Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Aug 24, 2013

Small business innovation fund

A re-elected Rudd Labor Government will create a $10 million Small Business NBN Innovation Fund to help small businesses across the country unleash the full potential of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Federal Labor wants to see Australia’s information, communications and technology (ICT) sector create new applications that will allow small businesses to cut costs and become more productive and competitive.

The new Innovation Fund will back businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs in developing innovative NBN enabled applications which deliver practical benefits for small businesses across the nation.

Once developed, the new applications would be made available free of charge to all small businesses through www.business.gov.au.

This will allow small businesses to realise the benefits of Federal Labor’s investment in the National Broadband Network.

Federal Labor understands that with the Chinese mining investment boom coming to an end we need to diversify Australia’s economy so we don’t have all our eggs in one basket.

The NBN is a central element of Labor’s positive plans to create economic growth and jobs for the future.

It will open up new ways of doing business – and our new Innovation Fund will ensure small business owners and operators can tap into these benefits.

Streamlining business administration means small businesses can spend less time doing the books and more time with their customers.

The NBN is a game changer for small business across Australia. It is the biggest ever investment in small business infrastructure this nation has ever seen.

Research shows that small businesses who are engaged in the online world and use broadband grow their business faster and are more likely to be hiring new staff.

This commitment would be delivered through the Federal Labor Government’s Economic Competitiveness Fund that is already included in the budget.

Under Federal Labor, small businesses will get fibre connected to their premises for free.

In stark contrast, the Coalition will cut the NBN and slug small businesses as much as $5,000 to have fibre connected. For Australia’s 3.2 million small businesses, this cost could hit as high as $16 billion.

Labor’s Small Business NBN Innovation Fund comes on top of:

  • The biggest ever infrastructure investment for Australia’s small businesses – the National Broadband Network.
  • The Digital Enterprises Program – providing small businesses with the skills and knowledge they need to get online and take advantage of the NBN.
  • The Digital Business Kits – a suite of targeted resources and information that will help small and medium enterprises in ten specific sectors get online and make the most of the NBN.

Federal Labor would work with the Australian Computer Society and the Australian Information Industries Association on the design of the scheme to ensure it best utilises the resources of the ICT sector.

 

Aug 23, 2013

Tonsley Rail Line duplication and upgrade brought forward

The Rudd and Weatherill Labor Governments have today announced the bring forward of $63 million to duplicate part of the Tonsley Rail Line and upgrade existing track as quickly as possible.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis today announced their respective governments would bring forward funding while inspecting the start of construction work in Ascot Park.

“The Rudd Labor Government has a plan to keep our cities moving, one which involves investing in both their road and rail infrastructure. If not tackled in such a balanced way, the cost of congestion here in Adelaide will double to $1.1 billion a year by the end of the decade,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Tonsley Park Public Transport Project will significantly improve public transport services for people living in the southern suburbs and is part of our unprecedented investment in public transport.

“Construction to duplicate and upgrade the rail line near Ascot Park commenced just this week and bringing forward funding will ensure this first stage of work is completed as quickly as possible, minimising inconvenience to rail commuters.

“Bringing this work forward also means we can redeploy 250 workers that are already engaged on the Rail Revitalisation Project in Adelaide’s south, keeping jobs in South Australia when and where they’re needed.

“This project is an example of the record investment we’re making in urban public transport, all of which would be cut by Tony Abbott and the Liberals. Mr Abbott has repeatedly said that the Federal Government should have nothing to do with fixing our nation’s public transport infrastructure.

“Only Labor will invest in and deliver the public transport our cities need into the future.”

As part of the project, 1.2 kilometres of the Tonsley Rail Line will be duplicated and 3.3 kilometres of existing track upgraded.

Mr Koutsantonis said the Tonsley Park Public Transport Project also includes upgrading Clovelly Park and Tonsley stations and the construction of a new park–and–ride facility and bus interchange.

“Our investment here will deliver the infrastructure we need to meet demand for public transport services into the future,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“We anticipate patronage increases of about 450 per cent at Clovelly Park station and 600 per cent at Tonsley station by 2015.

“This project also caters for the growing popularity of park-and-ride in our suburbs as well as linking into bus services at a new interchange to be built in the later stages of the project.

“By beginning the track work now we can avoid having to close the line some time next year after the resumption of rail services, which would not have been ideal.

