Government performance - where is the substance?

Written on the 24 June 2015

06 May 2015


CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) I am also pleased to rise to make a brief contribution to the debate on Mrs Peulich's motion:

That this house notes the Andrews Labor government's term of office has been characterised by lies, confusion, excuses and spin.

I have been listening to the contributions from my colleagues over the last little while, and I could not agree with them more. There is a consistent theme with Labor governments that we know about and Australians know about. Information was put out prior to the election. But we know the Premier said one thing before the election and said something else after the election.

I listened with great interest yesterday, as we all did, to the Treasurer's budget speech, and I could not help but think, 'Oh, my goodness, this entire speech is just one-line platitudes.

Where is the substance?'.


Mrs Peulich No vision.

Ms CROZIER Mrs Peulich is right, there was no vision. The one line that jumped out to me is on page 6, and when the Treasurer said it I thought, 'Goodness me'. We had been listening for a few minutes and he had been going on with these one-liners. As I said, there was platitude after platitude, and then there was this line:

It's too often spoken by governments who have no idea where we're transitioning to.

I thought, 'Isn't that the truth?'. Mr Pallas has said it. He has no idea where he is transitioning to, and Victorians will be worse off for his decisions and for his shameless rhetoric that was undertaken in the lead-up to the election.

The Labor Party's biggest shameless discussion that dominated the media in the lead-up to the election was the one about eastwest link. We did not get Labor's costings until two days before the election, so there was no time to scrutinise what was in those costings or the financial position the government was going to put us in. There was no time to look at the programs that were cut and at what Victoria was heading for.

Let us remember what we faced when we came to government in 2010: eleven years of Labor administration. In its last four years in office that administration increased Victoria's net debt by around 400 per cent. In addition, over the decade to around 2011 the Victorian public service grew on average by 5.3 per cent, despite an average population growth of around 2 per cent. That meant that we were living beyond our means. The budget handed down yesterday, which was full of those one-line platitudes, is sending us down the same path. Victorians will understand that sooner rather than later.

I return to the issue of the eastwest link, which was dominant before the election. The now Premier, Daniel Andrews, was trotted out saying one thing. I find, when we are talking about confusion, spin and lies, that the most extraordinary thing was his makeover. That somebody has to change their name to get elected says it all. Regarding the eastwest link, the open letter sent by the Prime Minister to the then Premier and the then Leader of the Opposition was very clear. It states:

I want to make it absolutely clear to the people of Victoria that the $3 billion the commonwealth government has committed to this project is for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to build eastwest link.

Let me repeat: the $3 billion the commonwealth government has committed for the eastwest link is only available to build the eastwest link.

How much clearer does it have to be? It is pretty clear. I am sure that Victorians will understand that that money has been put into this year's budget and is elevating the government's figures to make them look rosier than they actually are. That is absolutely shameless.

The government might say that Victorians did not vote for the eastwest link, but the spin and the confusion surrounding the argument at the time clearly led to the inability of the Victorian community to comprehend just what was at stake. The Labor opposition was threatened by the Greens in the inner-city seats. That had a huge hold over its decision in refusing to honour a government contract that had been planned and put into previous budgets with all the elements of good government. It is extraordinary for the Premier to say that he is not paying one cent in compensation while paying $640 million for a road that is not being built. That is the biggest spin of all time.

It is disappointing that Victorians are wearing these decisions. We have a Premier who has put his position to Victorians. Each day they realise what his decision to pay that huge compensation bill of $640 million means. It would pay for an incredible number of schools. It would enhance our workforce in necessary areas, whether it be in health, police, community services, child protection. That money has been blown in one fell swoop.

I asked a question about level crossings, and I think the response is the biggest spin of all time. Victorians understood that 50 level crossings would be removed. I asked a question of the Minister for Roads and Road Safety about this, and I received a response. It states:

Tender proposals to remove four level crossings at Main Road, St Albans, Blackburn Road, Blackburn, Burke Road, Glen Iris, and North Road, Ormond, have been received and are being evaluated. These four project sites are being procured into contract packages.

They were undertaken under the former coalition government. My question was about the removal of various level crossings in my area. This is what the minister said:

The removal of level crossings at Koornang Road, Carnegie, and Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena, is being considered as part of an unsolicited bid to government by the Rail Transformation Consortium. This unsolicited bid is currently being assessed and the timing for the commencement of works at these crossings will be determined as part of the assessment.

One hundred million dollars has been announced to establish a dedicated level crossing removal authority for planning work for the level crossing

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Finn) Order! I apologise to Ms Crozier, but it being 5.00 p.m. it is now time for me to interrupt business for statements on reports and papers.


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