Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Jan 4, 2018

Time to End Anti-Victorian Funding Cuts

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must end the politics, reverse his Government’s savage cuts and provide Victoria with its fair share of Federal infrastructure funding.

According to the Government’s own figures, as revealed in last month’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), Victoria will receive a paltry 9.7 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget this financial year (2017-18) – and that’s despite the State being home to 25 per cent of Australians.

But not satisfied with denying Victoria its fair share, they have also failed to
deliver what limited funding they did promise.

Indeed, in their first four budgets the Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victoria’s rail and road infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2.3 billion, which represents an actual cut of $1 billion.

They have cut funding for major road and rail projects.

They have cut funding for fixing dangerous blackspots on local roads.

They have even cut funding for building new roadside facilities such as rest stops for truck drivers.

Put simply, the Turnbull Government has walked away from Victorians and left it to the Andrews Labor Government to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering the infrastructure vital to Victoria’s future such as the Melbourne Metro.  The fact is without transformative projects like the Metro the cost of Melbourne’s traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion a year by 2031.

All up, Federal infrastructure investment per Victorian has more than halved from $201 under the former Federal Labor Government to $92 under the current Turnbull Government.

As Australia’s fastest growing state, Victoria deserves better.

THURSDAY, 4 JANUARY 2018

Jan 3, 2018

Infrastructure Funding for SA to Plummet to Just 2 Per Cent

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must reverse his Government’s savage cuts to Federal investment in South Australia’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

According to the Turnbull Government’s own Budget Papers, Federal investment in the State will plummet by 90 per cent from $921 million this financial year (2017-18) to $95 million in 2020-21 – see graph below.

Such massive cuts will lead to worsening traffic congestion in Adelaide and much slower economic and jobs growth from one end of the State to the other.  And this comes at a time when South Australia is coping with the fallout from other Federal policies, most notably their shameful decision to force the closure of our domestic car manufacturing industry.

Put simply, investment in infrastructure matters.

What’s more, if Mr Joyce does not act, then by 2020-21 only 2 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget will be going to South Australia – and that’s despite the State being home to more than 7 per cent of Australians.

That would be a grossly unfair outcome.

And worse still, the cuts over the next four years would be on top of the cuts the Turnbull Government has already inflicted on South Australia.  Indeed, in their first four budgets they promised to invest $2.4 billion in the State’s rail, road and public transport infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2 billion, which represents a cut of $400 million.

The fact is the money they cut could have been used to accelerate the roll out of the new AdeLINK tram network or help complete the remaining stages of the North South road corridor upgrade.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government (2007-2013) almost tripled annual Federal infrastructure investment in the State from $109 to $272 per South Australian.

WEDNESDAY, 3 JANUARY 2018

Dec 29, 2017

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Queensland

Subjects; Cross River Rail, Barnaby Joyce, Coalition infrastructure underspend

ANTHONY ALBANESE: (Audio interrupted) Queenslanders voted at the end of last year and they voted overwhelmingly in South-East Queensland to re-elect the Palaszczuk Government where funding for the Cross River Rail project and whether it should proceed was a major election issue.

What we’ve seen is a decline in infrastructure investment here in Queensland and nationally from the Commonwealth Government. In the Mid-Year Economic Forecast there was a further cut of some $1 billion from the Government’s own projections, which they made just in May. So a cut from $8 billion to $7 billion. That brings the cuts over the Coalition’s first four budgets to some $4.8 billion less in actual investment from the investment that they themselves said when they released their budgets.

In Queensland, that figure is $1 billion less than what they themselves put in their budgets when they made their announcements and released papers on Budget night. What that means is a billion dollars that could have already been put into the Cross River Rail project, or a billion dollars to make improvements on the Bruce Highway.

Over the coming decade, the Parliamentary Budget Office, independent of politics, has said that the infrastructure share of the economy in terms of investment will decline by half from 0.4 to 0.2 per cent. What that means is less jobs and less economic growth. It also means bad outcomes for road safety because as the investment declines, roads aren’t able to be maintained and new, safer roads with dual carriageways aren’t able to be built.

