not one new school was opened and not one extra bed was provided at Casey Hospital. It was shameful. Now the Labor government has to play catch-up with these projects. Thankfully good shadow ministers took good advice from backbenchers and from other authorities about what was needed. Now Thompsons Road in my electorate is being revamped; we are getting over $106 million worth of funding for Casey Hospital; and we are getting new schools built. That is exactly what people expect of state governments. They expect them to get on with the job of providing good quality public services that they can access. They also expect projects to be responsibly handled and delivered on time and within budget.
One of the best features of this bill is that not only do we get a planning authority that will look at where we need our schools, roads, hospital expansions and big projects — and what a fantastic project Melbourne Metro is; it will revolutionise Melbourne and continue to ensure that it is a world-class city — but it will be an independent body. I am a bit concerned when I hear members opposite suggesting that certain public servants and other people who might want to be involved in Infrastructure Victoria may not fit certain criteria, may not be up to the task or may not be trusted. It is a scary situation when you find politicians making those sorts of remarks and judging people before they even take up these sorts of positions. It reflects poorly on the manners of those opposite.
We can do better than that with this bill. The Minister for Public Transport has it absolutely correct: Infrastructure Victoria’s board will have a nice balance of government and non-government representatives. The mechanisms that she has put in place — the 30-year strategy and the 5-year time frame for looking at it as it goes along — will mean that this body is accountable to government and the public as it looks ahead, planning a vision for the future and ensuring the delivery of the projects that Victoria needs, not only to catch up but also to continue to grow and expand to be a prosperous, healthy and interesting place for all Victorians to live in.
I commend the minister for bringing this bill to the house so rapidly. The government is committed to delivering on its election promises, this being one of them. We are getting on with it. We are going to make sure that Victorians continue to live in a world-class city. The community knows we need good infrastructure. Infrastructure Victoria will be the most independent, transparent, widely scoped and broadly engaging with industry of any infrastructure advisory body in Australia. I commend the bill to the house. I suggest to those opposite that rather than not opposing it, they get fully on board and support it.