Government Performance (11.02.2013)
Written on the 27 February 2014
Mr LEANE (Eastern Metropolitan) -- Before question time I was dissecting the commitments made on the Liberal Party's handy guide to the 2010 election, which was basically a how-to-vote card. I got up to point 1(b), which referred to a commitment on the how-to-vote card that read:
Mr LEANE -- Yes. This commitment was on every Liberal Party how-to-vote card, including the ones that would have been handed out in Scoresby. Yet when asked by a journalist about this election commitment a couple of weeks after the election, the newly appointed Treasurer, Mr Wells, said, 'No, we didn't promise that'. The promise was on his own how-to-vote card, yet Mr Wells said, 'No, we didn't promise to do that'.Since those opposite came into government they have not only backed off on that election commitment they have thumbed their noses at it. As we can see, when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, the clear spokesperson for the government in this house is Mr Finn. On behalf of the government Mr Finn has articulated that reducing carbon emissions is -- I am trying to think of a word that is parliamentary -- a load of rubbish. None of his colleagues counter Mr Finn when he makes these contributions about what he and his party think about reducing carbon emissions on a regular basis.
Even though it is pretty much the same speech, it is entertaining; I will give him that. Instead they actually applaud him and cheer him on. They 100 per cent cheer him on.Many things can be said about Mr Finn, but one thing that no-one can deny is that he never leaves you wondering what he thinks. Mr Finn would have been handing out this how-to-vote card at whatever Assembly seat he volunteered at on the day -
Mr Finn -- Three or four. Busy day!Mr LEANE -- Four different electorates -- that is fantastic. On the how-to-vote cards that Mr Finn handed out in four different electorates there is a commitment that if the coalition formed government, it would reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent.
I am surprised Mr Finn did not instantaneously combust when he was handing out this how-to-vote card which contained a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent. It is absolutely amazing. The government hoodwinked the electorate by saying, 'We're pretty green and we're prepared to reduce carbon by 20 per cent by 2020. Vote for us. Trust us'. As I said, that lasted all of two weeks.In the handy guide to the 2010 state election distributed by the Liberal Party there is not only a dot point including a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, but there are also dot points under the heading 'Fix the problems. Build the future'. The first point reads 'More jobs'. That has not occurred. The second point is 'Safe streets'. Crime rates are up. The third point is 'Reliable, safe public transport'. Public transport has become less reliable. The fourth point is 'Quality country roads'. Country roads are terrible under this government due to the funding cuts to VicRoads. The sixth point is 'A planning system that works'. That is debatable.
The seventh point is 'Better access to hospitals'. Access to hospitals has been horrendous under this government. The eighth point is 'More support for schools and teachers'. I do not think teachers felt very supported after the government reneged on the promise it made to them. The ninth is 'A healthy environment'. This is from a government that is pro-carbon.Under the tenth and last point the how-to-vote card says, in bold, 'A government you can trust', underneath which there is signed picture of Mr Baillieu, the then Leader of the Opposition. Just a couple of years later Premier Baillieu found out that even he could not trust his own government.
Sitting suspended 1.00 p.m. until 2.03 p.m.
Mr LEANE -- I am pleased to continue my comments on my motion regarding the 2010 Liberal how-to-vote card which made a lot of promises and commitments that have clearly not been delivered on. Given that it promised them the world but has been lucky to deliver Mud Island, this government has let down the people of Victoria.
We might get to hear about that back pocket who played for St Kilda for about 40 games in the 1970s, Mal Feces. We hear a lot about Mal Feces in Mrs Kronberg's speeches.This is a particularly generic how-to-vote card for Ms Ryall, the member for Mitcham in the Assembly. There were some variations on some of the commitments. The member for Kilsyth in the Assembly made the commitment to eliminate graffiti, which he has obviously not done.
Mrs Peulich -- He's still got another 12 months to go.Mr LEANE -- He has 12 months to go on that. He might have to start on the ambulances first, but he will get there.
A how-to-vote card for the member Doncaster in the Assembly, who was the member for Doncaster in 2010, had the commitment that if a coalition government was elected, that government would build a rail line to Doncaster. Mr Tee remembers that well. That has not happened.Overall, if big commitments and promises that attract votes are going to be made, those votes should be conditional upon the coalition delivering. The coalition has obviously not delivered. It has been very disappointing, and it will be judged at next year's election. Those opposite will not be able to put out how-to-vote cards with similar big promises, because the electorate will just laugh at them. They have boxed themselves into a corner. We will wait and see how they go next year.
Hon. R. A. DALLA-RIVA (Eastern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to rise in the chamber this afternoon to talk on the motion moved by Mr Leane.It is interesting to note that Mr Leane has failed to note paragraph 3 of his motion, which is that this house:
(3) calls on the government to fix the problems, as promised, and build the future.We went to the election with a commitment to fix the problems and build the future, because the previous government left us with an enormous number of problems. At the 2010 state election the people of Victoria saw fit to vote the then opposition coalition into power, because they believed a whole range of matters needed to be dealt with. It was not simply a list of four or five items, as Mr Leane is trying to level at us; there was a litany of issues across a whole range of areas that we could talk about.
If we look at the policies we took to the election, we can see that many were around law and order issues. We made a very clear commitment about increasing the number of protective services officers, but I do not see anything in the motion about that. We have delivered on that commitment and are continuing to deliver on it, as we are continuing to deliver on a whole range of other matters.I do not propose to talk for long on this motion. Every Wednesday the opposition raises issues in the chamber, but the matters are very seldom finally dealt with. One only needs to look at the orders of the day remaining on the notice paper to see that many issues have been debated but nothing has been resolved. Listed on pages 16 and 17 of today's notice paper are motions that have been continually raised but that do not seem to have any theme or structure. I have said this about opposition business in previous weeks, that matters are frequently left in abeyance and are not debated any further.
In the motion we are debating Mr Leane is having a go at the hardworking member for Mitcham in the other place, purely for political purposes and without realising that the broader policy outline we took to the last election has been delivered, and is continuing to be delivered.Mr Leane's motion includes some interesting elements. I will run through them briefly, because it is important to note that the government has been getting on with the job of working through a whole range of issues. In terms of the issue of the reduction of carbon emissions, the government holds the view expressed in the Report on Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in
Victoria, which was released in 2012. The report recognised that Victorian weather and climate can change due to a wide range of natural and human factors.
Mr Leane -- Name them!Hon. R. A. DALLA-RIVA -- I will get to Mr Leane's point, because it is an important one that he is making.
The Australian Hospital Statistics 2011-12 report shows an average available bed increase of 184 beds from the 2009-10 baseline. In November 2011, during the commitment period, Victorian health services managed bed closures of up to 969 beds due then to the Australian Nursing Federation union industrial action. Of course this had an impact on the average beds available. We were on track to meet the 2012-13 commitment until a national issue arose, which was the commonwealth funding cuts made by the former federal government. It cut funding to health services by $15.3 million per month.I will give some examples of the impact. In November 2012 there were 106 additional beds in the system compared to the same month the year before, but by December 2012, once the cuts had started taking effect, there were 346 fewer beds in the system compared with the same month the year before.
The average available bed count at the time of the commonwealth funding cuts between December 2012 and June 2013 was 224 fewer than over the same period the previous year -- namely, December 2011 and June 2012. As well as beds being closed, the revised statement of priorities showed that the $107 million commonwealth funding cut added 2370 Victorians to the elective surgery waiting list. We found that fewer Victorian patients were receiving surgery because of the significant cuts.Mr Leane raised a point by way of interjection, and I will get to it. It is important to remember that there are no absolutes in relation to bed numbers. The number of beds goes up and down, day to day and hour to hour, depending on demands. The bed count does not take into account all bed types or reflect the amount of care being provided.
I say to Mr Leane that it is very clear: I have countered his argument, and I say that we are on track and we would have been on track had it not been for the significant funding cuts that have been made. It is erroneous to suggest that we were not going to deliver them, because we were. I have outlined and argued that we were not on track because of the commonwealth funding cuts, which have been discussed by the Minister for Health in this chamber many times. In responding to the first point in Mr Leane's motion, I say that we are on track, but we have had some issues that have affected us in that area.In terms of building hospital capacity, we are putting more money into the system and we are focusing on assisting patients in elective surgery. We are getting on with the job. We are fixing the problems, including the problems in the health system, and we are building for the future. We are building capacity so that people in the Victorian community can get the hospital beds they need.
I will leave the matter of the new rail stations at Southland and Grovedale to Mrs Peulich, who will most likely cover it in her contribution, because it is more relevant to her electorate.
In regard to the issue of providing more support for Victorian teachers, I have to say that we have been very supportive of Victorian teachers. Mrs Peulich is a former teacher, and she will have something to say about that. I know that my colleague Mrs Kronberg will also be touching on that area. We are getting on with the job. We are working towards fixing the problems, as promised, and we are building for the future. To condemn the Napthine government for failing to deliver on its 2010 election commitments is mere political posturing by the member opposite. Mr Leane's rhetoric is part of a Labor preselection process that is coming up for him in the immediate future. This is not about the hard work Dee Ryall has been doing in her electorate of Mitcham. She has been working very hard in her electorate. Like me, Mr Leane represents the Eastern Metropolitan Region, of which Ms Ryall's electorate is a part, so he knows about the hard work that she has been doing. Mr Leane should stand up and talk about the great amount of work that Dee Ryall has been doing. The member for Forest Hill in the Assembly, Neil Angus, has also done fantastic work, along with the other members of the Legislative Assembly whose electorates lie within in the Eastern Metropolitan Region.
