Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Feb 8, 2018

Airport Must be Connected to Passenger Rail Network

Today in Question Time Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher refused to answer when asked whether the new Western Sydney Airport will be connected to Sydney’s passenger rail system from the day it opens.

Labor has already committed to start work on the new Western Sydney Rail line, which would extend the South-West rail link from Leppington via Bringelly to the new airport.

The Government should match this commitment.

If planned and developed properly, the Western Sydney Airport and surrounding business areas will attract investment that will generate thousands of jobs in aviation-related industries as well as tourism, education, advanced manufacturing, logistics and residential development.

If the people of Western Sydney are to benefit from these new jobs it is critical that it is connected to the passenger rail system.
THURSDAY, 8 FEBRUARY, 2018

Feb 8, 2018

Australian Tourism at Risk Because of Turnbull’s Climate Change Complacency

The Climate Council’s latest report Icons at Risk: Climate Change Threatening Australian Tourism highlights what is at risk for Australia’s top tourist destinations in the threat of imminent climate change.

In the report the Climate Council says Australia’s most important tourist destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Centre and the Top End as well as our pristine beaches and ski tourism, are already feeling the effects of climate change and that the impacts will accelerate over the coming decades.

The Great Barrier Reef tourism industry, which has been valued at $5.7 billion, provides 64,000 direct and indirect jobs and attracts more than 2.2 million international and 1.7 million domestic visitors per year, has undergone two recent devastating bleaching events.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) global analysis of the potential impacts of climate change on tourism identified the Australia/New Zealand region as one of five Climate Change Vulnerable Hotspots saying: “Australian tourism was particularly vulnerable due to hotter summers, warmer winters, water scarcity, marine biodiversity loss, sea level rise, an increase in disease outbreaks and an increase in extreme weather events.”

In the year ending September 2017, Australia received 8 million international visitors. These visitors spent a record $41.2 billion.

Tourism is one of Australia’s most valuable export earners and has been identified by Deloitte as a super growth sector.

Yet under Malcolm Turnbull, pollution is continually on the rise and the 2017 Climate Change Review offered not a single new climate policy.

Only Labor has a plan to combat climate change to protect our tourism assets.

THURSDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2018

Jan 31, 2018

Latest figures confirm plunge in nation building investment

Total annual infrastructure investment in Australia has plunged by 17 per cent under the Coalition from the level it inherited from the former Labor Government, according to the latest Commonwealth figures.

The 2017 Australian Infrastructure Yearbook says that while Labor was in office, the public and private sectors invested an average of $57.7 billion a year on transport, energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure.

This included funding for WA’s largest ever road project, Gateway WA.

But under the Coalition’s stewardship, total investment has averaged $48 billion a year.

Produced by the Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), the Yearbook also says average annual investment on critical transport infrastructure – rail, roads, bridges, and ports – is down by 22 per cent under the Coalition.

The Yearbook also shows that private investment has fallen 47 per cent to $18.8 billion in 2016-17 from its peak of $34.8 billion in 2012-13, reflecting the decline in investment in the mining sector.

While the Commonwealth should be lifting its investment to make up for this private sector decline, the independent Parliamentary Budget Office has found that Commonwealth infrastructure investment as a percentage of GDP will halve from 0.4 per cent to 0.2 per cent over the coming decade.

The Coalition’s cuts defy the national economic interest.

Well targeted infrastructure investment lifts national productivity, clearing the way for increased economic growth and job creation.

Australian businesses, particularly in regional areas, need great railways and roads to make it easier to get products to market so they can thrive and create more jobs for Australians.

And our cities desperately require investment in public transport to address the traffic congestion that is eroding our quality of life and acting as a hand brake on growth.

While the Government has spent years trying to fool Australians into believing it has increased infrastructure investment, the evidence of its cuts is clear in its own figures.

The Government must increase infrastructure investment in May’s federal Budget, including by partnering with state governments to deliver important urban public transport projects like the Morley to Ellenbrook line in Perth, Melbourne Metro, the Western Sydney Rail and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.

