Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Jun 4, 2008

Appointments to the Board of Airservices Australia

Appointments to the Board of Airservices Australia

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

June 4 2008

Federal Cabinet has today approved the appointment of Mr David Forsyth as Chair of the Airservices Australia Board – the organisation that manages 11 per cent of the world’s airspace.

Mr Forsyth – a board member since January 2005 – will replace Mr Nick Burton Taylor AM.

Following numerous executive positions with Qantas, Mr Forsyth possesses a wealth of experience and will provide strong leadership to this important organisation during a period of rapid technological change and growth in the aviation industry.

Mr Forsyth will take up his position at a time when the Government is developing Australia’s first ever aviation White Paper, a critical policy document outlining how the Government will manage the nation’s growing aviation industry over coming decades.

A strong and innovative Airservices will no doubt be more important than ever.

I am also pleased to announce that Mr Henk Meertens and Ms Alice Williams have agreed to stay on and serve another term as Board members. Both were first appointed in January 2005.

Mr Meertens’ long history within the aviation industry and Ms Williams’ expertise in commerce and financial analysis will continue to be of great benefit to the Board’s deliberations.

To fill the vacancy created by the promotion of Mr Forsyth, Cabinet has approved the appointment of Dr Warren Mundy as a new board member. Dr Warren Mundy will bring to the position significant industry experience, particularly in the areas of airport planning and long term corporate and aviation strategy.

I congratulate Mr Forsyth, Mr Meertens, Ms Williams and Dr Mundy and thank them for their spirit of public service. I look forward to having a productive relationship with them and the other Board members.

I have also accepted the resignation of Mr Gerry McGowan, effective from 30 May 2008. I will announce McGowan replacement in the near future.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to thank both Mr McGowan and Mr Burton-Taylor for their services to Airservices and the broader aviation industry.

All new appointments will take effect from 3 June 2008.

Each year, Airservices – an Australian Government-owned corporation – manages air traffic operations for more than three million domestic and international flights carrying some 47 million passengers. The aviation industry also relies on Airservices for aeronautical data, telecommunications and navigation services.

BIOS…

David Forsyth, BE (Aero), GradDip, FRAeS

Mr Forsyth was first appointed to the Board as a Member on 28 January 2005. He served as Chairman of the Board Safety & Environment Committee.

Mr Forsyth is an aeronautical engineer with over 30 years experience in airline operations and aviation engineering. He is a former Qantas Airways Executive General Manager responsible for flight operations, engineering and maintenance and previously General Manager, Qantas Regional Airlines covering four wholly-owned subsidiaries to 47 destinations Australia-wide.

Mr Forsyth is a Board Member of Aviation Australia, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (South Eastern Section) and President of the Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division.

Henk Meertens, AM, BArch

Mr Meertens was first appointed to the Board on 28 January 2005.

An architect, Mr Meertens has been actively involved in recreational and sport aviation for 25 years and has logged over 3000 hours flying time in gliders. Mr Meertens was President of the Australian Sport Aviation Confederation from 1996 to 2004 and he has represented the Australian sport and recreational aviation industry at international level and on a number of national forums and committees including Civil Aviation Safety Authority Regulatory Reviews.

Mr Meertens is a director of Rhibrae Pty Ltd, Wesky Pty Ltd and Cudgegong Soaring Pty Ltd.

Alice Williams, BComm, CFA, FAICD, FCPA

Ms Williams was first appointed to the Board on 28 January 2005. She served as Chair of the Board Audit Committee.

Ms Williams has over 20 years of senior management and Board level experience in corporate and Government sectors and investment banking, specialising in strategy and policy development, corporate advisory and funds management, competition policy and regulation. Ms Williams has also been a consultant to domestic and international airlines.

Ms Williams is a Director of Strategic Analytics (Australia) Pty Ltd, State Trustees Limited and State Trustees Financial Services Limited, VLine Passenger Corporation, Guild Insurance & Financial Services Holding Limited, Telstra Sale Company Limited, and is a Commissioner of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission.

Warren Mundy, BSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Mundy has over 20 years experience in economics and finance in relation to regulation, transport, infrastructure, industry policy and regional development, both in Australia and internationally. Dr Mundy specialises in stakeholder management and strategic thinking, particularly to the aviation industry in Australia. His experience also extends to strategic advice to State Governments on transport and economic policy.

Dr Mundy is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics, Economics Society of Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jun 4, 2008

Infrastructure Australia meets for the first time

Infrastructure Australia meets for the first time

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

June 4 2008

The twelve eminent members of the new Infrastructure Australia Advisory Council today met for the first time – exactly six months after the Rudd Labor Government was sworn into office.