“Substitute buses will continue for a little longer but in return we are building a more efficient rail service to complement our investment in advanced manufacturing and education facilities at the former Mitsubishi site.”

The next stages of the Tonsley Park Public Transport Project include the:

  • Rebuild of the Clovelly Park station to service the Tonsley Park development and to link to the park-and-ride facilities announced last December.
  • Rebuild of the Tonsley Station to connect rail and bus services.
  • New bus interchange at the intersection of South and Sturt roads.
  • Extension of Flinders Drive to Sturt Road to better connect to bus services.
  • Minor works on Sturt and South roads to improve the efficiency of local bus services.

Rail services on the Tonsley line are scheduled to resume in November. A long weekend shutdown will be required in early 2014 to install the duplicated junction at the Noarlunga line that will allow electrified services to run on the Tonsley line.

Funding for this project is already included in the budget.

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NATION BUILDING PROGRAM: SA

Through our Nation Building Programs, Federal Labor is investing a record $4.2 billion to maintain and modernise the State’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure, with $196 million being provided this financial year alone.

All up, we’ve more than doubled infrastructure spending in the State from $92 to $226 per South Australian.

This includes funding for two of the biggest road projects in South Australia’s history: the Northern Expressway (completed) and South Road Superway (underway) – both in Adelaide.

EXISTING PROJECTS

Over the next 12 months (2013-14), we will complete work on the following major projects:

  •  Constructing the new South Road Superway, which will feature a new 2.8 kilometre elevated roadway between Wing and Taminga Streets along South Road.   Federal contribution: $406 million.
  • Upgrade of the Dukes Highway, including new overtaking lanes, additional rest areas and other safety works.  Federal contribution: $80 million.

Over the next 12 months work will also continue on untangling the passenger and freight lines through Adelaide’s CBD at Goodwood and Torrens (Federal contribution: $232.1 million).

NEW PROJECTS

Following consultations with the State Government and Infrastructure Australia, this year’s Federal Budget added the following projects to our capital works program:

  • South Road (Torrens Road to River Torrens): Upgrade and widen South Road between Torrens Road and the River Torrens, including sinking 1.4 kilometres of the road below surface as well as constructing two new interchanges and a rail line overpass. Federal contribution: $448 million, with $20 million brought      forward to kick-start the project.
  • Tonsley Park Public Transport Project: Improve the public transport infrastructure in and around Tonsley Park, including duplicating a section of the Tonsley Rail Line and installing park-and-ride facilities and bus interchanges at Clovelly Park and Tonsley stations. Federal contribution: $31.5 million.
  • Managed Motorways: Install an Advanced Traffic
    Management System along the South Eastern Freeway between Stirling and Mount Barker, including variable speed limit and message signs. Federal contribution: $8 million.
  • Managed Motorways: Install Intelligent Transport Systems along the South Eastern Freeway between Crafers and Stirling, including hard shoulder running, lane use management and better incident management systems. Federal contribution: $4.5 million.
  • Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: Upgrade sections of the 210 kilometre main access road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja as well as improve 21 kilometres of community roads.  This package will provide all-weather access to airstrips at Pukatja, Umuwa, Fregon, Mimili, and Indulkana, as well as to the Umuwa and Fregon homelands.  Federal contribution: $85 million.

The 2013-14 Federal Budget also maintained funding for a range of initiatives which help make local roads better and safer:

  • $4.7 million to eliminate another 22 dangerous black spots;
  • $87.1 million to assist councils across the State to maintain and upgrade their local roads; and
  • $2.9 million to provide 7 new and upgraded rest areas, 9 new and upgraded stock ramps and 2 road upgrades to improve access for trucks and livestock transporters.

 

Aug 9, 2013

Thousands in Townsville set to miss out on superfast broadband

More than 37,000 homes and businesses in Townsville are set to miss out on superfast, affordable and reliable fibre 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.

If there’s a change of government on 7 September, the only homes and businesses that can be sure of getting access to NBN fibre broadband are the 15,000 that have been switched on under Federal Labor.

Everyone else is likely to be left with one of two choices: battle on using last century’s copper 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 Townsville’s 11,440 businesses alone, that could be a total financial hit as high as $57 million.

However, if the Rudd Labor Government is re-elected the roll out of fibre-to-the-premise will continue by mid-2016 to 52,400 homes and businesses in Townsville, Mount Louisa, Bohle, Deeragun, Bushland Beach and Black River.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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