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Since this Prime Minister has come to office, he has doubled the deficit. He has also found ways to raise the cost of living for Australian families, including the petrol excise. This was done by regulation, which means that if the excise is not passed in this parliament, the money collected will have to be returned in August to the oil companies, not to Australian commuters. This all changed yesterday though when Labor, faced with this ridiculous situation—money from the pockets of Australians going to oil companies—agreed to pass legislation with a very, very important condition: that the money be used to fill the shortfall to local governments to build and maintain local roads. This is a great outcome, particularly in my electorate from what was an appalling situation.
It now means that Wyndham City Council and Hobsons Bay City Council might get the funding needed to ease the congestion, a crippling local issue. They may get funds for work on Dohertys Road, Ballan Road, Point Cook Road—all points of incredible congestion, pressure points that commuters face every day just getting across our community before their commute to the city, for those who are travelling by car. I know that our local government will welcome any injection of funds after having their federal funding slashed by this Prime Minister. It is also sensible that local governments will get this funding because they have shovel-ready projects ready to go. That of course will mean local jobs. In an area like Lalor, local jobs are at a premium because we have lost so many jobs with the closure of manufacturing industries, the closure of the car manufacturing industries in particular.
On top of what was a terrific opening for the Regional Rail Link, and evidence that public transport funding will lead to an easier life for the people in my community, which has created 55,000 more seats on trains headed to city and taken cars off the road hopefully this week, we have seen that a Labor government initiative has changed people's lives on the ground. I am hoping that some of this injection of funding to local governments will find its way to my local government to create local jobs and to ease the congestion on our local roads.
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