Browsing articles in "Ministerial Media Releases"
Jul 17, 2013

Mammoth upgrade to interstate network at an end

In another sign of Federal Labor’s commitment to the nation’s rail network, the final 15 kilometres of a mammoth 711 kilometre program to upgrade a section of track from South Australia to New South Wales has been completed.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the re-railing is the final part of a significant $288 million Nation Building program to upgrade the interstate rail network between Parkes and Cootamundra and Broken Hill and Whyalla.

“This program, originally funded under Labor’s economic stimulus plan, will mean a section of track is now heavier, stronger and better able to support one of the busiest freight transport corridors in the country,” he said.

At its peak the project supported around 200 jobs, as well as 40 contract steel jobs that were created at Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks to meet the demand of Nation Building projects.

“Nation Building projects like this are important because they create local jobs and support regional Australian communities,” Mr Albanese said.

“This re-railing upgrade, which is part of the Rudd Government’s significant investment in rebuilding the nation’s freight network, has supported local jobs at Whyalla’s steelworks, and it will improve the productivity of the transport sector.”

The re-railing program has seen 47kg/m rail replaced with heavier, stronger 60kg/m rail which will help heavier, more efficient trains use the rail corridor. 

The 60kg/m rail, in combination with other infrastructure improvements in the corridor, means two key domestic steel routes now operate across stronger rail for the entire journey.

“The productivity improvements include reduced maintenance and train operating costs, better track reliability and improved transit times,” Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) CEO John Fullerton said.

“Trains running on the Sydney to Perth corridor will benefit from the improved punctuality and reduced congestion due to the re-railing upgrades as well as recent concrete re-sleepering works, in one of the busiest interstate freight corridors in the country.”


Jul 17, 2013

Tony Abbott’s Bruce Highway “Promise”: Too little, too late

I welcome Tony Abbott and the LNP’s belated interest in the Bruce Highway.

It’s just a pity they couldn’t be bothered “fixing” it the last time they were in government, even though the current Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss was their Transport Minister.

In fact they slashed the Federal roads budget by $2 billion.

Now they expect us to believe that given a second chance they will do the job right.  They must think we’re all mugs.

A closer look at Mr Abbott’s numbers also reveals that they actually plan to spend less on the Highway over the next four years than what we have already put into the Budget.  Most of their funding is on the never-never.

And how can anyone put any faith in this latest “promise” from Mr Abbott given that he – like Campbell Newman before him – plans to establish to a ‘commission of cuts’ to review all areas of government spending, including infrastructure.

I think political parties should be judged on what they deliver in government – and when it comes to the Bruce, the LNP only ever cares about this road when they’re in opposition but just as quickly ignore it once they are elected to office.

By comparison, Federal Labor’s commitment to the Bruce Highway currently stands at an unprecedented $5.7 billion – more than four times what the Howard Government spent over a similar period of time (i.e. $1.3 billion).

That’s real money for real projects that are making a real difference.

As recent history has shown, Federal Labor always delivers more than the LNP.



  • Duplication of the Douglas Arterial (Townsville);
  • Upgrade of the southern approaches to Sarina;
  • Construction of a new, higher bridge over the Isis River;
  • Duplication of Section B between Cooroy and Curra;
  • Resurfacing of the Nambour Bypass;
  • Elimination of 63 notorious black spots;
  • 12 new and upgraded rest stops; and
  • Construction of 11 additional overtaking lanes.


  • Construction of a new interchange at the intersection between the Bruce and Dawson Highways, the Calliope Crossroads near Gladstone;
  • Upgrade of the intersection between the Bruce and Capricorn highways (Yeppen roundabout);
  • Upgrade of the southern approach to Mackay;
  • Flattening and straightening the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range;
  • Projects associated with the Burdekin Road Safety Audit including the upgrade of intersections along Edward Street in Ayr between Queen Street and Jones Street and construction of two new overtaking lanes south of Home Hill;
  • Upgrade of the southern approach to Cairns;
  • Strengthening the bridge over the Burdekin Bridge;
  • Straightening and widening the Bruce Highway from Cabbage Tree Creek to Carman Road, and across Back Creek Range;
  • Straightening the Bruce Highway just south of Gin Gin and upgrading the intersection with the Bundaberg-Gin Gin Road;
  • Straightening and raising the Bruce Highway between Sandy Corner and Collinsons Lagoon;
  • Upgrading the Pumicestone Road interchange including the construction of a new higher overpass over Bruce Highway;
  • Duplication of the Bruce Highway between the Cooroy South interchange and Sankeys Road (also known as Section A).


