(16:13): Today I am calling on the Prime Minister to kick-start the Paterson economy. Regional communities like my electorate are the key to our recovery, Prime Minister. We have boundless plains to share. We've got the land, and many new families are moving into my electorate to chase that great Australian dream of home ownership. New estates are springing up at Chisholm, Aberglasslyn, Gillieston Heights and Thornton, bringing with them people who need jobs and services. While we welcome those new families—I relish the thought of one day being able to doorknock all those thousands of new homes—I know that the people that are moving to our area and the people that live there want the infrastructure to support these new families moving to our area. It's one thing to have lots and lots of people moving into the area, but they have to be able to move around; they need hospitals and schools; they need the infrastructure and services to support a worthwhile life and to enhance that dream. Unfortunately, after drought and fire and now COVID-19, many people in my community have felt that the government just hasn't done enough to kickstart the economy and really back their family in. I'm imploring the government to do more to help the Paterson economy bounce back.
The Prime Minister has said he's going to fast-track $1.5 billion worth of infrastructure projects. Well, I got some suggestions for things that he could do in my electorate that desperately need doing. The Prime Minister could build the M1 extension from Raymond Terrace to Black Hill. This would be the last piece of the M1 puzzle, Prime Minister, to go from Sydney to Brisbane. People are now queuing up to an hour or two hours just to get over the Hexham Bridge and the river. This is just not good enough. We know that lots and lots of freight comes from western New South Wales across the New England Highway and the Golden Highway down to the Port of Newcastle. It intersects with that same stretch of road, and, in the meantime, I have people who are just trying to make a living. They just want to get to work and not be camped with holiday traffic for three hours—and it's not just the holidays, it's every morning and afternoon now.
Come on, Prime Minister, give us a clear run on the M1, and the Newcastle Airport, while I'm at it. If we could make the runway a code E runway, then we would be able to have planes landing that would be able to reach further into Asia and we would be able to take our beautiful seafood and our produce into those areas, creating export dollars and industries for my community. This is so important. I'm going to be talking to my community in a virtual town hall about this. I'm inviting you to come along. It's Wednesday 24 June at 10.30. Just go on to my website, merylswanson.com.au, to register.