The task before them is immense: to develop a blueprint for fixing and modernising the nation’s transport, water, energy and communications infrastructure.

In accordance with the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008, I have written to the Council outlining the Government’s expectations. First and foremost, they are charged with completing the work program laid down by COAG:

1. By October, developing nationally consistent Public Private Partnership guidelines to make it easier and cheaper for the private industry to partner with government and invest in nation building infrastructure;

2. By the end of the year, finalising the National Audit – a comprehensive and unprecedented stocktake of the nation’s infrastructure; and

3. By March 2009, compiling and delivering to COAG the first National Priority List to guide billions of dollars of investment in economically significant infrastructure – a process based on a rigorous assessment and prioritisation of the nation’s infrastructure needs, including in the area of public transport and tackling urban congestion.

The work and advice of Infrastructure Australia will inform the Government’s allocations from the $20 billion Building Australia Fund.

My letter to Infrastructure Australia also highlighted the importance of regulatory reform to improve the development and use of infrastructure networks.

In addition, we know that infrastructure has a long lifespan and can impact on efforts to tackle environmental challenges such as climate change. Accordingly, as well as social and economic factors, I’ve asked Infrastructure Australia to be mindful of our environmental responsibilities when conducting all its deliberations.

The inaugural members of Infrastructure Australia are:

  • Sir Rod Eddington – Chair
  • The Hon Mark Birrell
  • Mr Jim Hallion
  • Dr Ken Henry AC
  • Mr Phil Hennessy
  • Mr Anthony Kannis
  • Mr Terry Moran AO
  • Professor Peter Newman
  • Ms Heather Ridout
  • Mr Ross Rolfe
  • Dr Kerry Schott
  • Mr Garry Weaven

Under the leadership of Sir Rod Eddington, this group has the capacity to cut through and identify the critical issues, as well as the proven abilities to find innovative solutions to the infrastructure challenges Australia faces.

The Rudd Labor Government is serious about bringing national leadership and new thinking to the planning, financing and building of economic infrastructure.

Together, the establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the Building Australia Fund represents a dramatic shift in Commonwealth policy. Public investment in infrastructure will no longer have regard to political cycles or electoral boundaries.

We are getting on with the job of nation building.

May 29, 2008

Tumbarumba Rd Overpass Opens to Traffic

Tumbarumba Rd Overpass Opens to Traffic

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

29 May 2008

The Rudd Labor Government’s $1.8 billion plan to convert all the remaining two-lane sections of the Hume Highway in southern NSW to four lanes by the end of 2012 has taken another step forward.

I am pleased the new Tumbarumba Road overpass is now open to traffic, providing local motorists with a safer and quicker way of crossing the new Hume Highway at Kyeamba.

The overpass is located at the intersection of Tumbarumba Road and the existing highway.

While this intersection has had a comparatively low crash history, it has nonetheless been the site of two fatalities in recent years.

As was the case with the North Street overpass at Gundagai, the Tumbarumba flyover will improve safety – a top priority for all interstate highways.

Its construction and opening will also allow about 200 vehicles using Tumbarumba Road each day to be moved off the main highway so duplication works can proceed unhindered and in safety.

The new overpass – built by the Northern Hume Alliance – provides the connection from Tumbarumba to Wagga, with the new highway to pass under the bridge.

Work on the overpass started in October 2007 and involved up to 150 workers being on site for the pouring of the main bridge deck on 1 March 2008.

The overpass is the latest stage in the continuing duplication of the Hume Highway.

Two consortia have been engaged to undertake the 67 kilometre conversion to four lanes, with much of the work under way:

  •  The northern alliance team – the RTA, Leighton Contractors, Maunsell Australia, SMEC Australia, and Coffey Geotechnics – will deliver approximately 35 kilometres of duplication works north of Holbrook.
  •  The southern alliance team – the RTA, Abigroup Contractors and Sinclair Knight Merz – will deliver approximately 32 kilometres of duplication works south of Holbrook.

The Tumbarumba Road bridge forms part of the 34 kilometres Hume Highway duplication between Holbrook and Tarcutta.

Also under construction are the Coolac bypass and a second Sheahan bridge across the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai. Casting of the giant bridge sections to be cantilevered across the river will start in June. At Coolac, traffic will be switched to two of the new traffic lanes towards the end of July.

Approximately 80 per cent of Stage 1 earthworks have been completed on the Holbrook to Sturt Highway junction section – a project which will enable traffic to be diverted to the new lanes so that work can continue on the old Hume Highway.

Construction is progressing extremely well, and is on track for completion by December 2009.

