Speeches

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:28): This morning I want to pay tribute to a great Victorian, a great Australian, a great person, a great wife and mother, a wonderful grandmother and a first-class friend to many, myself included—someone who made the most of life and made a difference to so many individuals and the wider community. I speak of Lorraine Elliott, who passed away on 2 July. I went to school with Lorraine's children, Tom, Caroline and Edward, so I knew her for a long time—first as another friendly mum at school sport and secondly as a parliamentary colleague. That was when I got to know her well. In 2001, when I was elected to this parliament, Lorraine had been the member for Mooroolbark, an area within the Casey electorate, since 1992. She quickly became a mentor and friend to my wife Pam and I, and an inspiration. She cared…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:32): I rise today to make mention of NAIDOC Week. On Wednesday of last week, I had the privilege of attending the Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association family fun day at the Sanctuary House Motel in Badger Creek, just near Healesville. It was, as I said, a privilege to attend and to spend some time with some of the leaders of the community there. I pay tribute to Brooke Collins, who does so much for the Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association, otherwise known as HICSA, and to everyone else who works with her, for the great work that they do throughout the community in Healesville and beyond. I had the opportunity to once again speak with Alan Wandin and some members of the Wandin family, who have a rich Indigenous history in Healesville. Indeed, we had the time to reflect on the contribution of so many,…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (09:38): It is my pleasure to speak on these two bills, the Asset Recycling Fund Bill 2014 and the Asset Recycling Fund (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2014 and follow a large number of colleagues who have spoken through the course of yesterday on this important initiative within the budget. This of course was announced on budget night and the relevant bills were introduced by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, the member for Moncrieff, on 29 May. Importantly, as previous speakers have outlined, they provide for an asset recycling fund as part of the government's infrastructure package announced in the budget—some $5.9 billion at the commencement, comprising from $2.4 billion of uncommitted funds from the Building Australia Fund and $3.5 billion from the Education Investment Fund. As the parliamentary secretary outlined, this important initiative will support the recycling of infrastructure. It is an important principle. Where government…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (13:08): I ask a series of questions to the Minister for Trade and Investment about a very important part of the budget, namely, the Export Market Development Grants program. As the members on this side of the chamber know, this is an important program that supports entrepreneurs and growing businesses across Australia. I am particularly interested in the funding within the appropriations for this particular grants program, how that compares with funding during the last couple of budgets, and any changes or enhancements that the government has made to this important program. As members are well aware, businesses seek grants from this program on the basis of growing their export businesses. I would ask the minister how the funding compares and about any changes that have occurred within this budget. The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Griggs): I am giving the call to the minister. Mr Thistlethwaite: Based…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (18:57): In speaking in this budget debate and on these appropriation bills I have had the opportunity to listen to many speeches—but not all—from those opposite, and I have just listened to the last 10 minutes of the previous speaker. Whilst they have all covered varying topics, they are all absolutely united in a couple of respects—that is, no apology for and no acknowledgement of the mess they left the budget in, which we are now discussing here in this chamber. They have absolutely no plan to fix the mess. For those opposite to come in on this debate after six years of fiscal failure and not acknowledge the mess they have created, nor put forward any alternative plan that would deal with it, really tells the Australian people that, if Labor had been re-elected, it is very clear where they would have headed—further along the…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (09:40): I rise this morning to talk about the great work of the Metropolitan Traffic Education Centre, otherwise known as METEC, in Bayswater North in the federal electorate of Casey that I have the honour of representing. For over 40 years METEC has provided a safe closed-road training and education facility for particularly younger drivers. It is built on 10 hectares of land, has four kilometres of private roads and has all of the usual traffic features: intersections, traffic lights, roundabouts—everything required to provide an ideal learner training facility. Over those four decades METEC has saved countless lives by training many thousands of young people to drive more safely, many doing their courses prior to receiving their licences. I have worked with and supported the centre for many years. It is playing a vital role in our community. All of us know the importance of teaching…