Hon. R. A. DALLA-RIVA -- Would you like me to name each and every one of them, Mr Leane? There is David Hodgett, the member for Kilsyth; Heidi Victoria, the member for Bayswater; and Kim Wells, the member for Scoresby. The list goes on. The region has been recognised as being committed to Liberal values, and it is committed to providing opportunities for aspirational individuals in our community. While I am speaking about the Eastern Metropolitan Region, I thank the newly elected federal member for Deakin, Michael Sukkar. He is doing a fantastic amount of work, and I hear he had a fantastic campaign manager! I say that with tongue in cheek. It was a very hard-fought campaign.I know Mr Leane has the best of intentions with this motion, but the fact of the matter is that the government cannot support it. We think it is flawed. We are getting on with the job of fixing the problems.
We are building for the future, and we are delivering what is right for the people of Victoria.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) -- While my comments will be rather brief, I do not want them to take away from my admiration for Mr Leane, because he always does intellectual and funny things in this chamber. Unfortunately this motion bears an uncanny resemblance to several others we have debated in the last few weeks, and because my colleagues Mr Barber and Ms Pennicuik have made fantastic contributions to those other motions, I am not going to make an elaborate contribution today.
However, I would not mind taking up one or two comments made by Mr Dalla-Riva about getting on with the job et cetera. I live in the western suburbs, and while Mr Finn and Mr Elsbury might think that a lot is being done there, I do not actually see a lot happening.
We are still somewhat neglected, but that will be a motion for another day.
Mrs KRONBERG (Eastern Metropolitan) -- I welcome the comments of Ms Hartland when she pointed out that Mr Leane is pursuing a theme. As the Labor opposition languishes in the doldrums, it is hard for it to come up with new ideas. It is possible that this Frankenstein model of a political party, which is dead body parts all stitched together, is somewhat distracted by the preselection processes it is going through at the moment. It is hard for Labor to come up with new material, let alone get any clear air or traction to promote any worthwhile ideas or provide any sort of contest, really, for the government.Mr Leane, as the mover of the motion, is paying a lot of attention to the debate. As he steps out of the chamber we note that the Acting President is the only member of the Labor opposition present in the chamber.
I place on the record the fact that the Labor opposition is somewhat distracted at the moment with its preselections and other matters. Mr Elasmar, a member for Northern Metropolitan Region, who is sitting in the chair and serving so well as the Acting President -- --
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Elasmar) -- Order! I ask Mrs Kronberg to return to speaking about the motion.
Mrs KRONBERG -- I will return to the motion, and I thank the Acting President for his direction. It is a pity there are no members of the Labor opposition here to support Mr Leane's motion, as he peeps around the shell structure that encompasses the chair that our Acting President is seated in. Once again the Labor opposition and the Greens are missing in action, literally, as we see the state of the chamber now, and metaphorically for all time, in terms of being ideologically bereft.
I wonder why Mr Leane did that, when the Labor Party has such an appalling track record of misuse of how-to-vote cards, including the fraud attached to Labor's misuse of how-to-vote cards in the 1985 Nunawading by-election. Of course, the person who was the state secretary of the Labor Party, none other than Peter Batchelor, was involved in a scandal surrounding how-to-vote cards in the Nunawading by-election. What happened was that Mr Batchelor was thinking of adding a few elements to the how-to-vote card, which were interpreted as misleading the voting population. He was responsible for the distribution of how-to-vote cards on behalf of the Labor Party that claimed to relate to votes for nuclear disarmament.
Mrs Peulich interjected.Mrs KRONBERG -- He was caught out on that in his capacity as the state secretary of the Labor Party. Interestingly enough his sins and transgressions, as those of a member of the Socialist Left faction, were clearly forgiven, as he went on to represent the good people of Thomastown from 1990 until his retirement in 2010. He also became the Minister for Transport, the Minister for Energy and Resources and the Minister for Community Development. I will just say OMG -- oh my God! No wonder our transport system was in the state it was when the Baillieu government came to power. I have to say another acronym, QED, quod erat demonstrandum -- that which was to be proven.
I say to Mr Leane, let us have a look at some facts. I know Mr Leane has to be seen to be gainfully occupied, but I do not know why he continues to expose himself and give us the opportunity to savage him and discredit all the points he makes, because none of them are correct. On the subject of the reduction of emissions by 20 per cent, the Victorian government recognises there are risks associated with the changing climate and the need to support national and global action. The Victorian government released a report on climate change science and greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria, which included a synthesis of scientific observations of changes to Victoria's climate and the impacts of those changes. The report recognises that the Victorian weather and climate can change due to a wide variety of natural and human factors.I could go on at great length about Victoria's role in climate change policy, but I would rather look at the point of our reference to increasing the capacity in the health and hospital system in our state.
Mr Leane will not like this -- it is a bitter pill for Labor to swallow -- but no matter which way you look at it, you see that the Victorian coalition government has increased health funding by $2 billion since coming to office, and the health funding that is now emerging due to the skills and budgetary excellence of the coalition government has reached a record $14.3 billion. So what is Mr Leane talking about? In the 2013-14 health budget there was an increase of $661 million or 4.8 per cent relative to the budget allocation of 2012-13.In terms of the government's commitment to deliver 100 beds across the Victorian hospital system by the end of its first full financial year in government, 2011-12, the average available bed increase of 184 beds is up from the baseline of 2009-10, when Labor was in power. I ask Mr Leane to not rely just on facts that predate the coalition government having assumed its responsibilities as an adult and responsible government in Victoria.
I suggest to Mr Leane that perhaps next time he look at wider research and do wider reading and that he ask, if he needs to, some of his colleagues to help him synthesise the results of that wider research and reading endeavour so that he can come up with some up-to-date numbers.We could talk about the fact that the Victorian government has put up more than $4.5 billion worth of health infrastructure, and that the building of that health infrastructure is under way. Just last Saturday morning, as was reflected in some of the responses to questions made by the Minister for Health in this chamber yesterday, the minister was able to announce the removal of the cranes from the Box Hill Hospital project. That is quite an exciting stage and turning point in bringing a hospital online.
I commend the Minister for Health on steering the Box Hill Hospital project to this stage.The 2013-14 budget commits an extra $629.4 million to capital works programs in hospitals. Is Mr Leane listening to these new numbers? No. I can see that he is holding his colleagues in thrall as he spins a yarn. I am sorry that his attention span is a short one.
The biggest rural and regional hospital project in Australia's history is the $630 million Bendigo Hospital, which will provide 252 additional beds. I know this project gives great joy to the Minister for Housing and a member for Northern Victoria Region, Ms Lovell, who is in the chamber at this moment.
Next I refer to the Monash Children's hospital in Melbourne's rapidly growing south-east. I know this project provides great joy to my colleague Mrs Peulich. It is a project that was ignored by the previous Labor government for 11 years. Labor members avoided eye contact on the subject for 11 years. It takes a particular skill to avoid eye contact on making a commitment to extending paediatric services to the children of Victoria in a rapidly growing corridor. How do Labor members do that so consistently? We all heard their trumpeting and their words, but in their heart of hearts how did they look people in the eye? They showed such hypocrisy, and I remain dumbfounded by their boldness. I turn to the scale of the Monash Children's hospital, which will have 230 beds when it is completed; with 74 additional beds.
All of us who have been touched by cancer will recognise that the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre is a most moving project. I also refer to the redevelopment of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. I was a patient at that hospital in the last 12 months, so I know that there is room for improvement there. It is a very crowded space, much of which has aged over time. Of course no initiative was taken by the former Labor government to remedy that situation.The redevelopment project at the Box Hill Hospital is a $447.5 million project. The redevelopment of the Frankston Hospital is a $76 million project, and there is funding of $15 million to expand the intensive care and maternity services at the Sunshine Hospital, as well as $29 million to expand the Northern Hospital and $50.2 million for a new community hospital in the growth area of Waurn Ponds. Even though I live in Melbourne's east, my son lived in the Waurn Ponds area while he was studying at Deakin University's Waurn Ponds campus, so I have a full appreciation of the need for a hospital in that growth corridor. I have done some arithmetic for Mr Leane, so I know that the government's total program will add 1000 additional beds to the capacity of the system.
Mr Leane also spoke about new railway stations. Even though Southland is outside my electorate, I will touch on the fact that the coalition government has fully funded the construction of the Southland station in the 2013-14 budget. Members of my family live and shop in that area, so I understand the importance of that project and how the government is delivering on its promise.There is funding of $25.9 million for planning, land acquisition and construction of the Grovedale railway station. The rollout of funding for the planning started in 2011 and support for the project continues in the current budget. Despite Mr Leane's short attention span, I will refer to some specifics of that project. The Grovedale railway station will include a new 180-metre single-face platform, 200 free commuter car parking spaces, a V/Line booking office, staff at the station from the first to the last train each day, along with landscaping, bicycle racks and taxi and bus bays. The people in and around the Grovedale area and its catchment have a lot to look forward to.
