Adjournment Debate - Rebuilding Our Regions

It's been clear to me since my election in 2016 that regional communities have been getting hollowed out for far too long under the Liberals. The Liberals talk a big game on the regions, but they just don't do the work that matters. Access to medical services is woeful. Internet is under par. We're losing banks and services left, right and centre. And don't get me started on the state of our regional roads and highways under the Liberals. That's why every chance I get I talk about the importance of rebuilding our regions. We need people, businesses and government services back in our regions. Under Labor, that will happen. Labor leader Anthony Albanese understands the regions and he knows they are a major driver of the nation's economic growth. When we back in our regions, we are investing in a better future.

A few weeks ago, the member for Grayndler visited Lyons, along with Labor's candidate for Bass, Ross Hart, and me, to announce that an Albanese Labor government will commit $15 million to build a new headquarters for the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Launceston Airport. It's a terrific commitment from Labor for a terrific service. More than 2,300 flights are undertaken by the RFDS in Tasmania every year. It provides crucial aeromedical and patient transfer for regional communities. However, it's clear that to maintain this crucial service new facilities are needed. Labor's redevelopment will include facilities for world-class clinical care and give the space needed to cater for additional medical and fire services personnel in times of crisis or high bushfire danger.

By securing the future of the RFDS, Labor will ensure that this essential service retains its central location and accessibility to Tasmanians for all corners of our state. This is essential funding. I'd just like to give a shout-out to John Kirwan, the departing CFO of the RFDS, who joined the RFDS in Tasmania some years ago when it was a three-person operation. There are now more than 40 staff providing critical primary medical services across Tasmania, including a very well-used mobile dental van that goes to aged-care centres in my electorate.

Unlike those opposite, who rort and pillage the public purse, Labor is identifying key areas of need and working with communities to deliver the best outcome just like our $8 million commitment to upgrade Main Road in Perth and High Street in Campbell Town. We'll be working with the Northern Midlands Council to improve pedestrian safety, install new street furniture, reinvigorating the centres of both these growing towns.

Of course there's Labor's $100,000 commitment to fund a feasibility study into bringing world-class dementia care to Campbell Town. Now, some people say why a feasibility study? We know a unit is needed, but a feasibility study is the first step to getting that dementia unit for Campbell Town. Labor is working with residents from across the northern Midlands to identify critical dementia care shortages.

These commitments from Labor and the Labor leader Anthony Albanese will help to rebuild our regions and make these towns much better places to live. I come back to my central point: Labor knows that the regions are a critical part of the nation's economy going forward. They've been left to languish for too long under those opposite. They talk a big game. They wear the big hats. They wear the checked shirts. They put on the blunnies and the moleskins and walk around the paddocks but don't do the work. Our medical services in the regions are woeful. Our internet is below par. The digital divide in regional communities is getting wider and wider under the Liberals. Labor has a plan to improve the NBN in the regions and the outer suburbs, and bring fibre back into those areas which the Liberals, of course, with their second-rate NBN, have allowed to languish.

Labor understands the regions. Labor gets the regions. Labor loves the regions and Labor will invest in the regions. Thank you.