Jan 31, 2018

Media Release – Latest figures confirm plunge in nation building investment – 31 January, 2018

Average annual infrastructure investment in Australia has plunged by 17 per cent under the Coalition from the level it inherited from the former Labor Government, according to the latest Commonwealth figures.

The 2017 Australian Infrastructure Yearbook says that while Labor was in office, the public and private sectors invested an average of $57.7 billion a year on transport, energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure.

This included funding for WA’s largest ever road project, Gateway WA.

But under the Coalition’s stewardship, total investment has averaged $48 billion a year.

Produced by the Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), the Yearbook also says average annual investment on critical transport infrastructure – rail, roads, bridges, and ports – is down by 22 per cent under the Coalition.

The Yearbook also shows that private investment has fallen 47 per cent to $18.8 billion in 2016-17 from its peak of $34.8 billion in 2012-13, reflecting the decline in investment in the mining sector.

While the Commonwealth should be lifting its investment to make up for this private sector decline, the independent Parliamentary Budget Office has found that Commonwealth infrastructure investment as a percentage of GDP will halve from 0.4 per cent to 0.2 per cent over the coming decade.

The Coalition’s cuts defy the national economic interest.

Well targeted infrastructure investment lifts national productivity, clearing the way for increased economic growth and job creation.

Australian businesses, particularly in regional areas, need great railways and roads to make it easier to get products to market so they can thrive and create more jobs for Australians.

And our cities desperately require investment in public transport to address the traffic congestion that is eroding our quality of life and acting as a hand brake on growth.

While the Government has spent years trying to fool Australians into believing it has increased infrastructure investment, the evidence of its cuts is clear in its own figures.

The Government must increase infrastructure investment in May’s federal Budget, including by partnering with state governments to deliver important urban public transport projects like the Morley to Ellenbrook line in Perth, Melbourne Metro, the Western Sydney Rail and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.

WEDNESDAY, 31 JANUARY, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Community views critical to rail planning

Federal Labor strongly urges Perth residents to have their say in the public consultation process for the construction of the Morley to Ellenbrook railway line.

This important project will be a boon for Perth’s growing north-east suburbs.

Federal Labor has already announced that if elected at the next federal election, we will provide $700 million to help build this new line in partnership with the McGowan Government.

The money would be drawn from Federal Labor’s $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA Fund, to be established by a Federal Labor Government in recognition of WA not receiving a fair share of GST receipts.

With less than a fortnight to go before the close of the State Government’s online community survey about the Morley-Ellenbrook line, it is critical that the people of Perth – who will be the users of the line – provide their input.

If the community is clear about its needs and expectations regarding the project, planners will have the information they need to design a world-class rail line, with construction to begin next year.

It is great for WA that the McGowan Government has a clear agenda to invest in public transport to tackle the traffic congestion which is eroding our national quality of life and costing the economy $16.5 billion a year in lost productivity.

In the absence of transformative projects – such as METRONET – the cost of traffic congestion in Perth will increase more than eight-fold from $1.4 billion to $15.9 billion by 2031.

When the Federal Coalition Government took office in 2013, it foolishly cancelled all Commonwealth investment in public transport.

This included $500 million that had been allocated to Perth public transport projects.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government invested more money in urban public transport than all previous federal governments combined since Federation.

The next Federal Labor Government will build on that record.

To participate in the online consultation survey for the Morley to Ellenbrook line, go to www.metronet.wa.gov.au before February 11.

Jan 23, 2018

Local knowledge to boost tourism jobs under Labor

Federal Labor will establish a local advisory panel to provide expert advice on the delivery of a Shorten Labor Government’s $1 billion Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Labor’s local advisory panel will include representatives from major regional tourism centres – like Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Darwin and Broome.

The panel will consist of community leaders, business owners, tourism operators and other important stakeholders – to help determine what local projects should receive support under the Fund.