The Rudd Labor Government’s $1.8 billion upgrade of the Hume Highway will also involve the construction of bypasses of Tarcutta, Holbrook and Woomargama – projects scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

The preferred highway route at Tarcutta and Holbrook passes west of both towns. The bypass route at Woomargama will be known by June or July.

May 28, 2008

Address to the Australian Trucking Association National Convention

Address to the Australian Trucking Association National Convention

National Convention Centre, Canberra

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

May 28 2008

Trevor Martyn, ATA Chair,

Board members and councillors,

ATA sponsors, including foundation sponsors BP, NTI and Volvo,

Stuart St Clair, ATA Chief Executive,

Ladies and Gentleman

 

Thank you for the invitation to address you today.

I’m told tonight you will be invited to bid for a new Volvo FH

Five Twenty– the star of tonight’s Auction Dinner.

I will say it looks pretty impressive and should attract some pretty serious bidding.

It’s probably fair to say the person who takes home the truck tonight will be motivated by a few key factors.

They will recognise that investing in this sort of vehicle is more than just a cost. It is a valuable investment in the future of their business that will help drive productivity.

The winner will also be the sort of person who doesn’t just focus on the short term. Rather, they will have an eye on the big picture, and be keen to ensure they have assets in place to prepare them for the future.

Tonight’s winner will also probably understand the key to meeting future demand means investing in modern technology and new ways of operating– not relying on technology and methods that may be neglected, broken down or from a bygone era.

These three factors…

  • Investing in infrastructure
  • New ways of meeting the challenges of the new century
  • Focussing on the long term, not just the short term

…are key components of the Rudd Government’s new infrastructure agenda. This agenda is a key plank of our economic plan to tackle inflation and boost productivity.

We see investment in our infrastructure assets as much more than a cost.

It is, quite simply, an investment in our future that will help secure our nation’s economic and social prosperity for our children and future generations.

The Rudd Government is committed to providing long term solutions to our infrastructure challenges – not funding projects solely on the basis of getting us re-elected in three years time.

We’re also committed to effecting changes that will make a difference to our economic performance and our social outcomes beyond the current resources boom.

Changes that will have a lasting effect on lifting national productivity and improving outcomes for Australians.

We firmly believe Australia needs 21st century infrastructure to help us meet 21st century demands.

I said on budget night two weeks ago the Australian Government is back in the business of nation building.

The Federal Budget demonstrated this Government’s determination to fix Australia’s overstretched transport networks and build infrastructure to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

We can no longer allow Australia’s clogged road, port and rail links to restrict our economic potential by restricting productivity.

On one estimate, infrastructure shortfalls are costing us 0.8 percent of GDP in lost production each year. That equals about $8 billion dollars per year.

My department also estimates that the cost of urban congestion in our cities for families and businesses will be something like $20 billion by 2020.

Inefficient freight networks are a disincentive to investment.

There is little incentive for business to increase output if they know their products will get stuck on the back of one of your trucks along a gridlocked M5 to Port Botany.

And we know that the biggest cause of congestion on our urban roads are cars, not trucks.

And the costs are not just economic; there are more significant social costs to consider as well.

I’m sure I don’t need to spell out to a room full of truck owners, managers and employees the frustration of being stuck in traffic with a full load, when you know you should really be at home with your family.

Quite frankly, when people are spending more time commuting in their cars each day than they are spending with their families, we have a situation requiring urgent attention.

Making inroads into this problem won’t be easy – it will take time and a considerable amount of cooperation between all players involved.

But the commitment from the Commonwealth is real, and backed up by significant funds.

As you know, the centrepiece of our first Budget was the Building Australia Fund which will fund much-needed improvements to our nation’s infrastructure.

Our first contribution into the fund is $20 billion, a down-payment which we will use to fund future upgrades to our transport and broadband infrastructure.

We expect to make the first allocations from under the Fund in 2009-10.

The establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the creation of the Building Australia Fund, initiatives I know were supported by the ATA, represent a significant shift in the way we coordinate, plan and fund future infrastructure.

Last week I announced the members of the Infrastructure Australia Advisory Council who will join Sir Rod Eddington to map a path to meet Australia’s future infrastructure needs.

They are a diverse group of people drawn from best of private industry and the public sector, possessing a wide range of skills and experience.

Working closely with Infrastructure Australia will be a new body in my department called the Major Cities Unit.

Australia has become one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with around 80 percent of us living in one of our major cities.

Despite this, the previous Commonwealth Government disengaged itself from our cities, and took a hands-off approach to their growth and development.

Australia’s major cities, and by this I don’t just mean the capitals but places like Townsville, Newcastle, the Gold Coast and Geelong are facing a range of infrastructure and planning challenges.

