Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Jul 6, 2018

Media Release – Jenny Macklin – Friday, 6 July 2018

Australia is a better and fairer nation due to the contribution of my friend Jenny Macklin to public life.

I have had the honour of working with Jenny since the day we were both elected to Parliament in 1996.

There is no doubt that Jenny Macklin has been the stand out contributor to policy development in the Australian Labor Party since that time.

The Apology, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Paid Parental Leave, and the Royal Commission into the Response of Institutions to Childhood Sexual Abuse are just some of Jenny’s legacies.

Jenny ensured the largest ever increase to the Aged Pension and Disability Support Pension, which was driven by her commitment to social justice and overcoming social disadvantage.

Jenny’s service as a Minister, Deputy Leader, Shadow Minister and member of key Committees – including Parliamentary Tactics and the Expenditure Review Committee, have been critical, over more than two decades.

Jenny leaves the Parliament with respect from all sides and is recognised as having more knowledge over income support and the attainment of social justice than anyone across the Parliament.

As someone who has had the pleasure of sitting next to Jenny on the front bench for a long time, I will miss her sense of humour and passionate advocacy.

I wish Jenny, Ross and all her family all the best for the future.

Jul 3, 2018

Media Release – Bruce Higway Extension Will Support Tourism – Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Labor’s $40 million commitment to extend the Bruce Highway from the intersection of Comport Street and Draper Street to Cairns Airport will ensure a better tourist experience for the almost three million people that visit Cairns every year.

The Bruce Highway is Queensland’s most important piece of road infrastructure and is central to the movement of people and freight up and down its coast.

These major upgrades will improve access to the Airport, which is particularly important given the growth in passenger numbers – in May this year Cairns Airport welcomed 390,000 passengers.

Locals will also benefit from the jobs that will be created as a result of this $40 million investment.

This project builds on the $5 million Labor has already announced for the Wangetti Tourist Trail in Cairns and our commitment to establish a $1 billion Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

It comes in addition to the investment Labor made when last in Government.

This included the almost $700 million we allocated to upgrading and widening key sections of the Bruce Highway through Cairns’ southern suburbs, as well as between Cairns and Gordonvale.

The simple fact is that quality infrastructure underpins a successful tourist experience.

Labor understands that many people in Cairns rely on tourism for their income, which is why we are committed to investing in infrastructure that will help support this important sector.

Jul 3, 2018

Media Release – Constance Should Grow Up and Put People First on Metro West Rail – Tuesday, 3 July 2018

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has embarrassed himself by rejecting Federal Labor’s commitment of $3 billion for the proposed Sydney Metro West rail project on partisan political grounds.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that last Thursday, Mr Constance said he needed Federal funding for the project, which will connect Parramatta with the Sydney CBD.

Mr Constance said: “Canberra need (sic) to seriously start to look at this project to make this work”.

But on Monday, after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committed $3 billion to the project in his speech at the  NSW Labor Party conference, Mr Constance changed his tune. Standing next to Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher, who has not offered a dollar for the project, Mr Constance rejected the need for Federal investment.

Mr Constance is more interested in politics than delivering Metro West.

He should dump the hypocrisy and grow up.

Improving public transport between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD must be a priority for both levels of government.

Australians want political representatives to focus on outcomes, not politics.

Metro West is a good project.

That’s why NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley, who understands the importance of infrastructure investment to tackling traffic congestion and boosting economic productivity, has promised a State Labor Government would fast-track construction.

It is also why Federal Labor has committed funding.

Instead of playing political games, Mr Constance should press the Turnbull Government to get behind this important project.

 

Jul 2, 2018

Media Release – Forget the Lycra: Labor will Deliver Stage II of the Mackay Ring Road – Monday, 2 July 2018

Dawson MP George Christensen’s failure to secure Budget funding for Stage II of the Mackay Ring Road highlights his growing irrelevance within the Federal Government.

In February Federal Labor committed $102 million for planning and construction of the Mackay Port Access Road, to be delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government.

Labor recognises the fundamental importance of this project to Mackay’s quality of life and ongoing economic development.