On the notion of providing a rail service linking Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, the coalition government promised to commission a feasibility study and to return the V/Line passenger trains and cross-country route between Geelong, North Geelong, Meredith and Ballarat, the existing passenger rail line to Maryborough, and then -- via a reopened line through Newstead to Castlemaine -- the last bit of track, which would be shared with the Victorian Goldfields Railway, from Maldon Junction to Castlemaine, and then on to Bendigo. The Rail Revival study is now complete, and the government has met its commitment.I think Mr Leane is a nice man, but I am worried about his attention span and about his preparedness to keep abreast of the new flow of information. I know he tries hard, and I will try hard not to patronise him, but there are lessons to be learnt from history.
I recommend that before Mr Leane again starts talking about how-to-vote cards, members of the Labor Party collectively should look at how they blotted their copybook, particularly with the history of the 1985 how-to-vote card scandal. Clearly Labor members learnt no lessons, because Mr Batchelor went on to be a minister of the Crown, holding three different portfolios during his 20-year career in this Parliament. I will leave those statements dangling in the air so that the people of Victoria can draw their own conclusions on why members of the Labor opposition should learn the lessons of history and understand the dangers and the quicksand associated with how-to-vote cards and their content. Now they try to use that history as a blunt instrument to find some oblique but threadbare way with zero leverage to criticise a government that is delivering on its election promises. I rest my case and say that, although Mr Leane is a nice man, he needs to work harder.
Mr LENDERS (Southern Metropolitan) -- I follow Mrs Kronberg in the debate on Mr Leane's motion that this house take note of the November 2010 how-to-vote card of Ms Dee Ryall, the member for Mitcham in the Assembly, including the election promises. Ms Ryall's how-to-vote card was virtually identical to those Liberal Party how-to-vote cards used in all 88 Assembly electoral districts. We have been asked to take note of Ms Ryall's how-to-vote card, and I note that at the end of his motion Mr Leane suggests a couple of actions the house could take. One is that we call on the government to 'fix the problems', as promised, and 'build the future', and we condemn the government for failing to deliver on its 2010 election commitments.
She talked about the promises that Team Baillieu made in 2010 for the Monash Children's hospital, and her implied tone was that Labor did nothing.Let us just leave aside the fact that both parties made commitments -- Labor's commitment was for a quicker build of the hospital. Let us put all of that aside and go to the history for one moment. I have heard Mrs Kronberg today in two debates tell me of her extensive knowledge of and history in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I would invite Mrs Kronberg to reflect back to December 1985. For those who are wondering what I mean when I talk about December 1985, that was when former Premier John Cain opened the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. For the first time since the exponential growth of Melbourne began under Henry Bolte, we had a Labor government that moved some resources out of the Royal Women's Hospital but more significantly moved resources out of Prince Henry's Hospital to where the population was in Clayton.
Just for Mrs Kronberg's edification and in response to her question, 'What have people ever done?', the most significant boost to medical services in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne since Melbourne grew to absorb market towns like Oakleigh, Clayton and various others was building the Monash Medical Centre. That was an election commitment of the Cain government in 1982, which was delivered in December 1985.After this massive move to the new hospital more was needed, so another Labor government did all the planning work -- which the Minister for Health, Mr Davis, goes on about endlessly as if it were his idea -- and started the process. Then it was a contest of ideas, which the how-to-vote card touches on, as to who was actually going to do this. Let us be charitable to Mrs Kronberg and say there was a contest of ideas. Let us not go and rewrite history and say, 'Labor neglected hospitals', because in December 1985 the Monash Medical Centre was built. There was no planning by the Hamer-Thompson governments.
It was an election initiative of and a policy delivered by the Cain Labor government. Babies were born in December 1985 at the Monash Medical Centre. I had the great joy of being there when my first child, Rachael, was born at that hospital two weeks after it was opened by the Cain government, so let us just have a little bit of perspective on who has built hospitals in those areas.Let us just dwell for a moment on the how-to-vote card and the 1600 new hospital beds. Mrs Kronberg, while addressing Mr Leane, was saying she had done the maths which would show that all of these beds were being built or delivered. They were Mrs Kronberg's maths calculations. I just hope she shows them to the Minister for Health. In this house -- and I am picking a figure; I have not actually counted them, but I would say it is in the dozens by now -- my colleague Mr Jennings has asked the minister on numerous occasions to name just one new hospital bed that has been opened under the Baillieu-Napthine government.
It is not for me to say nice things about Mr David Davis, but I imagine that if he could have identified even one, we would have heard it in this house. We would have seen it on YouTube and we would have seen it in full-page ads in the newspapers. I note that Mr Davis is in the chamber. I am just so pleased, because if a single hospital bed, one of the 1600 promised here, had been delivered, Mr Davis would have trumpeted it not just in question time but on YouTube, in notices of motion, in ads in the paper -- in every possible area. But he did not. This is much like that great episode of Yes Minister where the minister -- admittedly he was the minister of administrative services, not the minister for health -- was talking of the great hospital with the machine that went 'Ping'. I recall the episode vividly. It is as though Mr David Davis had a role in a re-enactment of that episode. It was about the great hospital -- the biggest ever. It had the best contract, it had the best design, it had a helipad that was hidden somewhere, but did it have a patient? No.I would say to Mrs Kronberg that if she has done the maths that shows that hospital beds have been delivered in Victoria, even one of the 1600, she should have the courtesy to share that with the Minister for Health so he can tell this house, put it on YouTube and put full-page ads in the papers.
It is interesting that the Minister for Corrections will come into this house and talk about 1000, 10 000, 100 000 or whatever prison beds he has built. He has hulks in Port Phillip Bay, containers, dongas -- you name it -- for prisoners to go in, and you will hear about that, but do you hear -- --
We'll overdeliver on prison beds, but we won't deliver a single hospital bed and we won't have a minister who can point to a single hospital bed staffed by a single member of the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the ambulance union or whatever other union he wishes to demonise.An honourable member -- The HSU.
Mr LENDERS -- The Health Services Union, which this minister came into this house and boasted about having an enterprise bargaining agreement with.Honourable members interjecting.
Mr LENDERS -- I note that the member refers to slush funds.Perhaps he is referring to ones that paid a few legal bills a year or so ago for a minister, but we will let that pass.
Paragraph (1)(a) of the motion reads, 'Provide 1600 new hospital beds'. I think any of the voters who were given this delightful picture of Mr Baillieu and all the little pictures and promises would have been surprised that three years into the four-year period the minister has not been able to name 1200 beds, he has not been able to name 12 beds -- he has not been able in this chamber to name the location of a single new hospital bed. Mr Jennings would have given him that opportunity on dozens of occasions. He has not taken it.I will not touch on the work to reduce carbon emissions, because my colleague Mr Leane did it far more eloquently than I could ever dream of doing.
Let us just say that if it was an Olympic event in diving, former Premier Mr Baillieu and Premier Dr Napthine would have got gold medals, and I will leave it at that for dodging and weaving.I will now refer to item (c) of the motion, which refers to two new rail stations at Southland and Grovedale. I mean no disrespect to the rest of the state when I focus on the one in my electorate, which is Southland. When we talk about a Southland railway station, the closest we have seen to it is a tweet from the member for Bentleigh in the other place, Elizabeth Miller, showing her holding a Southland railway station sign in front of a passing train next to a rail reserve with lots of blackberries and weeds. That is the closest we have seen to the elusive Southland station.
Mr Leane interjected.Mr LENDERS -- No, it is a picture, Mr Leane. But have we seen a station?
Mr Finn -- Did the train stop?Mr LENDERS -- The train did not stop, Mr Finn. Even Ms Miller could not get a train to stop at her furphy Southland station. It is not just the Labor Party that is saying this. I will quote Adam Carey from the Age.
Mr Finn interjected.Mr LENDERS -- Yes, I am very happy to quote the Age. It is an article from 11 December, which states:
A new railway station at Southland shopping centre is likely to have few of the amenities voters were promised at the last state election, because the coalition grossly underestimated the project's cost and is now looking to build it as cheaply as possible.
The planned station would be built without the promised waiting room, lifts, bike cage -- it is a pity Mr Ondarchie and Mr Guy, with their new lycra green bike images, are not here to hear this -- two-bay bus interchange and drop-off and pick-up zone, according to state government documents. It would also have no public toilets, and just 10 per cent of the platform area would have shelter, although it would have facilities for protective services officers.
Mr LENDERS -- Obviously they caught a train to sign the treaty. Let us just put on the record that that was not on a how-to-vote card. When Mr Mulder, former Premier Baillieu, the member for Bentleigh in the other place, Ms Miller, and the member for Mordialloc in the other place, Ms Wreford -- all the gang -- were promising the Southland station back in 2010, we thought we would get a station. We thought it would have those things, but it has not happened.Moving on from that point, the Liberals cannot manage money, and I am sure that was not on the how-to-vote card handed to people as they walked into the polling booths. I take up Mrs Kronberg's comments about Labor not being able to manage money and the Liberals being able to. In my 14 years in the Parliament there have been two outstanding self-made businessmen in the Parliament who I have served with -- Evan Thornley and Khalil Eideh.
