Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Statements on parliamentary committee reports

Economy and Infrastructure Committee

Economy and Infrastructure Committee

Inquiry into Commonwealth Support for Victoria

Ms CONNOLLY (Tarneit) (10:13): With a new Labor government and what can only be described as a true partner to Victoria now in Canberra, I thought it would be really fitting to read about and talk about today the Economy and Infrastructure Committee’s report on the inquiry into commonwealth support for Victoria. I have to say the Legislative Assembly’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee is a committee that I was previously on, and it was a great pleasure to be on that committee. Certainly members from across parties were wonderful to work with, and it is very pleasing to say that they undertook an inquiry into commonwealth support for Victoria.

I think over the last eight years—and certainly the last almost four years that I have been here in this place—we have talked time and time again about Victoria needing and deserving to get its fair share of funding from the government in Canberra. We are a state that no doubt truly believes in fairness, and when we feel that we are not being treated fairly we are very quick at calling it out, which is exactly what our government did when the previous government in Canberra sought to starve Victoria of millions of dollars in GST revenue that should have rightfully gone to us. It was so rampant, what was going on, that we were forced to go ahead and do an inquiry into that commonwealth support for Victoria.

The report found that every state in Australia and territory, save for WA, would receive a lower proportion of GST than it was entitled to. That would mean that by 2028 Victoria would have lost out on between $87 million and $1.2 billion in funding. That is so much money, and when I think about that I think about the people in my community, in the electorate of Tarneit—those folks in Wyndham who are sitting in one of the largest growth corridors in this country—and what missing out on that funding actually means in terms of infrastructure and services that communities like mine desperately need. To give you an idea about the rapid population growth that my community is experiencing right now, I can explain it to you in these terms: a couple of weeks ago it was four classrooms of preps born each and every single week in Wyndham—that is 120 kids. Last week I found out it is now 130 babies being born each and every single week in Wyndham alone. That is massive.

In order to keep up with that type of rapid population growth we need states and governments like the Andrews Labor government—and we certainly have been—investing billions and billions of dollars into communities like mine, into growth communities. But we also need the federal government to pull their weight. I feel very optimistic after last month’s election. It feels like such a long time ago now, standing on those booths and pre-polls handing out for my local federal MPs, but I feel very optimistic that we are going to see finally a fairer, a better share of funding from an Albanese Labor federal government than certainly we ever saw from that terrible Morrison government that we had to reside under for almost a decade.

That is money that will go towards building, in our patch, new schools; upgrading our roads and our rail network; and delivering better hospitals. And I was very, very happy and very, very proud to see the Labor federal member—the newly re-elected federal member—for Lalor make an election commitment during that election campaign of I think it was about $57 million of federal government money towards Wyndham’s WestLink, which is going to provide better highway connection for folks in Tarneit and out there across towards Manor Lakes and Wyndham Vale to be able to get onto the highway. The WestLink was something that was talked about at the previous federal election. It was again a commitment that the federal member secured if Labor was elected, and it was not. I can only hope that we are now—and I certainly feel we are—on a great track forward to deliver that vital piece of infrastructure now we have an Albanese Labor government. I would like to thank the members of the committee who took part in the inquiry and acknowledge the secretariat for their hard work.