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COVID-19 and State Economy

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-117229

Hansard session: Fifty-Seventh Parliament, First Session (57-1)

COVID-19 and State Economy

Ms ROBYN PRESTON (Hawkesbury) (16:49:01):

I move:

That this House acknowledges that this Government is building for a post‑COVID economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of many people who have been unable to conduct their regular business or employment and who have faced a reduction in income due to the life‑saving measures that were necessary to deal with the unprecedented pandemic. I saw firsthand the effects of the pandemic on my constituency and I understand the importance of a strong post‑COVID recovery. Despite the COVID‑19 pandemic, strong economic management and investment from the Coalition Government has ensured the recovery of our economy. The steady reopening of the New South Wales economy, the easing of restrictions and the start of the vaccine rollout have all boosted confidence and the State is well on the road to economic recovery. The measures that the Government has undertaken are reflected in the reduction to the unemployment rate, which was down to 5.4 per cent in March 2021 from a peak of 7.2 per cent in July last year. That is just 0.8 per cent above pre‑COVID levels.

Almost all of the jobs that were lost during the peak of the pandemic have now been recovered. Retail sales in New South Wales are up 10.7 per cent for the year to February 2021. I am proud to be part of a government that has invested a total of $29.3 billion in the 2020-21 health budget. Some $3 billion of that funding has been allocated to capital works to continue the Government's commitment to building and rebuilding hospitals and health facilities across the State. The Government is ensuring that those facilities that need funding most are being looked after. The Government is also aware of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional and rural communities throughout New South Wales. That is why we will spend more than $900 million on capital works in Health for regional and rural communities throughout the State in 2021. Of the 47 New South Wales hospital redevelopments or upgrades that are underway or set to commence in the 2020-21 financial year, nearly two‑thirds are in rural or regional parts of the State.

Investment in health also assists with job creation in the industry. The New South Wales Government's 2021 budget will provide $27 million to employ an additional 180 paramedics and control centre staff in order to improve response times, reduce paramedic fatigue and support safety. That is the third tranche of the Government's plan to employ 750 paramedics and control centre staff over four years. The safety of our medical staff is paramount. I am pleased to report that between June 2012 and June 2020 there was a 23 per cent increase in security staff, because everyone has the right to feel safe at all times, including at work. That strong investment in our health system will ensure that we are well placed to respond to any future crisis, thereby saving lives, improving health and ensuring minimal economic disruption in the unfortunate event of another disaster.

An important aspect of building for a post-COVID economy involves facilitating the vaccine rollout to ensure that COVID‑19 poses minimal disruption to our lives and the economy in the future. NSW Health is working closely with the Australian Government to deliver a safe, timely and effective vaccination program to ensure that we can go about our lives with minimal disruption and to allow the economy to recover naturally through strong employment and consumer spending. The latest national accounts show that the New South Wales economy grew 2.9 per cent in the December quarter following State final demand growth of 6.8 per cent in the September quarter. That means that New South Wales is just 0.7 per cent below the levels that were seen at the end of 2019. It is vital that people continue to return to work and remain financially independent, as each individual desires to be. The Government's investment seeks to continue to lower unemployment in light of the challenges that we face.

Another important part of the post-COVID recovery involves investment in our police force to ensure a safe and secure New South Wales. The recovery requires discipline and adherence to the law. Those who are rebuilding their businesses appreciate the presence of the police in the community. That is why the 2020‑21 budget has provided the NSW Police Force with a total expenses budget of $4.2 billion and a further $549 million to fund capital investment, comprising $287.7 million in capital expenditure and $261.3 million in lease acquisitions.

The investment into capital works creates jobs, particularly for those in the trades. Hawkesbury people are tradie people, so we love this. In 2020‑21 the Government is investing $14 million as part of the program to build new police stations in Bega, Goulburn and the Jindabyne area, to carry out major upgrades to police stations in Bourke and Bathurst, and to construct a new police education and training centre in Dubbo. Those works are being undertaken as part of the $100 million election commitment program over the four years from 2019 to 2023. There is $52 million to continue the construction of police stations in Cessnock, Broken Hill, Inverell, Parramatta and Hurstville and for the acquisition of land in Port Macquarie, under the $107.9 million multipurpose police station program, over the 2018 to 2023 program.

Extension of time not granted.