The last time I looked at those people, who know how to build a business, make money, employ people and grow jobs, they were and still are proud members of the Labor Party. Those opposite who think that the Labor side of politics does not understand how to manage money, grow jobs and run a business should perhaps have a quiet coffee with Mr Eideh in Strangers Corridor and learn a few things about how self-made people can manage money in a mixed economy. Perhaps they will then be a little more reticent about being so gung-ho in assuming that their side of politics is the only side that understands anything about that.The motion also talks about slashing hospital waiting lists. I will not talk about that, because it is evident from the figures the minister has released from his man safe that every hospital waiting list, by almost every measure, has blown out of control. Whatever the context is, Mr Finn will say that more money is being spent on the western suburbs than ever, Mr O'Brien will have been in Pembroke and Mrs Peulich will say it is being spent on education or whatever.
Those opposite talk about more money, and it is not just them because all governments do it. But I advise that it does not work. A member might get up and say, 'We are spending more money than ever before on health', let us say. But when you have population growth of 1.7 per cent and inflation of 2.5 per cent, unless you are spending 4.2 per cent more than you did in the previous year you are actually contributing less. When you hear Mr Davis and other ministers in this place, as well as middle and backbenchers, parroting the lines from the government media unit that more is being spent, unless they can show that the increase is more than 4.2 per cent, in real terms it is actually a cut.I will move on to item (e) of the motion, which relates to providing more support for Victorian teachers. I am sure that when the how-to-vote cards in Ms Ryall's electorate were being given to innocent and unsuspecting voters they were not told that the great TAFE institution just down the road in Lilydale was going to be significantly defunded and then flogged off.
I am sure that when the how-to-vote cards were being handed out to people in Bentleigh they were not told that Holmesglen TAFE was to be downsized. I am sure that when they were handed out in Prahran people were not told that the government was going to flog off the campus and then, under pressure, sell it to another TAFE. I am sure that when they were handed out people were not told that the Victorian certificate of applied learning (VCAL) was going to have its coordinators cut from it in Bayswater, Bentleigh, Prahran and Burwood, where skills are often matched to jobs. I am sure none of that was said.But the most bleeding obvious, because some of those were things unsaid, was the claim that a coalition government would provide more support for Victorian teachers. I am sure no teacher would have taken the words of the opposition leader, Mr Baillieu, and the shadow Minister for Education, Mr Hall, when they said they would make Victorian teachers the best paid in Australia -- --
Mr Leane -- Not the worst paid.Mr LENDERS -- Not the worst paid. There were unanswered questions about the slashing of VCAL, the slashing of TAFE and the slashing of reading recovery, but it was said in this place, in the other place and at the Australian Education Union state council. It was said in television debates. It was repeated again and again: 'We will make our teachers the best paid' -- not the worst paid -- 'teachers in Australia'. Here we suddenly have an enterprise bargaining agreement after two bloody years of industrial strife during which teachers were demonised and the Premier's cousin made an obscene gesture at teachers. We had this endless strife, and it was not that the teachers union was greedy or that teachers were greedy, it was just teachers saying, 'You' -- that is, the Liberal-Nationals coalition -- 'made an unsolicited promise to us that we want you to keep'. They were asking to be the best paid teachers. From memory the Australian Education Union and Victorian Independent Education Union were asking to be $1 better paid than teachers in Western Australia. They just asked the government to honour its election commitment, and it did not. This goes back to why the government should be condemned.I will move on to the provision of rail service links to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. I know my colleague Ms Pulford wishes to speak, so I will not detract any more from her contribution than to say that this how-to-vote card was being handed out -- --
Ms Pulford -- This sham how-to-vote card.Mr LENDERS -- This sham how-to-vote card was being handed out right around Monash University in Clayton. I have said before in this house, and at the risk of Mr Leane not being attentive following Mrs Kronberg's earlier admonishments, I will say again that on 30 September 1958 Henry Bolte first promised a railway station at Monash University to the Victorian people. Mr Viney is not here and I might stand corrected, but I think that was the first of seven promises made by the Liberal Party to build that railway station at Monash University.
While I potentially digress, because this is about Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong, I simply refer to Monash University because I do not have a great deal of faith in promises on these how-to-vote cards given that as far back as 30 September 1958 Henry Bolte promised a railway station there.In conclusion, we have had these promises and Mr Leane disappointingly only put a few of them on the notice paper. There were a lot more about which I could have spoken in here.
Mr Leane -- No Dorothy Dixers.Mr LENDERS -- There were to be no Dorothy Dixers -- Mr Leane is right -- but I do not think that was on the how-to-vote card. That promise was made in the leaders debate, when Mr Baillieu earnestly looked at Ms Cafagna and said, 'Under a government I lead, Josephine, there will be no Dorothy Dixers'.
Anyway, that is not on the how-to-vote card.Mr Finn interjected.
Mr LENDERS -- Senator Finn is almost inciting me to go to item (b), which is about reducing carbon emissions, but I will not. I will close then on a contemporary issue, which was not on the how-to-vote card but is covered by the motion, which says:(3) calls on the government to fix the problems, as promised, and build the future.
Mrs Kronberg also touched on this. A government obviously deals with what is in front of it, but there is another aspect of government -- you deal with circumstances that arise.Today we have seen Holden's tragic announcement that it will abandon us. We have seen that announcement made today, and we also saw the announcement made earlier this year by Ford. If a party is committed to fixing problems and building the future, it also has to be prepared to deal with the problems and not just operate in a time warp and say that it did not make promises on those issues. This is a criticism of Mr Wells, the former Treasurer, more than of Mr O'Brien, the current Treasurer. I have not heard Mr O'Brien say this, so I will not criticise him on it. Mr Wells's line to every stakeholder was always -- I will paraphrase him here, and probably uncharitably -- 'Unless we said something about it before the election, it didn't happen'. The reality is that things happen that are no-one's fault and no-one has control over them, but they happen. The obligation of government is to rise to the occasion and try to address them.
The last point I will make in this debate is that, difficult though it is, it is extremely disappointing that we have seen very little done. I will not say nothing. On the fringes, in some of the areas of the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Mr Hall, and in other areas the government has tried to do things. But there is the basic principle: is the government going to be a partner in addressing the state and federal issues that happen when an industry of this size is under stress? What can we do to keep those jobs? Those jobs are not just the ones of the people working on an assembly line and not just the ones of the people working on the component parts that support the assembly line.
We heard Mr David Davis go into a frenzy over an issue which, in the scheme of what General Motors and Ford have announced, was minor -- that is, the leasing arrangements for vehicles and their effect on the car industry. That was a reality. I am not pretending that was not a reality for the industry, but we saw the government politicise it and say it was a massive issue that was the cause of every known woe in the inner solar system. But it was an acknowledgement that this is an industry that involves jobs. As I said, these are not just jobs on the assembly line, in the manufacture of component parts or in the sales rooms, and not just in the not-for-profit sector that has cars. They are also jobs in the entire research, development and innovation areas of our whole manufacturing sector. These jobs are all tied together -- let alone the strategic issues.
In closing, I would hope that a government that said it was elected to fix problems and build the future would be more open to being a partner in fixing a problem. That is not a call for the government to endlessly subsidise. It is not a call for the government to do those things, but it is a call for it to be slightly more interested -- I should say considerably more interested -- than it is.
The health minister has come into this house and banged on for years on end seeking to blame others for the health system's inadequacies. We are talking about the health system -- it is on the agenda. If the government goes to the effort of trying to demonise trade unions and blame the federal government and all sorts of people, then that is the government's prerogative if it does not want to govern -- that is, if its agenda is to get elected, to blame others and have a good time. But if the government's objective, as it said on the how-to-vote cards, is to fix the problems and build a future, it needs to roll up its sleeves, it needs to make it an absolute priority to try to keep the important parts of this industry onshore, and it needs to try to be bipartisan.Far be it from me to suggest that Denis Napthine imitate former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, but let us get everybody in the one room at the one time with the one interest -- that is, to see if there is a way forward to mitigate this if we cannot turn it around.
On the how-to-vote card, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, on the 'known knowns' it is a big fail; but on the 'unknowns', you cannot hold a government to account at an election for the things it has not been able to foresee -- that would be ridiculous -- but you can hold it to account for how it manages those unforeseens.If the role of state government is what the Minister for Health and increasingly the Premier seems to think it is -- the Premier, who has been a member for 25 years, found a pothole in a road in his electorate, told Neil Mitchell that it is the worst road in the state, called on former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to fix it and then crouched next to a giant mushroom in a photo shoot for the Warrnambool Standard -- that is, providing commentary, then respectfully and in all seriousness I suggest to those opposite that they pack their bags and make way for those who will try to make it work. Those commentators on the government's frontbench should make way for those within the government who at least see it as a state responsibility and try to make it work. There are some good people opposite who will try to do that, but tragically there are far too many commentators.
I urge the house to note the motion and condemn the government, and I desperately call on it to fix the problems and build the future.
Mrs PEULICH (South Eastern Metropolitan) -- I am delighted to rise to my feet to answer Mr Lenders's call on government members to fix the problems and build the future. I welcome the opportunity to recite at some length some of the wonderful things the government has delivered to the south-east as well as to the rest of Victoria. I thank Mr Leane for yet again doing what Labor does in opposition business -- that is, providing Dorothy Dixer opportunities to government members to rebut the myths, fallacies and ridiculous campaigns that Labor has been trying to rally around pinch issues, which are often misrepresentations of the truth, and giving us the opportunity to set the record straight.
