Adjournment Matters No 1139
59 Parliament First Session
Asked: 18 February 2021


DR BACH — To ask the Minister for Employment (for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure): 

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure in the other place. It is regarding the dreadful jobs crisis that is afflicting Victoria’s inner eastern suburbs. I have had so many conversations recently with constituents of mine across suburbs like Box Hill and Mont Albert and Surrey Hills and Canterbury and Mount Waverley and Glen Waverley, and oftentimes I hear back that whilst we know that—as a result of the excellent interventions of the federal Liberal-led government—the rest of the country is snapping back, if you like, when it comes to our economic performance across a whole range of indicators, on any economic indicator Victoria is lagging badly behind. We are in the midst of a jobs crisis, and one of the projects that I feel would be a good project to invest in now for this government—we have just heard about investment from Ms Watt—is the Box Hill interchange.

Before the 2014 election the Labor Party said, ‘Only Labor will find a solution for the Box Hill interchange’. I would urge the Labor Party, seven years on, to seek to find that solution sometime soon. The Box Hill interchange is such an important point of connection across my whole electorate. People come from far and wide to the Box Hill interchange. It takes people to job centres like Doncaster Shoppingtown and Forest Hill Chase. However, it is in a dilapidated state. I do not need to convince those opposite about this, because they said this before the 2014 state election, which was—sadly—years and years ago.

In some areas of public policy, as we just heard, the government has a strong record of investment. It is not all about investment. We were just hearing from Ms Watt about education, and it is strange that members of the government continue to spruik the Education State. Education, in my view as a schoolteacher, is overwhelmingly about one thing, and that is student learning. When it comes to student learning outcomes, we learned from the Productivity Commission this month that Victorian kids last year—before the months-long lockdown that had a devastating impact on student learning according to the World Health Organization, no lesser authority—received their worst ever learning outcomes after nearly 20 years of Labor Party mismanagement of our education system. So it is not all about investment. I get the talking points from Minister Merlino’s office on Labor investment, I understand that, but whatever the Labor Party is doing in education is not working. Our kids received their worst ever learning outcomes last year. In this case I would dearly like to see some Labor investment in our public transport infrastructure in my electorate.

Answered: 4 May 2021

Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop):

I thank the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region for his adjournment requesting job creating infrastructure projects in his electorate in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

The Andrews Labor Government is investing in a record number of job creating transport infrastructure projects in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. These include:

• The Suburban Rail Loop, which includes a new train station at Box Hill interchange, will create over 20,000 jobs. It is acknowledged that the Liberal Opposition and the Member are opposed to this project.

• The North East Link will slash travel times by over an hour a day and result in commuters avoiding 36 set of traffic light each day. Construction alone will create 10,000 jobs and the project will provide an annual $427 million economic boost from better freight connectivity. It is acknowledged that the Liberal Opposition and the Member are opposed to this project.

• The removal of two dangerous and congested level crossings in Surrey Hills and Mont Albert will save lives, create thousands of jobs during construction and be a huge boost for local business. I’m aware that the Member is circulating a petition against this project and that the Liberal Opposition committed to excluding these crossings from the removal program as a cost savings measure.

With his staunch opposition to just these three projects, the Member is trying to prevent the creation of over 30,000 jobs.

The Liberal Opposition has promised nothing for the Box Hill interchange, while the Andrews Government is building a brand-new train station that will provide residents of Box Hill with the best connectivity of any suburban transport interchange.

It is noted that in his adjournment, the Member also reflected upon the importance of learning.