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Private Members’ Statement – Government financial management

16 Nov 2016

I draw to the attention of the House concerns put to me by my constituents in Hawkesbury about the delivery of infrastructure and important services. Thanks to the sound financial management of the Baird-Grant Government, it is fortunate to now be in a position to provide the investments in infrastructure and services that the Hawkesbury needs.

Over the past few years, the Government has delivered, or it is in the process of delivering, extensive infrastructure to bust congestion, such as the new Windsor Bridge; the Pitt Town bypass and further upgrades to Old Northern Road; a new agricultural school at Richmond, which will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere; the biggest ever financial investment in Hawkesbury schools; a $3 million tourism investment, the largest funding boost for tourism in Hawkesbury’s history; the next generation of healthcare services with a new hospital to be built at Rouse Hill; better protection for our community from floods by providing funds to raise the Warragamba Dam wall after decades of procrastination; bringing all government services under the one roof with a new Service NSW centre in Richmond; and protecting our natural environment with a new recycling centre as well as a state-of-the-art fire station, both constructed at South Windsor. These are all signs of a government that delivers.

The Government can do this because it has its finances right. That is something that the Labor Party has never figured out. If we have more money coming out of our family bank account than we have going in, we will struggle to provide for our family. The Labor Party has not worked out this foundational principle of economics. As a result, its has struggled to provide for our State and for our nation. Members opposite are like a bunch of recalcitrant teenagers who have stolen the family credit card to rack up giant bills they have no intention of paying –it is about all care and no responsibility. We cannot build anything if we have no money; we cannot fix anything if you cannot afford to pay for it; and we cannot plan for the future when we are buried under debt and deficit. We must get the fundamentals right first.

Members of the Labor Party are economic incompetence personified. Wherever they go, they leave a mess. At the Federal level, John Howard paid off nearly $100 billion of the Labor Government’s debt and left the budget with a $20 billion surplus. The Labor Government then delivered six budget deficits in a row, leaving an economy in ruins, a budget in the red, and debt back on the books. Our families, communities and businesses are still dealing with this painful legacy. It is no different at the State level. The outgoing Labor Government left behind another budget in the red—we were steeped in debt and there was an infrastructure backlog worth tens of billions of dollars.

Once again, a Coalition government has spent years cleaning up the mess, paying off the debt, and getting spending under control. This Government is doing the hard work so that it can provide for the community. It is important to know that the Labor Party has opposed every move that the Government has made to get things back under control, from spending restraint to public sector wage discipline and new funding models such as the lease of the poles and wires. These are not easy decisions; these are tough calls that allow the Government to make the right investments. Because they are tough decisions, it is very easy for the Labor Party to play the populist card. However, that is not leadership.

I note that some members of the Labor Party, like the Federal member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, have been criticising the New South Wales Government for not spending enough on infrastructure and services. She says that the Government should be spending more on schools and immediately building a third crossing over the Hawkesbury River. What she does not say is how she or her party would fund the delivery of those outcomes. In the Labor Party’s world how something is funded does not seem to matter. Like every other member of the Labor Party, she has never done the hard work of implementing tough fiscal reform. She is the Lazy Susan of Australian politics. She is all spin and no responsibility. She is going around in circles and never getting anything done. Like every other member of the Labor Party, she promises the world but will deliver nothing. The truth is that members of the Labor Party are not interested in problems such as congestion, infrastructure or services. They are preoccupied with their pet ideological causes and want to use taxpayers’ money to fund them.

We have had decades of inaction in the Hawkesbury under Labor governments that have ignored the community and failed to deliver what we need. In contrast, it is Liberal-Nationals governments, acting in a financially responsible way, that do the hard yards of delivering infrastructure and services to ensure that Hawkesbury and all of our communities are better off.

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