By contrast, Mr Christensen was unable to extract a dollar of funding from the Federal Coalition Government in May’s Federal Budget.

To his embarrassment, Mr Christensen recently made a bizarre video in which he ran around singing in a lycra leotard in an attempt to bring attention to the project.

The people of Dawson don’t need a clown in a leotard.

They need a Labor Government in Canberra with a Labor representative able to deliver the services and infrastructure their community needs and deserves.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Christensen’s frequent media stunts and threats to cross the floor have eroded his credibility with his colleagues to such an extent that he is ineffective as an advocate for his community.

With Stage I of the Mackay Ring Road under construction, Labor is determined to ensure that we lock in Stage II to allow for a seamless continuation of the project.

The 8.2km Mackay Port Access Road will link the Bruce Highway North intersection to the Harbour Road intersection – connecting Mackay’s northern suburbs to the Paget Industrial Area and mining locations west of the city.

Jul 1, 2018

Media Release – Labor’s $6 Billion Plan for Sydney Rail – Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $6 billion to build the Sydney Metro West and Western Sydney Rail, bringing jobs, economic development and a better quality of life to people living in Western Sydney.

Western Sydney is already home to two million people – nearly 10per cent of Australia’s population – and is our third largest economy.

Labor wants to ensure Western Sydney has the jobs and infrastructure it needs to set it up for the future, which is why we’re getting behind this vital economic infrastructure.

Labor can afford to invest in public transport infrastructure and new jobs because unlike Turnbull and the out-of-touch Liberals, we aren’t giving a $17 billion tax handout to the big banks.

Western Sydney Rail

Labor will commit a total of $3 billion to Western Sydney Rail which will reduce congestion and the dependence on cars, and bring jobs closer to where people live – while connecting all of Sydney with the new Western Sydney Airport.

Labor has been committed to this project since before the last election, when we committed $400 million to get this project underway. Today’s announcement builds on that commitment because we understand just how vital it is for Western Sydney’s future.

Western Sydney’s population is expected to grow by an additional one million people in the next 20 years, and traffic congestion is expected to cost Sydney nearly $15 billion by 2031.

This project alone is expected to take 1,000 cars off the road every time a train leaves the station, and Deloitte estimates the project will add over $44 billion in benefits to the economy by 2040.

Sydney Metro West

Labor will commit $3 billion to Sydney Metro West, which will double the rail capacity between Parramatta and the CBD.

In the next 20 years the population of the corridor between Parramatta and the CBD is expected to grow by 420,000, and more than 300,000 new jobs in the same period. Sydney Metro West will be vital to securing economic development and quality of life.

The project will see construction of a 25km underground tunnel and up to 12 new underground stations. Not only will this enable greater movement of passengers, it will also free up existing heavy rail track for additional services between the CBD and Greater Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Labor’s hard budget choices means we afford to pay for our priorities: better public transport, more jobs, and reversing Turnbull’s cuts to schools and hospitals.

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a fair go for Western Sydney.

SUNDAY, 1 JULY 2018

Jul 1, 2018

Media Release – Labor will Build Car Parks for Commuters – Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will establish a $300 million National Park and Ride Fund for new or expanded car parks at public transport hubs, such as train stations.

Labor backs public transport – it’s good for commuters and it eases congestion on our roads. But too many residents in our cities and major regional areas are frustrated at the lack of available parking at train and bus stations as they travel into the city for work.

At town hall meetings across the country, locals have told Labor MPs, Senators and candidates that they are fed up with the car park at their station being completely full early in the morning. It means people are forced to park far away from their train or bus station, or they have to drive into the city instead.

This problem is happening because governments aren’t investing in infrastructure to keep up with rapid population growth in outer suburbs and regional areas – like Western Sydney or the Central Coast – and it’s impacting on families’ quality of life.

Labor’s Park and Ride Fund will deliver grant funding to local communities – via state and local governments – to construct new car parks and expanded existing ones in high-growth areas with demonstrated commuter need. A Federal Labor government will partner with local communities to fund the projects on a co-investment basis.

As part of the application process, local and state governments will be asked to demonstrate that a car park is the best solution and most cost-effective way to use available land.

