Budget papers 2013 - 2014 (30.05.2013)

Written on the 11 June 2013

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am very pleased to be able to rise to speak on the budget papers for 2013-14, and I congratulate Treasurer Michael O'Brien on delivering for this state a responsible budget that will provide a framework for further growth and stability for Victorians. It will give many Victorians confidence, in stark contrast to what we have at a national level, which is a government presiding over a woeful state of affairs under the stewardship of Prime Minister Gillard and federal Treasurer Wayne Swan. The way they have conducted themselves over the last few months and years in relation to financial matters has been just extraordinary.


Their legacy is one that will be felt for generations to come. Australians, and indeed Victorians, who want an opportunity are going to be saddled with their debt and legacy.


Victorians are only part of the nation. We have various challenges, and federal management is just one of them. To have a further loss of $1.5 billion in GST revenue added to the complexity of what Treasurer O'Brien had to deal with. This budget delivers many things for many Victorians. Responsible financial management is a responsibility of government. We have a responsibility to taxpayers, and this is what we have undertaken -- a concept that those opposite literally have no idea about and do not understand, because Labor just cannot manage money.


This budget ensures that Victoria's finances will remain strong, that expenditure growth will no longer exceed revenue growth and that services and infrastructure improvements will be there for all Victorians. A media release put out by the Treasurer and the Premier describes an estimated operating surplus of $225 million, rising to more than $2.5 billion by 2016-17. This will give Victorians confidence, unlike what we are seeing at a federal level.


Many people are going to benefit from this budget. In my area of Southern Metropolitan Region there are a number of senior Victorians, and this government is committed to supporting senior Victorians because we are an ageing population. That is another issue that the federal Treasurer does not understand about the state of Victoria. He thinks our population has decreased. Our population is increasing, and we have an ageing population. What this government is going to deliver for senior citizens of Victoria is a $50 concession on the cost of the fire services property levy.


This is a significant reform for this state and one that has not been undertaken for many years.


In addition, there will be personal monitoring devices for an extra 1000 Victorians through Personal Alert Victoria and a $140 million boost over four years to help older Victorians live at home with the help of home and community care services. There is $14 billion being invested in Victoria's health system, and I am pleased that the 230-bed Monash Children's hospital will allow 7000 more children to be treated each year. Many constituents and parents in my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region will be accessing that terrific facility.


I am particularly pleased that funding for a new school on a site in South Melbourne has also been allocated in this budget.


This is something the community has wanted, and my colleague Mrs Coote has been advocating for it for many years. Since I have been in this place we have spoken to many parents in the area. They are young families with young children, and they are looking to the future for their community. They want to stay in that community and have schools that deliver. Mrs Coote has been strong in her advocacy for relocatable classrooms and in assisting the Port Melbourne Primary School. There is funding in the budget for a new school on a site in Ferrars Street. This demonstrates another strength of this government in that it understands the issues in local areas and plans for the future.


Labor had 11 years to plan for the growing population in that area as well as across the state, but it did nothing.

It did not plan for it, and now we have parents concerned about this backlog. The government has taken this issue on board, and I am very pleased that the Treasurer has listened and helped us to start that process. Some of those opposite think that things pop up overnight and will demand to have that school built by tomorrow. It takes planning and responsible economic management, and that is what we are undertaking in this process.
I am also pleased that there has been significant investment in improving transport systems, particularly rail systems. There is $100 million for upgrades and maintenance work on the Frankston line, which runs through a number of the electorates in Southern Metropolitan Region. There will be improvements to the tracks, signalling and power maintenance facilities, which are all very important areas that need to be addressed for an effective rail and transport system.


Also in Southern Metropolitan Region I am pleased to note that the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) will benefit from part of the $6.4 million announcement for developments at some of Victoria's major sporting venues. Victoria has a very proud history as the sports capital of Australia. It is a title we hold very dearly, and I think members on both sides of the chamber would agree. MSAC is a terrific facility, and it will get additional funds to host national and international sports of various kinds. I am pleased the Treasurer has identified and delivered on that area of need.


Other areas of the budget have been spoken about, and I am pleased that the Treasurer, Mr O'Brien, has a very good handle on what is required. He has had many years of working in this area and he understands it. I heard Mr Viney's contribution about 11 years of delivering surpluses across Victoria. I remind him that there was a far stronger economic position at a federal level under the stewardship of Prime Minister John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello.


Treasurer O'Brien understands that because he worked closely with Peter Costello for some time. Almost all Australians would agree that Australia was in a far stronger position under the stewardship of those two men at that level compared to what we have today.


Mr Viney went on to talk about cutting into TAFE and health expenditure. The increased spending in TAFE has been explained on many occasions. Victorians understand that the Labor Party is using this line for its federal campaign. They understand that Victoria is part of a nation that has been presided over by a woeful and wasteful federal government. That has impacted on Victorians and the money we have for the TAFE sector and our health services. We have increased spending in health expenditure, unlike the federal government, which midway through the last financial year cut $107 million from hospital funding and took some months to reinstate it.


To say we are cutting and to argue that point is in stark contrast to what is happening and what we are dealing with at a federal level.


Treasurer O'Brien should be congratulated on delivering a strong and responsible budget. That is what this government is about, and I commend the budget papers to the house.

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