It will be established in the next few months so that it can start providing advice and recommendations to Labor this year – and funds can start being delivered as soon as possible in government.

Labor is committed to injecting $1 billion to help build new tourism infrastructure in Northern Australia – including throughout Queensland.

Northern Australia sits on the doorstep of the world’s fastest growing middle class in Asia. By 2030, there will be three billion middle class consumers just to our north.

Labor wants them go to Northern Australia for their holidays.

Tourism employs around 225,000 Queenslanders both directly and indirectly. The Great Barrier Reef alone supports 64,000 jobs.

Tourism attractions like the Great Barrier Reef have unlimited potential – but communities which rely on tourism for local jobs are being let down by ageing infrastructure which is not keeping up with the needs of the market.

Labor wants to kick-start a tourism infrastructure boom – and a jobs boom for Northern Australia.

That’s why we will invest $1 billion in upgrading airports, tourist trails and ports to make it as easy as possible for tourists to enjoy all Australia has to offer.

Since announcing our $1 billion Tourism Infrastructure Fund nearly six months ago, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism, Anthony Albanese, and Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Jason Clare, have been consulting with industry and local communities on the priorities for the fund.

One thing is clear – locals know what their communities need, and Labor wants to listen and learn from local experts.

The local advisory panel will advise on issues such as:

  • Building regional airport capacity;
  • Developing cruise ship infrastructure;
  • Identifying required road infrastructure;
  • Attracting international tourists and international airlines into regional centres;
  • Attracting tourists from Asia;
  • Developing new experiences and attractions;
  • Job-creation opportunities in tourism.

Locals who wish to be considered for the panel are encouraged to write to [email protected] to express interest.

The Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund will be fully offset by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility – which is yet to invest a single dollar or create a single local job in Queensland.

 

Jan 16, 2018

Hobart City Deal – An Agreement to Work on an Agreement

Today the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Hodgman could not have picked a better site to showcase their governments’ inaction when it comes to cities policy.

The fact is in 2012, the former Federal Labor Government invested $50 million to kick start the Macquarie Point precinct as a major urban renewal project.

The purpose of this funding was for remediation works, which would have opened up the site to a range of possibilities including tourism and scientific opportunities as well as low cost and medium density housing.

The do-nothing Tasmanian Hodgman Government have not progressed the redevelopment in their term and the Federal Coalition has ignored this transformative project.

Malcolm Turnbull first floated the idea of a City Deal for Hobart in 2016, however what is crystal clear is that it has taken the upcoming state election to compel him into action.

It is extraordinary that it has taken more than a year to produce today’s announcement, which is simply a to-do list with no new funding attached.
It is an agreement to work on an agreement.

I also note the commitment to create a Greater Hobart Transport Vision. At the July 2016 election, Labor announced it would create a Greater Hobart Transport Plan to serve this exact purpose.

While it is refreshing to see such a ringing endorsement of Labor policy, it does beg the question – what took the Prime Minister so long?

The fact is people in Hobart need real investment, not just more rhetoric.

Labor has a strong track record when it comes to investing in Tasmania.

The former Federal Labor Government almost doubled annual infrastructure spending from $157 to $264 per Tasmanian.

In contrast all that the Coalition Government has delivered is cuts.

In its first four Budgets, the Coalition Government said it would spend $589 million in Tasmania’s infrastructure, but they actually spent $479 million – $110 million less than promised.

The truth is the Coalition Government has cut funding for major road projects, cut funding for major rail projects, and cut funding for fixing dangerous blackspots on local roads.

This comes on top of the fact that within months of being elected, the Coalition Government also cut all funding allocated to Hobart’s light rail project.

TUESDAY, 16 JANUARY 2018

Jan 8, 2018

Transcript of Radio Interview – RN Breakfast with Hamish Macdonald

Subjects; Road safety, citizenship, negative gearing, Donald Trump

HAMISH MACDONALD: Labor’s infrastructure spokesperson, Anthony Albanese, is calling for urgent action to address the problem. He is in the studio with me this morning. Good morning.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Hamish.

