Budget Papers 2018-19
Ms SULEYMAN (St Albans) (14:18:08) — I rise to speak on the take-note motion on the budget today. It gives me great pride to speak on this motion before the house. For the electorate of St Albans we have seen a fantastic budget. This is the fourth budget, of course, for the Andrews Labor government, and I can tell you what we have seen in the seat of St Albans. Just this year we have seen close to $30 million in investment by the government in redeveloping the emergency department at Sunshine Hospital. What that means is that in Melbourne’s west we will see more cubicles in the emergency department area, a separate section for children and of course a medical imaging suite and an expanded administration area.
This is on top of the $200 million for the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital that we are seeing being constructed currently in the electorate of St Albans. At the last election we promised to build the women’s and children’s hospital, and once in government we wasted no time in commencing this vital project for the people of St Albans and also for the people of the west. We will see the women’s and children’s hospital precinct becoming an integral health precinct for the west, with the new hospital having 20 labour delivery rooms, 39 special care nursery cots, 64 women’s inpatient beds, 32 children’s inpatient beds and four new operating theatres. That will be on top of what we have with Sunshine Hospital.
There is no doubt that everybody knows that only Labor delivers for health in the west. Just recently, as I was coming out of an advisory meeting about the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, I happened to walk past the display of plaques for previous extensions to and investments in Sunshine Hospital. All the names listed were former Labor premiers, ministers and MPs. They were the names of fantastic premiers, such as former premiers of Victoria John Cain and Steve Bracks, and a former Minister for Health, John Thwaites. So we can see that it is truly Labor that delivers for health in the west. I am very proud to be part of the building of the new hospital and also the investing of a further $29.6 million to rebuild the important emergency department at Sunshine Hospital to meet the ever-growing demand there.
We are also providing free TAFE. Those courses are the foundations for proper education, and we need those proper foundations. There is a record investment in education. From next year, 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 preapprenticeship courses across the state will be free. That will allow young people to actually have the option of going to university, taking up a trade — and I know how important it is to take up a trade — or entering a TAFE course.
We have seen record investment in Sunshine and St Albans. We are investing in the Victoria University (VU) Polytechnic in the heart of St Albans. Recently we announced a new TAFE with VU Polytechnic, because we understand the importance of training and making sure that we have skilled workers who are able to take up jobs with the infrastructure projects and other investments that we have made across the state — projects such as the West Gate tunnel, the Metro Tunnel, the level crossing removals and hospital building. We have been able to create 6000 new jobs on the West Gate tunnel alone. Let me say that 500 or so of those positions are dedicated to apprentices and trainees. This is about getting young people into work.
On top of that there has also been an investment of $10 million to create a brand-new skills hub in Sunshine. This skills hub supports the development of industry partnerships, creating access and making sure that vocational education is in the heart of Melbourne’s west.
Furthermore, we are investing $800 000, again at VU Polytechnic, to purchase new equipment, including paramedic pods and health simulation equipment. I had the honour quite recently of visiting the new simulation centre at VU. It is a world-class facility, designed for paramedics, nurses and midwives at Victoria University in St Albans. Let me say that they are doing a tremendous job in making sure that they are skilled, trained and ready to meet the workforce.
We have also of course seen the recent fantastic announcement of the airport rail link. We are continuing to invest in the public transport system. I need to add that it is the one-year anniversary of the removal of the most dangerous level crossing in this state, the Main Road level crossing in St Albans. It was this government, the Andrews Labor government, that removed that level crossing along with the Furlong Road level crossing in St Albans. There are also the brand-new stations at Ginifer and St Albans, which are the pride of our community. We are now seeing a much more effective traffic flow between both stations, but most importantly we have made it safe again for people to travel there. It took a Labor government, which is the only government that can do that, to make sure that we have safety at those level crossings.