People in our cities currently have to deal with a range of federal, state and local government agencies on issues affecting them, which can be confusing, cumbersome and costly.

A more coordinated and integrated approach is needed. The Major Cities Unit will do just that.

It will work closely with Infrastructure Australia with the aim of making of making our cities more productive, sustainable and liveable.

And the Government is not sitting idle while we wait for the $20 billion from the Building Australia Fund to come on line.

We are meeting each and every one of the election transport commitments we took to the people at the last election.

We are investing $3.2 billion in road and rail projects next financial year, including over half a billion dollars to make an early start to our election commitments.

This investment will improve access to ports, upgrade our interstate network, fix the ‘last mile’ on many key regional freight routes and help ease urban congestion.

Anyone who lives near, or picks up or drops off at our ports would know they suffer from significant infrastructure bottlenecks which prevent them from performing at maximum capacity.

It’s a critical issue for the trucking industry, which for too long has suffered as a result of poor connections from major freight routes to our nation’s export points.

The Government knows we need to make an early start to alleviate this problem, as delays will result in more significant costs further down the track. Prior to Infrastructure Australia beginning its work, we’re funding a whole range of projects.

The Budget contains:

  •  $20 million for the Townsville Port Access Road, so we can make an early start on this important project;
  • nearly $60 million on the Northern Expressway and the upgrade of Port Wakefield Road in South Australia. This project will cut congestion and provide a high quality link between the Sturt Highway and the Port of Adelaide;
  •  funds next year to start planning for the new Bunbury Port Access Road in Western Australia;
  •  $100 million for the Ballina by-pass.

These projects are on top of a $300 million commitment by the Rudd Government for the Moorebank Inter-modal terminal in Sydney that would improve freight movement through Sydney’s west.

We also announced $75 million to kick start a package of planning studies into eight landmark projects in our biggest cities.

In Sydney, we are working with the state government to fund a feasibility study into the possible duplication of the M5, which would drastically improve connections to Port Botany.

In Melbourne, the Government is providing funds so we can take the next steps in improving east-west road and rail connections across the city.

In Brisbane, we are planning for the Gateway Motorway missing links to improve freight and passenger flows, while in North Queensland, we’ve upgrading the Bruce Highway.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know Australia faces a growing freight task.

Some of you will have heard the statistic that the freight task is expected to double in the period between 2000 and 2020.

Investing in our infrastructure is one mechanism we have at our disposal to meet rising demand on our transport networks, and I am proud of the framework we are establishing to respond to this challenge.

The other area requiring attention is regulatory reform.

At the heart of the Government’s approach to regulatory reforms is taking a national approach to transport policy.

We are doing this in conjunction with the states and territories, because we know in order to deliver real solutions, the Commonwealth cannot go it alone.

By taking a national perspective, by engaging with the states and territories, we will be in a better position to deliver a transport system that supports and enhances our social, economic and environmental prosperity.

At February’s Australian Transport Council meeting, I and my state and territory colleagues laid the groundwork to build a truly national transport policy.

The policy is an important step to modernise our century old federation and build a seamless national economy for the 21st century.

At that meeting I was struck by the genuine level of cooperation between all of the ministers involved, and the common desire to end the blame game which has characterised the relationship between the states and the Commonwealth over the last decade.

When transport ministers sat down again this month we built on this early work by agreeing to take a historic first step towards a truly national transport system.

These reforms are focussed on improving safety and simplifying current regulations.

The next step will be for ministers to consider proposals on a number of key issues when we next meet in July. These include:

  •  A single national system for the regulation of heavy vehicles, including registration and licensing,
  • The establishment of a National Road Safety Council.

And I believe that national regulation of heavy vehicles will be the most self evident overdue transport reform since the National Road Transport Commission was established by Bob Hawke in 1991.

The ludicrous situation where heavy vehicles that move freight across our state borders are faced with different rules, registration charges, fatigue regulations and enforcement regimes must be brought to and end.

The new transport policy will deliver fresh momentum to productivity reforms such as wider adoption of Performance Based Standards, Higher Mass Limits and expanding the B-Triple network.

We can save time and money if we can deliver improved productivity and expand these higher productivity freight routes right to the ports and networks.

And linked to higher productivity is heavy vehicle charging.

Put simply, without the right level of cost recovery from industry there will not be appropriate investment in road networks by governments, particularly to undertake the necessary upgrades to enable the heavier and larger trucks on the roads.

Successive Governments have supported the principle that heavy vehicles should pay their way.

And I know the ATA has shown leadership by supporting this principle.

The Howard Government commenced work back in 2004 when it released a White paper which committed the Commonwealth to reform of fuel excise and registration charges.