MACDONALD: And Happy New Year. Welcome back. First day back at work for you is it?

ALBANESE: No, I’ve been working the whole way through unfortunately but I go on leave in two days’ time.

MACDONALD:  Great. Well I hope you’re doing something nice. Let’s start with this very sad news about the death toll. You want the Transport Infrastructure Council to meet urgently on the issue of road safety. Why? Why is that step necessary to take?

ALBANESE: Because what we need is a national response. We’ve got a national road safety strategy. This is the decade of road safety from 2011-2020. Clearly we’re not going to meet the targets that have been set if the current trends continue. We had a declining road toll in this country from 1970 right through to the last few years. Suddenly we’ve seen that reverse. What we need is the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council, all the state and territory jurisdictions to get together to talk about best practice, to hear from the experts, the police, the motoring organisations such as the NRMA, the RACV, about what we can do as a community as well to reduce the toll in the coming year. We need to reverse the trend and get back on that downward (inaudible).

MACDONALD:  But there were times when you were the relevant Minister that the figures went up as well…

ALBANESE: That’s not right.

MACDONALD:  2012, was there not a spike?

ALBANESE: That’s not right. The fact is that the toll continued to go down all the way through.

MACDONALD:  What happened in 2012 then?

ALBANESE: The national toll went down in 2012. The fact is that this isn’t a political issue and that’s why we should have all the jurisdictions, Labor should be represented there…

MACDONALD:  Can I just clarify – you’re talking about the annual road toll, or the Christmas road toll?

ALBANESE: The annual road toll went down year on year, every year, from the 1970s, essentially, right through until recent times. The real concern is that the increase we’ve seen year on year, in some jurisdictions in particular; New South Wales has gone up in the last year. It’s a matter of all of us, as a community, deciding what we can do. One of the things…

MACDONALD:  I’m just wondering though, what convening this national council would do given that all the states and territories have policies in place, there’s lots of money committed to this. Why would that kind of meeting help and improve this situation?

ALBANESE: Well it would help in two ways. One is that the national government has responsibility for regulation, so use of new technology for example, mandating all of those issues, which is the responsibility of the national government. One of the things we need to address is national uniformity of rules. We need to move towards, in my view, national licenses. We’ve done that in the heavy vehicle area. We did that while I was the Minister. We need to do that across the board so we don’t have licence shopping. Also, in itself, the fact that the national leaders in transport are coming together to discuss this, will, in itself, send a message to the community that this is a priority because one of the things that we have to do is to change behaviour.

This isn’t the responsibility of just government, or any political party, or just law enforcement, it’s the responsibility of all of us and at the end of the day you can’t legislate for common sense. One of things we need to do, for example, is look at the way that the use of new devices, iPhones, etc., the impact that that’s having and get that message through, particularly to young people who are disproportionately appearing in the figures and there’s no doubt that use of new technology while driving is one of the factors.

MACDONALD:  The former director at Monash University’s Accident and Research Centre, Rod McClure, told us last week that he has concerns about the focus on individual actions in regard to road safety.

I just want you to listen to what he had to say:

MCCLURE: I do think the review needs to not look for the plug in and play quick fix solution, which tends to focus on individual behaviour and individual behaviour, as you know, in obesity and a whole lot of other areas, in health, is something that is very difficult to change in isolation from the context in which that behaviour exists.

So if it’s not about individual action, how do you resolve an issue like this?

ALBANESE: Well I think, in part, it is about individual action. That’s the truth. Someone behind the wheel of a car has to understand that that can be a wonderful thing getting you from A to B, but it can also be a danger to yourself, to other people in the vehicle and other people who are sharing the road. But one of the things that governments are responsible for, for example, is delivery of infrastructure. There’s no doubt that dual carriageway on major highways has made a major difference.