  • Yeppen South Floodplain Upgrade;
  • Mackay Northern Access upgrade;
  • Mackay Ring Road — finalise planning and build;
  • Rockhampton Northern Access Corridor — Yeppoon Road to Boundary Road;
  • North Queensland Flood Immunity Package;
  • Caloundra Rd to Sunshine Motorway — Stage 1;
  • Gateway Motorway to Caboolture — Managed Motorways;
  • Pavement widening: St Lawrence to Bowen;
  • Cairns Southern Access Corridor – widening between Robert Rd to Foster Rd;
  • Bruce Highway – South of Home Hill to North of Ingham;
  • Cooroy to Curra Section C & D;
  • Bruce Highway Black Spots;
  • Bruce Highway Overtaking Lanes.
Jul 17, 2013

South Perth to benefit from NBN enabled council services

Residents and businesses in South Perth, Western Australia, will be able to easily lodge development and building applications to their council directly from their home or office, thanks to a new online lodgement and tracking system supported by the National Broadband Network.

The project is being funded as part of the Rudd Labor Government’s Digital Local Government program.

Applicants will be able to speak ‘face-to-face’ with council staff via high-definition videoconferencing during the assessment process rather than applicants having to travel to the council offices. Local residents and businesses will also be able to follow their development and building submissions through the entire approval process.

All of this is being made possible by the NBN’s world-class high speed broadband.  The NBN is helping put residents and ratepayers at the heart of local government service delivery – which is where they should be.

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

Less time spent in council queues and fighting traffic means people can spend more time with their family or focused on their business.

“This project will see the City of South Perth’s approvals speed up with planning officers being able to work online with very complex drawings, maps, and plans instead of using a cumbersome paper-based system,” City of South Perth Deputy Mayor, Kevin Trent said.

The City of South Perth will receive a grant of $214,000 to deliver the online development and building application lodgement services, with the City contributing around $87,000. The final funding amount is subject to the negotiation of a funding deed.

For more details on the Digital Local Government program visit:

Jul 17, 2013

Labor’s NBN bringing more jobs and better broadband to Swan

Twenty permanent staff will be based at a new NBN distribution hub that is being constructed in Bentley, as the National Broadband Network brings superfast broadband and jobs to the electorate of Swan.

I have today inspected construction at the site, which is being purpose built to support the rollout of Labor’s NBN in Western Australia.

The NBN exchange in Bentley will be ready in September and will support Labor’s NBN fibre network construction in Western Australia, as well as provide NBN training and maintenance.

It is from this state-of-the-art facility that the NBN will deliver the fibre network to more than 44,000 homes and businesses in Perth’s south.

The location of the NBN exchange in Bentley is a boost to the local economy, with twenty permanent staff to be based here.

The facility is another sign that the NBN is delivering jobs and better broadband to the people of Swan.

NBN fibre services have been switched on for over 1,600 homes and businesses in Victoria Park, with more premises in South Perth set to come online in the coming weeks.

NBN fibre construction has commenced for about 64,000 homes and businesses in South Perth, Victoria Park and Applecross, with more NBN construction set to commence from November in the suburbs of Beckenham, Bentley, Cannington, Ferndale, Langford, Lynwood, Queens Park, St James, Welshpool and Wilson.

Labor is building the NBN for all Australians. No matter where you live – in the cities or in regional Australia – you will have access to the NBN.

The NBN is world-class infrastructure that will serve Australia’s broadband needs now and into the future.

For more information about the NBN rollout visit:


Jul 14, 2013

New Mitchell Bridge opens

Construction of the new Sir Thomas Mitchell Bridge over the Maranoa River is now complete with the bridge opening almost a year earlier than scheduled.

The Sir Thomas Mitchell Bridge is a critical link for south-western Queensland communities, as well as the livestock and transport industries.

The new bridge, located a few metres downstream from the existing bridge built in the 1950s, will align with Mitchell’s main street delivering better traffic flow and safer driving conditions for motorists.

While all road users will benefit, the new bridge will also allow the movement of Type 2 road trains which will deliver significant economic benefits to the local freight and livestock industries.

I congratulate the project team on their incredible job bringing the new bridge to completion almost a year earlier than scheduled.

