23 May, 2018
Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan—Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services) (13:15): I rise today to speak in support of these appropriation bills for a stronger economy, more jobs, tax relief for hardworking Australians and guaranteeing the essential services upon which Australians rely. Importantly, the coalition is ensuring that the government lives within its means. Let me be clear: the Turnbull coalition government is delivering for all Australians. No matter where you live in our amazing country, no matter what your line of work, no matter the size of your family, you will benefit from strong coalition policies. These policies promote the values of hard work, fairness and looking after those least able to support themselves.
Those living in my electorate of Ryan know all too well the benefits of good government policy, which seems to occur only under coalition leadership. It does not matter whether you are a small business owner, a parent using childcare or a superannuant downsizing their home; they all have one thing in common: confidence and prosperity as a result of well-grounded coalition policies. My constituents and the wider Australian public care about the future of our children, the cost of living, and ensuring their hard work does not go to waste, but in reality, if those opposite achieve government then Australians should worry about those basic tenets.
The Ryan electorate is home to world-class facilities at the University of Queensland. With cutting-edge research and innovation being undertaken, their achievements on a worldwide scale continue to materialise. As the member for Ryan I have continually advocated for funding to support science, innovation, research and commercialisation at local universities. I am proud that the prestigious University of Queensland, ranked 55th in the top universities of the world and in the top 10 for commercialisation, has increased its successes through direct assistance from the coalition government.
Only recently three University of Queensland professors were successful recipients of funding through the Medical Research Future Fund. With a combined total of more than $5 million, this funding supports the work of Professor Gandhi into a study of brain lymphomas, Professor Claire Wainwright and her clinical trial into multi-drug resistant organisms, and Professor Janet Hardy, whose study will examine the use of medicinal cannabinoids for advanced cancer patients. This very research undertaken at the University of Queensland will likely contribute to longer, healthier lives for Australians and people worldwide. I consider this a significant achievement to which I have contributed through advocacy and funding support as part of the coalition government.
UQ is also home to other state-of-the-art research facilities, including the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and the Queensland Brain Institute. Research like that by Dr Kate Schroder, whose breakthroughs in cell biology and molecular medicine are paving the way for cures and treatments for diseases like Parkinson's, is inspiring confidence for millions of sufferers globally. The development of the HPV vaccine by Professor Ian Frazer, Professor Maree Smith's oral treatment for chronic pain, and Professor Mark Kendall's nanopatch immunisation technology are all achievements of a well-supported sector underpinned by strong government policy and investment. I cannot claim to be part of UQ's world-leading research, but I feel honoured to have been their federal member during some remarkable advancements.
Following the recent redistribution in Queensland, postcode 4306 is no longer part of the Ryan electorate. I would like to talk briefly about my contribution to this mammoth, David-versus-Goliath fight. During my eight years as the federal member for Ryan, I have continually engaged with local residents in Karana Downs, Kholo and Mount Crosby, for whom their postcode causes mass confusion on a daily basis. Following on from work commenced almost 20 years ago by Bruce Scott, the former member for Maranoa, I've called on Australia Post to review this age-old issue. I'm pleased to report back to the House that some progress has been made. Given the dense population and growth of the southern zone of postcode 4306, Australia Post is actively looking for a site in the Ipswich area to create a new Australia Post delivery centre to optimise delivery services. Some postcode redistribution will be necessary when a site becomes operational. While this still does not resolve the matter immediately, despite what many of us see as an obvious solution, it certainly shows some light at the end of this 20-plus-year conundrum.
The electorate of Ryan is home to a diverse range of community groups which support the local region and contribute to social cohesion and culture. These community groups are run by dedicated volunteers, many of whom have jobs and family commitments as well. So it is vital that they receive government backing to continue their work. The Stronger Communities Program—an initiative of the coalition government—has provided me with opportunities to further assist local community groups and not-for-profit organisations through often much-needed grant funding. The latest round of SCP funding, round 3, saw 11 Ryan community groups successfully awarded funding. For a small investment, community projects deliver immense benefits.
The Bardon Girl Guides sought funds for an extension to their hut. This facility is also used by other community organisations for their activities and provides an inclusive environment to foster female participation. With an ever-increasing demand on their playing fields and seeking to grow participation, the Bardon Latrobe Football Club and Taringa Rovers soccer club were successful in their bids to upgrade facilities for equipment and fields for play. Wests Brisbane Junior Rugby League have received vital funds to upgrade water facilities at Purtell Park.
In the hot and humid Queensland summers, the situation has become unbearable for two local groups. Firstly, Ewaste Connection, which provides people living with disability an opportunity to learn and engage with others by recycling electronic waste, have been successful in their bid for funding to install a much-needed air-conditioner to keep participants cool, calm and on the job. The local Vinnies at Grovely in my electorate has also struggled through hot summers. Volunteers and customers alike work and shop in steamy conditions. As a result of this SCP round, Vinnies at Grovely will soon be installing new air-conditioning. The local Moggill Pony Club has very poor stable facilities, with white ant infestations. Through community fundraising and support, and some SCP funding, the club is in the process of constructing some brand-new, fit-for-purpose stables. I recently enjoyed officially opening these stables at their first club day for 2018. A big thankyou must go to local supporters James and Clare Robinson for the work their business did to demolish the former stables and construct the new ones.