As I said earlier, we now see an investment of $5 billion in making the airport rail link a reality and making sure that Sunshine becomes the hub of the transport network in Victoria when it comes to accessing the airport. This means that there will be an opportunity to make sure that Sunshine will be the super-hub, but it also is a game changer for Melbourne’s west, providing much more opportunity for Melbourne’s west. I am very proud to have advocated for this project. I commend the Minister for Public Transport and the Premier for taking the lead role and making sure that once and for all we will have an airport rail link and that the appropriate route will be taken — that is, the Albion line, going straight through Sunshine. I am looking forward to the consultation process and to seeing the project commence under our government.
I am also extremely happy with the investment in education. Recently I had the opportunity to visit the people at St Albans East Primary School. For a very long time they have been advocating and lobbying for a new toilet block at their school. It is a small project, but it means a lot to the people at St Albans East, particularly the students and their parents. The students had taken the opportunity, as part of their project, to show their writing skills and to advocate and lobby for the new toilet block. I thank the Minister for Education, who has been able to facilitate that investment. It is a very small contribution, but it means that they will have a new toilet block at St Albans East Primary School.
There are also places like Monmia Primary School in Keilor Downs. I have had the opportunity to visit the primary school on many occasions and talk to the principal and the students. For a very long time they were advocating and lobbying for a new rebuild of their library. In this budget, again thanks to the Minister for Education and our government, we were able to invest a small amount, but it will go a long way to rebuilding a new library at Monmia Primary School in Keilor Downs.
When we look at what we have invested in the electorate of St Albans, let me say it has been this government in the last four years that has contributed to the electorate of St Albans. We have never seen this amount of investment with the removal of level crossings, both Main Road and Furlong Road, and the building of a new women’s and children’s hospital, again a first — a women’s and children’s hospital dedicated not only for the electorate of St Albans but also for the people of the west. It has taken a Labor government to invest, most importantly, in education and to make sure that we have the right foundations when it comes to education, because we all know that to succeed and to grow in a community, one of the pillars is to have the right education. It does not matter which postcode you live in. It may be St Albans, Keilor Downs, Ardeer, Albion, Kealba, Sunshine North or Sunshine. We deserve investment in education to make sure that our schools have the appropriate infrastructure so that our kids can get opportunities to reach their full potential in life.
There is the fact that at the St Albans campus of Victoria University we are seeing a rebuild and a real opportunity with a regeneration of courses and free TAFE. We are working with the polytechnic centre in Sunshine and working hand in hand with our secondary colleges to make sure that kids can choose to go to TAFE or choose to go to uni, and it is all available in the west.
I am really proud and happy with what we have achieved in our fourth budget. It is a budget that delivers to Melbourne’s west, and in particular to St Albans. I know that my community is extremely thrilled with the changes that have come about since the Labor government has been elected. In the last four years we have seen much change in St Albans, and I would say there is a real sense of faith in the Labor government, because I can tell you that the previous coalition government did nothing for St Albans. In St Albans they made cuts to transport, to education and to the hospital system. So we are going back into those places, in particular St Albans and Melbourne’s west, and investing in infrastructure for the community, because we know that we are the only government that delivers for the people of the west.
I conclude on the take-note motion by thanking the Premier for his leadership and thanking all the ministers who have contributed to making sure that yet again St Albans has received its fair share when it comes to this year’s budget. I am looking forward to the airport rail link. I know that it is going to be an enormous opportunity not only for my electorate of Sunshine but also for the people of the west. I am sure that this will be an absolute game changer.
It is only the Andrews Labor government that has invested and will continue to invest, and I know that the St Albans community understands that. We are very excited. In the next few months we will see the opening of the new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We have already seen the cranes. The building is up. At the moment there is orange and pink paint outside the construction sites. I have never seen that number of cranes in St Albans, and I have been a resident all of my life. It really says so much. In the last four years we have seen so many cranes and so much work.
I have a limited time left for my contribution, but in the next few months we are also going to see the duplication of Sunshine Avenue to the E. J. Whitten Bridge, making it safe to get onto the Tullamarine Freeway. That has also been a very important infrastructure project, again creating local jobs but most importantly closing the gap of travel time to and from work. That is extremely important to families who travel to town and back for work or study, so thank you. This budget has been fantastic.