The bridge is 900 millimetres higher and over three metres wider than the old bridge, with a dedicated pedestrian crossing and lighting. This will provide safe and reliable access for pedestrians across the Maranoa River.

The $16.8 million bridge is part of the Warrego Highway – Roma to Mitchell project, which is jointly funded by the Federal (over $44 million) and Queensland (over $14 million) governments.


Jul 14, 2013

Funding for Kirrama Range Road upgrade

The Federal Labor Government will provide $1 million in funding towards restoring and reopening the Kirrama Range Road, in the Cardwell Range.

This investment will help restore an important link to the Tablelands, providing a boost to local tourism operators and the cattle industry and restoring access for traditional owners.

Funding will go towards the replacement of 10 bridges, the resealing and replacement of gravel on sections of the road.

Kirrama Range Road is a key gateway to the Blencoe Falls National Park and improving its condition will make it accessible to vehicles other than 4WDs.

The road has been closed following significant damage by Tropical Cyclone Larry.

Reflecting the fact this road is a council responsibility, funding is conditional on both the State Government and Council confirming their funding contributions and Council maintaining the road into the future.

This funding forms part of Federal Labor’s record investment of $16.6 billion under our Nation Building Program to upgrade and modernise the Queensland’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure.

Works are due to start in November 2013 with the full upgrade to be complete by mid next year.


Jul 12, 2013

Tax reforms to drive private investment in infrastructure

A new tax incentive to support up to $25 billion in new private sector infrastructure spending has commenced this week.

The new tax incentive for major infrastructure projects is a key achievement of Federal Labor’s national infrastructure reform program.

The Federal Labor Government is delivering reforms to the way our nation plans, prioritises, funds, builds and uses infrastructure, having commenced with the establishment of Infrastructure Australia, in 2008, to advise on the nation’s top infrastructure priorities.

Under this new tax incentive, the Infrastructure Coordinator can designate projects eligible for the tax concession, with a pre-requisite that it has been assessed as ‘Ready to Proceed’ on Infrastructure Australia’s Priority Project List.

This incentive will encourage private sector investment in nationally significant projects by preserving the value of tax deductable project losses over time and making it easier for investors to access these losses.

The tax incentive will also stimulate innovation in the private sector, for example, by encouraging investments in smart infrastructure that better utilises our existing infrastructure such as the roll out of managed motorways technology.

Federal Labor is delivering record investment in infrastructure, through our $60 billion Nation Building Program, but we also recognise the need to mobilise private capital.

This reform will support major transport projects that transform our cities and make our international gateways more competitive, and expand the infrastructure pipeline more broadly.

Potential applicants should visit Infrastructure Australia’s website at for further details and to register attendance at the workshops.



Jul 11, 2013

More progress on the Pacific Highway duplication

Two contractors have been shortlisted to design and build the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section, bringing us closer to a four lane Pacific Highway between Warrell Creek and Urunga.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese and Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner today announced that Abigroup and the Acciona Ferrovial Joint Venture have been selected to proceed to the next phase of the tendering process.

Mr Albanese said the project is part of the ongoing upgrade and full duplication of the Highway, the most expensive and complex road project ever undertaken in Australia.

“The preferred tenderer for the Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section will be announced later this year, and building is anticipated to start mid next year,” he said.

“In the meantime, land acquisition and investigations are continuing in the lead up to major work. This preparatory work will ensure construction of a four lane divided road connecting Warrell Creek and Nambucca Heads can proceed as quickly as possible.

“When complete, motorists will experience safer driving conditions, uninterrupted highway traffic flow and easy access on and off the highway.”

The 20 kilometre Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads section will include interchanges at South Macksville and Warrell Creek and new bridges over Warrell Creek and the Nambucca River.

Further south, work to upgrade the Pacific Highway is progressing well with building tenders invited for the Kundabung to Kempsey section.

Mr Stoner said the14 kilometre upgrade between Kundabung and Kempsey is part of the Oxley Highway to Kempsey Pacific Highway project, which will provide 37.8 kilometres of four lane divided road between the Oxley Highway at Port Macquarie and connect with the recently completed Kempsey bypass.

“This upgrade will deliver safety benefits and smoother driving conditions for the 13,000 motorists and truck drivers who use this section of the Pacific Highway each and every day,” Mr Stoner said.

“A contract for the work is expected to be awarded later this year and building work is expected to start early next year.”

