Feb 13, 2012

Question without notice – Community Infrastructure

Mr MURPHY (Reid) (14:43):  My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Minister, how has the government delivered community infrastructure while supporting jobs in the national economy, and how has this been received?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:43):  I thank the member for Reid for his question and his ongoing interest in the economy and jobs. We on this side of the House are determined to ensure that working families enjoy employment and that they enjoy the benefits that come from a job. That is why we acted in the global financial crisis.

One of the things we did was create the Infrastructure Employment Program. Last Friday I was in the electorate of Wentworth at the opening of Rugby League Central, a great new five-star building on the SCG-SFS site, the construction of which created 443 jobs.

Not just that but there will be ongoing economic benefit, with some 5,000 young people every year going through, getting access to training and facilities in an interactive relationship, encouraging them to participate in junior rugby league. Under the Indigenous Employment Program operating out of there, we saw the Indigenous All Stars game begin the rugby league season, as it does, engaging with Indigenous people, helping to close the gap not just in a cultural way but also in a very real economic way. I am asked how it has been received. I was amazed that the day after the opening the Leader of the Nationals described it as ‘This is just one example of waste.’ Those opposite presided over regional rorts, they had an ethanol plant which was never built, they had a cheese factory which went out of business and a railway line that burnt down. None of that happened under this government’s program.  More than 5,000 projects, all extremely positive, all creating jobs have been condemned by those opposite as ‘just waste’.

Just yesterday I was with the Member for Watson at the ‘Back to Belmore’ game, the first Canterbury home game since 1998, creating not only jobs in the construction and redevelopment of Belmore Oval but also ongoing jobs—young people were selling hotdogs and pies, providing security and doing ongoing construction jobs. Indeed, as a result of our community infrastructure programs more than 700 sportsgrounds right around the country have benefited.

Mr McCormack interjecting—

The SPEAKER:  Order! The member for Riverina will remain silent for the balance of this answer.

Mr ALBANESE:  It is good for jobs, good for employment, good for health outcomes and good for engagement in our community. It is all positive, dismissed by those opposite as ‘just waste,’ because they just do not get what real positive investment achieves, compared with what they did when they were in office.