Budget Papers 2019-20
Ms Spence (Yuroke): I am very pleased to rise in support of the 2019–20 Victorian budget and start my contribution, if not finish it. So this budget is great for the people of Victoria. It will certainly keep me busy as the Parliamentary Secretary for Road Infrastructure, and it continues to deliver for my electorate of Yuroke. Last term saw the Andrews Labor government start to catch up on all of the outstanding priorities in Yuroke after the four years of absolute neglect by the former Liberal government between 2010 and 2014, and I am thrilled that this government is continuing to provide the needed investment in my electorate in Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs. Yuroke is a rapidly growing electorate, and it is home to some of the fastest growing suburbs in the country. When I was first elected in 2014 there were slightly less than 44 000 voters. Last November that figure had increased to more than 58 000 voters, with a population of around 100 000 people. Residents celebrate our diversity and enjoy both established outer suburbs and some of our newer suburbs, where they are indeed our modern-day pioneers. Business interrupted under sessional orders.
As I mentioned yesterday, this budget is terrific for Victoria and for my rapidly growing electorate. The challenge we have in Yuroke is to ensure that the established suburbs have the infrastructure to support many more residents than they were initially designed for and planned for and to also establish infrastructure in our newest communities. I am incredibly proud that the Andrews Labor government has recognised this challenge and is responding with the investment in infrastructure that we need. Primarily these needs fall into three categories—not surprisingly, education, health and transport. In regard to education this government is providing the biggest investment in the state’s history and the biggest investment in local schools in my community, and it shows. We went to the 2018 election committing to open six new schools in Yuroke over the next four years, and this budget honours that commitment. This not only provides the infrastructure we need, but by announcing the rollout over the next four years it gives families the opportunity to plan their children’s education and provides peace of mind that those schools will be there when they need them. It was terrific to be joined by the Minister for Education to open the first of these schools, Aitken Hill Primary, earlier this year. Principal Peter Hansen and his team are doing a terrific job working through the challenges of a new school, as are student council president Peter Brookshaw and his team in their supportive roles. This school is in a really exciting part of Craigieburn, with much new infrastructure on the way. It is adjacent to the Aitken Hill Community Centre, which this government supported with a $1.6 million contribution, as well as the upcoming Craigieburn softball centre, also supported by this government with a $1.5 million contribution. It is around the corner from the Aston Recreation Reserve, which is a terrific precinct and home to the newly opened Aston reserve pavilion, also supported by this government with a $2 million contribution. I mention these sporting facilities because not only are they terrific complementary facilities in this precinct but also because the contributions to them were from the Growing Suburbs Fund, and I am thrilled to see that fund continued in this budget. Also in this precinct is the next of the six schools to be opened, being Craigieburn South Secondary College, which is due to open next year and was supported in this budget by an additional $10.8 million to complete stage 1 of the school. I recently met with the newly appointed principal, Colin Burke, who will do a terrific job. Seeing the build now well underway I am really excited about what this school brings to our community. Following this is Greenvale North West Primary and Merrifield West Primary schools, both to open in 2021. Both of these schools will service rapidly growing areas and will greatly reduce the pressure on local schools that are experiencing enrolment pressures. Greenvale North West Primary will be located in Greenvale Gardens Estate and will provide a much-needed second government primary school for the Greenvale community. Adjacent to that primary school will be the Greenvale West Integrated Children’s Centre, which is supported by a $1.6 million contribution from this government. It is another important facility supported by the Growing Suburbs Fund. Merrifield West Primary, to be located in the Merrifield Estate on Donnybrook Road, will be the first school in this rapidly growing community, which is currently home to around 3000 residents in that estate alone, with many more in adjacent estates. I know that local residents are excited about opening Kalkallo Common Primary and Greenvale Secondary in 2022. Greenvale residents have campaigned for many years for this secondary school. I was thrilled to announce with the Minister for Education that a re-elected Labor government would deliver this school in 2022, and that is exactly what we will do. As with all growing communities, health infrastructure is very important to Yuroke residents. In September 2016 a free nursing service from 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm was set up in Craigieburn at one of the first of five 24-hour supercare pharmacies that this government rolled out. This service has been welcomed by the local community, and I am thrilled that Craigieburn will also be home to one of the first of 10 new community hospitals across the state, with planning funds provided in this budget. This is a really exciting project for my community, and I look forward to working with the recently announced Craigieburn Community Hospital consultative committee, who will help to ensure that the community hospital is reflecting the needs of our community. There are also many statewide projects and programs in this budget that will greatly benefit Yuroke residents. I am incredibly proud of the government’s rollout of free dental care for all public primary and secondary schools, bringing back dental vans and saving families around $400 a year per child in dental costs. This is a massive program, and it will not only ensure greater dental health for our children, it will also save parents the need to take time off work for appointments and it will free up the public dental system so more adult treatments can be provided. I am also thrilled that this budget continues our commitment to the school breakfast program by expanding the program from 500 schools to providing both breakfast and lunch in 1000 schools. In Yuroke there are currently four primary schools running this program—Willmott Park, Roxburgh Rise, Mount Ridley and Craigieburn South—and I look forward to seeing more schools included, because we all know the enormous benefits that come from this program. We are also fortunate locally to have the Salvation Army running breakfast programs at Craigieburn Secondary and Aitken Hill Primary, and I do want to congratulate them on the terrific work that they do. This budget not only extends this important school breakfast program for students, but it also invests over $20 million so girls in government schools will be able to access free tampons and pads. This is an Australian-first program that will mean that the menstrual needs of girls in our schools are not a distraction or a barrier and that financial circumstances do not determine whether appropriate sanitary products are available when they are needed. I am incredibly proud of this program, and I know that it will have a tremendous impact on the lives of many girls at what can be a difficult time. While all these projects are being undertaken we continue to deliver on the many projects that are currently underway. This includes the 745 new car parking spaces for Craigieburn. We have already provided an additional 55 spaces at the station and over 100 new spaces in Potter Street, and this is the largest car park expansion in the state’s history. The Craigieburn CFA station relocation will provide a more appropriate home for our hugely respected local firefighters. The additional Craigieburn ambulance station and the Craigieburn North SES unit are both in the planning stages, and I look forward to providing updates to the community as these projects progress. The Donnybrook to Craigieburn bus service will commence in December this year and will provide the first public transport service to our pioneers in the northern part of my electorate. To say residents are excited about this new route is an understatement. And of course there is the Craigieburn Road upgrade, with construction beginning next year. This long-awaited upgrade includes duplication from Mickleham Road to the Hume Highway, and it will improve safety and traffic flow on a road that was designed to cater for a couple of thousand residents but is now feeling the strain of over 28 000 vehicles per day. As I said at the outset, this budget is great for the people of Victoria and it continues to deliver for my electorate of Yuroke. I congratulate the Treasurer for what is again a terrific budget and one that delivers on the commitments that Labor took to the November 2018 election.