Firstly, the how-to-vote card that is lionised in this motion saw the election of Ms Dee Ryall as the member for Mitcham in the Assembly and the defeat of the member at the time, one Tony Robinson, amongst others.Tony Robinson was responsible, as then Minister for Gaming, along with the then Treasurer, who was the previous speaker, for the botched auction of electronic gaming machine licences, which cost $3 billion in anticipated revenue and which could have helped this government fix even more of the mounting problems from Labor's 11 years in government and also build a much brighter and more prosperous future.
It was also interesting to listen to Mr Lenders's contribution to the debate on this motion, although his speech sounded disorganised and as if he was doing it on the hop. We know he is on the way out. He alluded to two people with strong financial and business backgrounds. For a moment I thought he was going to mention former Treasurer John Brumby and himself, as a former Treasurer, the two people who presided over pretty much all of the 11 years of Labor government, but he did not. He mentioned a former member of this place, Evan Thornley, who Labor was happy to see out of this place, and Mr Khalil Eideh.Mr Eideh is a nice man, but if he is so skilled -- and I believe he probably is -- Labor should have taken the opportunity of promoting him to the front bench. Clearly Labor does not value the skills that those two individuals are claimed to have.
One of the dot points in the motion -- and I will come back to this a little later -- is that we have done nothing about carbon emissions. Perhaps not having this debate might have contributed substantially, because I have never heard so much hot air from the Labor side of politics as I have with these Dorothy Dixer motions, which we relish.I remind Mr Lenders and other Labor members of the three key reasons for the Liberal Party picking up a clutch of seats in bayside suburbs, predominantly in South Eastern Metropolitan Region: failure to invest in infrastructure, deteriorating services and -- the big one -- waste and mismanagement.
The claim that somehow Labor was a better money manager when it presided over such absolutely irresponsible, mammoth and reckless waste and mismanagement of state resources, the state budget and state finances is astonishing. Every dollar wasted is a dollar not spent on better infrastructure and services for the Victorian community. If Mr Lenders and his Labor colleagues had not wasted so much money and botched so many projects, we would almost have been able to provide gold-plated toilet seats to every Victorian household -- I am speaking metaphorically. That is the biggest crime that Labor has committed.One of the strong things Victorians can do to protect Victorian business and grow jobs is to vote Labor out. They have done that in Victoria. People are pretty much doing that around every other state in Australia and have recently voted in Tony Abbott and his federal parliamentary colleagues. That is the power of the ballot, the power of the vote -- to shape future public policy.
It is the most powerful thing that Victorians and Australians can exercise in order to protect business, jobs and the economy of Victoria and Australia, and they have done so.For fear that I might run out of time, I turn to citing some examples of the things that we have done in the south-east to address the four areas of appalling performance under the former government. Basically those areas can be classified into the failure to invest in infrastructure or our physical environment, the failure to invest in building social capital, the failure to deliver on accountability and transparency of government operations and the performance of various portfolios and the failure to manage our economy and our state finances.
As a new government three years into its first term, we have had the opportunity of reversing that trend.Victorians are not silly enough to expect that we could erase 11 years of mismanagement in the best of economic times or that we could turn that around in a single term when so much money was wasted. We are laying the foundations, and the foundations require fixing the mess and then building the future in order to make up for the squandered opportunities in the good times, which were presided over by Labor and substantially presided over by the preceding speaker, Mr Lenders.
Mr Lenders has been an influential figure in Labor politics, first of all as state secretary of the Victorian Labor Party and subsequently as a key player in shaping its economic policy here in Victoria. No doubt his long hand will continue to strangle real democracy in the Labor Party by involving the faceless men in the preselection decision-making process, denying grassroots Labor Party members the opportunity of having their say as to who should be supported into Parliament. I hear those complaints all the time.Mr Finn -- Who is on the national executive? I have no idea.
Mrs PEULICH -- I have not got the list, but if Mr Finn has a list, I will happily look into it. They are faceless. In the south-east some coalition infrastructure investment highlights include fully funding the strategically important grade separation at Springvale Road, Springvale, which is important to people living in Carrum, Mordialloc, Dandenong and the south-east. This grade separation, amongst a number of other grade separations, is currently under way, and we are delighted it is proceeding. Who would have believed Labor's latest Victorian transport plan, yet another poorly funded transport plan? It said that if elected it will do something like 50 grade separations. Was it 50?Mr Finn -- Yes, 50.
Mrs PEULICH -- Fifty-something grade separations, including grade separations in my area, such as the one at Edithvale. If Labor members knew the local geography and territory, they would understand that that grade separation is going to be very difficult because of the water table. Setting aside only $130 million for something that has been costed at around $180 million yet again shows Labor's weakness in costing projects. No wonder Labor is so typically identified with these project cost blow-outs.We waited for 11 years to get a commitment on the construction of the Kingston leg of the Dingley bypass.
Labor opposed it. We supported its construction all the way up to 1999. I think under its Socialist Left minister Peter Batchelor, Labor opposed the construction of the Dingley bypass. What that meant was that local residents, such as those living in White Street in the electorate of Mordialloc, amongst others, suffered when their streets became choked with local, industrial and business traffic. It makes sense to connect the arterial flows to improve traffic flow not only to save time and money and support businesses but also to protect our environment. There is nothing more damaging to the environment than traffic congestion. Transport generates something like 15 per cent of the pollution in our environment.
The coalition government has had to duplicate a number of roads in the growth area of South Eastern Metropolitan Region, where we have city volumes of traffic carried on essentially country roads. We recently also allocated funding of $38 million for duplication of Hallam Road, from Pound to Ormond roads, and for duplication of Clyde Road from Hyde to Kangan streets, and we allocated $40 million to duplicate the Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road between Pound and Thompson roads. In addition, significant road funding includes a $102 million boost for metropolitan road safety.When Labor was in government what did local members Jude Perera, Judith Graley and Luke Donnellan, the members for Cranbourne, Narre Warren South and Narre Warren North in the Assembly -- who represent the city of Casey but do not live there -- say about these issues? Absolutely nothing. They sat mutely on their derri res in Parliament, enjoying the benefits of office but not being a voice for their communities. In opposition they have now decided that perhaps they had better rediscover these issues, and they have found their voices, but they squandered 11 years when they were in government and failed to deliver on many of these things that were so important to the south-east.
Mr Lenders said that we failed to deliver on hospital beds but that we take pride in delivering more prison beds. Mr Lenders would probably not be surprised to learn that improved community safety was a very deliberate coalition policy. It was something that was broadly applauded by the community.One of our very successful initiatives criticised by Labor and criticised by the current member for Cranbourne -- and I do not believe it will stay that way for long -- is the now overwhelmingly supported protective services officer program. It is a wonderful program, which has been well received by the community and well supported by the police because it has improved commuter safety. Yes, the program has elevated the crime rates, and do members know why? We are apprehending offenders and freeing up police to do their job, And guess what? Community sentiment and community attitudes towards law and order and community safety are more positive than ever over the last 15 years. The community recognises that the coalition has been very strong on the community safety agenda.
Further to that, we have set aside $100 million for the upgrade of and maintenance work on the Frankston rail line to allow the newest trains to run on it -- it is one of our busiest -- as well as for the provision of additional car parking at key railway stations right around the south-east, including at Merinda Park and Narre Warren, amongst others. This government is not a one-trick pony. Whilst we absolutely believe in the wisdom of the east-west link, as ultimately Labor will as well, and in the commitments we have made, we are also continuing to deliver on improved public transport.We are strengthening our commitment to community safety with funding for works at suburban police stations, including $750 000 to upgrade facilities at Narre Warren. We have recruited an additional 1700 police officers and placed protective services officers at railway stations as well as strengthened laws to protect our community.
I will come back to the provisions specified in the motion before us. We have presided over an expanded hospital system. It is not just about beds; beds have not been counted since the establishment of health networks, so I am not exactly sure what Mr Lenders and Mr Leane are on about there. We measure the number of surgeries undertaken and the number of patients who are put through the hospital system. That is what we measure, not the number of beds. That has not been the case since 1996, when I spoke on the establishment of health networks; it has been a mighty long time since we measured numbers by beds.
However, what we have done is expand the system, including funding of the new Monash Children's hospital. Those opposite might pillory that decision, but we are delivering on it. We have put $38 million towards the expansion of the Frankston Hospital and created additional beds for mental health patients to service the heart of the south-east, the Greater Dandenong and Casey areas, which were neglected by Labor. Then there is funding for new services, such as $765 000 for a new Lynbrook integrated community centre. We are rolling out a co-location model of services and family service hubs, which the Kennett government advocated in the 1990s; we have had to wait a very long time to resume that rollout.