There is $17 million to complete construction of the Queanbeyan police station and $37.7 million over two years for property‑related capital works in metropolitan and rural areas. Those works include the commencement of new or replacement police stations under the Regional Small Station Program; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; disaster resilience; facade cladding remediation; female amenities; upgrades to solar panel programs; security upgrades; and minor works. It is vital that the New South Wales police have the resources needed to conduct their roles within COVID-19 hotel quarantine operations. Successful quarantine minimises outbreaks and reduces the risk of having to engage in restrictions that, whilst saving lives, have a negative effect on the economy. []

Mr TIM CRAKANTHORP (Newcastle) (17:06:17):

For this debate today on building for a post‑COVID economy, I have brought a musical instrument. It is in my pocket, in case I need it. I figured that all these unfortunate members of the Government would have been sent into the Chamber to spew rhetoric and blow their own horns about how great they are and how hard they have to work to revive the post‑COVID economy. What I have in my breast pocket is the world's smallest violin, so we can beef up the orchestra. I get it; it is tough. It is tough having your mates at the top of town throwing money at you to hand over public assets. It is tough outsourcing more and more of your responsibilities to the private sector so you do not have to do your job. It is tough sending contracts overseas so that issues can be blamed on someone else. Government members certainly are great at that. Actually, they are better than that. They are, in fact, rather excellent at dismantling the pillars that make our State great.

Local manufacturing—no more! Public training institutions—bugger them off! State‑managed transport infrastructure—not a chance! Surely if there is one thing we have learned during this pandemic, it is the value of local. Import and supply chains were disrupted. Countless industries were sent to the brink because they sorely needed international people and international dollars to be pumped in. Employers were desperate to fill the jobs that would normally be taken by seasonal international workers. But let us not pretend that this came crashing down overnight. By sending contracts for trains, buses and ferries overseas, ripping the guts out of TAFE and flogging off anything that is not nailed down, for 10 long years the Government has systematically stripped our State of what we need right now to thrive and build a post-COVID economy: skilled labour, affordable post‑school education and publicly controlled assets to support the public. Under the Liberal‑Nationals Government, New South Wales is up for sale—and when you sell out our State, you sell out our people.

When the Government sold off the Land Titles Office, 30 per cent of its workforce was gone within 12 months. Within 12 months of Ausgrid being privatised, 1,000 workers were gone. While we are speaking of 12 months, that seems to be the length of the job cuts cycle at TAFE. When you sell out our State, you sell out our people. It saddens me that the members opposite have drunk the Kool‑Aid and think that the philosophy of privatisation builds economies. When 1,000 Ausgrid workers lost their jobs, how much were they contributing to our economy? When the trains were built in South Korea, how much were those workers contributing to our economy? The Government privatised our roads and made Sydney the most tolled city in the world. How does lining the pockets of Transurban help local families contribute to their local economy? That is what the Government does: It stuffs over the workers and looks after its mates. A prime example—and members know I love this one—is the anti‑competitive container cap on the Port of Newcastle.

Ms Yasmin Catley:

Biggest rort in town.


Biggest rort in town. In fact, give me another five minutes, because members know I could talk about this all day. Do those opposite want to talk about building a post‑COVID economy? With the stroke of a pen, and without opening its pork‑barrelling wallet, the Government could back in the ultimate economy building project: $1.8 billion of private investment in a multipurpose deepwater terminal, creating 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and tipping an incredible $2.5 billion into the national economy. It has a 98‑year lease and is currently the world's biggest coal port, but in 98 years that will not be the case.

What is the Government suggesting we do with it? It has no idea. The Government has no vision or leadership. Well, Labor does, and a key part of it is a container terminal. I know Government members like to take credit for things, but even they know they need to create the appearance of contributing. I have a proposal and it is win‑win: Just deliver on the promises you have made. It is about social housing and social capital. When you sell out our State, you sell out our people—and without our people, you do not have a post‑COVID economy with any strength whatsoever.

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (17:11:26):

That is five minutes we will never get back. I am a proud member of a government that has led the way at every stage of this pandemic and is building for a post‑COVID economy.

Mr Tim Crakanthorp:

How so?


You might learn something here.

An Opposition member interjected.


I will have a go at you in a second.


The member for Oatley will direct his comments through the Chair.