So Barnaby Joyce must step up. He says he cares about Queensland; what he’s got to do is invest in Queensland and the test for him over coming months is to show that investment is there in the 2018 Budget. There’s another test for Barnaby Joyce as well, which is that over the last four years we’ve seen, after year after year of decline in the road toll, we’ve seen an increase. Barnaby Joyce should immediately convene the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, sit down with his state and territory ministerial counterparts, the Labor Opposition federally would be more than happy to sit down and participate to work out why it is that after decades of decline we’re seeing more and more tragedies on our roads and that has been exacerbated by this Christmas/New Year period. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Albo, we’ve seen the problems in regional Queensland with a lot of people not happy with their share of construction. I’m glad you mentioned the Bruce Highway. Do you think that regional Queensland has been forgotten about?

ALBANESE: What’s happening is that the Government has made commitments about spending at Budget time and then not invested. So regional Queensland needs that investment. When we were in office, we more than quadrupled the amount of investment into the Bruce Highway after years of neglect. Some $1.3 billion was invested under the Howard Government over twelve years. We put $6.7 billion in during our six years of office and you saw that improvement in areas like Cooroy to Curra, in areas like the Townsville southern and northern approaches, around the Mackay ring-road where we began the funding for that project, the southern approaches to Cairns. We saw those improvements in the Warrego Highway, but what we need to do is make sure that that investment steps up, which is why it is so outrageous that the Government has underspent on its own figures what itself said it would spend by some $1 billion in Queensland alone out of that $4.8 billion underspend over its first four budgets.

JOURNALIST: Regional Queenslanders listening to you right now, watching you, what’s your message, what’s your sales pitch to them on why $5.4 billion should be spent on the Cross River Rail project?

ALBANESE: The fact is that we need investment in South-East Queensland and in regional Queensland. We need to step up the investment on the Bruce Highway. We need to step up the investment on the Warrego, like we did when we were in office. Projects like the Townsville ring-road only occurred because of a Federal Labor Government being in place. And they are important projects. But so too is urban congestion important, to drive productivity.

The Cross River Rail project is vital because you need a second rail crossing here. It’s not just about Brisbane; it also is about the capacity of the network on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. It’s about productivity, it’s also about getting cars off our roads and getting people onto public transport, that increases road safety and reduces the health budget.

What we know is that public transport investment over a period of time pays for itself, because it produces a return to the economy through those productivity benefits. That benefits all Queenslanders. So I think what we need is a Government that is committed to both regional communities, but also to communities here in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

JOURNALIST: Albo, the average punter probably doesn’t doubt Labor’s commitment to infrastructure, but what about your general commitment to spending? You saw the deficit last time you guys were in power rise quite dramatically, how can we stop that?

ALBANESE: What we’ve seen under this Government is the deficit blow out massively. We’ve seen the debt increase by hundreds of billions of dollars under this Government. We’ve seen this Government lift the debt ceiling. The fact is that it is this Government that hasn’t been able to deal with a sensible economic outcome. We delivered the response to the Global Financial Crisis with lower deficits than what this Government has been able to deliver when we’ve had, essentially, global economic sunshine.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask your thoughts on ousted politicians being appointed to plum jobs as advisors? Pauline Hanson has appointed Malcolm Roberts and Steve Dickson, while there’s rumours Barnaby Joyce will have Fiona Nash as his Chief of Staff.

ALBANESE: Merit has to come into play when it comes to appointments to jobs as advisors. Malcolm Roberts was a dismal failure as a Senator, came up with all sorts of very strange ideas and theories around climate change and other issues. I think that Pauline Hanson would be well served by thinking very carefully about merit in appointments. Barnaby Joyce needs to do the same. He needs to be on top of his portfolio. He’s got major challenges.

We’ve got skills shortages in the aviation sector that have been identified in terms of pilots and engineers. We’ve got the issues of road safety. We’ve got ongoing challenges of dealing with urban congestion. We’ve got the issue of road safety, particularly in our regions. We’ve got issues of making sure that more freight gets off our roads and onto rail. There are major challenges with regard to the maritime sector in this country, making sure that the Australian flag continues to have a presence on the back of Australian ships with Australian seafarers on those ships. Barnaby Joyce needs to deal with all of that and at the same time he appears to be distracted by the internal machinations of his divided party.