There’s the issue of heavy vehicles, which the Federal Government also has responsibility for. Parliament abolished, a couple of years ago, the Heavy Vehicle Remuneration Tribunal. One of the things that it was looking at was safe rates and the pressure that’s placed on heavy vehicles drivers. It would appear that since its abolition there’s been a real spike in accidents involving heavy vehicles, particularly in New South Wales. And it wasn’t replaced with anything. So what are we going to replace it with? Hopefully in a way that is by consensus, so that you don’t have regulation changing when the Government changes as well. That’s why I think a roundtable discussion, with people with the power to make decisions around that table, is a way forward.

MACDONALD:  You would have heard in the news this morning quite a bit about the previously undisclosed Treasury advice to the Government about negative gearing policies. Your Party has copped a fair bit of flak for its position on this matter. I suppose you’ll be crowing about what we’ve learned today but it doesn’t mean that we’re any closer to having any of those policy changes in place.

ALBANESE: Well no wonder the Government fought for two years to stop the ABC from having this advice because what it shows is that, from the Prime Minister through to the Treasurer, through to the assistant Treasurer and other senior Ministers, they’ve all been lying about what the advice was. This is advice from Treasury that says that it might have a minor impact on prices. But also, importantly, it indicates that there will be a change, if you like, so more owner-occupiers, less domestic investors, which is precisely what the policy was aimed at achieving.

MACDONALD:  So you would go as far as to say lying?

ALBANESE: Absolutely.

MACDONALD:  Who? Who was lying?

ALBANESE: The Prime Minister, the Treasurer, Peter Dutton, others who have gone out there and said very clearly that this was going to destroy the economy, destroy house prices. They know that that’s not the case and the sort of exaggeration that we’ve seen from them gives them no credit. The fact that they had this advice and hid it. Kelly O’Dwyer, I notice, the assistant Treasurer, who they sent out, they threw her under the bus. The Treasurer hasn’t been out there defending this and this morning she was doubling down and attempting to say that somehow this advice was not the full story but wouldn’t say whether there was any other Treasury advice that contradicted this.

MACDONALD:  How then do you explain the fact that there is such reluctance to deal with negative gearing as an issue?

ALBANESE: It’s a product unfortunately of the nature of politics at the moment, which is that if Labor came up with the policy, the Government’s immediate response was to say no. This is a Government that is acting like an Opposition in exile. They said no to everything, they were in that negative mindset while they were in Opposition. Part of their problem with the lack of narrative or sense of purpose from the Abbott and then the Turnbull Governments, is that they’re not able to move forward in a positive way and they reacted immediately to our policy announcement. They, themselves, were considering policy measures about negative gearing and about capital gains, the discount, when we came out with our policy. It was a brave policy to come out with from Opposition, but it’s the right policy. We never said it would fix everything in itself, and it’s a modest measure, but it’s one that should be implemented.

MACDONALD:  The dual citizenship question is back in the news again today, very early in the New Year. Some advice regarding Susan Lamb, one of Labor’s MPs, and her citizenship status. She’s a British citizen; she’s a joint British citizen, isn’t she?

ALBANESE: No, Susan Lamb did what was required…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, let’s just answer that question. Is she, or is she not a dual British citizen?

ALBANESE: I don’t know. Susan Lamb did what was necessary, which was…

MACDONALD:  Hold on, you must know. It’s all over the newspapers. You must have spoken to her. You must know what the advice is.

ALBANESE: Her advice is that she has done what is necessary, which is to take all reasonable steps. She applied for the renunciation and she got told she wasn’t a British citizen. That there wasn’t any evidence…

MACDONALD:  Her renunciation was rejected because there was not enough evidence provided.

ALBANESE: Because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen. That’s what happened.

MACDONALD:  Hold on. It was the absence of a marriage certificate of her parents, right, which she could have tried to obtain but didn’t.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not sure the circumstances of why that couldn’t be obtained.

MACDONALD:  It’s not what couldn’t be, it’s that it wasn’t. She didn’t apply for it in Queensland, where they were married.

