Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Aug 8, 2013

Thousands in Newcastle to miss out on superfast broadband

Almost 75,000 homes and businesses in Newcastle and across the Hunter will miss out on superfast, affordable and reliable broadband if the Rudd Labor Government is not re-elected at next month’s Federal Election, according to new maps released today.

The maps graphically show the extent to which Tony Abbott and his sidekick Malcolm Turnbull would wreck Federal Labor’s National Broadband Network, denying most in the region access to the boundless educational, health, lifestyle and commercial opportunities this essential infrastructure delivers.

Right now, the NBN is rolling out fibre directly to more than 5,300 homes and businesses in and around the Newcastle area.  But if there’s a change of government on 7 September that’s as far as the rollout will go.

Everyone else will be left with one of two choices: battle on using last century’s copper technology or fork out as much as $5,000 to have fibre connected to their home or business – something people are currently getting for free.

For the region’s 10,400 businesses alone, that would be a total financial hit as high as $52 million.

However, if the Rudd Labor Government is re-elected the roll out of fibre-to-the-premise will continue by mid-2016 to almost 80,000 homes and businesses in Newcastle, Maitland, Charlestown, Hamilton, Mayfield, Raymond Terrace, Tarro and New Lambton.

Federal Labor’s NBN is an investment in our nation’s future prosperity.  It will transform the way we live our lives, do business, grow our regions and engage with the rest of world.  That’s why access to it should not depend on how much money you have or where you happen to live or do business.

When it comes superfast, affordable and reliable broadband, only Federal Labor will do it once, do it right, and do it with fibre.

Australians now face a clear choice: they can vote for the future and fibre under Labor or the past and copper under the Coalition.

Maps for Newcastle and the Hunter


Aug 8, 2013

Federal funding to make Twin of Tourle St a reality

The Rudd Labor Government will provide Federal funding to upgrade Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road in Newcastle, a project identified as a regional priority by Infrastructure Australia.

Together, Tourle Street and Cormorant Road form a vital but increasingly congested transport corridor connecting the City with the Kooragang Island industrial precinct as well as RAAF Williamtown and the residential areas of Stockton, Medowie and Port Stephens.

With daily traffic volumes expected to increase further over the coming decade from 33,000 to 40,000 cars and trucks, urgent action is required and Federal Labor is prepared to step up.

We will contribute $52 million towards the duplication of the Tourle Street Bridge and its approaches. Funding for this project is already included in the budget. The NSW Government, which requested this Federal assistance, will provide the balance of the required funding ($52 million).

Construction is scheduled to start in 2015 following the finalisation of the detailed design work.  Once completed, the improvements made will ease congestion and deliver smoother, faster driving conditions on and around the bridge.

The Rudd Labor Government is committed to building the infrastructure necessary to support the Hunter’s growing population and expanding industrial base, with this latest project adding to the unprecedented capital works program we are already rolling out across the region.

Over the past five and a half years, we have provided Federal dollars to:

  • Build the new $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway – expected to be completed next year.
  • Complete the Bulahdelah Bypass on the Pacific Highway.
  • Undertake the most extensive upgrade of the region’s freight rail network in generations ($580 million) – mostly completed.
  • Improve safety at dozens of dangerous black spots on local roads.
  • Install boom gates and other safety measures at high-risk level crossings.
  • Refurbish local community facilities such as public libraries, sporting facilities, parks, playgrounds and child care centres.

Plus in our most recent Budget we outlined and funded a $600 million plan to ease congestion and cut travel times along the F3 connecting Newcastle and the Hunter to Sydney.

Only Labor is delivering real money for real projects that are making a real difference.

Aug 7, 2013

Australian Communications and Media Authority appointments

I am pleased to announce the appointment of three new part-time members to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

I congratulate Mrs Rosemary Sinclair, Ms Anita Jacoby and Mr James Cameron on their new appointments as part-time ACMA Authority members for a period of five years.

Mrs Sinclair brings extensive experience working in the communications, broadcasting and telecommunications sector, including her role as the Managing Director of Australian Telecommunications Users Group.

Ms Anita Jacoby has considerable media and broadcasting industry experience, having worked with every major commercial television network and as an Executive at an independent production company.

Mr James Cameron has worked in a number senior management roles within the Government’s communication portfolio and is currently Chief Executive Officer to the National Water Commission.

I am also pleased to announce that Mr Chris Cheah has been reappointed as a full-time member of the ACMA for a further year.

Mr Cheah was first appointed as a full-time member in July 2005. His experience, knowledge and record of achievement will ensure the continued strength of the ACMA Board.