Much of the focus of this debate has been centred on COVID‑19. There can be no doubt that the Government has done an exceptional job in keeping the community safe and keeping the economy alive. Since March 2020 the Government has committed $29 billion to support sectors right across the economy, from businesses to health, education and public safety. The Government has acted swiftly to contain the virus and at the same time put support in place to bolster the economy. We have that prompt action and decisiveness to thank for the strong economic position New South Wales finds itself in today. In reality, the Government was building for a post‑COVID economy well before we had even heard of COVID‑19. Since 2011 the Coalition Government has delivered a record infrastructure pipeline to create jobs, build infrastructure—


I call the member for Wollongong to order for the first time.


—and deliver the essential services that we rely on. The measures that the Government has put in place since March 2020 are expected to support an average of 27,000 jobs per year over the next four years—


I call the member for Wollongong to order for the second time.


—with a particular focus on the next 12 to 18 months.


I call the member for Wollongong to order for the third time.


Just boot them out. They obviously do not want to hear this; they do not want to learn. While the rebound of economic activity to date has been stronger than expected and the near‑term outlook appears relatively positive, there is still a lot of work to be done. This is especially evident in the labour market. While the New South Wales unemployment rate has fallen sharply from its peak to 5.4 per cent in March 2021, the Government is committed to seeing lower trends. The New South Wales Government has delivered $169 million over four years for more mental health support; $100 million over four years to accelerate the Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration to improve facilities; $55 million over four years to expand palliative care; and $45 million to expand telehealth capacity to deliver faster and more convenient care across New South Wales.


I call the member for Newcastle to order for the first time.


In education, we are spending $240 million over two years to partner with local regional and metropolitan schools to accelerate capital improvement. We are spending $157 million over two years to upgrade schools across the State with LED lighting and $120 million to extend the COVID-19 free preschool program for community and mobile preschools that was due to end in 2021. Skilling for Recovery will be upgraded. We are spending $10 million on the Return to Work program to assist women to get back into the workforce. More than 2,300 Return to Work appointments have been booked to date and 519 applications have been approved. Relating to the Trades Skills Pathway Centre, the Government has committed $57 million over four years to create alternative pathways to trades beyond the apprenticeship model that are more suitable for women and experienced workers. Because of the Government's strong economic management, female and male employment rates have improved recently and will continue to improve in the coming months and years. Members on this side of the Chamber are getting on with the job of rebuilding the economy and investing money where it is deserved.


I call the member for Tweed to order for the first time.

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (17:16:29):

As a humble working-class economist from Macquarie Fields, I can tell Government members what it takes to build a post-COVID economic recovery and how we can speed up this recovery. They can start by doing their own thinking and researching their own facts rather than being sent to the Chamber to read words they did not write about concepts they do not understand, all in the hope of getting promoted. Anyone would know that in a free open-market economy such as ours, economic recovery must involve lifting aggregate demand through consumer spending, which stimulates economic activity, the production of goods and services, and jobs growth.

What we do not do to hasten this recovery and build a better economy is cut wages of frontline workers. It is not because our frontline workers have not done a good-enough job to keep us safe during the pandemic. It is not because our frontline workers have not worked enough hours or given up personal and family time or do not deserve their pay rise. The Liberal-Nationals Government cuts workers' wages because it is in its DNA. I can assure members that there is no vaccination to cure that one. It is in their frozen unreconstructed ideology to attack workers wages and their hard-fought conditions, which consequently hurts our economy. The Liberal-Nationals Government deliberately took legislative action to cut the wages of frontline workers. Those wages would have pumped $3 billion into the economy and, with an economic multiplier effect, would have pumped billions more to help us recover and build back better. If this Government wants to build a better post-COVID economy, they should not rely on voodoo economics and an un-reconstructed Thatcherism to attack workers' wages just because that is all their ideology allows.


To add further to the insult of cutting frontline workers' wages, this Government then decided to hand out millions of dollars' worth of bonuses to their hand-chosen icare corporate executives— la the Treasurer's millionaires' factory—and for what? It was for ripping off injured workers earning an honest wage, for awarding contracts to family members or those within their social network or for ensuring people who have experienced injury at work do not get supplementary wages. That is wages and income for injured workers who would have spent that money in our economy to help us bounce back better. Do your job to the highest standard: Keep us safe, keep our economy going, and we will cut your wages. Be mates with the Treasurer: Get appointed to a cushy job, run the agency to the ground, rip off injured workers and share in a million-dollar bonus.