ALBANESE: What she did was, she applied for a renunciation of what she thought might be her British citizenship and she was told that there was no evidence that she was a British citizen, by the British Government. That is, and she has legal advice…

MACDONALD:  She was told there wasn’t enough evidence for them to confirm her renunciation, that she hadn’t provided enough documentation. That’s what she was told.

ALBANESE: That’s not right and I’m sorry but a media report doesn’t confirm that that’s the case.

MACDONALD:  But she wrote to them, ticking a box, in 2016, this is the British Home Office, ticking a box saying I am a British citizen…

ALBANESE: And wanting to renunciate and she received advice back from the British Government that she couldn’t. That they couldn’t process her renunciation and her fee returned, because there was no evidence that she was a British citizen.

MACDONALD:  Sure. But the evidence that she was required to submit was a marriage certificate for her parents, which she hadn’t even applied to get from the state of Queensland.

ALBANESE: Well it’s not quite that simple and in terms of…

MACDONALD:  Well tell us what more there is to it then.

ALBANESE: I’m not Susan Lamb.

MACDONALD:  Come on, you’re here. You’re the man in the studio.

ALBANESE: Well I’m not Susan Lamb and I’m telling you that she has legal advice, very clear legal advice, that she has fulfilled the requirements, which are reasonable steps.

MACDONALD:  You’re mounting the defence for her.

ALBANESE: I am indeed.

MACDONALD:  What did she do to get the marriage certificate of her parents in Queensland?

ALBANESE: That’s not the test. The test is, has she taken reasonable steps to renunciate….

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps…

ALBANESE: Her British citizenship.

MACDONALD:  All reasonable steps.

ALBANESE: Now you’re trying to, with due respect Justice Macdonald, what you’re trying to do now is to reinterpret the High Court’s rulings. The High Court have said that you have to take reasonable steps. Now someone, before they nominate, fills out a form, pays a fee and sends it off to the UK. That is reasonable steps. That’s the legal advice that Susan Lamb has.

MACDONALD:  Are we saying that there’s a difference between reasonable steps and all reasonable steps?

ALBANESE: I don’t know, that’s a matter for lawyers.

MACDONALD:  I can hear your phone is going; clearly you’re getting some messages.

ALBANESE: No. That’s Siri, trying to interpret our conversation.

MACDONALD:  I want to put to you some of the tweets from Donald Trump, one of the tweets from Donald Trump, the leader of the United States, our closest ally. He’s responded to this book that’s come out and he’s said, ‘actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart. I went from very successful businessman, to top TV star, to President of the United States on my first try. I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius and a very stable genius at that.’ What do you think when you hear that from the leader of our closest ally?

ALBANESE: Well they’re interesting, his comments, and I would be more comfortable I think, as would many American citizens, if there were less tweets from the President and perhaps if they had less things in capital letters and with exclamation marks.

MACDONALD:  Does it sound stable to you?

ALBANESE: I think that we would all be better off, and the President would be better off, if he got some advice to maybe not communicate as much through tweets with grand statements. I think that the high office of President of the United States requires very much considered responses. He is elected, I have respect for the office of the President of the United States, they are friends of ours and they remain friends. I think that the debate that’s going on at the moment is most unfortunate.

MACDONALD:  We’ll have to leave it there. Anthony Albanese, thank you very much.

ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

[ENDS]

MONDAY, 8 JANUARY 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Melbourne

Subjects; Victorian infrastructure, Barnaby Joyce, medicinal cannabis exports, Peter Dutton comments

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me. Today I want to call upon the incoming Infrastructure Minister, Barnaby Joyce, to address the fact that Victoria is receiving just 9.7 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget, in spite of the fact that it’s Australia’s fastest growing state, comprising more than 25 percent of the population.