A number of school P&C committees applied for funding as well, for projects which benefit their wider local communities. St Joseph's at Bardon is currently repurposing their library for community book clubs and community playgroups. St Andrew's Catholic School at Ferny Grove is also upgrading their sports oval with disability access. This will create a more inclusive space for the wider community to enjoy. And I must not forget the Pullenvale Progress Association, which is using their SCP funds to upgrade the facilities around the historic Pullenvale Hall. Help Enterprises, in association with the McIntyre Centre Riding for Disabled, is constructing disability access pathways at the centre for safer access for those participating.
Congratulations to everyone who successfully applied and are now delivering stronger communities for everyone. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all volunteers in the Ryan electorate for your ongoing dedication and contribution to our wonderful area. Volunteers truly are the glue that binds our community.
Earlier this year, I attended the annual Gaythorne RSL volunteers dinner, which celebrates their volunteers and the highly valued support of this age-old establishment and close-knit community. President Merv Brown OAM has worked tirelessly to keep this sub-branch connected with the local community and schools. In fact, it is with sadness that Merv steps down as president of the Gaythorne RSL after 11 years of continued service. From a distinguished career in the Australian Army, through to his community ties, Merv has been a significant advocate and voice for the veteran and widow communities. Merv truly espouses the values of the RSL. I congratulate him on his achievements and thank him for his service. No matter where you travel throughout Australia, volunteers are always in great demand. From volunteering at local sporting clubs and charities through to assisting people living with disability, the immense pride and sense of achievement gained by this type of unpaid work is fulfilling. And while on the topic of our Defence community, I recently had the privilege of attending the farewell parade for troops from 7th Brigade at Gallipoli Barracks, who are deploying as part of Task Force Taji. As the mother of a son currently serving in the Army, I'm all too familiar with the emotions of these events.
In March, the Prime Minister announced Rheinmetall was the successful proponent selected to deliver Australia's new combat reconnaissance vehicle, the Boxer, for Land 400 phase 2 mounted combat reconnaissance capability. During the 30-year life of the vehicles, Australian industry will deliver two-thirds, or $10.2 billion, of the acquisition and sustainment, creating up to 1,450 new jobs right across Australia. With Rheinmetall basing its manufacturing hub in South-East Queensland, local Australian-based businesses will support this major manufacturing and outfitting work. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to my good friend Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, who will continue his service to Australia as Chief of Defence Force starting in July. Lieutenant General Campbell has demonstrated the leadership and experience vital for this role. At the same time, Major General Rick Burr will assume Lieutenant General Campbell's position as Chief of Army. I compliment him on his career to date, which I'm sure will prove valuable in this role. My appreciation also goes to outgoing Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, who has made an outstanding contribution at the helm of the ADF.
When it comes to hard work and making contributions to Ryan, I acknowledge the determination of the more than 17,000 registered small businesses in my electorate. It cannot be forgotten that their contribution to the local economy and larger Australian economy is nothing short of significant. With business tax cuts, the very welcome $20,000 instant asset write-off, and red tape reduction to name just a few, I am proud to be a member of a government that is doing everything it can to ensure the future success of small business. I have many mum-and-dad small businesses locally that can now see a future for their operations as a direct result of coalition policy. Small businesses like newsXpress Kenmore, the Clean Bean Espresso Bar at Gaythorne and Ultra Tune at Indooroopilly are all enjoying the benefits of coalition policy supporting small business.
Unlike Labor—a threat to business, employment and investment in Australia—the coalition is getting on with the job of working with the sector, which strengthens our growing economy. However, there is one thing that stands in the way of business, small business and overall success: the renegade unions. I cannot tell you how often my office receives calls from local business owners, and even some employees, who struggle with unionised work sites. In fact, recently one local constituent told my staff he was a Labor voter, but could not stand the turmoil his business was facing at the hands of thugs, ruffians and generally abrasive union members. The very fact that those opposite are working at the behest of their union puppet masters gives a clear indication to all Australians that their interests are not in supporting families; they are in the back pocket of union bosses.
When will Labor realise that business confidence, investment growth and employment growth rely on a stable economy? Plucking money from the mystic money tree and using tips from the book of magic pudding economics simply do not work. Australians are not fooled by those opposite, who would squander their futures and the economic prosperity built by the coalition government. We have seen time and time again the ALP plague Australia with poorly-formed policy and economic mismanagement akin to an adult with mountains of credit card debt who constantly shifts debt from one card to another. It is the hardworking mums and dads in small business who are on the receiving end of Labor's attacks and unfair policy.
These bills are integral to ensure the continuity of the government's programs. As a strong coalition government, we are ensuring that Australia's taxpayers' money is being spent wisely. Unlike those opposite, we are creating a stronger future for Australians: for their safety, their health, their education and their employment prospects. We are creating foundations for investment in this country, we are reducing Labor's debt, and we are providing for those least able to do so.
Unlike the Labor governments of the past and the unions that those opposite represent, this coalition is delivering. I recently received an email from a local constituent comparing Anzac Day to Labor Day and questioning why Anzac receives more attention. This is the vile vitriol of those individuals in the unions which support the opposition leader. I have grown a thick skin during my time in politics, but it truly hurts deeply when some Australians believe that unions should be recognised on a par with veterans and members of our defence forces.
I have had pleasure serving the people of Ryan for the past eight years. During this time, I have established lifelong partnerships with people from all walks of life, and I feel privileged to have been able to deliver so many benefits for them and their families. I commend these bills to the House.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Irons ): I thank the member for Ryan and also note her service to the electorate of Ryan for the last eight years.