Debate on APPROPRIATION (2013-2014) BILL 2013
Ms GARRETT (Brunswick) — It is a pleasure to rise to make my contribution to the debate on behalf of the people of Brunswick and also as part of a very strong and united opposition team, each and every one of whom has pointed out the very significant flaws that exist in the budget served up by the Napthine government.
To follow on from the previous speaker, the member for Mordialloc, her platitudes about how rosy life is for Victorians and how good it is all looking for them reminded me of the time early on in the piece when the Minister for Public Transport stood up and spoke about how the sun shone more brightly on Victoria since the election of the then Baillieu government. That was actually a time when we worked out that the sun had shone far less brightly, in a scientific sense, over that period. I think I heard another member on the government benches recently talking about the sun shining more brightly on Victoria since the election of the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
If ever there were an example to show just how out of touch this government is with the struggles and difficulties facing Victorians right across the state, it is that sort of hubris and nonsense.
I can assure the house that the people in my electorate do not feel the sun is shining more brightly upon them. They do not feel that the state is looking rosy and that things are excellent. In fact they feel they are in the midst of a jobs crisis, and they are feeling the pressure of the consistent and deep cuts of the Baillieu and Napthine governments in health and education and in the slashing of essential services. They feel that very deeply. The people of Brunswick also feel very deeply the fact that this budget has completely and utterly ignored their needs and our area. In fact Brunswick was not mentioned in the Napthine government budget papers. This is the third budget delivered by this coalition government in which Brunswick has been entirely ignored. People in my electorate feel very keenly how bad this budget is.
It is also a budget that is bad for the state. I will deal with some critical issues that show what this budget fails to do.
When we look at the area of education we see another $69 million worth of cuts in this budget, bringing the total education cuts to $625 million. I am very glad the Minister for Education is in the house as I make my contribution because I highlight again, as I have several times over the last two and a half years, the needs of Brunswick Secondary College. It is a fine institution in my electorate. It is a growing school. It has achieved outstanding results. It has a wonderful parental community. It has a very multicultural school community. It is doing some terrific innovative extracurricular activities for the students. It had achieved approval from the department for a master plan for a significant upgrade that would allow it to attract even more students and deliver a broader range of Victorian certificate of education subjects.
The college had that approval in 2010 and it was set to go. With the election of this government, once again, we have seen that plan sit on a dusty shelf. That means that the growing population, the young people coming here and raising their families here, have been refused yet again the chance to have this much-needed upgrade and expansion of their school. This is another decision by this government based on the address, not on need. The people of Brunswick wish to put on the record their strong condemnation and their deep concern that this very significant project for the education of our young people has been ignored yet again.
Of course the broader cuts that this government has made in education generally affect not just my area but