Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Feb 8, 2018

Airport Must be Connected to Passenger Rail Network

Today in Question Time Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher refused to answer when asked whether the new Western Sydney Airport will be connected to Sydney’s passenger rail system from the day it opens.

Labor has already committed to start work on the new Western Sydney Rail line, which would extend the South-West rail link from Leppington via Bringelly to the new airport.

The Government should match this commitment.

If planned and developed properly, the Western Sydney Airport and surrounding business areas will attract investment that will generate thousands of jobs in aviation-related industries as well as tourism, education, advanced manufacturing, logistics and residential development.

If the people of Western Sydney are to benefit from these new jobs it is critical that it is connected to the passenger rail system.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Aug 29, 2013

The day the Nationals turned their back on Regional Australia

Nationals Leader Warren Truss has today confirmed he and his Liberal Party masters will rip more than $8 billion out of the Federal infrastructure budget, including $2 billion earmarked for projects in Regional Australia, to help pay for Tony Abbott’s promises, including his extravagant, unfair and unaffordable paid parental leave scheme.

A full list of regional projects facing the axe is attached below.

And consistent with the words of Mr Abbott and the record of the former Howard Government, Mr Truss also reaffirmed that the Liberal and National Parties won’t agree to provide any funding to help fix the nation’s urban public transport infrastructure.

Moreover, they will deny regional communities access to superfast broadband – unless they were prepared to pay as much as $5,000 out of their own pockets to have their homes or businesses connected.

During his extraordinary performance at the National Press Club today, Mr Truss made a mockery of the National Party’s ‘guarantee’ of a ‘fair share’ for rural and regional communities.  It also explained why for six years he has refused to debate me about our respective infrastructure records and competing plans for the future.

Let’s not forget, Mr Truss and the Nationals have form when it comes to failing to deliver for Regional Australia.

The last time they were in government, they abolished the entire Department of Regional Development and eliminated all the funding programs associated with it.  On top of that they slashed the Federal roads budget by $2 billion, with most OF the cuts falling on regional projects.

For our part, the Rudd Labor Government has made sure that regional communities get their fair share, with almost two thirds of our infrastructure funding going to projects outside our cities.  In fact, Federal Labor has doubled spending in regional Australia to around $40 billion.

In addition, Federal Labor has injected $260 million into building new and upgrading existing regional airport facilities – five times what our predecessors spent.  We’ve also made sure regional communities are amongst the first to benefit from the rollout of our National Broadband Network.

Since 2007 Federal Labor has delivered the better deal regional communities have long deserved, and if you want good infrastructure for the future, then you’ve got to vote Labor on 7 September.




  • Peak Downs Highway: Straighten and upgrade the Eton Ranges section of the road.  Federal contribution: $120 million.
  • Gladstone Port Access Road: Complete this new road link.  Federal contribution: $50 million.
  • Cape York Roads Package: Upgrade the road between Mapoon and Weipa, the road connecting Aurukun to the Peninsula Development Road and the Jardine River Bridge as well as redevelop the Seisia Wharf and improve the raw water pipeline from Bamaga to Seisia.  Federal contribution: $210 million


  • Regional Roads Productivity Package: Upgrade six regional roads:
    Strengthen and widen sections of Roper Highway as well as improving its flood immunity;
    Seal sections of Port Keats Road as well as improving its flood immunity;
    Replace gravel on poor sections of the Santa Teresa Way;
    Construct a new bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek on Central Arnhem Road;
    Strengthen, widen and seal sections of the Buntine Highway; and
    Replace gravel on poor sections of Arnhem Link Road.

    Federal contribution: $90 million.


  • Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road Upgrade: Duplicate the bridge and the approaches to it.  Federal contribution: $52 million.
  • New England Highway: Realign the three kilometre Bolivia Hill section.  Federal contribution: $80 million.
  • New England Highway: Fix congestion and safety issues around the level crossing in Scone.  Federal contribution: $45 million.
  • Mt Ousley upgrades: Construct two new northbound and two new southbound climbing lanes on Mt Ousley Road between Bulli Tops and Picton Road interchange.  Federal contribution: $42 million.
  • Olympic Highway: Replace the existing Kapooka Bridge and the approaches to it.  Federal contribution: $19.5 million.
  • Newell Highway: Install additional overtaking lanes.  Federal contribution: $5 million.


  • Ballarat Freight Hub: Develop a general freight centre in the Ballarat West Employment Zone. Federal contribution: $9.1 million.
  • Princes Highway West: Duplicate the Winchelsea to Colac section. Federal contribution: $257.5 million.


  • Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: Upgrade sections of the main access road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja, as well as 21 kilometres of community roads.  Federal contribution: $85 million.


  • Midland Highway Upgrade: Package of works, which includes duplication of the section between Perth and Breadalbane; dedicated upgrades at Mona Vale, St Peters Pass and between Mangalore and Bagdad; and planning for a future Launceston Bypass.  Federal contribution: $500 million over ten years, with the Coalition having committed only $400 million.
  • Freight Rail Revitalisation: Continuing upgrade of the network including replacing approximately 290 kilometres of old track.  Federal contribution: $119.6 million.
  • Huon Highway: Upgrade the intersection with Summerleas Road.  Federal contribution: $17.5 million.
  • Channel Highway: Upgrade and widen road near Huonville, as well as build new link roads and erect a new bridge over Skinners Creek.  Federal contribution: $7.5 million.


  • Great Northern Highway: Package of works along the Muchea to Wubin section, including realignment work, intersection upgrades, road widening and additional overtaking lanes.  Federal contribution: $307.8 million.
  •  North West Coastal Highway: Package of works between Minilya and Barradale, include widening and strengthening the road as well as erecting two new bridges.   Federal contribution: $174 million.

Funding for all these projects are already included in the Budget.





Aug 28, 2013

Only Labor can be trusted to complete the Inland Rail Link

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his sidekick, Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Warren Truss, are truly shameless – having spent the last four years criticised Federal Labor’s approach to building the Inland Rail Link, they have today adopted it lock, stock and barrel.

The Liberals and Nationals have committed exactly the same amount of funding, adopted exactly the same route and signed up to exactly the same construction time-table as first announced by us back in 2010.

In fact they have ditched their earlier promises to have the line up and running by 2020.

And let’s not forget they have form.  The former Howard Government, in which Mr Truss served as Transport Minister, had twelve years to build this rail line but instead they chose to do nothing, except establish committees and commission one study after another.

What’s more, today’s extraordinary backflip doesn’t conceal the fact they will rip billions out of rail projects nationwide: Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Melbourne Metro, a light rail network through Perth’s northern suburbs and a new rail line to its airport, and the Tonsley Rail Line Upgrade in Adelaide.

But Tony Abbott’s axe won’t just fall on urban passenger rail.

He’s also refused to commit to a number of freight rail projects such as the next stage in the revitalisation of Tasmania’s rail network – a $119.6 million capital works program which will replace some 290 kilometres of old tracks – as well as the upgrade of the lines into and out Port Botany.

So if you value rail and want to see these projects, as well as the Inland Rail Link built, then you’ve got to vote Labor on 7 September.

Only Federal Labor has a long term plan to get more freight AND people off our roads and onto rail.  Already we’ve rebuilt over a third of the Interstate Rail Freight Network and committed more funding to urban public transport than all our predecessors since Federation combined.

Once operational, the new 1,731 kilometre Inland Rail Link via the NSW Central West will cut up to 7 hours off the journey times between Brisbane and Melbourne, take trucks off our highways, ease the growing congestion on the existing coastal line through Sydney and open up new economic opportunities for many inland communities.



Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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