The 2006 Productivity Commission study into Road and Rail Infrastructure Pricing found under-recovery of infrastructure costs occurs in the heavy vehicle industry.

In April 2007 the Council of Australian Governments required the National Transport Commission to devise a new charges determination for implementation on 1 July 2008 that:

  •  fully recovers infrastructure costs from the heavy vehicle industry,
  • ends cross-subsidisation between heavy vehicle classes
  • indexes charges to ensure costs continued to be recovered.

Under the direction of COAG the National Transport Commission undertook an in-depth analysis of road expenditure, heavy vehicle charges and road usage.

The new charges determination delivers COAG’s requirement.

The hypocrisy of the Coalition on this issue is breathtaking.

Less than a year ago Mark Vaile, then Federal Transport Minister and Leader of the Nationals championed the very charges being proposed. In a speech given on 28 June 2007 entitled The Coalition Government’s Transport Reform Agenda, said:

“The National Transport Commission (NTC) will develop a new heavy vehicle charges determination to be implemented from 1 July 2008.

The new determination will aim to recover the heavy vehicles’ allocated infrastructure costs in total and will also aim to remove cross-subsidisation across heavy vehicle classes.”

Australian Transport Ministers unanimously adopted the determination earlier this year.

But there are two important differences between the previous Government’s proposal and the one that I took forward. Those differences took into account the views of industry representatives such as the ATA.

The first was that the Road User Charge increase be delayed until 1 January 2009 instead of 1 July 2008.

The second was a $70 million heavy vehicle safety and productivity program which would have allowed us to:

  •  construct more heavy vehicle rest stops and parking areas;
  •  undertake trials of black box technologies relating to driver fatigue and vehicle speed;
  •  bridge strengthening projects, allowing greater access to heavier vehicles.

This package will not only benefit the heavy vehicle industry, it will also help to allay some of the fears people have about the safety of larger trucks on our roads and as all of you have shown today, this is an important objective.

This $70 million package is, however, conditional on the legislation and regulations passing through parliament.

Unfortunately, the Opposition has taken it upon itself to hamper our efforts in the Senate.

This reform has broad support from respected mainstream business advocates such as the Business Council of Australia.

In opposing these measures in the Senate, the Coalition is undermining its own economic credibility.

A sure way to derail ongoing development of the heavy vehicle productivity agenda is to undermine reasonable cost recovery from the industry for legitimate infrastructure costs.

One of the results of the defeat of the legislation in the Senate is that state registration charges are now significantly out of step with the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.

This is a ludicrous situation which will set back the case of national consistency which we all know is required.

I give you this commitment. I will never say one thing to industry and then do another.

I listened to the ATA and I delivered the safety and productivity package because it was good policy and made common sense.

I appreciate honesty and plain speaking and know it will provide a strong platform for the relationship between the Rudd Government and the ATA.

From time to time we will have minor disagreements but I am absolutely confident that we will have a constructive relationship for many years to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Government has a big infrastructure agenda.

The Government knows that if we don’t act now, the costs of inaction will continue to rise, and they will be felt by all sectors of the Australian community.

Including, of course, Australia’s trucking industry.

We have put in place Infrastructure Australia, established the $20 billion dollar Building Australia Fund, and are developing a truly national transport policy.

We will build on these initiatives in the years ahead, and I look forward to trucking industry’s involvement as we do this.

I’m confident that by working together we can continue to grow the prosperity of your industry, and put in place the reforms necessary to keep Australia moving forward.

May 28, 2008

Certainty & Fairness for Community Groups misled by Former Government

Certainty & Fairness for Community Groups misled by Former Government

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

28 May 2008

The Rudd Labor Government will provide certainty for up to 86 not-for-profit and local government projects which were granted approvals but did not have formal contracts under the previous government’s Regional Partnerships program.

It is clear from our discussions with community groups and local councils that many were led to believe that funding agreements had been finalised with the previous government.

This has placed community groups in a difficult situation where many have spent their meagre resources to start work.

That is why the Government is taking a common sense approach in considering these projects.

Under the plan, the Government would give 86 not-for-profit and local government projects until 31 July 2008 to complete contract negotiations with my Department.

In addition, they will be required to meet strict timetables and requirements to begin construction. This is to ensure they are sustainable and genuine projects.

This approach will assist community groups and local councils that began work on projects based on false promises made by the former government.

The former government’s approach was to promise all things to all people without putting in place proper processes which ensured projects were actually delivered.

For example, in Bundaberg, the Lake Ellen playground received a conditional approval of $215,000 to purchase playground equipment for children, including those with disabilities. Without any contractual arrangements, the Lake Ellen playground was given Australian Government funding display signs to put up outside their construction site.

