Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Dec 19, 2017

Barnaby’s infrastructure challenge

Incoming Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must use his appointment to reverse the Coalition’s cuts to investment in nation building infrastructure.

Since taking office the Coalition has slashed investment in rail, road, public transport and other infrastructure at the very time it should have been increasing it to drive economic activity and jobs growth.

According to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, Commonwealth infrastructure investment, as measured as a percentage of GDP, will halve from 0.4 to 0.2 percent by 2020-21.

The Government is not only slashing funding over the next four years, but has also failed to deliver on the promises made in their first three budgets.

And this year’s Budget will be no different.

Indeed, at Budget time just seven months ago, the Government said it would invest $8 billion in the nation’s road and rail infrastructure in 2017-18.  However, yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) revealed that they will actually invest $7 billion, which represents a $1 billion cut.

That takes the total infrastructure cuts over their first four budgets to $4.8 billion.

Properly targeted infrastructure investment boosts economic activity in the short term while lifting productivity in the longer term.

Mr Joyce must boost investment, not just in rural and regional roads, but also in public transport within our cities in order to tackle worsening traffic congestion, which is eroding people’s quality of life and acting as a handbrake on productivity and economic growth.

I wish outgoing Minister Darren Chester all the best on what must be a difficult day following his shabby and appalling treatment by his own side.

He retains my respect as a man of integrity.

Dec 18, 2017

Labor makes Blue Mountains tourism a priority

Local tourism operators have begun discussing their long-term vision for Blue Mountains tourism at a meeting with Shadow Minister Anthony Albanese and Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman.

The tourism industry representatives, which included Scenic World, hotel operators and Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise, discussed the need for a refreshed strategy for tourism across the entire Blue Mountains, significant public infrastructure upgrades and environmentally sustainable tourist projects.

“Tourism is an absolutely essential industry in the Blue Mountains,” Ms Templeman said.

“The figures show us that more than four million tourists visit the Blue Mountains each year, spending an estimated $666 million. Tourism is the second largest employer here, with approximately 12.9% of local jobs attributable to the tourism sector, generating $105 million in wages and salaries,

“So the long-term health of the tourism industry has flow on effects on the rest of our local economy,” she said.

Shadow Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, said that “tourism is a super growth and sustainable industry and I am working with the sector to maximise economic and employment opportunities.”

Scenic World is the most visited privately-operated tourist attraction in Australia. “Having sustainable infrastructure in place is vital for the industry to reach its full potential whilst caring for the World Heritage area that makes us unique, and we’re proud to work alongside our industry colleagues and have the support of Federal Members to help shape our region’s future,” said Scenic World CEO Anthea Hammon.

“I will continue to engage with the local tourism industry to ensure that it has the necessary support to continue to thrive in the Blue Mountains,” Ms Templeman concluded.

Dec 14, 2017

Windsor Wolves Grandstand “unofficial opening”

The hard work of the Windsor Wolves was recognised today as they celebrated an “unofficial opening” of their grandstand, which was funded by the former Labor Government.

Despite the successful completion of the project, no official opening has ever been held, which is why today’s event is such an important milestone for the Wolves.

The $2.5 million of funding for the grandstand was part of the $29.5 million the former Labor Government invested in upgrading existing and building new community infrastructure across the Macquarie electorate.

In addition to the grandstand, the project included a new canteen, referees’ room, officials’ box, player dug out and public toilets.

These new facilities have improved the experience of more than 500 players across 40 teams, in addition to the thousands of spectators who come along to cheer on their team.

Labor has always believed that investment in community infrastructure is an important function of the national government.

Local communities deserve support.

Investment in these projects creates jobs, delivering an economic boost to local communities, while improving the quality of life for local residents.

Dec 11, 2017

Second-rate NBN causes uncertainty

Morayfield Health Hub, in the electorate of Longman, which opened today, is just one example of a local business inconvenienced by Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate NBN.

After applying for fibre-to-the-premises at the start of this year, installation was completed at the Health Hub in November.

But after weeks of delays, the Health Hub has only just received a connection following representation from the office of Susan Lamb.

The weeks of uncertainty put the opening of this very important piece of local health infrastructure at risk, despite the urgent health needs of the local community.

Hard-working local businesses such as the Morayfield Health Hub need a first-rate NBN to compete in an increasingly technological world.

Malcolm Turnbull and his Government are instead giving them a second-rate service.

