Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
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.

 

Jul 31, 2013

NBN-enabled services launched in Onkaparinga

Families and businesses in Onkaparinga, South Australia, will be able to speak face-to-face with their Council from their living room or office, thanks to a new online planning and development service.

Senator for South Australia, Don Farrell, today launched the City of Onkaparinga’s new service, which is funded through the Rudd Labor Government’s Digital Local Government program.

The online service will enable development and building applications to be uploaded and tracked electronically, as well as the use of video conferencing to correspond with applicants.

“The NBN is helping put residents and ratepayers at the heart of local government service delivery – which is where they should be,” Senator Farrell said.

“Ultimately, this means better, more accessible, convenient and efficient services, delivered with less hassle for local residents.”

Senator Farrell also officially switched on the NBN in McLaren Flat, where 576 homes and businesses can now access NBN’s fast, reliable, and affordable broadband.

“I urge everyone who can to sign up to the NBN and embrace what the NBN has to offer,” Senator Farrell said.

Local Federal Member for Kingston Amanda Rishworth MP advocated to ensure residents and businesses in McLaren Flat would have access to fast and reliable broadband.

“I am delighted that McLaren Flat is the next community in Southern Adelaide to now have access to better broadband services, and it is great to see that work continues on the roll-out around the South so that everyone in our community has access to the National Broadband Network,” Ms Rishworth said.

“The funding announced today will also allow the local council to harness the National Broadband Network to deliver improved services for local residents.”

McLaren Flat digital consultant, Daniel Procter, said connecting to the NBN means he doesn’t have to move from the local area to grow his business.

“With the NBN we were able to stay put in our family home overlooking the vineyards and I can now start offering HD video-conferencing to support my clients all across the state, which means a two hour round trip drive to CBD clients is now a HD video-conferencing call over the NBN,” Mr Proctor said.

NBN fibre construction has commenced to 96,500 premises across South Australia, including Aldinga, Flinders, Gawler, Modbury, Onkaparinga, Port Augusta, Port Elliot and Victor Harbour, Prospect, Seaford, St Marys, Stirling, Strathalbyn and Yankalilla.

For more information about the NBN rollout in South Australia visit: www.nbnco.com.au/rollout

 

KEY FACTS 

NBN in Onkaparinga 

  1. The NBN has been switched on to 576 homes and businesses. 
  1. An additional 1,497 homes and businesses in the Onkapargina area are expected to go live in the coming months, bringing the total to 2,070 premises passed by fibre in Onkaparinga.

 

NBN in South Australia 

  1. NBN fibre currently has construction commenced for more than 96,500 premises across South Australia. This includes: Aldinga; Flinders; Gawler; Modbury; Port Augusta; Port Elliot and Victor Harbour; Onkaparinga; Prospect; Seaford; St Marys; Stirling; Strathalbyn; and Yankalilla. 
  1. NBN fibre construction will commence or be complete for 445,000 premises by mid-2016.
Jul 31, 2013

Adelaide’s urban rail network set to go electric

The community has had a glimpse inside the first of Adelaide’s brand new electric trains, signalling the start of a new era for the City’s urban rail network and the commuters who rely on it.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today joined South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis at the Seaford Rail Depot to see first-hand a fully assembled A-City Class 4000 railcar, the first of 22 scheduled to be delivered over the next 18 months.

“With the extension of the Noarlunga Line to Seaford now complete, the arrival of the new rolling stock marks another major milestone in the modernisation of Adelaide’s rail network,” said Mr Albanese.

“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.

“That’s why we’ve not only initiated the two largest road projects in the State’s history – the Northern Expressway and South Road Superway – but also funded projects such as the Seaford Rail Extension and the untangling of passenger and freight lines through the CBD.

“Here in lies one of the great divides in Australian politics. If Tony Abbott was ever to become Prime Minister, Federal funding for rail projects likes these would become a thing of the past. He has repeatedly said that the national government should have nothing to do with fixing our nation’s public transport infrastructure.”

Mr Koutsantonis said over the next decade $252 million will be invested on the new fleet of electric trains, with the first of them expected to go into service early next year.

“Together, the Rudd and Weatherill Labor Governments are building a modern, greener and more reliable urban rail network,” said Mr Koutsantonis.

“Part of that vision is the newly built, jointly funded Seaford Rail Extension.  Completed on time, on budget, this project employed some 2,000 workers, erected on of Australia’s longest bridges and has brought better public transport services to the residents of the City’s fast growing southern suburbs.”

 

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