Then there is the injection of resources into education, notwithstanding the criticisms of Labor and the Australian Education Union. There has been record investment in early childhood education and a record expansion of kindergarten facilities. The reason we had to do that was that Labor failed to negotiate additional funding to accompany the then federal Labor government's policy of universal access to 15 hours of kindergarten. What the previous state Labor government failed to figure out was that it would need to fund a 30 per cent increase in facilities and staff and that that would cost money. It failed to deliver on any of this, so the coalition government had to embark on a massive injection of funds to expand kindergarten facilities in order to honour the federal agreement. Labor just rolled over to its federal colleagues on this and other things. What this government does is negotiate deals that deliver. As I said, this has touched every community.Millions of dollars have been allocated for school upgrades right around Victoria. We did not know how much maintenance there was to do until we undertook an audit. When the Kennett government left office, there was a zero balance on school maintenance. That figure has now crept up to $420 million. That does not even cover the need for capital works or for new schools in growth areas. Labor did not know about this need, because it never bothered to do the audits, and the reason it did not bother to do the audits is that it figured that, if it did not know about the issue, it would not be held accountable for it.
The fact is the coalition government believes in being accountable and transparent across every portfolio, whether it be by undertaking an audit in education or by introducing key performance indicators for the $8 billion local government sector. That legislation is now before the lower house, as it should be; it is a very important sector.There ought to be no wasting of money; the local government sector ought to be accountable for how it spends money across the system. This government stands by its words, The previous government was all words and no action.
In terms of the injection of funds into education, we have purchased land for new schools, including Derinya, Cranbourne South and Cranbourne West primary schools, and we are better resourcing students with disabilities. In particular I am very proud to see -- and I am sure Mr Finn will also speak about this -- the new special schools that are being set up, including one at Officer.Despite much criticism and an attempt to perpetuate a fallacy in relation to TAFE funding, we have increased the allocation of funding to vocational education and training courses.
We have courageously and deliberately increased the subsidies for publicly funded courses that are in national skills shortage areas and reduced the subsidies for those courses that do not translate, lead or articulate into jobs. That is a responsible and necessary thing to do, not only for educational outcomes but also to support our young people, or whoever is undertaking the course, to gain employment. Ultimately that is what it is about. To not do this would be to continue the irresponsible governance and management of the Labor government. I commend the Minister for Higher Education and Skills for having the courage to make that change. There will always be some issues that need to be addressed and ironed out, but the reform the minister is rolling out is long overdue, having long been neglected by Labor.I could speak about many other initiatives across my region, but I will now briefly address some of the provisions of the motion.
Specifically I will make some comments on our commitment to work to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. Mr Leane would know -- --Ms Pulford -- That was just an aspiration.
Mrs PEULICH -- No. The Climate Change Act 2010 was enacted by the previous government at a time when there was no national framework for emission reductions.An honourable member interjected.
Mrs PEULICH -- Absolutely; there was no national framework. In March 2012 the government tabled its response to the independent review of the Climate Change Act 2010. The independent review found that there was no compelling case to maintain Victoria's 20 per cent emissions reduction target due to the establishment of a national 5 per cent emissions reduction target, which had bipartisan support. Labor continues to pursue policy positions that are indefensible and unsustainable. That is why when it is in government it invariably comes a cropper. It just does not get it. When problems arrive, you cannot sit on them; you have to act. You have to adjust and be agile; otherwise you cannot be an effective government.In its 2009 Victorian climate change green paper the previous government stated that it:
- does not see any benefit in legislating for a state-based emissions reduction target that is inconsistent with a national target.
The federal government has said the role of the state government should really be to focus more on climate change adaptation, and that has essentially been the focus of our government. In March we released our very first climate change adaptation plan, which details the decisive action being taken by the coalition to strengthen our management of climate risks by protecting Victorian critical infrastructure, including our waterways, transport, energy, health care and emergency response systems. I commend a recent initiative that saw $73 million spent to address the drainage issues covering most of the city of Frankston. That is one concrete example of the sorts of action being taken to protect our critical infrastructure from the risks of climate change.
In relation to the 20 per cent emission reduction target, Greg Barber was also quoted in the Australian of 27 March 2012 as having said:It didn't actually do anything. It was a PR stunt ...
To debate that point any further would only add to carbon emissions in this room.
I turn now to our promise of 1600 new hospital beds and slashed hospital waiting lists, but first let me make a few comments about our health system. The Victorian government is committed to increasing the capacity of our health and hospital system. Since coming to office we in coalition have increased health funding by $2 billion to a record of $14.3 billion. In 2013-14 our health budget increased by $661 million -- a 4.8 per cent increase on the 2012-13 budget.This was at the time that federal Labor cut $99.5 million from the promised hospital funding for 2013-14 and made a cumulative cut across the forward estimates of $368 million. That is certainly a huge contrast.
It is important to remember that there is no absolute bed number or count. A bed count does not take into account all the bed types or reflect the amount of care being provided. For example, there is the hospital-in-the-home bed equivalents, which increased by 47 per cent between 2009-10 and 2012-13. There are also the mental health prevention and recovery care beds. I have had the privilege, along with the Honourable Mary Wooldridge, of seeing a number of those facilities open. They are wonderful facilities providing wonderful mental health support. From 2009-10 to 2012-13 the numbers have increased by 90.We are building capital infrastructure and providing beds for the future. In the 2013-14 budget we have committed a further $624 million for capital.
The biggest rural and regional hospital in Australia's history, the $630 million Bendigo Hospital, will receive funding for an additional 250 beds. The Monash Children's hospital is in my electorate -- the rapidly growing south-east -- and I am delighted to see that it has been funded and is progressing. The project was ignored by the previous Labor government for 11 years. When completed it will have 230 beds with an additional 74 beds.I will now comment on some of the remarks made by Mr Lenders. He talked about how Labor established the Monash Medical Centre. Yes it did, but there were a number of casualties along the way. One of those casualties was the Moorabbin hospital emergency department, which residents of Bentleigh valued highly. Labor knows that was one of the consequences of establishing Monash Medical Centre, but it has never claimed credit for it.
On planning the establishment of Monash Medical Centre, Labor should have planned a grade separation at the Clayton rail crossing. The grade separation should have been undertaken simultaneously and not ignored for so long. The Labor member for Clayton in the Assembly, Mr Hong Lim, has held his seat for 17 years, and in that time has done nothing for his electorate. We have not heard from him. He has now discovered the Clayton rail crossing.We have allocated $1 billion to the world-class Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, and we are redeveloping the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
Other capital investments include $447.5 million for the Box Hill Hospital redevelopment -- $40 million more in large capital contributions than what was promised by Labor -- $76 million to redevelop Frankston Hospital, $15 million to expand intensive care and maternity services at Sunshine Hospital, $29 million to expand Northern Hospital and $50.2 million for the Waurn Ponds community hospital. The total program is creating a capacity of more than 1000 additional beds in the system.I turn now to hospital waiting lists. In the 2013-14 health budget, which increased by 4.8 per cent even while federal Labor was making cuts, we increased and invested an additional $101 million to treat more elective surgery patients. Victoria continues to maintain its record in meeting the performance targets of 100 per cent of category 1 elective surgery patients admitted within 30 days.
The government is obviously also aiming to turn around 11 years of Labor neglect and mismanagement by seeking to drive down the surge in the median time before treatment that occurred in 2007-08.More elective surgery patients were treated in the June 2013 quarter than in the June 2012 quarter; 1305 more patients received elective surgery -- that is, 39 992 patients were treated compared to 38 687. In the June 2013 quarter 5749 more elective surgery patients were treated than in the March 2013 quarter, showing that hospitals are beginning to recover from the terrible federal funding cuts. There has been a huge increase in the number of people able to access our hospital services.
The coalition government has fully funded construction of the Southland railway station in the 2013-14 state budget.The station will comprise two single-face platforms, a connecting passenger subway along the changes to the tracks and signalling to enable the maintenance of train headways. The local community will welcome it for its obvious convenience. The station does not need all the bells and whistles, because it is adjacent to a major shopping centre which has most of the conveniences that people look for, including shops and toilets and the like. Progress is on track there despite Mr Lenders's attempt to portray it as otherwise.
In the 1990s, when Labor was waging the big class size debate, I am on the record as having said that the most important ingredient in providing quality education is quality teachers -- that is, quality learning and teaching. Quality of teachers is the greatest force for realising our goal as a world-class education system. As a former public school teacher and English faculty head in charge of more than 100 teachers, I can say that fantastic teachers are not that easy to come by. We can all improve, however, and become better.That is the objective of our policy.
Recently From New Directions to Action -- World Class Teaching and School Leadership outlined the government's support for Victorian teachers and student learning outcomes. The coalition government is committed to supporting our great teachers by improving the professional development opportunities for principals and teachers. In the 2013-14 budget the Victorian government committed a further $15.7 million to help support principals through targeted training to better equip emerging school leaders and to invest in teacher and school capability through the influential teacher-led research program.We are also developing a new performance and development framework, which will be implemented in 2014. It will give teachers meaningful and valuable assessments about their work, which will in turn lead to improved performance and better learning outcomes for Victoria's children.
Given that the recent Program for International Student Assessment results show that we have slipped despite a huge investment and increase in education funding, we have to deal with the issues that may have been considered sacred cows by the union movement. We have to bring education into the 21st century.