Under Labor nine out of ten homes across Longman would have received fibre-to-the-premises, with the rest served by fixed-wireless and satellite.

Instead most homes across Longman have had no option but to be served by last century’s copper.

What’s more, the post code of Caboolture had the fifth highest number of NBN complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the country in 2015-16.

Very fast internet is a vital piece of infrastructure in the 21st century as it impacts on productivity in our urban and regional areas.

Last week in the House of Representatives I questioned Malcolm Turnbull on his failure to deliver his promise to give all Australians access to the NBN by the end of 2016.

This followed the NBN’s announcement that it would halt the rollout to two million premises because the hybrid coaxial fibre technology was not working.

Mr Turnbull denied having made the undertaking.

Yet when I was the Communications Minister and he was the Shadow Minister, the Coalition’s official 2013 policy document, written by Mr Turnbull, said: “The Coalition will deliver fast, affordable and reliable broadband years sooner than Labor.  …everyone in the nation should have access to broadband with download data rates of between 25 and 100 megabits per second by 2016…

After the election, on September 3, 2013, Mr Turnbull, as Communications Minister said: “Under our policy by 2016 everybody will have access to very fast broadband and nobody will have access to less than 25mbps.”

Mr Turnbull’s attempts to rewrite history will not change the fact that he has failed to deliver what he promised.
 

Dec 5, 2017

Turnbull rewrites history on NBN

Today in Question Time, I asked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to explain his failure to deliver his promise to give all Australians access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) by the end of 2016, given that the NBN announced last week it would halt the rollout to two million premises because the hybrid coaxial fibre technology was not working.

Mr Turnbull denied having made the undertaking.

This is clearly at odds with the record from when I was the Communications Minister and he was the Shadow Minister.

The Coalition’s official 2013 policy document, written by Mr Turnbull, said: “The Coalition will deliver fast, affordable and reliable broadband years sooner than Labor.  …everyone in the nation should have access to broadband with download data rates of between 25 and 100megabits per second by 2016…

After the election, on September 3, 2013, Mr Turnbull, as Communications Minister said: “Under our policy by 2016 everybody will have access to very fast broadband and nobody will have access to less than 25mbps.”

Mr Turnbull’s attempts to rewrite history will not change the fact that he has failed to deliver what he promised.

Because of his failures, Australian businesses are being denied access to broadband access required to compete in the 21st century.

People who were promised high-speed broadband and have been let down include more than 40,000 households in Bennelong now facing an uncertain delay as a result of the NBN stopping because it does not work properly.

The Prime Minister also admitted the Government has no idea how many additional hundreds of millions of dollars stopping the NBN will cost.

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.

MONDAY, 27 NOVEMBER, 2017

 

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.

FRIDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2017

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.

FRIDAY, 24 NOVEMBER, 2017

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.

THURSDAY, 23 NOVEMBER, 2017

Nov 23, 2017

Coalition Cuts $700 Million from Promised Queensland Infrastructure Investment

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to deliver $700 million that it promised to invest in Queensland infrastructure in the past three years.

Budget papers show the Government undertook to invest $5.1 billion on Queensland infrastructure in its first three Budgets (2014/15 to 2016-17),

But Final Budget Outcome documents reveal it actually invested $4.4 billion.

The $700 million shortfall indicates the Government has failed to deliver even its own minimal commitments by failing to roll out projects as promised.

The cuts include $750 million to Major Road Projects, $51 million to the Northern Australia Roads Program and $22 million to the Beef Roads Program.

The Government also cut $30 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 about 190 dangerous Black Spots if only it had invested what it promised.

The Government also cut $21 million from promised investment in the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, which improves road safety by providing rest stops and parking areas for trucks.

Queensland needs increased infrastructure investment to provide jobs and economic activity in the short and medium term while also 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 Queenslanders are focused on the Treasurer’s Budget speech, but then fails to follow through, apparently hoping no-one will notice.

This pattern of deceptive behaviour is not confined to Queensland.

Across the nation the Government delivered $3.9 billion less infrastructure investment than promised in its first three Budgets.

This $700 million cut in Queensland could have been contributed to projects like Brisbane’s much-needed Cross River Rail project without impacting on the Budget bottom line at the time of the Budget announcements.

Labor has a record of delivery when it comes to infrastructure investment in Queensland.

Over six years the former Labor Federal Government more than doubled per capita infrastructure investment from $143 per Queenslander per year to $314.

THURSDAY, 23 NOVEMBER, 2017

 

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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