JOURNALIST: Just overseas, are you concerned by reports that China is breaking sanctions (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Look I’m not going to respond, frankly, to every one of President Trump’s tweets. I think it would be a really good idea if foreign policy was done on the basis of fact and on the basis of very careful consideration of comments and therefore, I think I’ll await to see what the facts are. Very clearly, there’s a bipartisan position with regard to North Korea and with the need for sanctions to be imposed on what is essentially a rogue and dangerous state.

JOURNALIST: Is it acceptable that Australian workers are forking out $83 a week, or three hours work, to fund Australia’s increasing welfare budget?

ALBANESE: When you look at the actual facts, the largest component in that is the age pension. Now I support the age pension being paid to people who’ve made a contribution to this nation for their entire working lives. And we need to be very careful, I think, that we give respect to our older Australians who’ve helped make this nation the greatest one on earth. Thank you.

[ENDS]

FRIDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2017

Dec 29, 2017

Media Release – Barnaby Joyce Must Fund Cross River Rail

New Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must ensure there is no further delay and commit to investing in Brisbane’s Cross River Rail.

The fact is that the people of Queensland voted for Cross River Rail at the November election when they re-elected the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

The project will not only provide a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD to add to the Merivale Bridge, which is approaching full capacity, but it will also increase the capacity of the rail network throughout south-east Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Cross River Rail is a no-brainer.

Approved by the independent Infrastructure Australia in 2012, a joint commitment to deliver the project was then reached with Federal Labor and the Campbell Newman LNP Government in 2013.

Since then it has been subject to the whims of the Federal Coalition Government.

First, Tony Abbott cancelled all funding for public transport projects around the nation, and then Malcolm Turnbull refused to reinstate Commonwealth funding for the Cross River Rail.

Now is the time for Barnaby Joyce to draw a line in the sand and quit playing politics with this vital project.

By funding Cross River Rail now, Barnaby Joyce can show that he is concerned with urban congestion as well as regional roads.

As Deputy Prime Minister he is in a position to show leadership and reverse the drastic decline in infrastructure investment foreshadowed in the Government’s Budget.

According to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, Commonwealth infrastructure investment, as measured as a percentage of GDP, will halve from 0.4 to 0.2 percent by 2020-21.

The Government is not only slashing funding over the next four years, but has also failed to deliver on the promises made in their first three budgets.

And this year’s Budget will be no different.

Indeed, at Budget time just seven months ago, the Government said it would invest $8 billion in the nation’s road and rail infrastructure in 2017-18.

However, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) revealed that they will actually invest $7 billion, which represents a $1 billion cut.

That takes the total infrastructure cuts over their first four budgets to $4.8 billion.

If Barnaby Joyce wants to be taken seriously, he must reverse these cuts now and he should start by investing in Cross River Rail.

FRIDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2017 

Nov 27, 2017

Coalition Must Hear the People and Invest in Cross River Rail

Malcolm Turnbull must heed the clear message from the Queensland election result and end his irrational refusal to invest in Brisbane’s much needed Cross River Rail project.

During the Queensland election campaign the Liberal-National Party rejected Cross River Rail, which would provide a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD and boost productivity right across south-east Queensland, including on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Mr Turnbull has also refused to invest in the project, despite it having been endorsed by the independent Infrastructure Australia in 2012.

The LNP’s flogging at the hands of voters on Saturday, particularly in Queensland’s south-east, sounds a clear message to Mr Turnbull that Queenslanders understand the importance of infrastructure investment to economic and employment growth.

Mr Turnbull should listen.

The former Federal Labor Government and Queensland’s former Newman LNP Government reached a deal to deliver Cross River Rail in 2013, only to see the project scrapped months later by the incoming Abbott Federal Government.

Since Mr Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott, he has expressed rhetorical support for public transport projects.

But he has maintained the Coalition’s refusal to invest in Cross River Rail, leaving the Palaszczuk Government to go it alone on this important project.

Mr Turnbull should also lift his game more generally with regard to infrastructure delivery, with Budget documents showing his Government has not only cut infrastructure investment, but also failed to deliver its reduced budgets.

In its first three Budgets, the Coalition invested $3.9 billion less on infrastructure across the nation than it promised.

This included a cut of $700 million in Queensland.