In relation to the commitment to make Victoria's teachers the best paid, we know that during the enterprise bargaining agreement process, which concluded earlier this year, the Victorian government put an offer on the table that would have made Victoria's best-performing teachers the best paid in Australia. This is not what the union movement wanted; it chose not to accept this offer, and an alternative agreement was reached. We have increased funding to schools in each budget since coming to office. We have invested $541 million more in school education than Labor did in its last budget. We have invested $386 million in programs for vulnerable students, including extending primary welfare officers to 800 primary schools by November 2014. We have made the single biggest capital investment in special and autistic schools in over a decade, and we have taken the student support officers out of the bureaucracy and put them under the control of schools.
Next year we are providing $5.1 billion directly to government schools through the student resource package, which is a funding record. This includes a 2.2 per cent non-wage indexation, which is the largest such increase in 15 years. This government's record in education is commendable. We are focused on trying to make progress in the areas that are critical to improving the quality of learning and teaching.
The Minister for Higher Education and Skills is doing some excellent planning work for making the vocational education system sustainable and of higher quality, ensuring that it is more accountable and delivering better outcomes for the community and the state. Indeed, we are attempting to address the lack of investment in social capital and physical infrastructure and to do so in an open and transparent way, while at the same time managing the state's finances. We have done that, and we are the only state at the moment to have retained a AAA credit rating.
All I can do is thank Mr Leane for the opportunity to take part in this debate and thank him for the Dorothy Dixer; he has provided an opportunity to talk about the things we have achieved and the appalling legacy of the 11 years of Labor's mismanagement.
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria) -- I thank Mrs Peulich for taking us through the government department's speaking dot points in relation to Mr Leane's motion noting the member for Mitcham's how-to-vote card. The election was now more than three years ago, and Victorians are counting down the weeks until the end of November next year at which point they will be able to pass judgement on this government. That will be the determination that really matters, rather than anything we say in here about this how-to-vote card.
The Victorian people will soon enough have an opportunity to consider whether they got what it was they thought they were getting in the last state election: more jobs, safe streets, reliable and safe public transport, quality roads, strong families and communities, a planning system that works better, access to hospitals, more support for schools and teachers, a healthy environment, less waste and a government they can trust. I almost do not need to go on.Mr Leane's motion identifies some points, which previous speakers, including Mrs Peulich, have responded to. The government promised to deliver many new hospital beds; the government is unable to point to a single new hospital bed. The how-to-vote card talks about better access to hospitals; we have an ambulance crisis in this state. Our emergency rooms cannot cope, and patients are not being transferred to wards, because the beds have not been delivered. This is a spectacular failure by this government at the hands of a minister who is more intent on playing games and bagging all opponents than finding policy solutions. You would be forgiven for getting the impression from question time that the minister spends more time checking Ambulance Employees Australia's Facebook page than he does trying to identify one new bed that the government has delivered to a hospital in Victoria.
Previous speakers have talked about the government's position on carbon emissions.On all matters of environmental policy, what the Liberal-Nationals coalition purported to be before the election and what it turned out to be after the election could not stand in any greater contrast. Mr Lenders talked about the new railway stations at Southland and Grovedale, while Mr Leane talked about the need for more support for Victorian teachers.
Mr Leane's motion specifically mentions the provision of a rail service linking Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. My base is in Ballarat, and I take those journeys on a reasonably regular basis, so if there were a rail service from Ballarat to Geelong or a rail service from Ballarat to Bendigo, I would be its biggest fan. The coalition said these rail upgrades were going to happen, then it put that commitment on a lot of advertising material before the election and stumped up $2 million for a feasibility study, the findings of which were released in June this year.The Rail Revival study report noted that there are 244 kilometres of rail lines between Geelong and Ballarat via Meredith and between Ballarat and Bendigo via Newstead. The Rail Revival study said we could put on a few more coach services and improve the timetable so that more people catch the existing coaches. In the media release on the study findings the Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder, is quoted as saying:
Trains may become viable in future years.
I will respond to some of the comments Mrs Peulich made earlier in the debate. She talked about the economic fundamentals in Victoria. She got stuck in to former Labor treasurers John Brumby and John Lenders, as she likes to do, and she tried to make the argument that this government is managing the economy better than the Labor government managed the economy.
Labor had AAA credit ratings and surplus budgets for the duration of its term in office. This government has been able to maintain a AAA credit rating and has been able to deliver surplus budgets, but it has done so by doubling debt.Mrs Peulich's argument was very flimsy. She talked about the need to adapt to changing circumstances. She said that to grow jobs you have to vote Labor out. Mrs Peulich spoke for about 25 minutes on this motion, and she did not mention what happened earlier today -- that is, Holden announcing it was going to cease production in Australia and cease its manufacturing operations in 2017, which will affect the employment of 50 000 workers in Australia. This is a significant event. In Victoria this decision affects 1300 direct employees. There are 160 automotive industry component makers who now face an uncertain future, and it is not drawing a long bow at all to say that the decision places Toyota in a precarious position as well.
The front page of today's Australian Financial Review quotes the federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, as having said in the commonwealth Parliament on Tuesday:There's a hell of a lot of a lot of industries in Australia that would love to get the assistance that the motor vehicle industry is getting.
Alongside that quote is another from Mike Devereux, the chairman and managing director of General Motors Holden. He is quoted as saying:
There is a level of assistance GM needs to be there to have a business model that's viable.
Yesterday Joe Hockey as good as dared GM Holden to make a decision, and now it has made a decision. Basically there is a fundamental difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party when it comes to industry support.The Victorian government's Live in Victoria website, which is designed to attract skilled workers to Victoria, provides a brief overview of the automotive industry in Victoria. It says:
Victoria is the hub of Australia's automotive industry -- it is responsible for around 60 per cent of the country's automotive turnover, and a significant proportion of exports.
Victoria is also home to the headquarters and engineering centres of all three motor vehicle producers in Australia and the supplier companies that support them.
Mr Ramsay -- On a point of order, Acting President, perhaps you could advise me where in the motion of Mr Leane or on the how-to-vote card of the member for Mitcham in the Assembly there is a reference to the decision made today by Detroit on the future of Holden. For Ms Pulford to stand up here and criticise the coalition government in relation to a decision made in Detroit, which has nothing to do with -- --
Ms PULFORD -- On the point of order, Acting President, on the how-to-vote card, which Mr Leane's motion specifically referred to, dot point 1, which is just above the picture of the former Premier, Ted Baillieu, refers to 'more jobs'.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Ondarchie) -- Order! This is a very broad motion which talks about election promises, including those listed on the how-to-vote card of the member for Mitcham. I will not uphold the point of order on this occasion, but I ask Ms Pulford to get a bit closer to the motion listed on the notice paper.
Ms PULFORD -- Thank you for your assistance, Acting President. I will briefly respond to Mr Ramsay's concerns about my concerns about automotive jobs by saying that this has been a very broad debate and that more jobs and the state of the economy in Victoria have been a theme of the debate. If Mr Ramsay had been here, he would have heard Mrs Peulich talk about the economic fundamentals, talk about jobs creation -- --Mr Ramsay -- Don't blame the coalition government. It was a decision made in the US.
Ms PULFORD -- Now you're inviting me to respond. It was already a pretty broad debate.The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Ondarchie) -- Order! Through the Chair.
Ms PULFORD -- Thank you for your assistance, Acting President. This is a significant event for the Victorian economy and Victorian industry. This is massive news, involving 25 000 jobs and $2.2 billion worth of exports according to the Victorian government's own website. Previous speakers have indicated that a characteristic of a good government is the ability to respond to changing circumstances, and these are exactly the kinds of changing circumstances a government ought to be able to respond to.For Mr Ramsay's benefit, I note I have spoken about the missing train service between Geelong and Bendigo.
Perhaps Mr Ramsay will be able to identify that around the time Mr Davis identifies the first of the many hundreds of hospital beds promised. There are no doubt other people, however, who wish to speak on this motion. I am pleased to support Mr Leane's motion. I note the broken promises and the lies told or the complete misrepresentations made by the Liberal Party in its how-to-vote cards at the time of the election three years ago. I note that there is one year to go and that we will be watching with great interest to see what is on the party's how-to-vote cards next time.
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to rise to speak on Mr Leane's motion being debated this afternoon. I note that in the contribution of Ms Pulford, just delivered in the chamber, and in a number of interjections reference was made to those unfortunate decisions made by international companies in relation to their situation in Victoria.
It is far too simplistic to say what Ms Pulford has said and blame the state government for those decisions. A number of decisions needed to be made in relation to those matters.I note that in today's Australian there is a headline about the continuation of Toyota's manufacturing capability in Victoria, and Toyota was also giving some warnings to various unions, basically saying, 'Just calm down and have a look at what is on offer here, because you too are at risk'. So it is very simplistic to say, 'The Napthine coalition government is to blame for those decisions, and what are you going to do about it?'. Yes, we know we are in a changing economy. We have been in a changing economy for quite some time, if Ms Pulford had not noticed. I think I have to draw Ms Pulford's attention back to the state of the Victorian economy when we came into power in 2010.
Mr Ramsay -- She didn't mention anything about our support for Jetstar.Ms CROZIER -- Indeed, Mr Ramsay. There is the support that has been provided for Jetstar, for Avalon and for international flights. That is very good news for Victoria, for Victorian commuters and for international commuters, who bring so much business -- --
Mr Ramsay -- One hundred and thirty jobs at Avalon.