The new part-time ACMA members will complement the skills of the other members ensuring collectively that the ACMA is well placed for the road ahead. These appointments take effect from 5 August 2013.

These appointments were decided by Government prior to the issue of writs for the election.

Aug 7, 2013

Turnbull’s credibility on NBN in tatters

Shadow Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull has again confirmed Coalition plans to slug Australians thousands of dollars to connect superfast broadband to their homes and businesses.

Mr Turnbull told the ABC’s AM program this morning that it would cost families and businesses “several thousands of dollars” to connect to fibre broadband.

Mr Turnbull’s credibility on the NBN is in tatters.

Under the Coalition, the only way existing premises – including homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and factories – will be able to access this superfast broadband is if they pay out of their own pocket.

The facts are that the Rudd Labor Government’s NBN is delivering fibre direct to Australian homes and businesses for free. 

The Coalition’s fibre on demand policy is based on BT in the UK, which charges individuals as much as $5000 to connect with fibre.

For Australia’s 1.9 million small businesses, this would be a disaster, delivering them extra costs that could hit as high as $9.5 billion. 

The Rudd Labor Government believes that access to high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband is an essential service, like water and electricity. It shouldn’t be a lottery that depends on how much money you have or where you happen to live.


Aug 6, 2013

Green light for delivery of Gateway WA

Funding for the full program of works has now been approved for the billion dollar Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said the Federal and Western Australian Governments have reached agreement on the final project price, scope of work and construction timetable.

“Agreement on the project’s price, scope and construction schedule is a major milestone for this ambitious project. It allows the project to proceed full steam ahead and we expect the upgrade to open to traffic by 2017,” he said.

“This is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in WA and was one of our key commitments at the last Federal election. Locking in the construction schedule for this project means this project has been promised, funded and delivered under Federal Labor.”

Federal Labor Candidate for Swan John Bissett said projects like this are necessary to ensuring WA remains a great place to live and invest in.

“Gateway WA is a great example of how we’re reinvesting a proportion of the wealth created by our natural resources back into building the infrastructure our communities need and rely upon.  We want to make this State an even better place to invest in and raise a family,” he said.

“The project will upgrade the road network around Perth airport and surrounding areas, ensuring the precinct continues to play a critical role in the growth of our local and state economy into the future.

“The first stage of the project – the Abernethy Road-Tonkin Highway on-ramp – is on track to open next month and will provide immediate benefit and relief to the freight industry.”

Gateway WA is being jointly funded by the Federal Labor ($686 million) and Western Australian Governments and a tangible example of Federal Labor’s unprecedented $6.9 billion investment in the State’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure.

All up, we’ve more than doubled annual infrastructure spending from $92 to $261 per West Australian.

Funding for this project is already included in the budget.


Aug 6, 2013

Brookvale oval scores an upgrade

Sports fans and local sporting teams will benefit from a major upgrade of Brookvale Oval, which will ensure more people can watch and play their favourite sport closer to home and secure the Oval’s future as a major sporting facility for the whole of the North Shore and the Northern Beaches.

The Rudd Labor Government will contribute funding of $10 million towards the construction of a new purpose-built grandstand at Brookvale that will provide covered tiered seating for 4,350 spectators as well as corporate hospitality, meeting and community spaces.

The new grandstand is a key feature of the stage one redevelopment and will be constructed on the eastern side of Brookvale Oval.  The construction phase of the grandstand will create around 150 new jobs.

Brookvale has been the home of rugby league on the northern beaches right from the start and Manly have played home games here since entering the top flight of the NSW Rugby League competition in 1947.

There is strong local support to upgrade the Oval, partly because existing facilities are ageing and not meeting the needs of the community.

Federal Labor’s funding provides the catalyst for a long overdue rejuvenation of Brookvale Oval that will transform it into a great sporting facility and community asset for Sydney’s north.

With the increased undercover seating, crowd attendances and membership will grow, attracting more fans and families.

Importantly, the new stand will assist in hosting other major events and sporting teams, cementing Brookvale Oval as a major regional sporting facility for the North Shore and Northern Beaches communities.

Funding for this project is already included in the budget.


Aug 5, 2013

Extra funding for Kwinana Freeway and Great Eastern Highway

I have approved funding for additional works on the Kwinana Freeway and Great Eastern Highway, which will no doubt be welcomed by the 54,000 motorists and drivers who use these roads every day.

