PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS – Infrastructure

I acknowledge the member for Durack for this excellent motion and recognise the importance of well developed transport links in regional Australia—in her electorate, she would understand this better than most—and I acknowledge the significant role the government has played in funding road and rail projects around Australia. I note, member of Durack, you focused on those particular projects in your electorate that are making the most difference, and I commend you for that.

Of course, there are some projects that, in spite of what we heard from Labor, they cannot claim, despite of their best attempts. Of course, one of those is in my electorate, member for Durack. There is some very good news on the horizon for all producers of quality products in the south-west of Western Australia. During the recent campaign, I was very proud to announce that a re-elected coalition government will invest $9.78 million in expanding—

A government member: In new money.

Ms MARINO: in new money—the Busselton-Margaret River airport and, in doing so, give what is a critical piece of regional infrastructure an international focus—that is what we understand on this side, representing the majority of representatives of regional and rural Australia on our side of the House, and understanding the regions better than most.

The funding will add to the $56 million invested by the WA state government and the $3.5 million committed by the City of Busselton, making this project truly a partnership between all three levels of government. The expansion of this airport has been a different vision developed by the City of Busselton and embraced by the entire south-west. It was agreed it was the No. 1 project. It has been supported by all regional local governments as a key investment that will benefit the entire south-west. When federal ministers and MPs have visited in the southwest, this project has always been raised with them as a key component of the development of the entire region.

The expansion of the Busselton-Margaret River airport now embraces all possible areas of growth as envisaged by the city and its other proponents. It was supported by the city and the WA state government to expand the airport to allow direct interstate flights and, of course, the next thing was to give the tourists in the east direct access to our sublime south-west holiday experience. Particularly, we know the Margaret River region is one of the best international brands, and all of the south will benefit. Our distance from an airport able to land larger passenger jet has discouraged potential visitors—the three-hour drive and the need to hire a car or rely on buses were all disincentives—but the federal coalition government will expand that interstate reach and give this project an international flavour.

That $9.7 million will allow the expansion of the airport to take planes capable of international flights, international flights directly into the Busselton-Margaret River area. And it will also give our producers direct access to markets in Asia, making direct trade possible with some of our greatest trading partners. So this gives my south-west incredible opportunities. Imagine my south-west produce getting directly into markets like Indonesia and Singapore, our beef, our lamb, are marron, our truffles—

A government member: Our wine.

Ms MARINO: our wine into Asian restaurants and fine food shops, our fruit and dairy products in upmarket Asian supermarkets, avocados and vegetables. And, in time, imagine those same direct flights bringing Asian tourists to experience for themselves all of the great things the south-west has to offer. All of this has become possible with the investment provided by three levels of government by this coalition government.

This expansion will grow jobs, will grow industries and will grow the entire region of the South West. Direct air access will open the South West up to the world and it will open the world up to our produce. It is a game changer. It is a transformative project and it will be a real game changer for small, niche producers trying to access the international marketplace, especially in Asia. And it will be a game changer, in time, for our local tourism industry.

My next project is the Bunbury Outer Ring Road. I am working on that one all of the time to facilitate exports to complete that loop, to improve freight access into the Bunbury Port and allow efficient freight access to Perth and the South West. We need competitive international gateways. (Time expired)