Appropriation (2019–2020) Bill 2019 | Second Reading
Ms SULEYMAN (St Albans) (14:28:26): I rise today and am extremely proud to speak on the 2019 budget bill, the Appropriation (2019-2020) Bill 2019. For the electorate of St Albans and for all Victorians, this budget delivers on the commitments we made to the Victorian community at the last election. Can I take this opportunity to commend the Treasurer and the Premier for presenting their fifth budget. It is a budget that is in surplus, a budget that is AAA-rated financially and, most of all, a budget that delivers for the community of St Albans. Since we were elected in 2014 the Andrews Labor government has hit the ground running in my electorate of St Albans. We made a commitment to remove the most dangerous level crossing in St Albans, which was Main Road, and we did that in the first year. Secondly we removed the Furlong Road level crossing. And of course just recently we opened the doors of the brand-new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the heart of the west. Not only that but we have been able to employ so many nurses and midwives within the health precinct. We have also seen a doubling of the emergency department at Sunshine Hospital. That is building the emergency department with the growth of the west. I am absolutely proud to announce that in this budget we will be removing the Fitzgerald Road level crossing in Ardeer. This particular level crossing has been part of a lot of concern about congestion for locals in particular in Ardeer, Albion and Sunshine. Our government will remove the Fitzgerald Road, Robinsons Road and Mt Derrimut Road level crossings and also upgrade the stations as well. We have a track record when it comes to removing level crossings. As I said previously, you just need to look at the Main Road level crossing and the Furlong Road level crossing in St Albans to see the absolute transformation they have made through the connection of these particular stations with the community. In the last five years, as a proud local and the member for St Albans, I have been absolutely amazed by the revitalisation of St Albans—and of course Sunshine in my electorate. Of course I cannot miss the proud announcement we made last year in relation to the airport rail link. The super-hub station will be built in the heart of Sunshine, connecting all suburbs—east, west south-east and country Victoria—to Sunshine. That will be an absolute game changer for the west. We have already committed $5 billion towards this project. I know that the opportunities that this will create, not only for my electorate of St Albans but for all the west, will be, as I said, an absolute game changer for Melbourne and for the west. But it does not stop there. We will see investment in the Western Rail Plan, and of course we have announced $100 million towards that project. My favourite—and the member for Sydenham is here as well—is the $2.1 billion for the Sunbury line. I know that all the western MPs have been working to make sure that this upgrade and investment occurs. This will be a transformation of train services in the west and in particular an upgrading of every station along the corridor. I know that our community will also be eagerly awaiting the rollout of the new high-capacity Metro trains that will go through this line. There is no surprise in the fact that we will see travel times cut and provide over 100 000 passengers the opportunity to be on the Sunbury line during peak hour services. I know the community of St Albans and the west will be absolutely happy to hear about these announcements about public transport and major infrastructure. Can I also make special note of—and it has been one of my favourite projects ever since I was elected—Victoria University Secondary College. This particular school in St Albans has been working with me and the community and the school council for the last five years to make sure that they are able to get the investments and the building they require. I am absolutely proud that our government has been able to commit over $23 million in this budget. This will be a real opportunity for the students that have been in these buildings—1960s buildings—with a lack of air conditioning and facilities that are not up to the standards of today. I am so happy that we will see a new building being built by our government in the heart of Cairnlea. I also want to thank the school council and in particular the former principal, Genevieve Simson, who has now moved on. I also take this opportunity to congratulate Elaine Hazim, who was recently appointed college principal, and of course the member for Kororoit, who has also been working to make this project a reality. My other favourite project—as they say, all politics is local—is St Albans East Primary School, which will see over $8 million. I was talking to the principal about what $8 million will mean to a local school like St Albans East, which has not received any investment for many decades. Paul Busuttil said to me, ‘Please make sure you tell your colleagues that this will change the lives of students and my kids at St Albans East Primary School’. They will have the facilities and the opportunities within that school community. This particular building has been riddled with asbestos for so many years. The school has been waiting patiently, and I really again want to thank the school community for working with me. In particular I thank the Minister for Education for listening and really taking on the concerns of the St Albans East community and making this