Since the change of Government, we’ve seen a massive decline in support for infrastructure projects here in Victoria. Indeed, a decline from $201 per Victorian from the Federal Government down to $92. And, indeed, they haven’t even delivered what they said they would do. In their first four Budgets, the Federal Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victorian infrastructure; that investment was only $2.3 billion.

What we have here is a Federal Government that is giving more than 45 percent of the national infrastructure budget to New South Wales and, of course, primarily to Sydney. That’s not fair and that’s not a Government that is representing the needs of all Australians.

The Andrews Government has had to go it alone on the Melbourne Metro project because the cuts that were made by Tony Abbott have been reinforced by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull likes coming to Melbourne occasionally and likes travelling on trams and taking selfies on them.

It’s about time he funded public transport in this growing city of Melbourne and indeed throughout Victoria as the former Federal Labor Government did when we funded the Regional Rail Link project – the largest ever infrastructure investment by a Commonwealth Government in a public transport project in Australia’s history. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] …Victorian and South Australian Governments as well?

ALBANESE: Look they have made their submissions. Melbourne Metro was approved by Infrastructure Australia years ago in 2012. What we have is a Government that came in in 2013 and cut $3 billion from the Melbourne Metro, cut $500 million from the M80 project, has refused to give the appropriate level of support either here in Victoria or in South Australia. This will see, in South Australia, the share of funding decline to just two percent in the year 2020-21. This isn’t just a smaller share of a growing pie; this is a smaller share of a smaller infrastructure budget.

Over the next decade, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found that infrastructure investment will decline from 0.4 percent of the economy, of GDP, to 0.2 percent; or half. This Government doesn’t have a plan for growth and for jobs and for infrastructure investment. It’s seeing it decline from the $9.2 billion infrastructure budget that it was supposed to spend in 2016-17. That falls off to $4.2 billion over the forward estimates by more than half.

The fact is that this is a Government that is particularly punishing Victorians and also South Australians, it must be said, into the future. But Victorians have been punished from day one because Victoria, particularly, suffered from the massive cuts that occurred in the 2014 Budget by Tony Abbott’s Government. The fact is that Malcolm Turnbull has different rhetoric on public transport and cities, but not different substance.

JOURNALIST: How big should the infrastructure budget be?

ALBANESE: Well what we need to do is invest in good infrastructure projects because over a period of time they pay back that investment to Government and to the national economy by growing the economy, by increasing revenue. So projects like the Melbourne Metro are absolutely vital projects for Melbourne, but also as a great global city, for the national economy as well. That’s why the Commonwealth Government needs to invest in Melbourne Metro, but needs to invest in other important projects here in Victoria as well.

JOURNALIST: How much more should the Federal Government in your opinion be giving the state of Victoria?

ALBANESE: Well what should be happening is that it should be giving round about the proportion to the population. You’d expect if you’ve got 25 percent of the population, you’d be receiving one in four of the Commonwealth infrastructure dollars.

Now, from time to time there will be variation in that because there will be particular projects that have an impact on the national economy, but you’d expect in particular that Victoria if anything would be getting potentially more than 25 per cent, because it is a growing state and Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city.

So it’s certainly not getting its share. They could start by contributing those dollars that have been cut over the Government Budgets. They’re not even contributing the money that they themselves said they would.

See, if you look at the Budget figures in the first four Budgets of the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, it adds up to $3.3 billion for Victoria, but the actual investment is only $2.3 billion, or a $1 billion cut. That’s a cut to Black Spots. A cut to the Heavy Vehicle Safety Program. Cuts to major infrastructure funding here in Victoria and it’s simply not good enough.

Barnaby Joyce, as the incoming Minister, who’s the Deputy Prime Minister  is a guy of course who represents a New South Wales seat, goes for Queensland in State of Origin. He needs to actually visit Victoria and Melbourne and convince the Australian public that he will be an Infrastructure Minister for the whole country, not just for the National Party seats in New South Wales and Queensland. That means he needs to fund infrastructure here in Victoria.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We’ve been supportive of medicinal use of marijuana and cannabis products and it appears to me that Greg Hunt’s move is a sensible move forward. These issues are bipartisan across the Parliament. We know the medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate people’s health issues and therefore if Australia is in a position to provide support, it should do so.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Peter Dutton’s comments that people are too scared to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?