The Lake Ellen playground project was symptomatic of the former Government’s approach, criticised in the Australian National Audit Office 1,200-page report released on 15 November 2007. The Audit Office said:

“A feature of the Programme’s administration in the three years to 30 June 2006 was the frequency with which practices departed from the published Programme Guidelines and documented internal procedures.”

(Performance Audit, Volume 1, page 35)

The Audit Office also highlighted the example of an $845,000 Regional Partnerships grant for the Peel Region Tourist Railway which the Prime Minister approved without even an application being lodged.

In a 51-minute spending spree before the 2004 election caretaker mode, the former Parliamentary Secretary De-Anne Kelly also approved 16 projects worth $3.3 million.

The Rudd Government’s common sense approach will give not-for-profit groups who were misled by the former government, the opportunity to complete their contracts.

We also recognise that under the new plan, not all of these projects will meet the requirements to become eligible to receive financial support.

In addition, 21 other projects that were also approved but not contracted by the former government are already being funded either as election commitments or through the Rural Medical Infrastructure Fund.

The remaining eight projects were commercial for-profit projects that were also approved but not contracted by the former government, however they will not be considered under the Rudd Government’s common sense plan.

From next year, there will be a new fund – the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program – to invest in community projects through a proper, accountable process.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, is conducting a public inquiry, with the assistance of Independent MP, Tony Windsor, on the structure of the new program.

May 27, 2008

Asia Pacific nations target aviation emissions

Asia Pacific nations target aviation emissions

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

27 May 2008

The nations of the Asia Pacific region have joined together to tackle aviation’s growing carbon footprint, agreeing to set up a new high-level taskforce to advance pragmatic ways of limiting the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s new taskforce – the Aviation Emission Taskforce – brings together 21 member economies, including Australia, in a collective effort to find solutions to our greatest environment threat: climate change.

Having taken a lead on the issue within the region, Australia welcomes and strongly endorses the APEC taskforce.

Through the new Aviation Emissions Taskforce, APEC’s members will be able to:

  • Share information on environmental best practice;
  •  Develop practical approaches to support the work being undertaken by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); and
  • Collaborate more effectively with industry on short and long-term strategies.

Areas identified for immediate action include: developing a better scientific understanding of aviation emissions; improving data collection and sharing; expanding the uptake of new navigational technology; lifting investment in aircraft and engine research; and exploring the feasibility of alternative fuels.

While the aviation industry is critical to the region’s continued economic growth and development, we cannot ignore the greenhouse gases planes produce.

At least two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by aircraft and the airports they use – a figure expected to grow rapidly if we continue with ‘business as usual’.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Asia-Pacific airlines are expected to experience growth in passenger traffic of 5.8 per cent per annum for the period 2005-2025 compared to global growth of 4.6 per cent per annum.

APEC’s new Taskforce faces the challenge of satisfying the public’s growing appetite for air travel while helping constrain overall aviation emissions. The Taskforce brings together both industry and governments in the region. Together we can help make aviation sustainable.

This latest action supports Australia’s pursuit, working through ICAO, of effective global action towards greenhouse emissions from international aviation.

Further information on the APEC Aviation Emissions Seminars is available at: http://www.apec-tptwg.org.cn.

May 27, 2008

High Level Infrastructure and Aviation Delegation to India

High Level Infrastructure and Aviation Delegation to India

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

27 May 2008

Yesterday at a meeting with India’s Minister for Civil Aviation, Hon Shri Praful Patel, we discussed the possibility of a high-level aviation and infrastructure delegation to India either later this year or early in 2009.

Minister Patel and I discussed a range of issues important to both countries, including air services; opportunities for Australian companies to contribute to aviation and airport infrastructure development in India; international efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions; and cooperation in the areas of transport security and aviation safety.

There are enormous opportunities for Australian companies to assist India as it moves to invest around A$500 billion in infrastructure development over the next five years.

In particular, as one of the world’s fastest developing economies India’s demand for domestic and international aviation services is booming, with hundreds of new airports likely to be built in coming years.

A high level government and business delegation to India would bring a greater focus on the practical ways we could assist in developing India’s aviation infrastructure.

Between March 2007 and March 2008, more than half a million passengers travelled between Australia and India – and the market is growing rapidly.

According to the Australian Forecasting Committee, Indian visitor numbers to Australia is expected to more than triple by 2016.

At present, no Indian airlines fly direct to Australia, although this may change once Air India and Indian Airlines have completed their merger – or other Indian carriers give further consideration to the Australia/India market.

Jet Airways currently markets seats on Qantas services operating between Singapore and main Australian gateway airports. Air India currently code shares on several Malaysia Airlines’ services operating between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.