MONDAY, 27 NOVEMBER, 2017

 

Nov 24, 2017

Labor’s Infrastructure Legacy Continues to benefit Australia

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the election of the Rudd Labor Government, only the third time Federal Labor had been elected to government from opposition since the Second World War.

And when it came to nation building infrastructure, the far-reaching reforms we implemented and the unprecedented capital works program we initiated have made a real and substantial difference.

Between 2007 and 2013, under the leadership of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, Labor:

  • Delivered national leadership through the appointment of Australia’s first ever Federal Infrastructure Minister and the creation of a Federal Infrastructure Department.
  • Established Infrastructure Australia to overhaul and drive lasting improvements to the way our nation assesses, plans, finances, builds and uses the infrastructure that will drive growth and productivity in the 21st century, including:
    • Completing the first ever infrastructure audit;
    • Creating a National Priority List to guide investment into nationally-significant projects offering the highest economic, social and environmental returns – and we had committed funding to all those identified as ‘ready-to-proceed’;
    • Developing national Public Private Partnership (PPP) guidelines to make it easier and cheaper for private investors to partner with government to build new public infrastructure;
    • Publishing long term blueprints for a truly national, integrated and multimodal transport system capable of moving goods around as well as into and out of Australia quickly, reliably and efficiently: the National Ports Strategy and the National Land Freight Strategy.
  • Ended the Commonwealth’s self-imposed exile from our cities and re-engaged with the states, territories and local government to help build productive, sustainable and liveable communities.  In particular, Labor:
    • Created the Major Cities Unit;
    • Established the National Planning Taskforce;
    • Published an annual State of the Cities Report;
    • Produced a comprehensive National Urban Policy: Our Cities, Our Future;
    • Committed more funding to urban public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined ($13.6 billion);
    • Established the Australian Council of Local Government to give local communities a voice in national policy making process;
    • Funded the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government whose mandate was to strengthen skills and professionalism within local government, and showcase innovation and best practice.
  • Slashed the number of state, territory and Federal bodies regulating heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety from 23 to 3, freeing up the movement of interstate trade and boosting national income by $30 billion over the next 20 years.
  • Created Regional Development Australia to provide strategic input into national programs and improve the coordination of regional development initiatives.
  • Set up the Office of Northern Australia to attract and drive economic development opportunities across the country’s vast north.

We backed up these sweeping institutional reforms with record investment.

As part of our Nation Building Program, Labor:

  • Doubled the roads budget; built and upgraded 7,500 kilometres of road including completing the duplication of the Hume Highway, accelerating the upgrade of the Pacific Highway to dual carriageway and rebuilding hundreds of kilometres of the Bruce Highway.
  • Increased investment in rail more than ten-fold; rebuilt a third of the Interstate Rail Network, 4,000 kilometres of track.
  • Established the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, the first ever Federal program dedicated to building new and improving the existing roadside facilities used by truck drivers such as rest stops.
  • Used innovative financing arrangements such as value capture, equity injections and public-private partnerships to attract greater private investment in public infrastructure.  For example, we employed such arrangements to deliver Northconnex and the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal in Sydney, as well as Legacy Way in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Light Rail.

In addition to investing in the nation’s transport infrastructure, Labor also:

  • Made the biggest ever Federal investment in the renewal of the nation’s community infrastructure, delivering 5,500 small and larger scale projects including new and upgraded public libraries, sporting facilities, parks, playgrounds and child care centres;
  • Began rolling out high speed broadband to the nation’s homes and workplaces, replacing the existing out-dated copper wire network with fibre optic cable;
  • Built 20,000 new affordable homes for low income individuals and families;
  • Completed the largest ever school modernisation program, including building and refurbishing 5,000 classrooms, 3,100 libraries, 2,800 multi-purpose halls and 530 science centres.
  • Established a Health and Hospitals Fund to finance investment in health infrastructure such as the renewal and refurbishment of hospitals, medical technology equipment, and major medical research facilities and projects.

As a result of these budget measures Australia went from 20th to 1st on the international league table that ranks countries on the scale of the investment they are making in their infrastructure.

The former Federal Labor Government’s nation building agenda of greater investment and long term reform extended to the transport industries linking Australia to the global economy; shipping and aviation.