Ms CROZIER -- And 130 jobs at Avalon, as Mr Ramsay quite rightly interjects. I return to the state of the economy and where we are at. You do not have to be too clever to understand we are on a trajectory. I am not sure where the members of the opposition are. They are not anywhere to be seen. Perhaps they are making upper house preselection decisions; I do not know where they are.
Honourable members interjecting.Ms CROZIER -- Mr Leane is here. In any case I make the point that when we came into power the budget was on an unsustainable trajectory and at an unsustainable level, and we needed to make some hard decisions to give Victorians confidence in our state and in our economy. I am delighted that the Treasurer, Michael O'Brien, has had significant input into this, as did the former Treasurer, Kim Wells, the member for Scoresby in the Assembly, who came in, looked at the books and looked at what we were dealing with. It was quite seriously a basket case.
We have maintained our stable AAA rating from both major ratings agencies, and that represents a tremendous accolade accorded to Treasurer O'Brien in terms of where we are at as compared with other states and territories around the country.As part of that we have been able to maintain jobs in this state. In fact there are more jobs under the Victorian coalition government -- 73 000 more people are now in employment -- than when we came into government in 2010. That is an indication of strong economic performance and confidence on the part of the Victorian people, who understand that coalition governments know how to manage money. Those opposite know how to play games, but they do not know how to govern. They are good at the antics and the games, and they know how to spend taxpayers money willy-nilly, but they do not know how to govern responsibly or how to be prudent economic managers.
Getting back to the motion of Mr Leane and the items he listed, I remind him about what we are doing and what we came to power to do. Those election promises were first and foremost to fix the problems. We have seen a number of problems, and I do not need to go through the litany of projects we have been left with. At the top of the list, as we all know, is the desalination plant. Our dams are at a not quite full but very safe level of capacity, and we have a desalination plant sitting down in Wonthaggi costing Victorian taxpayers -- and the Victorian taxpayer is paying for this -- $1.8 million or thereabouts each and every day. That is money that could have been better spent on more services.Mr Koch -- How much?
Ms CROZIER -- It is costing $1.8 million or thereabouts each and every day, Mr Koch. That money could have been better spent on better services. We are paying for that legacy.In an earlier debate in relation to hospital beds, prison beds and all sorts of other things, the Minister for Corrections, Mr O'Donohue, highlighted the debacle of the contract relating to the Ararat prison project and where we are at with that. Significant numbers of prison beds would have been brought online if that project had been managed properly.
This government has received consistent criticism about the lack of hospital beds. It is pretty evident that those opposite do not quite understand what the term 'hospital bed' means, because it can mean a number of things. People can be admitted to hospital for a very short time or for a very long time. They can even be considered to be in hospital whilst in nursing homes as well as when they are admitted to emergency departments. These are all counted as hospital beds, and this government has done a significant amount to improve the state of the Victorian health service.
I will refer to a number of government initiatives, including the enormous capital works program in health infrastructure -- over $4 billion worth of capital infrastructure, the building of which takes some time. Capital infrastructure in the health sector takes time to build, and when it is undertaken it will mean an increase in the capacity to treat more patients.
I am delighted that the report Australian Hospital Statistics 2012-13 -- Emergency Department Care released in October confirms that Victoria is leading the way in hospital performance. In fact the figures show that Victorian hospital emergency departments treated 1.53 million patients in the 2012-13 year. Of course emergency department beds are counted as hospital beds. That figure shows an increase of 1.3 per cent on that of the previous year, so Victoria is treating more patients.
We can all agree that our hospital services are doing a tremendous job, particularly in light of an ageing and increasing population, and a population which has more complex and chronic diseases, yet we are still treating patients in a very satisfactory manner. If we compare our health services with health services around the world, we can see that we are doing a terrific job, and all our health workers and allied health workers should be congratulated on the tremendous work they do.
Having said that, I return to the report to which I referred, because it makes some important points about people going through the hospital system, and in particular about the number of patients being treated.
The figures show that Victoria has maintained its rate of treating 100 per cent of category 1 patients immediately upon arrival at a hospital, that hospitals treated 84 per cent of category 2 patients within 10 minutes of arrival and 72 per cent of category 3 patients within 30 minutes. These are very good statistics and figures for the treatment of patients and people who occupy hospital beds in our hospital system.
Hon. D. M. Davis interjected.Ms CROZIER -- As the minister reminds me, we are still missing over $368 million.
If anybody understands how a health service works -- and I know you do, Acting President, because you have been in charge of a large health service, so you understand how our health services work -- they will understand that we cannot just fund health services and then rip the money out and expect hospitals to create a situation in which people can be treated. It is significant that that $107 million was ripped out halfway through a financial year. Anyone who knows basic economics would understand the impact of ripping out such a significant amount of money. Some $368 million over three years was taken by the former Labor government from promised funding. Labor politicians are pretty good at rhetoric and ramping up promises, but they have no idea how to manage the economy. At a federal level we have seen that they are very good at playing games but absolutely hopeless at governing.Earlier I referred to the more than $4 billion worth of capital works in health services alone, including the Monash Children's hospital project, which will have 230 beds when it is completed. This project will provide significant services for people within the southern areas of metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. We also have a tremendous asset in the Royal Children's Hospital, but only this week reports have emerged that that hospital is bursting its capacity and there are claims that it is not big enough. It is true that Melbourne has a very large metropolitan base, and expanding growth corridors in the eastern and south-eastern regions will also require health services.
I turn to the Monash Children's hospital. The former government had a plan on the table in 2002, but did nothing with it -- it just sat there. Labor did absolutely nothing. This government has got on and is delivering on that project.The completion of the hospital will increase our capacity to treat more children across the state and alleviate some of the pressures we are seeing at the Royal Children's Hospital. The situation at the Royal Children's is not this government's fault. We are fulfilling our promises, unlike the former government, the members of which did a couple of things but did not do them very well.
I turn to the transport issues that have been raised in this debate and remind members that significant improvements have been made to our public transport system. Earlier today we were speaking about the east-west link project, a very significant project for Victoria which will improve our productivity, create thousands of jobs during its construction phase and provide overall improvements for the entire Victorian economy. The east-west link project is a very good news story, as we heard during that debate. It is a shame that the rhetoric from those opposite was confusing.There are members opposite who supported the project before they were elected, yet once they were elected to this Parliament they changed their tune. This is unsurprising, because they are managed and run by the unions.
Returning to the transport issues on which this government has done significant work, I congratulate the Minister for Public Transport, Mr Mulder, on his stewardship in dealing with the very real issues we faced when we came to government in 2010. There were significant problems along our railway lines and with a number of services. Now there are 1078 extra metropolitan train trips each week and 3400 extra bus trips per week. Some $4.8 billion has been invested in the regional rail link, and $25 million in the Dandenong line upgrade, $100 million in the Bayside rail upgrade, and $400 million allocated to remove level crossings across Melbourne. Work on the Springvale level crossing and other level crossing upgrades is also under way.My electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region has a number of large level crossings, including in Carnegie and Murrumbeena, and I am pleased that crossing has been put on a priority list to be looked at. A number of feasibility studies and preliminary works have been undertaken for that level crossing, so I am very delighted that the minister understands my concerns for the people in and around the Carnegie area and other areas who are impacted by that particular level crossing.
Nevertheless, people in the community understand that we cannot complete all of these projects in isolation. Ours is a very large metropolitan rail network, and you cannot promise to remove 50 level crossings, as members of the opposition have undertaken, without understanding that doing so would have enormous implications for our entire rail and road networks. The situation would be chaotic. Members of the opposition make these throwaway comments and think that people are so gullible that they will accept Labor's proposition, which is absolutely ludicrous.
It is getting on with working through those issues, which included the lack of planning by the Labor government which had 11 years and did not understand that we had an increasing and ageing population, and expanding Melbourne -- --Mr Elsbury interjected.
Ms CROZIER -- Yes, Mr Elsbury, they just ignored it. They had their heads in the sand. How surprising!Nevertheless I take up Ms Pulford's comments about what we have done and compare it to what Labor did. I remind her that most of the time the opposition was in government it was fortunate to have prudent economic managers at a federal level during the Howard-Costello years. Does Australia not scream out for those years again!
Thank goodness we have an Abbott-Hockey government in control at a federal level to try to bring back some prudent and responsible economic management. After all, as governments we have a responsibility to the taxpayer and the spending of money should be done in a prudent and responsible fashion as opposed to just throwing money around and spending willy-nilly, as the former Labor government has done in this state.Mr Leane's motion 'calls on the government to fix the problems as promised'. I say to Mr Leane that that is exactly what the government is doing. We are fixing the problems and they are numerous. As I said, there were numerous projects on which the costs had blown out. They were underfunded and have caused a great deal of concern for Victorians. We are getting on with the job and improving the overall situation.
Again I would like to commend the Treasurer, Michael O'Brien, for putting us in a very strong position which gives us a AAA credit rating, the strongest anywhere in the country. That means lower borrowing costs for every Victorian taxpayer and that is good news because it will enable the completion of service and infrastructure projects that Victoria requires in the future. As a coalition government we understand the future planning requirements of this state and look forward to continuing to deliver on future projects and promises as indicated during our election campaign.Debate adjourned for Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan) on motion of Mr Leane.
Debate adjourned until later this day.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010
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