Qantas operates three weekly services between Sydney and Mumbai and code shares on services operated by Indian carrier, Jet Airways, between Singapore/Delhi and Singapore/Mumbai.

The majority of traffic between Australia and India currently travels on third country airlines via intermediate hubs such as Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

May 27, 2008

Address to the Australian Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation R

Address to the Australian Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award 2008

The Great Hall: Parliament House

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Thank you Michael.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a pleasure to be able to join you this evening for the presentation of the 2009 Rural Women’s Award.

I understand that this is only the third time that a national winner has been selected from the state and territory awards – so it is a real pleasure to be here in my first year as the Minister for Regional Development.

This prestigious national award celebrates the enormous contribution rural women make to our economy.

From an avocado grower living in the Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland to a timber producer near Katherine in the Northern Territory; from calf-rearing in Tasmania to running a native plant nursery in the hinterlands of Byron Bay – this year’s state and territory winners showcase the breadth and depth of the contribution rural women are making to the life of our nation.

In fact, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s own research has found that regional women’s businesses generated more than $1.2 billion a year.

It is also estimated that women contribute to around half of real farm income when their on-farm work and their off-farm volunteer and community efforts are taken into account.

And we know that it is often women who have kept rural, regional – and many urban – communities and families together, particularly during times of drought and adversity.

Despite this, only around 20 per cent of agricultural decision-makers are women – a sad statistic that the Rural Women’s Award seeks to improve.

The Rudd Government is also committed to improving regional women’s participation in the national economy as well as their local communities.

At the end of June, my colleague, Minister Plibersek will host a Rural Women’s Summit with support from my department.

This Summit will look at opportunities for improving social and economic outcomes for rural women and increasing their participation in a range of policy areas, including agriculture and regional development.

I am also pleased to inform you that after that Summit, I will be reviewing the Regional Women’s Advisory Council in my portfolio and strengthening the role the body plays in terms of policy advice and development.

Of course, more broadly, the Rudd Government has established the Regional Development Australia network to better engage with regional communities, coordinate government policies affecting the regions and improve service delivery.

Having significant female representation in the network and its various committees will be a priority.

We will also be delivering our Better Regions election commitments to regional and local communities.

And from next year, we will have a new Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program to deliver investments in community infrastructure.

We are also dealing with infrastructure bottlenecks that are holding back regional economies.

In the Budget, we announced a $20 billion Building Australia Fund, a substantial down-payment on our commitment to fix and modernise the nation’s infrastructure.

This is on top of our road and rail commitments to regional Australia which total more than $10 billion.

So as you can see, we are determined to boost regional infrastructure, strengthen regional communities and help regional women and men make their contribution to our economy and society.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in closing, it’s a pleasure to be here for the 2008 Rural Women’s Award and the Government will work with you to improve rural women’s participation.

I wish all winners the best of luck in their future activities.

May 23, 2008

Pacific Highway upgrade delivering new Infrastructure

Pacific Highway upgrade delivering new Infrastructure

JOINT RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

The Hon Eric Roozendaal MP

NSW Minister for Roads

Minister for Commerce

23 May 2008

The Australian and NSW governments today reaffirmed their commitment to the joint upgrade of the Pacific Highway during a Ministerial inspection of major construction work on the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrade at Kew.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal today inspected the Mid North Coast project, which will complete a further 33km of dual carriageway on the Pacific Highway.

Mr Albanese said the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is the longest length of highway construction being carried out on the Pacific Highway and incorporates both the Coopernook to Moorland and Moorland to Herons Creek projects.

“Once complete, the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrade will provide about 163km of continuous dual carriageway between Bulahdelah and Port Macquarie,” said Mr Albanese.

“The Rudd Labor Government’s first budget delivered $60 million for these critical projects as part of our $242.5 million commitment to this upgrade.

“The Rudd Labor Government has committed to invest $2.45 billion in upgrading the Pacific Highway – three times what the previous government allocated over a similar period of time.”

Mr Roozendaal said this project includes western bypasses of the villages of Moorland and Johns River and an eastern bypass of Kew.

“A major feature of the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is the construction of new twin bridges at Two Mile Creek, Moorland railway bridge, Pipe Clay Creek, Holey Flat Creek, Tom Cat Creek, Stoney Creek, Ross Glen railway bridge, Walkers Creek, and Herons Creek.

“Duplication bridges will be built over Stewarts River and the Camden Haven River.

“Overpasses will be built over the highway at Forest Road, Moorland, Stewarts River Road, Johns River and Ocean Drive, Kew.

"This important project will provide significant benefits to road users, including improved safety and reduced travel times.”