This Government was not content with cutting wages so it decided to inflict further pain on our citizens, especially those in south-west Sydney, by imposing a new toll on the M5 East. It is an old road built by Labor that has been free of tolls for 20 years. It now costs $7.23 each way, every day, increasing 4 per cent every year for many more decades. That is tens of thousands of households being ripped off of thousands of dollars for millions of trips to be had. It is a rip‑off toll on a once-free road. That money could have gone towards hard-earned wages that could have been spent in the New South Wales economy. Instead, it is paying for a toll that has not existed in 20 years. But wait, there's more! This Government is like a bad Demtel ad for a flawed economic policy that is cutting wages, increasing the cost of living, and jacking up tolls. Who can forget the Treasurer's snake oil stamp duty reforms to tax family homes every year for the rest of our lives. It is a formula for higher property prices, higher rents, higher taxes and lower spending in our economy to get the economy going.


I call the member for Tweed to order for the second time.


This is supposedly the great economic panacea for improving housing affordability, stimulating billions of dollars' worth of economic activity and creating millions of jobs. It is the ultimate economic unicorn. It is funny that there never seems to be any credible economic evidence or commentary to support any of those grand conclusions. Replace a one-off tax with one that never ends so that people have less to spend on goods and services, which would stimulate jobs in the local economy and help to build a better post-COVID economy. That is economic policy and thinking we would find on a QAnon website. We have cutting wages, increasing tolls and taxing the family home but I could list many more if time permitted. The motion moved by the member for Hawkesbury shows that she and her Government are the ultimate super‑spreaders of bad economic decisions that hurt our economy and households and the chances of building a better post-COVID economy for all people in New South Wales.

Mr GEOFF PROVEST (Tweed) (17:21:41):

I applaud the member for Hawkesbury for bringing our attention to this very crucial matter. All members in this Chamber have gone through well over 12 months of COVID and the unique and financial impacts it has made on everyday life. I am proud of what this Government has done for building a post-COVID economy. The Government is already on the front foot in building a strong post-COVID economy, thanks to the COVID stimulus support and sound economic management. That is not to say that the task has been easy. The economic impact of bushfires and COVID-19 has been felt across New South Wales.

In line with the sharp contraction in the national economy, in 2020 the New South Wales economy recorded its first recession in nearly 30 years. Since then the State's recovery from the impact of COVID-19 has exceeded all expectations. In July 2020 the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 per cent, which is its highest level since the late 1990s. Solid employment growth since then supports a revised expectation that the unemployment rate has peaked at a lower level than previously forecast. A forecasted continued recovery in economic activity would see the unemployment rate ease to around 5 per cent by June 2024. The closure of international borders has lowered the State's population growth to the slowest growth in 100 years. It has not only weighed heavily on short-term economic growth but also severely impacted the State's education, tourism and exports. It has also contributed to slower productivity and an ageing population. That makes the massive COVID stimulus measures provided by this Government all the more crucial.

The stimulus measures include $3 billion for the health response, $2.8 billion to support businesses and the economy, $536 million to support communities and families, $3.7 billion in high-quality capital and maintenance works, $1.1 billion in revenue waived and $5.2 billion in revenue deferred, $2.1 billion in savings to businesses via a payroll tax reduction from 5.45 per cent to 4.85 per cent in 2021-22, $744 million in savings to businesses via an increase to the payroll tax threshold, $500 million for the Dine & Discover Scheme, $427 million for a digital scheme to provide rebates to eligible small businesses, $337 million over the 2021 school year targeting intensive tutoring in all Government and non-Government schools, $363 million in social and Aboriginal housing, $250 million to support councils to deliver legacy projects for public spaces and $400 million to extend the program for additional cleaners. The list goes on and on. Even in my electorate I can see the beneficial impacts. Currently we are building a $700 million hospital in the Tweed—the largest one in the regions—and that was fast‑tracked with another $90 million in the last budget, plus another $50 million for free car parking at the hospital.

Ms Yasmin Catley:

We all want free car parking.


You should advocate for your electorate. If you do not advocate strongly enough you do not get the case through. You should advocate for your electorate rather than come in here rehashing the same old lines.


The member for Tweed will direct his comments through the Chair.


When I was in Opposition I remember the financial mess that the Labor Party created in this State over 16 long years. We were billions of dollars in debt. In contrast, we have $140 million going into our schools, we have upgrades to four of our major schools in the Tweed—


The member for Gosford will come to order.


