Matters of Public Importance – Employment

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) — It is my
pleasure to make a contribution to the matter of public importance (MPI). The
member for Caulfield said we would do anything to keep government; former
government members did everything to get out of government. I have even got a
cartoon to illustrate it, by Spooner, back from 2012 — —

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — The member is not to use

Mr CARROLL — It has Mr Baillieu
on it, and it says:

Labor is bagging us about
possible government job cuts.

Mr Baillieu said:

If we let Labor keep one job at Niddrie, that should make them happy.

The coalition created one job in 2012 — that was me. Why? It did not have the guts to run a candidate against me.

The member for Caulfield also
wanted to highlight desktop publishing. In relation to the member for Malvern’s
signature project, the east–west link, and the side deal, this was the former
government’s business case: a 3000‑word high school essay. Members of the
former government should be ashamed of themselves. On this side of the chamber
we put a lot of effort into our communications. We have seen the Minister for
Public Transport do a lot already. But if you go through this business case,
what you see is a freeway already chock‑a‑block — and this is the former
government advertising the east–west link — —

Mr Southwick — On a point of order, Acting Speaker, the member is clearly using props. He is holding up a document and waving it around the chamber. I ask that you get him to cease using props
in the chamber.

Mr J. Bull — On the point of order, Acting Speaker, I believe the member was referring to the document in his hand.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — Order! Was the member referring to the document?

Mr CARROLL — It is the business case.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — Order! There is no point of order.

Mr CARROLL — I respect the member for Caulfield. He is the visiting professor to Spring Street, but as we know those qualifications are dodgy — as dodgy as the east–west link business case.

Infrastructure is critical to jobs and job creation. Our signature project, the Melbourne Metro project, will deliver enormous benefits. I am very proud that this government is getting on with the projects we promised before the last election. The former Minister for
Public Transport, Terry Mulder, said, ‘You can’t build your way out of
congestion’. But I did love the way the east–west link had Liberals turning on each other. An article in the Age on 20 August states:

The City of Glen Eira —
headed by Liberal mayor Jamie Hyams — has unanimously passed a motion
warning that the $6 billion to $8 billion project will offer the
local area ‘little benefit’.

‘The east–west tunnel will
effectively absorb funds for major transport infrastructure in Melbourne for
many years, possibly delaying projects that potentially benefit Glen Eira’, the
motion says.

That was a motion passed by a Liberal mayor. When you have that happening, you know you are in deep trouble.

In terms of the matter of public importance we are debating today, I think Josh Gordon hit the nail on the head in the Age on 19 March in an article headed ‘Liberals are not better economic managers’. He wrote:

Former Victorian Treasurer
Michael O’Brien was cut from the same cloth, having worked as a senior adviser
to Costello — former federal Treasurer Peter Costello — for five years.

Which brings us to the
east–west link … the former coalition government was so desperate to lock
the deal in before the last election, it agreed to a demand by the consortium
contracted to build the $6.8 billion road to sign a so‑called side letter,
guaranteeing a large amount of compensation even if the contract to build it
were rendered invalid by a court.

That side letter signed by the member for Malvern, working with the consortium, will be an albatross around his neck for the rest of his career at Spring Street, and he knows it.
With this government you will not get side letters. You will get infrastructure
and building for the future.

There was a lot of advice being given to the member for Malvern at that time about the work that needed to be done. He only had to pick up the previous government administration’s report by Rod Eddington, which reached an entirely different conclusion to those opposite, with their so‑called ‘agglomeration benefits’. They were
picking things out of the air to try to get their business case to stack up.
Rod Eddington’s study said the estimated benefit‑cost ratio would be just 0.5,
a loss of 50 cents for every dollar invested. What sort of economic
management and responsibility is that? It is unbelievable.

I am very proud that this is a job‑creating government. On Monday I got to bring in representatives from Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses in my electorate. That is a 110‑year‑old company in Keilor Park that has been passed down through five generations. We had a
fantastic meeting with the Minister for Industry about the Future Industries
Fund, through which food and fibre will be made a cornerstone of our economy in
the 21st century. I am very proud of that.

Last Friday VicRoads was out in my electorate to talk about the CityLink widening project, something that was announced back when we were talking about getting rid of our 50 most dangerous level crossings through Project 10 000. The opposition still has
not made up its mind about level crossings. It is more interested in keeping
people stuck in traffic at boom gates. There was, however, the upgrade of the
New Street, Brighton, crossing, which was lower than no. 200 on the
priority list. That is the member for Brighton’s legacy. We are getting on with
the job of removing our 50 most dangerous level crossings. Work has
already started. The member for Bentleigh is out there chairing his local
committee. We are getting on with it and doing things.

I also want to talk about the airport rail link. That was slated to run through my electorate of Niddrie. It was a surprise to everyone. It was drawn up on the back of a coaster overnight. Not one local and not one private business was consulted. That includes
Highpoint shopping centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in the Southern
Hemisphere. It would have been happy to sit down with the government, but it
was not consulted and nor was there any attempt to attract private sector
investment. The rail link was going to affect Westfield Airport West, but Westfield was not talked to either.

I wrote to the previous Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder, to see if we were going to get a sound wall. He wrote back and said, ‘Tell your constituents to go and speak to
the Australian Rail Track Corporation in Adelaide’. That went down a treat! I
had to pass out a phone number with the area code 08. I said, ‘Here’s
Terry Mulder’s number as well if you’re still upset’. That was what we were dealing with.

This MPI is a very important one.
Before I conclude I want to make some remarks about jobs. A very important
Age/Nielsen poll was conducted in 2014. Now that those opposite are back in
opposition, where they belong, after only four years, I want to talk to them
about what the Victorian community is very keen to see. The 1000 people
surveyed ranked health and hospitals as the no. 1 issue. On transport,
42 per cent of the people polled said the Melbourne Metro rail project was
the most important, followed by Labor’s plan to remove 50 level crossings,
with the east–west link a distant last. This was a blow to the previous
government back in 2014. It went through two Premiers and two Treasurers, and
it wonders why it is sitting over there today.

The Andrews Labor government is investing in health. It is investing in education. The Minister for Employment is getting on with the job. She has been out to Essendon Fields in my electorate. We are doing all sorts of good business out there. We have the
new hotel being built. We have the LaManna supermarket going great guns against
the Coles‑Woolworths duopoly. You should come out to visit that one, visiting
professor — you never know! We are also looking at all sorts of tertiary
institutions, and we would love to have a man of your esteem and qualifications
out there. Bring that wonderful CV of yours as well because it is a ripper. We
all have a plate of it. I want to make sure that the visiting professor can
come out at some stage to meet and talk to the locals about the cuts under his
government to the Victorian certificate of applied learning, to TAFE — —

Mr Southwick — On a point of order,
Acting Speaker, the member has absolutely nothing to say. He has spent the best
part of 9 minutes talking about nothing but jobs. I ask you to bring him
back to the MPI.

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — Order! That is not a
point of order. The member will resume his seat.

Mr CARROLL — Someone is a bit touchy
on that side of the house. I thank members for the MPI debate. It was a
pleasure to make this contribution.