Labor can afford to deliver important infrastructure projects that local communities are asking for because unlike Turnbull, we are not blowing $17 billion on a tax giveaway to Australia’s biggest banks.

Australians want better schools, better hospitals, and better access to public transport. That’s what Labor will deliver.

While Turnbull’s out-of-touch Liberals are only for the top end of town, a Shorten Labor Government will deliver a fair go for all Australians.

Jun 12, 2018

Media Release – Federal Infrastructure Investment in Victoria is Out on the Never Never – Tuesday, 12 June 2018

More than 90 per cent of the Federal infrastructure funding allocated to Victoria in last month’s Budget won’t flow until 2022-23 at the earliest, further proof that the Turnbull Government is determined to short-change and punish Australia’s fastest growing state.

Making Victoria wait at least four years for the promised funding means that projects such as completing the duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale, Monash Rail, and the electrification of the rail line from Frankston to Baxter are off on the Never Never.

And despite all the pre-Budget hype there was no funding to build the rail line to Melbourne Airport.

The 2018 Budget was a triumph of spin over substance.

Simply put, Victorians waiting for the extra rail and road funding promised in days leading up to the 2018 Budget will have to re-elect the Coalition not once, but twice more before the bulk of the money flows.

That’s absurd.

Victoria needs investment in job creating, city-shaping and productivity enhancing infrastructure projects now, not years from now.

As well as postponing vital investment until years down the track, the Turnbull Government also lacks the ability to translate its past promises into bulldozers on work sites.

The fact is the difference between what they promised to invest in the State’s infrastructure over their first four budgets and what was actually spent, amounts to $1.2 billion.

Only Labor is committed to delivering the infrastructure Victoria needs.

Indeed, the last time we were in office we more than doubled annual Federal investment in the State’s infrastructure from $89 to $201 per Victorian.

Across the State we delivered major projects such as Regional Rail Link, the M80 Upgrade, the duplication of the Princes Highway West between Waurn Ponds and Colac, and the Western Highway Upgrade.

 

Jun 9, 2018

Media Release – Labor commits $60 million to Bass Highway Upgrade – Saturday, 9 June 2018

A Federal Labor Government will invest $60 million to upgrade key sections of the Bass Highway between Wynyard and Marrawah to improve safety for locals and visitors to the region.

Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the Bass Highway was a critical piece of economic and social infrastructure for North West Tasmania and traffic volumes were on the increase.

“As well as carrying a million tonnes of freight each year worth $1 billion, this road is also critical to the state’s thriving tourism industry,” Mr Albanese said.

“But it needs investment now.”

The package of works will include re-engineering of the highway through areas like Brittons Swamp, road widening, construction of new overtaking lanes and safety improvements at critical intersections. The final set of projects will be prioritised in consultation with the State Government, Circular Head Council and the local community.

Funding will begin flowing during Federal Labor’s first year in office.

Labor candidate for Braddon Justine Keay said today’s announcement was the culmination of a community campaign led by Circular Head Council, local school bus operator Kimbra Wells, from Wells Wagons, and the wider community.

“I have been pleased to support that campaign.  I have raised the issue in the Parliament, launched a community petition and advocated to all sides of politics,” Ms Keay said.

“Labor’s funding will make the highway much safer, and to use Kimbra Wells’ own words, ‘We just want the road fixed, not repaired’.

“Labor’s funding will make this happen.”

Labor Senator for Tasmania Anne Urquhart said it was time for the Liberals to provide some certainty on road funding, rather than constant contradictions.

“Labor’s funding commitment provides absolute certainty to the people of the North West regarding the funding envelope available to upgrade the Bass Highway west of Wynyard,” said Senator Urquhart.

“That is in stark contrast to the Liberals, who have no firm figure on what they will make available to Tasmania’s far North West.”

Mr Albanese also said after five years in office, the Federal Coalition had failed to commence work on a single new major infrastructure project anywhere in Tasmania – and discovered the Bass Highway only when a by-election was in the offing.

