Deputy Speaker, as we come to the end of the year, I rise today to look back on the last 12 months.
It hasn’t been easy and we’ve certainly faced our fair share of challenges.
But, with the support of our Government, Australia has moved forward to secure its recovery and now we’re setting our sights on our reopening to the world.
Deputy Speaker, we know the best way to stay safe right now is by getting vaccinated.
In Queensland, there are 76% of us now fully vaccinated.
Deputy Speaker, Australia is leading the world in our response to the pandemic.
We have some of the highest vaccination rates.
We are one of the most prepared to deal with outbreaks and variants.
And our economic recovery is unrivalled.
Deputy Speaker, jobs are coming back.
Unemployment nationwide is at a 12-year low.
I’ve seen many Bonner businesses benefitting from how we’ve delivered for jobs.
In fact, over 5000 businesses in my electorate have taken advantage of Job Keeper since the start of the pandemic.
And over the year I’ve spent time visiting local businesses and their staff, from Mt Gravatt’s Badminton Espresso and Rochedale’s Cache Cache café to local Aussie manufacturers like Murarrie’s Cyborg Dynamics Engineering and Wynnum’s Couplemates Trailer Parts.
Deputy Speaker, we’re also reducing our emissions whilst growing our economy.
We’re delivering a balanced approach to achieve this is through our commitment to securing our fuel sovereignty.
This is happening in Bonner at the Ampol refinery in Lytton.
A package securing 550 direct and local jobs.
It’s backed by our expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund investment which empowers consumers to drive the car they want.
Deputy Speaker, we’re delivering for better roads, faster commutes and making sure Australian’s can get home sooner and safer.
We’ve invested a further $1 billion in road safety upgrades to save lives and a further $1 billion in local road infrastructure projects.
In Bonner, long awaited upgrades to Lindum Crossing are underway.
I’ve been fighting for this upgrade since 2017 when over 7000 locals in Bonner signed my petition to fix Lindum Crossing.
We were successful and in 2019 our government committed $85 million to this worthy project.
This month, we commenced the first stage of safety upgrades to the crossing.
I recently invited Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz onsite to see the progress made to date and I look forward to welcoming him back when works are complete.
My electorate is home to Newham and Wecker Rd intersection.
I am proud to have secured $12 million in funding for this project, making it safer, which will be delivered by Brisbane City Council, with works currently underway.
Our government has also allocated $14 million towards fixing the notorious Rochedale Roundabout, which will improve the safety for commuters and cater for future traffic demands in this growing suburb.
There’s also the $15 billion Inland Rail Project connecting Melbourne to Brisbane.
Currently, plans have it terminating at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane’s southern suburbs.
This means freight for the Port of Brisbane must be trucked in on existing roads unless a dedicated Inland Rail link is constructed.
That’s why I’m fighting to deliver a dedicated underground freight rail connection between the Inland Rail and Port of Brisbane.
Deputy Speaker, when it comes to health, this year I have spoken in the house on multiple occasions about Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Also known as SMA, it sadly affects one in 10,000 births in Australia.
With no cure, this disease is the number one genetic cause of death for babies under two.
But Deputy Speaker, Queensland is one of the few remaining states left to include screening for SMA as part of its Newborn Bloodspot Screen Program.
I’ve been calling the Queensland State Government to account, sharing the stories of families in my electorate whose little ones are currently battling this disease, like Kate and Grant Gough and their beautiful girl Oakley who was diagnosed at 8 weeks old.
Lifesaving testing exists and has been rolled out in other states, while the Queensland Government continues to stand idle.
I will continue to speak up for these families.
Because, no child should be disadvantaged based on where they are born in this country.
Every Australian has the right to be safe and that is why our government remains committed to ending all forms of violence against women and children.
Since we came into Government we have invested more than $1 billion to keep women and children safe and this year we invested a further $1.1 billion in women’s safety.
I’ve been working closely alongside many hardworking services in our area like Carina’s Beyond DV and Small Steps for Hannah Foundation who provide dedicated support to women and children, helping them to escape violence and abuse.
This year, I unveiled my plan to deliver more mental health services on Bonner’s Bayside.
It was launched through a Bayside Mental Health survey, which collected over 500 anonymous responses and highlighting the needs of locals.
I kept up the momentum by convening the Bayside Mental Health Working Group, involving local mental health and community providers.
This group has since met on multiple occasions, bringing these important voices together and determining how we can fill the urgent gaps in our area.
I’ve also shared my plan with Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman who has provided his support.
Currently, I’m working with Brisbane South PHN on a mental health plan with the intention to be tailored to the youth of the Bayside.
And this year, Bonner celebrated the return of our iconic Wynnum Fringe Festival!
Taking place over six jam packed days this month, festival founder Tom Oliver has once again outdone himself.
It was a true celebration of the arts with the Morrison Government proudly securing it’s return as an annual event by delivering $236,000 in funding.
It’s been another challenging year for our arts and creative sectors, but we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Deputy Speaker, we’re also making a real difference to the lives of Australian families.
I am regularly visiting our local childcare centres and kindergartens, spending time with the staff and children and learning about what we can do to support them.
During these visits, I always read and donate ‘If I Was Prime Minister’ by Beck and Robin Feiner.
Last month, it was donated to the vibrant Kindergarten class at C&K St Catherine’s Community Kindergarten in Wishart.
The children loved the book so much that they created and sent me their own version which told the story of what they would do if they were Prime Minister.
I also want to take this opportunity to recognise Bonner’s amazing and hardworking school communities who have demonstrated this resilience once again this year.
I brought Parliament House to several local schools through Mock Parliament where they debated topics such as whether junk food should be served in school cafeterias and whether Brisbane should host the 2032 Olympics.
Which we now will be!
Deputy Speaker, the Bonner Youth Advisory Council also met each term this year and we even kicked off the Junior B – Y- A – C for students in year’s 5 and 6!
It’s exciting to see our leaders of tomorrow in action!
Deputy Speaker, it’s been a big year.
But our government has continued to deliver, across all sectors, for all people, in all communities.