The package of works will widen the Kwinana Freeway between the Roe Highway and Armadale Road to three lanes and upgrade its on and off-ramps.  In addition, we will rebuild and widen the Great Eastern Highway between Walgoolan and Coolgardie.

Tenders will be called in coming months, with the projects to be funded using savings achieved on earlier projects.  That means this Federal Labor Government is delivering above and beyond what we initially promised.

Together, these improvements will deliver safer, smoother and less congestion driving conditions.  Both roads are vital freight routes connecting Fremantle Port and the industrial estates east of the City with the mining and agricultural industries of the Wheatbelt and Goldfields-Esperance regions.

These new, additional projects add to the unprecedented $6.9 billion capital works program currently being rolled out across Western Australia by this Federal Labor Government.  In fact compared to the Howard Government we have more than doubled spending from $115 to $240 per Western Australian.

This includes funding for earlier widening works along the Great Eastern Highway from Rivervale to Redcliffe ($58 million) as well as on the Kwinana Freeway between the Leach and Roe highways ($42.2 million).

From the outset Federal Labor’s mission has been to reverse the neglect we inherited and invest in the modern, well-planned infrastructure which makes working people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the national economy stronger.

We are building the infrastructure that will stand the test of time.


Aug 5, 2013

Government welcomes Telstras’s response to pit remediation

The Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Anthony Albanese, today welcomed Telstra’s announcement that work on pit remediation for the NBN would recommence on 19 August.

“Telstra has worked constructively with the Government and other stakeholders to put in place a comprehensive program to address the issues posed by the existence of asbestos in parts of its network.”

“Everyone has the right to go to work and come home safely,” said Minister Shorten.

The independent Asbestos Taskforce, established by the Australian Government in June, has agreed on a range of measures to ensure all of Telstra’s work crews are appropriately trained and monitored, and follow correct work safety practices.

The Taskforce is headed by Geoff Fary (Chair, Asbestos Management Review) and its membership includes representatives from Telstra, NBN Co., the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), Comcare, industry unions, asbestos community support groups and work, health and safety experts.

“Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer and because of its widespread use over much of the 20th century and remains a persistent threat to Australians,” Mr Shorten said.

“There can be no short cuts when it comes to asbestos,” Mr Albanese said.

“This is a positive development for those sub-contractors who have been awaiting Telstra’s resumption of remediation work.”

If residents or businesses wish to report suspected asbestos containing material, please call the national asbestos hotline on 1800 888 468.


Aug 2, 2013

Australia and Canada to review and compare investigation processes

I welcome the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s actions in inviting the Canadian Transportation Safety Bureau to undertake an independent review of the ATSB’s investigation methodologies and processes.

The review, to begin this month, will provide the ATSB with valuable insights and identify best practices from both organisations to improve the way in which the organisation undertakes investigations.

This will be a transparent process with the report to be made available to the public early next year.

The safety and security of the travelling public is the Federal Government’s number one aviation priority and a focus on continuous improvement by Australia’s aviation safety agencies is critical to this goal.

Aug 2, 2013

Bruce Highway: Another Cardwell Range upgrade milestone

The multimillion dollar upgrade of the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range has achieved another milestone following this week’s traffic switch.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the opening of the two new lanes will allow motorists to drive over the crest of the range.

“The temporary traffic switch is another milestone in the upgrade of the Cardwell Range section of the Bruce Highway and follows the completion last year of the 180 metre long viaduct and Rungoo rail overpass,” said Mr Albanese.

“The straightening and flattening of this 4 kilometre section of the Highway will deliver safer, faster driving conditions for the 3,200 motorists and truck drivers which use it every day.

“This project is just one of many currently underway along this 1,700 kilometre road as part of this Federal Government’s unprecedented $5.7 billion Bruce Highway capital works program.”

Starting about 15 kilometres north of Ingham, the Cardwell Range Realignment is a jointly funded project, with the Federal Government contributing $128.5 million and Queensland Government a further $69.5 million.

Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas said the traffic switch will enable the crew to continue construction on the eastern face of the cutting, as well as the new upgraded Hinchinbrook Lookout.

“Work on the cutting is expected to be completed in November,” said Senator McLucas.

“Meanwhile, the Hinchinbrook Lookout is being upgraded, and a new access bridge over the highway is being constructed to remove unsafe right turns and provide new access for visitors.

“The Hinchinbrook Lookout will offer short-stay visitor parking and a safe place to enjoy the iconic panoramic view of Hinchinbrook Channel and Island.”

The entire project is on track to be complete by the end of 2013, weather permitting.



Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office


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