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12 March 1991 - Current

Public Accounts and Estimates Committee: budget estimates 2017-18
Page 3393
19 September 2018
ASSEMBLY Statements on reports FRANK McGUIRE

Mr McGUIRE (Broadmeadows) (10:24:47) — I refer to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee's inquiry into the budget estimates and particularly to the contribution by the Minister for Industry and Employment, who referred to how working in collaboration presents an opportunity to drive strategic results. I want to continue my contribution on how this can best be achieved and how we can get these results in the public interest and in the national interest, not just within the Victorian government but also in collaboration with the Australian government, because there are some issues of national significance, like terrorism, that we need to address with this united approach.

I want to also connect that to the launch of the 2018–21 counterterrorism strategy, which focuses on early prevention as a key focus for Victoria Police in the fight against terrorism. I think this is really important. It goes to some of the themes that I have raised previously in the Parliament, including the delivery of early intervention programs, support for community rehabilitation and reintegration programs, continued engagement with industry, government and international partners, and the maintenance of strong intelligence collection and investigative capabilities. I want to draw these down into my electorate of Broadmeadows and the opportunity that that provides. I am looking for a unity ticket with the Australian government on how we address this.

The proposal that I will be sending to the federal Minister for Home Affairs relates to an occasion when Tony Abbott was Prime Minister of Australia and he had a photo opportunity with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation where they highlighted the terrorist recruitment hotspots. The media focused in, and one of the hotspots was Campbellfield. Of course that is where the Ford Motor Company was, and this was before Ford closed. I have asked the Australian government what they are actually doing for these communities. How are we connecting the disconnected, how are we providing jobs, what are the opportunities to be part of the Australian community and not feel isolated and marginalised? I tracked down an unspent $1.324 billion in the automotive transformation scheme, but could not get the Australian government to reinvest one dollar out of that into this community which had been identified in this way. I will continue to push for a reconsideration of what the partnerships are for jobs and growth where they are needed most, which the federal government should be delivering for these communities.

The other proposition that I will be raising with the Minister for Home Affairs is that under his portfolio there was a budget allocation for Broadmeadows. It did get a mention. There was $25 million to build a hardened detention centre for convicted paedophiles, drug traffickers and members of outlaw bikie gangs. Where were they going to put this? Right in the complex of the Maygar Barracks. My argument is that there is an administrative way in which we can address this. I have put that in a submission to the Australian government. We do not need to do that. A much better investment in the national interest, in the public interest and for counterterrorism would be to look at the barracks as a base for the Special Air Service Regiment. Why don't we place them in the Maygar Barracks and have it as a strategically placed location that would be of significance? We could coordinate that with the Victoria Police and the Victorian government and say: this is a much higher and better use of that land and its strategic location not far from our curfew-free international airport. It has got CSL across the road, which is where we make our life-saving blood products and exports. I think it would have a really good effect and impact in this community. That is one part of it.

The second part of it could also be to look at what we do for returning servicemen and servicewomen from the war in Iraq and the slaughter in Syria. There is obviously a huge issue with post-traumatic stress and how those people reconnect back into the Australian community. You can have a centre there as well — a wellness centre or a centre to help people who have served Australia so gallantly in these wars. Why would that be appropriate? It would be appropriate because the Maygar Barracks was where the diggers, the light horseman and the Victoria Cross winners were trained and dispatched to fight at Gallipoli and on the Western Front a century ago. This is the history and heritage of the area. Today it is where we still have the centre for taking care of logistics for natural disasters, including the Black Saturday bushfires. I think this is a really wonderful opportunity to have a coordinated strategy and to deliver in the best interests of the public.