—and apprenticeships in our TAFE colleges are up 30 per cent.


The member for Swansea will come to order.

Mr Paul Scully:

Six thousand teachers down.


My TAFE does a tremendous job up there. The number of teachers employed in the Kingscliff TAFE are up—they are not down, they are up—and enrolments are up. People are working in my electorate and that is thanks to the good fiscal management of the Liberal-Nationals Government. This is financial planning at its best.

Mr Paul Scully:

How are your police numbers going?


My policing numbers are up. I have 14 new probationary constables out of the last five attestations.

Mr Paul Scully:

Did you thank Justine Elliot for it?


Irrespective of Justine Elliot, the local Federal member. She should get out and see what is really going on.


I remind the member for Wollongong that he is on three calls to order. I call the member for Swansea to order for the second time.


The Liberals and Nationals are doing great things in this State. The State is behind them and long shall they rule.

Ms YASMIN CATLEY (Swansea) (17:26:50):

This gives me a great opportunity to put some facts on the table. We have heard a lot of garbage about the economy coming from those on the opposite side. I will give the House the facts, which come from CommSec economic data, which the Government itself relies upon. First and foremost: New South Wales is ranked number six. We are behind Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. We are at the bottom of the list. Other CommSec economic data shows that New South Wales is fifth in economic growth; fifth in equipment investment; sixth in housing finance; seventh in dwelling starts; and seventh in population growth—why would anyone come here? Everyone is going to Victoria. New South Wales is fourth in retail spending and third in construction, even though the Government had an opportunity during COVID to invest in construction to create jobs and to conform with our social responsibility to build more public housing. But what did the Government do? The Government cut public sector wages instead.

One thing we do know is that during this period of COVID we have become incredibly exposed when it comes to making stuff in this State. Do members remember the day it was disclosed that we had no masks for our health workers in the hospital sector? And what did the Premier do? Three days later she sent a billion dollars overseas to buy masks and have them shipped here to our shores. Shame on her! It is because she does not believe in manufacturing in our State. We did not have ventilators in our hospitals. What a disgrace!

Mr Paul Scully:

They could have got them from the mines.


They could have got them from the mining industry. The member for Wollongong knows all about that. He is an avid supporter, of course, of manufacturing—as is everybody on this side of the Chamber. We are so exposed, and we had an opportunity to invest in manufacturing and to reset this State after it has been absolutely bludgeoned for the past 10 years in the manufacturing sector. But, instead, the Government has continued to leave us exposed. And why did we not support the medical and health manufacturing? Why did we not set up vaccines? The Hunter Medical Research Institute in Newcastle is one of the best in the world, set up by a Labor government—the member for Newcastle would remember that; he knows how proud we are of that institution. Why did we not do that? Instead, the Government has left this State exposed. It decided to do nothing but the bare minimum. We have had to put up with that and, guess what? We are sick of it; we are sick to bloody death of it!

What about skills? Why do we not start to really invest in skills so that we have the skills to create these vaccines in the future? Who knows, there may well be another pandemic down the track and we will need our medical and health manufacturing. But no, the Government takes the lazy option as usual and again leaves this State exposed. The problem is that we remain vulnerable because the action that should have been taken was not taken, and that is because this Government is lazy.

Mr Kevin Anderson:

Not all of us!


That is true. The member for Tamworth is a very active member, we know that, and I do agree. We still have the problems that we had before and I say: Shame on the Premier for doing that. The Premier has banked herself significant personal and political dividends during COVID-19 because of the hard work of public sector workers who have done all the heavy lifting on our behalf, and they are to be congratulated in spades—I want everybody to acknowledge that, as we should. But we did not give the public sector workers a pay rise. Even though we call them heroes one day, on another day we say we are not going to pay them. But back to the motion at hand. The Premier has no plans to fix this State for the future and she has done nothing to ensure that we never go into a future crisis with the same weaknesses that are going on right now in COVID-19. I therefore move:

That the motion be amended by leaving out all words after "That" with a view to inserting instead:

this House acknowledges that this Government is not building for a post-COVID economy.


I remind the member for Newcastle that he is on two calls to order.