Low noise pavement will be used on sections of the highway adjacent to residential areas and noise walls and earth mounds will be constructed to reduce road traffic noise.

Preliminary construction work started in October 2007 with substantial construction commencing in January 2008. Work to date includes vegetation clearing, installing boundary fencing, major earthworks, pavement widening, installing drainage and constructing pavement and bridges.

Mr Albanese said the entire length of the Pacific Highway is now either completed, under construction or has a preferred route identified.

“The completed Pacific Highway upgrade will mean more than 660km of continuous dual carriageway from the F3 Freeway near Hexham to the Queensland border,” Mr Albanese said.

“More than 91km of the Pacific Highway is currently under construction while more than 263km has already been upgraded to double-lane divided road.”

Mr Roozendaal said 48 separate sections of the highway have been completed and the NSW Government had declared the project critical infrastructure because of its importance to NSW and the state’s economy.

“NSW is working co-operatively with the Rudd Labor Government to complete this critical link between Sydney and Brisbane as soon as possible, for the benefit of working families and the NSW and Australian economies.

“There’s more work to do and both governments are committed to getting on with the job of completing this nation-building road project.”

“While we can never be complacent, the road toll on the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border has more than halved since 2003 as upgraded sections open to traffic and extensive road safety improvement packages are implemented.”

Work on the Coopernook to Herons Creek project is scheduled for completion in December 2009.

Further information on this major infrastructure project is available from the Pacific Highway section of the RTA website at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au.

May 23, 2008

Ballina Bypass: Delivering New Infrastructure

Ballina Bypass: Delivering New Infrastructure

JOINT RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Eric Roozendaal

NSW Minister for Roads

Minister for Commerce

Friday, 23 May 2008

The Australian and NSW governments today re-affirmed their commitment to the joint upgrade of the Pacific Highway with the official announcement of the start of preliminary site work on the Ballina bypass project.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal today announced that work has begun on establishing the site office and construction area at Teven Road and Ross Lane for the construction of the Ballina bypass upgrade.

Construction teams will then begin clearing the site, the installation of erosion and sediment controls and fencing next month.

“Thanks to $100 million delivered in the Rudd Labor Government’s first budget, construction on this project will begin at least 12 months earlier than scheduled,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Ballina bypass project is 12.4km long and will extend from the south of Ballina at the intersection of the Bruxner and Pacific highways to north of Ballina at the intersection of Ross Lane at Tintenbar.

“The bypass will be significantly shorter than the current 19 km route through Ballina and will offer a travel time saving up to 12 minutes for Pacific Highway traffic.

“It will deliver significant improvements in road safety, providing an improved alignment at Tintenbar Hill, removal of the high speed traffic out of Ballina township and separate Bruxner Highway traffic from the Pacific Highway traffic.

“The Rudd Labor Government has committed to invest $2.45 billion in upgrading this critical piece of national infrastructure – three times what the previous government allocated over a similar period of time.”

Mr Roozendaal said the bypass will reduce traffic congestion by directing highway vehicles away from seven roundabouts, a set of traffic lights, numerous minor intersections and a 60 km speed zone.

“Initial earthworks were completed by the RTA in the vicinity of Teven Road and Emigrant Creek at Cumbalum in September 2007,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“Long lead times are required to stabilise soft soil sections of the Richmond River before the main pavement can be constructed. The project will be opened in stages which will be:

  •  Opening of the Cumbalum to Ross Lane section by late 2010
  •  Opening of the Bruxner Highway to Cumbalum interchange by mid 2012.

Mr Albanese said the entire length of the Pacific Highway is now either completed, under construction or has a preferred route identified.

“The completed Pacific Highway upgrade will mean more than 660km of continuous dual carriageway from the F3 Freeway near Hexham to the Queensland border,” Mr Albanese said.

“More than 91km of the Pacific Highway is currently under construction while more than 263km has already been upgraded to double-lane divided road.”

Mr Roozendaal said 48 separate sections of the highway have been completed and the NSW Government had declared the project critical infrastructure because of its importance to NSW and the state’s economy.

“NSW is working co-operatively with the Rudd Labor Government to complete this critical link between Sydney and Brisbane as soon as possible, for the benefit of working families and the NSW and Australian economies.

“There’s more work to do and both governments are committed to getting on with the job of completing this nation-building road project.”

“While we can never be complacent, the road toll on the Pacific Highway between Hexham and the Queensland border has more than halved since 2003 as upgraded sections open to traffic and extensive road safety improvement packages are implemented.”

Further information on this major infrastructure project is available from the Pacific Highway section of the RTA website at www.rta.nsw.gov.au.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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