In the area of aviation, Labor:

  • Published Australia’s first ever Aviation White Paper to guide the industry’s future growth, with measures to address skill shortages, a lack of investment in new facilities, unstable world oil prices, global terrorism, inadequate long term planning and poor community relations.
  • Negotiated international agreements that gave Australian airlines greater access to major markets, including China and the United States.
  • Oversaw a $900 million investment by Airservices Australia in new and upgraded air traffic management technology, and aerodrome rescue and firefighting services.
  • Acted to secure more jobs, higher economic growth and Sydney’s status as a global city by progressing planning on the Western Sydney Airport.
  • Amended the Airports Act to give local communities a greater voice and better information about development at the nation’s major airports including on the environmental impact of airport operations.
  • Injected over $260 million into regional and remote aviation infrastructure, including new and upgraded airport facilities – more than five times what the Howard government spent.

In maritime, Labor’s agenda was equally ambitious.  We:

  • Began rebuilding the domestic shipping industry with reforms designed to reduce the costs faced by Australian shippers and level the playing field with their international competitors.  The package included a zero tax rate, creation of an International Shipping Register and new tax incentives to employ Australian seafarers.
  • Enacted the first major rewrite of the nation’s maritime laws since the Navigation Act 1912 was adopted a century earlier.

Lastly, the former Federal Labor Government put High Speed Rail on the national agenda. Not only did we publish a landmark Implementation Study, but we also allocated more than $50 million to establish a High Speed Rail Authority to advance the planning and begin securing the corridor.

From the outset the central task of the former Federal Labor Government was to reverse the neglect we inherited and invest in the modern, well-planned infrastructure that would make people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the national economy stronger.

By that measure, Labor has much to be proud of.

Under Labor we made the right decisions for the nation’s future, and across the length and breadth of the country built the infrastructure which will stand the test of time.

FRIDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2017

Nov 24, 2017

Coalition Cuts $355 Million from Promised SA Infrastructure

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to deliver $355 million that it promised to invest on railways and roads in South Australia over the past three years.

Budget papers show the Government undertook to invest $1.44 billion in the State’s infrastructure in its first three Budgets (2014/15 to 2016-17).

But Final Budget Outcome documents reveal it actually invested $1.08 billion.

The $355 million shortfall indicates the Government has failed to deliver on even its own minimal commitments by failing to roll out projects as promised.

The cuts include $233 million from investment in major rail projects and $11.1 million from the program established to fix and upgrade existing bridges.

The Government also cut $3.6 million from the important Black Spots road safety program, which upgrades safety at the locations of fatal or serious accidents.

Based on the cost of the average Black Spot upgrade, the Government could have upgraded more than 20 dangerous Black Spots if only it had invested what it promised.

It also cut $6.2 million from promised investment in the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, which improves safety by providing rest stops and parking areas for trucks.

If the money had been delivered as promised it could have been used to deliver the next stage of the North-South corridor project between Pym Street and Regency Road.

Completing this missing link will deliver substantial benefits, creating a non-stop 47km corridor from the River Torrens to Gawler, saving up to eight minutes in peak hour traffic.

A detailed economic assessment underpinning the project proposal report shows a huge cost-benefit ratio of 7.4:1, and that the project will support 250 South Australian jobs a year until 2022.

SA needs increased Federal infrastructure investment to provide jobs and economic activity in the short and medium term, while lifting productivity and road safety standards over the long term.

But the Federal Coalition Government has failed to deliver.

It makes big-spending promises every Budget, when South Australians are focused on the Treasurer’s Budget speech, but then fails to follow through, apparently hoping no-one will notice.

And it gets worse, with Budget Forward Estimates showing Federal infrastructure grants to SA will fall off a cliff in the next four years, from $759 million in 2017-18, to just $95 million in 2020-21.

Federal Labor has a record of delivery when it comes to SA infrastructure investment.

Over six years the former Labor Federal Government more than doubled per capita infrastructure from $109 per South Australian to $272.

FRIDAY, 24 NOVEMBER, 2017

Nov 24, 2017

New Suburbs Need New Public Transport

New South Wales Government plans to establish the new suburb of South West Creek in Sydney fail to address the most critical ingredient for successful communities – public transport.

Planning Minister Anthony Roberts’ announcement of the planned suburb to the south of the new Western Sydney Airport should have been accompanied by a plan connect it to the Sydney rail network.

