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Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (15:05): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Will the minister update the House on the importance of the government’s $50 billion infrastructure investment program to regional Australia and how this investment is creating jobs and employment in my electorate of Capricornia?


Mr CHESTER (GippslandMinister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:05): I thank the member for Capricornia for her question and note what a tireless worker she is for her community and what a great friend she has been for Queenslanders in her role. As I am taking my first question, it is appropriate that I thank another great Queenslander and great friend of mine, the member for Wide Bay, who has set the benchmark for the management of this portfolio over several years, and I wish him well in the future.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr CHESTER: As a new minister I seem to have a lot of new friends—mainly on this side of the House, but many over there as well. I worried that it was because they thought I was charming, but obviously it is not; it is the—

Mr Albanese: It is because you are building our projects.

The SPEAKER: Members on my left!

Mr CHESTER: It is the $50 billion worth of infrastructure that this government has rolled out and will continue to roll out in the future. This government, the coalition government, is absolutely committed to ensuring that Central Queensland prospers into the future. The member for Capricornia is someone who is relentlessly optimistic and positive about the future of her community, unlike those opposite. We are investing record amounts in infrastructure. The Turnbull-Joyce government is investing $50 billion in infrastructure of the 21st century. That means better infrastructure, better jobs and growth and prosperity being delivered by the Turnbull-Joyce government, and this is especially the case in Central Queensland.

The member for Capricornia asked about federal government projects in her electorate. On this side of the House, we are concerned about jobs. We want regional communities to prosper into the future. I know that the member for Capricornia is working every day to achieve that in her community. Investment in infrastructure can change people’s lives and, in many cases, save people’s lives.

Ms Henderson interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Corangamite will not interject.

Mr CHESTER: Projects in Capricornia under the $50 billion infrastructure plan include stage 2 of the Yeppoon South flood plain project on the Bruce Highway south of Rocky, $29.4 million in Roads to Recovery grants to help local councils fix the roads and streets in five shires, $38 million to repair or replace seven old bridges in Isaac and Rockhampton shires, $166 million to fix up the Eton Range section on the notorious Peak Downs Highway west of Mackay. This is on top of a $20 million infrastructure package announced for Rocky and Yeppoon under the federal government’s National Stronger Regions Fund.

I did mention that infrastructure can save people’s lives as well. Investing in better roads through highway duplications, black spot intersection upgrades, road safety treatments—these are the sorts of things that can save people’s lives. I know many members opposite share my concern and share my passion for making sure that the national government—the federal government—works with our state colleagues to reduce our national road toll. Our national road toll of 1,200 deaths per year, and the trauma of thousands of serious and minor injuries, is an enormous public health concern. In my role as the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I will be making sure that we deliver better outcomes for our communities.

Like the member for Capricornia, I am proud to be part of this government, which is getting on with the job of delivering better infrastructure and better outcomes for our regional communities.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Every time this occurs, I can refer members to the practice, which is very clear. But I think it would be rather tedious. The Prime Minister can end question time whenever he chooses.


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