happen in this budget. Of course my very favourite project is the multicultural seniors grants this year. I have so many. St Albans electorate is, I would say, the melting pot of multiculturalism in Victoria. They all do such a fantastic job. They strengthen our communities, provide an opportunity for seniors, who at times are alone and isolated, to associate themselves in a group and, as part of that, support our community in a healthy way. It is not much—$4000—but it will go a long way to those senior citizens organisations across St Albans. Let me say: there are so many, but each and every one of you do a fantastic job on behalf of our community. Of course we have the multicultural youth grants in the St Albans community. In particular the South Sudanese community support group will be receiving some funding to assist and support the South Sudanese community in the electorate of St Albans. Just recently I attended the Le Mana Pasifika Project community group together with the newly elected federal member for Fraser, Daniel Mulino. We had the opportunity to meet some of the young kids who have been part of the support programs and educational programs. This funding actually does make a difference. I thank the Pasifika community group for all their work in particular in St Albans, but I know their work stretches outside the electorate of St Albans. My very, very favourite is the Vietnamese community—one of the souls, I would say, of the St Albans community. We will see the first-ever Vietnamese museum and cultural centre in the heart of the west. We have promised to provide $1.8 million, and we will be able to not only dedicate this to Vietnamese Australians but also help to preserve identity, culture and one’s history. There is no better place to have this fitting museum than just down the road from St Albans in Footscray. I cannot pass by without talking about Footscray Hospital. Can I thank the new member for Footscray for all her work in this area. I know that it will be another complementary hospital to the west, with funding of $1.5 billion. It really does complement Sunshine Hospital as well. I have spoken about a number of local projects that will really make a difference. I also want to talk about mental health and the investment that our government is making. Can I commend the Andrews Labor government. We did promise that in the first 100 days we will commence a royal commission into mental health, and that is exactly what we have done—but not only that. We have also provided funding, which includes $173 million in this budget. I do want to commend the words of the member for Mordialloc. We do know someone, we have met someone, and one in three Australians will suffer from some form of mental health illness. It is challenging and this requires prevention and supports, and we can see that this budget really provides that—and not only that. I think with the royal commission we will be able to really address some of the really challenging issues in this area and this space. There is one other point I would like to add with all these projects: when we look around St Albans in particular and really see, as I said, the transformation in particularly education and the rollout of three‑year‑old kinder and what that means to the foundations of a child, it really is transforming lives. This sort of investment the seat of St Albans has not seen for a number of decades, and we are really changing the lives of kids, youth, pensioners and families in the electorate of St Albans. All these infrastructure projects do create jobs. Just down from St Albans a proud project for this government is the Victoria University Polytechnic TAFE apprenticeships that have been provided to local trainees in the west; we are providing the projects, providing the job opportunities and linking these things together. I think that is really important, that it is not just providing services but it really is highlighting the job opportunities as well for locals and for Victorians. To conclude my commentary on this budget, we made commitments not only in 2014 but also last year, and each and every commitment has been met. While people are a little bit confused about politics in this day and age, we can go by our track record, and our track record has been that what we say is what we do. When it comes to the electorate of St Albans, whatever we have promised we have actually delivered. I am extremely proud to be able to say that. I really commend this budget and commend the opportunities that it creates and, most importantly, that it delivers on the projects. One very small project that I know has gone a long way is the funding of the Western Eagles football club at the Albion Polish centre. This particular club has never received funding, and it is a club that has a rich history. It will see funding this year for the first time in its history. It has had no council funding, no state and no federal funding. For the first time in the club’s history, this government will provide $300 000 for the club to install some lights that will allow soccer games—part of that world game opportunity—to be played at night. This is a club that opens its doors to all nationalities and also, most importantly, to women and girls to participate in sport. On that note I would like to commend this budget. It is a proud budget, and I am absolutely proud to have delivered on my commitments to the St Albans community together with the Andrews Labor government. This is its fifth budget, and I cannot wait to be going out there and talking to my locals.