The Oxley Highway to Kempsey upgrade will include interchanges at Blackmans Point, Haydons Wharf and Yarrabee roads, Kundabung and Sancrox.

It will also involve construction of a bypass of Telegraph Point, an overpass at Bill Hill road, new bridges for the Hastings and Wilson rivers, the North Coast Railway and creek crossings, as well as rest areas in both directions.

A pre tender meeting and site inspection will be held this month, with details available on the eTender site:

Both projects form part of the ongoing upgrade and full duplication of the Pacific Highway, a massive nation building project being jointly funded by the Federal ($7.9 billion) and NSW ($2.5 billion) governments.

Jul 10, 2013

Bruce Highway safety works continue

Regular users of the Bruce Highway near Gin Gin will soon experience safer driving conditions following the start of work to realign a 6.7 km stretch of the highway between Cabbage Tree Creek and Carmans Road.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the upgrade will be completed late next year.

“Traffic volumes on the Bruce Highway continue to grow, so I’m pleased that these works will improve safety for the more than 3,500 vehicles that currently travel this section of highway each day, almost 30 per cent of which are heavy vehicles,” Mr Albanese said.

“The alignment of this section of the highway will remove tight curves and increase sight distances for motorists, making it easier to see other vehicles.

“An overtaking lane will be built for each direction of traffic, and two heavy vehicle rest stops will be constructed to cater for north and southbound motorists.

“The Bruce Highway and Monduran Road intersection will also be upgraded alongside other minor upgrades which will improve access to private properties along the Highway.”

Queensland Deputy Premier and Member for Callide Jeff Seeney said interim safety measures had been implemented as part of the project.

“There will be additional signage in place and a reduced speed limit on some sections of the existing highway while the works take place,” Mr Seeney said.

“Side tracks will also be in place to allow the connections to the new alignments to be built.

“Meanwhile, works commenced last year to flatten and realign a 3.7 kilometre stretch of the highway further north across Back Creek Range.

“The project will work to improve the vertical and horizontal alignment along this stretch and will bypass the section locally referred to as the ‘Big Dipper’, with works expected to be completed by mid-2014.

The Federal Labor Government is providing $80 million towards the combined $100 million cost of the Cabbage Tree Creek to Carman Road upgrade and Back Creek Range upgrade.

“Last year, crews also began working on a $20 million federally funded project to improve a 1.6 kilometre section of the highway on the southern approach to Gin Gin,” Mr Albanese said.

These safety works are part of the Federal Government’s unprecedented $5.7 billion investment to upgrade the Bruce Highway.


Click on image for larger version

Bruce Highway—Curra to Sarina

Map of Bruce Highway—Curra to Sarina

Jul 9, 2013

Moorebank Intermodal Company CEO appointed

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong, have today announced the appointment of Ian Hunt as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Moorebank Intermodal Company following an international executive search.

“Mr Hunt brings 30 years of infrastructure experience to the Moorebank project, having worked on a diverse range of projects including public private partnerships to deliver a major urban motorway and rail rolling stock,” Mr Albanese said.

“Mr Hunt brings to the Company broad skills across engineering, financing and management. These skills will be invaluable in delivering a project that is so important to the future of Sydney and to the Australian economy.”

The Moorebank Intermodal Company was established in December last year to engage and oversee the private sector development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, a nationally significant infrastructure project which will help boost Australia’s productivity.

Senator Wong said Mr Hunt will work closely with the Moorebank Intermodal Company Board, led by Dr Kerry Schott, to facilitate the private sector development of the Terminal.

“As CEO, Mr Hunt will play an important role in leveraging private sector expertise and investment.”

“One of his central tasks will be to oversee the formal procurement process that will identify private companies to develop and operate the Terminal.”

Once up and running, it’s forecast that the Terminal could remove 1.2 million trucks from Sydney’s roads each year – equivalent to 3,300 trucks per day.

In addition, the Terminal will generate around $10 billion in economic benefits through increased productivity, reduced freight costs, reduced traffic congestion and better environmental outcomes.

Dr Schott thanked Lucio Di Bartolomeo who has served as interim CEO over the past six months.

“Under Mr Di Bartolomeo’s leadership, the Company has swiftly built momentum,” Dr Schott said.

The formal procurement process is expected to commence in August 2013, with construction of the Intermodal Terminal planned to commence in mid-2015. It will open for business in 2017.


Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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