“What’s more, a close look at this year’s Budget papers reveals that the Turnbull Government is planning to cut investment in Tasmania’s road and rail infrastructure by 30 per cent from $164 million this financial year (2017-18) to $116 million in 2020-21,” Mr Albanese said.

“By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government made record investment in Tasmania, which included targeted upgrades to the Midland Highway and an extensive modernisation of its rail freight network.

“All up, we almost doubled annual investment from $157 to $264 per Tasmanian,” he said.

Jun 5, 2018

Media Release – Federal Infrastructure Pushed Off Into the Never Never – Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Turnbull Government’s latest Budget failed to make any investment in Brisbane’s much-needed Cross River Rail, a transformative project that will unlock South East Queensland’s passenger rail network and deliver more trains, more often for commuters.

That’s why today I reaffirmed Federal Labor’s commitment to invest $2.24 billion of Federal funding to deliver this project in partnership with the Queensland Government if elected at the coming election.

I provided this assurance during a visit to Kippa-Ring Station, one of the six new railway stations built as part of the Redcliffe Rail Line.  First promised more than a century ago in 1895, this new line was finally delivered with investment from the former Federal Labor Government.

But importantly, this was just one of many infrastructure projects we funded in Queensland the last time we were in government. The others included Legacy Way, the Gateway North Upgrade, the widening and upgrading of the Ipswich Motorway, and the Gold Coast Light Rail.

We also made a record investment in the Bruce Highway.

All up, we more than doubled annual investment in the State’s infrastructure from $143 to $314 per Queenslander.

This record of real money for real projects that are now making a real difference stands in stark contrast to the Turnbull Government’s latest Budget, which was a triumph of spin over substance.

Indeed, ninety per cent of the Federal infrastructure funding allocated to Queensland in last month’s Budget will not be invested for at least four years.

This means the delivery of projects such as the upgrades to the Bruce Highway between Pine Rivers and Caloundra, the M1 Upgrade and duplication of the North Coast Line, is off on the Never Never.

Queenslanders waiting for the extra rail and road funding promised in the days leading up to the 2018 Budget will have to re-elect the Coalition not once, but twice more before the bulk of the money flows.

This is simply absurd.

As a fast growing, decentralised state, Queensland needs investment in job creating, productivity enhancing infrastructure projects now, not years from now.

As well as postponing vital investment until years down the track, the Turnbull Government also lacks the ability to translate its past promises into bulldozers on work sites. The fact is the difference between what they promised to invest in the State’s infrastructure over their first four budgets and what was actually spent, amounts to $1.1 billion.

Only Labor is committed to delivering the infrastructure Queensland needs.

 

Jun 4, 2018

Media Release – Labor Will Apply New Public Interest Conditions to Infrastructure Grants – Monday, 4 June, 2018

A Labor Government will place more conditions on Federal infrastructure grants to States and Territories to secure public interest outcomes such as more training of apprentices and better work opportunities for mid-tier construction firms.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese told today’s Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Summit in Sydney that the role of Infrastructure Australia would be expanded under Labor Government with new conditions addressing areas like procurement, training and sustainability.

Mr Albanese said it was a common complaint in the construction industry that contracts for big rail and road projects were so large that mid-tier building companies found it difficult to bid.

“I would encourage states and territories to work with industry to craft creative procurement plans that spread the benefit of major government contracts more evenly across the infrastructure sector,’’ he said.

“As a bonus, there is no shortage of evidence to suggest that greater involvement of mid-tier construction companies leads to savings to the public purse by fostering greater competition.’’

In the same way, states seeking federal infrastructure grants would be required demonstrate plans to use major public projects as opportunities to train more apprentices.

They would also be required to demonstrate that, where appropriate, designs for new roads incorporate smart technology such as variable speed limits, smooth entry points, variable speed limits, and lane directional changes.

States would also be required to demonstrate that they had ensured that new railways and roads were properly linked with active transport options like walking paths and cycling racks.

“Better planning delivers better outcomes,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“Through the Infrastructure Australia process, we have an opportunity to improve the quality of project planning to achieve outcomes that better meet the expectations and requirements of both the public and business community.’’

MONDAY, 4 JUNE, 2018

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