Road safety is of paramount importance right across Australia, particularly in regional areas where every highway, byway and single lane country road is regularly used by trucks and semitrailers. These heavy vehicles cargo fresh food from paddocks, grain from silos, fuel from refineries, livestock from saleyards and resources from mines.
It is 12 months since Japan was devastated by a nation-changing disaster that rocked the country to its very core but did not dent the will of its people. Japanese people are proud, resilient and strong. They have needed to be over the past year as they pick up the pieces of broken lives and shattered cities, as they mourn for those who never came home and as they look to the future with expectation and with hope.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (15:58): It is interesting to note that the government and the member for Fraser have put forward this topic for today's matter of public importance debate. I agree: there is an 'urgent need for market based reforms and for strict and transparent budgeting'. This is no more so than with the issue of water, especially in and around my electorate of Riverina.
In February 1942, Broome, Western Australia, was used as the Australian end of an air shuttle service from Java. Hundreds of evacuees were ferried to Broome in Dutch, American and Australian military and civil aircraft, including flying boats of Qantas Empire Airways. By the end of that month the town was overflowing with military personnel and refugees.
The situation with the floods in the Riverina has not yet been averted. There are still communities on very grave flood watch alert in the Riverina and the situation is quite critical in those areas downstream where sandbagging has been done and people have been evacuated and now they are just waiting, watching, hoping and praying.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (12.21 pm)—Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2010-2011 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-2011 are more proof of everything that is wrong with the Labor government’s ability to manage the economy. They include wasteful spending and poor management leading to structural deficits which will result in families being unfairly hit by higher costs of living.
Mr McCORMACK ( Riverina ) ( 19:42 ): May I at the outset take issue with the member for Cunningham, who talked of the assistance package for those in the live cattle export industry which is part of these appropriation bills. The assistance would not have been necessary had the Prime Minister not, in a knee-jerk reaction, shut down the industry in the first place.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (16:02): There is an urgent need for the government to protect the jobs of Australian workers. Workers and the families they support across the nation are hurting. They are hurting because Labor does not grasp the everyday reality of just how hard it is for long-suffering families to make ends meet.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (20:40): Australia has one of the best health systems in the world, largely due to the balance which exists between the public and private health sectors. This Labor government is willing to put our health system at risk—grave risk.
Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (09:42): A group of determined women from my Riverina electorate have banded
together and will descend upon Canberra this month to champion their fight for a sensible outcome in the water debate. It is now more than halfway through the consultation period for the Murray-Darling Basin draft.