The suburb’s expected 30,000 residents must have access to rail services, particularly people working in new jobs in and around the airport and those working closer to the Sydney CBD.

If no rail line is built, the new suburb will be serviced by just one road in and one road out.

Without rail, the new development will worsen traffic congestion, which is already eroding Sydney’s quality of life and acting as a hand brake on the city’s economic growth.

The new airport has the potential to act as a catalyst for the growth of well paid jobs in Western Sydney.

But we must get the planning right.

That includes ensuring that there is a clear public transport plan in place before we make ad hoc decisions for new land releases.

That is why Federal Labor has already committed to the construction of the Western Sydney Rail along the north-south corridor

This north-south line will not only connect the new airport to the passenger rail network from the day it opens, but also make it easier for people to move around within the Western Sydney region.

THURSDAY, 23 NOVEMBER, 2017

Jun 2, 2017

Survey of Tourist Accommodation Still Under a Cloud

The future of the Survey of Tourist Accommodation remains in doubt after it was revealed at Senate Estimates last night that Minister Ciobo has failed to make any progress in determining its funding.

Austrade department officials confirmed that ‘a final position is now being considered by Government.’

However this is nearly identical to the response provided following the February Senate Estimates this year where, the matter was ‘under consideration by Governments’.

The Survey of Tourist Accommodation is heavily relied upon by the tourism sector and considered a valuable resource.

It provides information on accommodation across Australia, including occupancy rates, room rates and revenue, as well as a measure of accommodation supply for destinations across the nation.

Indeed in a 2015 submission to the Productivity Commission the Tourism and Transport Forum said that the STA ‘has delivered a comprehensive picture of Australia’s accommodation sector performance since 1998 that has been critical to enabling informed tourism investment decisions.’

At last night’s Senate Estimates, Mr O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, said that, ‘I think any data source that helps us track the progress of 2020 is a valuable one.’

Given that we are now half way through 2017, Minister Ciobo must waste no further time and commit to producing the Survey of Tourist Accommodation.

This Government has shown nothing but contempt for the tourism sector, failing to even release a tourism policy at the last election.

In this Budget alone, it has cut Tourism Australia’s budget by $35 million over the forward years and increased visa application charges.

The fact is that tourism is one of Australia’s super-growth sectors.

Communities around Australia rely on tourism for their economies, and so too does the nation.

This sector deserves real investment so that it can continue to play a leading role in the national economy.

FRIDAY, 2 JUNE 2017

Aug 30, 2013

Duplication of Bruce Highway South of Townsville one step closer

The duplication of a seven kilometre section of the Bruce Highway south of Townsville is one step closer today with the contract officially awarded to Lend Lease Engineering Pty Ltd.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese congratulated Lend Lease who will begin construction on the $137.5 million highway upgrade next month.

“This announcement is another example of the Rudd Labor Government’s commitment to the Bruce Highway,” Mr Albanese said.

“Federal Labor is investing $110 million in the upgrade of this busy section of the Bruce Highway between Vantassel Street and Stuart Drive in Cluden.  This is part of our $5.7 billion commitment to improving the Bruce Highway – more than four times what our predecessors spent over a similar period of time.

“This project will increase capacity, deliver greater freight efficiency and help flood proof the highway at the southern approach to Townsville,” said Mr Albanese.

The Labor candidate for Dawson Bronwyn Taha welcomed the announcement.

“I congratulate Lend Lease on their successful tender submission and look forward to seeing construction start on this significant project,” Ms Taha said.

“The key features of this project include a new road overpass of the rail line at Cluden and new signalised intersections at Hunter Street, Lakeside Drive and Stuart Drive.

“It will reduce travel times and provide better local access for residents in the growing communities of Cluden, Stuart, Julago and Alligator Creek.”

The Labor candidate for Herbert Cathy O’Toole said the project would be a boost to the region.

“Townsville is a growing region and this project will help support local jobs and open up the region for greater economic growth and development,” Ms O’Toole said.

“It is another example of Labor delivering vital infrastructure in our region.”

This project is jointly funded, with the Federal Government contributing $110 million and the Queensland Government contributing $27.5 million. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2015, weather permitting.

Funding for this project is already included in the Budget.

 

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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