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12 March 1991 - Current

Page 679
05 March 2019
ASSEMBLY Second reading Frank McGuire
Mr McGUIRE (Broadmeadows) (15:39:57): This is a timely and emblematic bill. It underscores the big-picture vision of this government and it actually points to a proposition where we are acknowledging the first 100 days of the return of the Andrews Labor government and the plans to address economic development and jobs. It is timely and relevant, and it goes to the overwhelming majority of Australians’ view that they are practical people. They are not ideologues; they want us to give them a vision, deliver the plan and improve their lives. In so many ways this bill goes to those themes. The bill was born of Project 10 000, a vision to create jobs, provide better roads for more communities and drive economic activity. Just to go back to underscore this matter, if we look at what those commitments were, there was a minimum of $1 billion over eight years to be allocated to repair and upgrade roads in Melbourne’s outer suburban and interface communities. So this is really important, specifically to me as the member for Broadmeadows, because the City of Hume falls into that interface area where we are going through dramatic population growth, particularly as the designated capital of Melbourne’s north, and within about a decade we will have a population the same size as Adelaide. This is how significant these investments and strategies are. There was a minimum of $1 billion over eight years to be allocated to repair and upgrade roads and level crossings in rural and regional communities, so that is about the government making sure that everybody throughout the state gets the benefit of these allocations. Legislative changes will be made to lock in a guaranteed proportion of funding for these communities in perpetuity, so there is certainty. That is critical for decision-making. Victorian Labor will also confirm in legislation the compulsory payment of traffic camera and speeding fines into the Better Roads Victoria Trust Account. These commitments recognise the important role of the state government to plan and deliver transport projects for economic prosperity and for the safety of all Victorian communities. We have had some partisan debate across the chamber about the history of the state and which administration did whatever. Well, this is what the Andrews Labor government is committed to and here it is. The government’s ambitious eight-year target to invest a total of $2 billion in Victoria’s outer suburban and regional roads has been met in just four years. We have overachieved; there it is. A total of more than $3 billion has already been allocated to outer suburban, interface and rural and regional communities in the first term of this government. So that goes to the key thing that people want. They want you to deliver, and that is what this government has been about. That is its highest mark in the eyes of Victorians, and that, I think, was the overwhelming proposition behind the vote we had at the last election. Just drawing that down into one of the issues that I want to address, I think this underscores my view that we want to get the deal done between VicRoads and the Hume City Council to remove the loop road connecting Pascoe Vale Road to Camp Road in Broadmeadows. This is important because it will be like cutting the Gordian knot to get rid of this proposition and to be able to open up the area for economic development and revitalisation. This has been a protracted negotiation. I want to use this occasion on this bill to call for a resolution of this matter as a matter of urgency because of the economic development that we want to drive in this community because of its significance as the designated capital of Melbourne’s north and the economic development that is already occurring. In the last term I chaired the Broadmeadows Revitalisation Board, so we have got a whole strategy that would benefit from this deal going ahead. How do we create new jobs? Develop an advanced manufacturing accelerator, because that is what we need in this community. If you have a look at the Ford site, for example, Ford have been in negotiations to sell 40 per cent of that site, so if we were going to unlock the value of that, this would be fantastic. We need these jobs in Broadmeadows more than anywhere else because we are going through deindustrialisation. We also have to face the issue that Woolworths will be closing its distribution centre there and there could be up to 800 jobs for National Union of Workers workers that could be lost at that site soon, so we need to be on top of this strategy. This is an issue that is vital and urgent. We need to put the big picture vision in place on the revitalisation board. We need to get the departments and the different sections of the government working in unison and to have a coordinated approach to actually address these matters. These are the kinds of infrastructure deals that can trigger the other development propositions that we want. From the revitalisation board we are looking at increasing opportunities for small business start-ups and for self-employment, because you cannot really rely on the big factory jobs of the past. My mother worked on the assembly lines at Yakka, Ericsson, Denzil Don, Nabisco—they have all gone. We have to keep driving small and medium-sized businesses as well. There is also a proposal to develop a social enterprise sector in Hume, which I think could be of enormous benefit, because we have the poorest people from virtually the United Nations—more than 160 different nationalities are first calling Australia home in Broadmeadows. This is where you get your start. As my late father always called it, the land of opportunity. This is what we need to do to try and help that. Then we are looking to rezone former industrial land to facilitate job growth, because it is not just the Ford site. The most affordable available land within 16 kilometres of the heart of the world’s most livable city is right here, and you have got blue chip infrastructure. Unlocking this loop road would be important to add to that dimension of the great infrastructure that we have in the proximity of the centre of the city. If you think about it, we have got two train lines into Broadmeadows and we got the spur into the Ford site; the Andrews Labor government widened the Tullamarine Freeway; we have got Sydney Road and we have got the ring-road; and we have got the curfew-free international airport at the back door. I would argue that is the best, most significant infrastructure in a concentrated area in the state. We should leverage this, we should harness this and we should not let a loop road be the problem in the mix. Having said that, we need to see VicRoads and the Hume City Council work cooperatively on how we actually address the impact that will have on traffic flow and how that is managed within the community so that people see there will be some small pain but hopefully a much greater gain over time. This is the dynamic that we are working with at the moment, and I think that if this is done well, it will have major benefit. If you also look at some of the other propositions within this bill, what it does is it goes to one of the other critical issues. Victoria has the toughest drink-driving laws in Australia, and under recent reforms by the Andrews Labor government every drink-driver loses their drivers licence, must complete a behaviour change program and is required to use an alcohol interlock once licensed and driving again. These are strong new laws to help reduce drink-driving deaths and serious injuries and to encourage a culture where drinking and driving are separated. That is the critical point. These laws need to operate effectively and efficiently, and since 2014 VicRoads has managed drink-drivers who have committed a first offence with a BAC reading below 0.10. This scheme uses the same data available to courts in deciding when to remove an alcohol interlock condition for a drivers licence. In summing up, here is a piece of legislation that is emblematic of what this government does. Here is how you can get economic development. Here we are literally building the roads to the future and to better opportunity, and then here is the social aspect of it. Here is how the money will be transferred. It gives certainty on how these initiatives can be delivered, and its benefit goes right across the state. This is critical, because it is what this government is about—it is about giving opportunity to people no matter where they are. I think that actually needs to be recognised more often by the opposition. That is the inherent proposition in this bill. I commend the bill to the house.