Mr ALEX GREENWICH (Sydney) (17:32:19):

I support the motion moved by the member for Hawkesbury and thank her for bringing it to the Parliament. I put on the record the thanks I have for the New South Wales Government in working so constructively with the City of Sydney to support one of the greatest negatively impacted parts of our economy from the COVID-19 pandemic—Sydney's CBD, which was hit hardest. As we know, Sydney's CBD has resting on its shoulders the State's and the nation's economy, but it was hit so hard. I put on the record the great work that the City of Sydney has done in collaboration with the New South Wales Government, which includes $2 million in small business relief grants. These were grants of up to $10,000 and they were to be used to support businesses through some of their difficult times.

The CBD summits have been held twice so far throughout this time and they have included the Treasurer, the Lord Mayor, the shadow Treasurer and me, as well as key stakeholders from impacted sectors. We were able to all come together and come up with ideas and solutions to support the economy in the city. The city has also put in place a dedicated team to help people through the grant process and provide tips on how to make a successful application. We have seen a great waiving of fees and rent reviews from the city as well to help their tenants be able to thrive. Most importantly, a key part of ensuring that we are building this post-COVID economy has been some of the policy changes that we have seen put in place. Many policy changes were initially temporary or emergency measures, but many of them are now permanent. Anybody who has spent time in the CBD and surrounding suburbs has seen the huge success of outdoor dining and the way in which we have made it easier for restaurants, cafes and small bars to use footpath space, thus enabling people to enjoy the beautiful outdoors while dining and enjoying some of Sydney's great meals.

We have seen changes to the way in which loading docks and deliveries work, which has meant we are able to have more efficient delivery and distribution of goods. We have also seen great work done with cycleways across the CBD, where uptake in cycling has increased by 40 per cent. It has taken a pandemic to get some of these policies changed but it is great that they have changed. The lockouts have also been finally removed—great support for our nightlife economy, which has been hit extremely hard. Following advocacy from the sector, the Lord Mayor and me, the New South Wales Government has also injected a great deal of support into live music venues, which has been welcomed by a hard-hit sector.

We have seen the fast-tracking of capital works by the City of Sydney—the fast-tracking of some $23 million worth of capital works—from paving upgrades, park and landscape renewals and essential building upgrades. It is important to note that it takes a well-run, economically stable and strong local government to be able to support its community through some of the toughest financial times. That has been achieved by the City of Sydney—a testament to the continued strength and leadership of Lord Mayor Clover Moore. I thank the Government for bringing this motion to the House. We still have a long way to go in supporting so many communities across the State through the COVID recovery but it is good to see the local and State governments working together to achieve that end.

Ms ROBYN PRESTON (Hawkesbury) (15:36:32):

In reply: I have been listening to this interesting debate and acknowledge the contributions of my fellow colleagues—the member for Newcastle, the member for Oatley, the member for Macquarie Fields, the member for Tweed, the member for Swansea and, in particular, the member for Sydney. I know how hard the member for Sydney has been working to get Sydney back to its pre‑COVID conditions. One can see the cooperation and partnership between local and State governments. I hanker to get back to the way we were pre-COVID. I thank the member for working with both governments to achieve that. My colleagues on this side of the House talked about the stimulus that this Government has been creating but all I heard from Opposition members was, "Let's jack up the wages. Let's strip away the tolls." Why do they want to jack up wages and strip away tolls?


Order! The member for Shellharbour will come to order.


This Government has successfully built up the post-COVID economy by reducing unemployment to 5.4 per cent in March 2021—down from 7.2 per cent in July 2020—which has to count for something. The Dine & Discover vouchers were massively utilised at the recent Hawkesbury Show where 70,000 people attended and almost everyone accessed and loved the Dine & Discover vouchers. Opposition members are probably kicking themselves that they did not think of that in the first place.


I call the member for Swansea to order for the third time.


In all, 3.5 million people downloaded the Dine & Discover vouchers. What a successful program that has been. That is just one government initiative on the road to recovery. Anyone visiting the Hawkesbury would know that restaurants and bars are returning to normal and tradies are going about their work.


I call the member for Newcastle to order for the third time.


We have stimulated the economy with infrastructure growth, with new build and with capital works programs. That is what it is all about.


The member for Tweed will come to order.


This Government is getting the economy back up and running post-COVID. I think we have done that. Opposition members ignored their responsibility and fell flat on their faces.


I call the member for Shellharbour to order for the first time. A number of members are on two and three calls to order.

The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

The House divided.




Amendment negatived.


The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.