ALBANESE: Well, I was in Melbourne last night. I didn’t notice any reluctance of people on the streets of Melbourne to go out and this morning I haven’t seen any reluctance when I’ve been travelling to and from meetings here in the CBD as well.

I think Peter Dutton has a serious office as the Minister for Home Affairs. He needs to treat that great honour with the dignity and with the respect and with the gravitas that it deserves. Playing to the crowd on Sydney radio about Melbourne doesn’t make much sense, doesn’t actually do anything to address the real issues of crime that need to be addressed.

But we also need to put these things in perspective. What we’ve seen on the latest figures is actually a drop for the first time in the 12 month figures of crime here in Victoria. We’ve also seen year on year, a continuous decline in youth crime here in Victoria and people like Peter Dutton need to stop playing politics with what are serious issues and require serious responses.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: What matters here is the police’s view of these issues. There’s no doubt that a disproportionate number of African youth as a percentage of the population have been engaged in committing crime. That needs to be addressed.

The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by actually not cutting the AFP funds as they have. The Commonwealth Government could make a contribution by not cutting new migrant services as they have, and support for people to get into employment, and by addressing those issues.

And the police should be given every support that they require and I know that the Andrews Government is employing 3000 additional police here in Victoria. It deserves better than having a Queensland Minister on Sydney radio talking about Melbourne from a distance just in order to score a political point.

I think Peter Dutton’s comments should be seen for what they are – all about politics, in conjunction with the Liberal Party here in Victoria which is obviously desperate for an issue against the Andrews Government that is governing effectively here in Victoria.

The Federal Government could do worse than look at the Andrews Government, that actually has an agenda to govern. It has an agenda for building infrastructure, for supporting schools, for supporting hospitals. For supporting major reform such as the reform that went through last year about domestic violence.

The Commonwealth Government doesn’t have an agenda. All they have is politics and that’s why the Turnbull Government is flailing around looking for an issue. Peter Dutton needs to be a part of solutions, not just yelling about issues from a far distance.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

ALBANESE: We have a robust, and positive, and constructive relationship with the United States. That is particularly Defence related and I’m confident in our Defence arrangements. These issues are bipartisan. They’re worked on in the national interest.

Labor will continue to be a part of a positive, constructive dialogue about our Defence capabilities and our Defence needs. Thank you.

[ENDS]

THURSDAY, 4 JANUARY 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Time to end anti-Victorian funding cuts

Newly installed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce must end the politics, reverse his Government’s savage cuts and provide Victoria with its fair share of Federal infrastructure funding.

According to the Government’s own figures, as revealed in last month’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), Victoria will receive a paltry 9.7 per cent of the Federal infrastructure budget this financial year (2017-18) – and that’s despite the State being home to 25 per cent of Australians.

But not satisfied with denying Victoria its fair share, they have also failed to
deliver what limited funding they did promise.

Indeed, in their first four budgets the Government said it would invest $3.3 billion in Victoria’s rail and road infrastructure.

The actual figure ended up being $2.3 billion, which represents an actual cut of $1 billion.

They have cut funding for major road and rail projects.

They have cut funding for fixing dangerous blackspots on local roads.

They have even cut funding for building new roadside facilities such as rest stops for truck drivers.

Put simply, the Turnbull Government has walked away from Victorians and left it to the Andrews Labor Government to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering the infrastructure vital to Victoria’s future such as the Melbourne Metro.  The fact is without transformative projects like the Metro the cost of Melbourne’s traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion a year by 2031.

All up, Federal infrastructure investment per Victorian has more than halved from $201 under the former Federal Labor Government to $92 under the current Turnbull Government.

As Australia’s fastest growing state, Victoria deserves better.

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Email: [email protected]

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