Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
May 4, 2017

Budget must fund Perth METRONET

The Turnbull Government must invest in Perth’s METRONET public transport project in next week’s Budget to tackle the traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on the city’s economic and jobs growth.

Having finally accepted the value of investing in infrastructure that lifts national productivity, the Federal Coalition Government should target congestion, which Infrastructure Australia has warned will cost the economy $53 billion a year by 2031 without investment now.

The need for action is particularly acute in Perth, with Infrastructure Australia warning that without additional funding for transport projects the cost of delays in urban transport will blow out from $2 billion in 2011 to $16 billion by 2031.

What’s more, AustRoads’ 2016 report forecasts that Perth will have seven of the ten most congested roads nationally by 2031, including the top four.

In its 2014 Budget the Coalition scrapped a $500 million Commonwealth investment in Perth public transport which had been allocated  by the former Labor Federal Government.

It diverted the funding to the Perth Freight Link – a dud toll road which would not even have achieved its stated aim of taking trucks to the Port  of Fremantle.

With Treasurer Scott Morrison now foreshadowing  increased infrastructure  investment  after nearly  four years of cuts and inaction, it is critical that he invest in passenger rail in Perth and around the nation.

Investing in the Perth METRONET would also meet the will of the people, with WA’s McGowan Labor Government elected in a landslide in the March state election after having campaigned on delivering the project.

Traffic congestion  limits jobs growth.

It also means Perth residents spend too long driving to and from work when they could be at home with their families.

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull enjoys taking selfies on trains, trams and buses it is time he matches his rhetoric with action and invested in trains, trams and buses.

He should start next Tuesday by providing funds for the Perth METRONET.

May 3, 2017

Federal Labor will fund South Rockhampton Levee

 A Shorten Labor Government would invest $25 million to build the South Rockhampton Flood Levee to better protect homes and businesses from devastating flood waters.

Queensland Labor has already committed $25 million and the Rockhampton Regional Council has committed $10 million to this vital piece of infrastructure.

Bill Shorten was in Rockhampton just last month and listened to the local community about the need for a levee following recent flooding.

That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will provide the money to make sure this levee gets built.

Instead of banging down Malcolm Turnbull’s door to get this levee built, LNP Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has said that she still needs to be convinced that it’s necessary.

The up to 3,000 home and business-owners that were inundated with floodwater in April don’t need be convinced. They know that these floods hurt local jobs.

Building this levee is a no-brainer. The only people who don’t understand that are Malcolm Turnbull and Michelle Landry.

 

May 3, 2017

Coalition must commit to Cross River Rail

Malcolm Turnbull must use next week’s Budget to match his rhetoric on public transport with actual investment in Brisbane’s much-needed Cross River Rail project.

Since he ousted Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister more than 18 months ago, the Prime Minister has sought to portray himself as a public transport enthusiast by staging frequent media stunts aboard trains, trams and buses.

Tuesday’s Budget is his chance to not just take selfies aboard trains, but to actually invest in Cross River Rail to alleviate the traffic congestion that threatens continued economic growth in Queensland.

The existing Merivale Bridge across the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD is approaching full capacity.

Without a second rail crossing, Brisbane’s economic growth will be reduced, along with its capacity to create jobs for the future.

Infrastructure Australia approved Cross River Rail in 2012. It was funded by the former Labor Government in 2013 under an arrangement that included elements of value capture.

But Mr Turnbull has stalled on committing investment and is now continuing to stall by creating a new Infrastructure Financing Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet which will sideline the independent Infrastructure Australia as well as the existing Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

None of this is necessary.

By increasing the capacity of the rail network, Cross River Rail will not only be of benefit to suburban Brisbane, but also to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

The project is ready to go and it is time Mr Turnbull started working with the Queensland State Government to make it a reality.

May 1, 2017

Coalition must commit to AdeLINK

Malcolm Turnbull must use this month’s Budget to match his rhetoric on public transport with actual investment in the AdeLINK upgrade of Adelaide’s tram system.

Since he ousted Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister more than 18 months ago, the Prime Minister has sought to portray himself as a public transport enthusiast by staging frequent media stunts aboard trains, trams and buses.

But he has failed to invest in any new public transport projects.

In the May 9 Budget, Mr Turnbull must stop posturing and start investing to alleviate the traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on economic growth in Adelaide and across the nation.

He should start by committing investment to the SA Government’s proposed AdeLINK project, a major expansion of the tram network around the Adelaide CBD and inner suburbs.

The project was listed on Infrastructure Australia’s 2017 priority list.

Infrastructure Australia has warned that traffic congestion cost the SA economy $1 billion in 2011, with the figure to rise to $4 billion a year by 2031 without investment now.

During last year’s federal election campaign, Labor committed to support AdeLINK, subject to completion of a business case.

But the Coalition, which has slashed public transport investment since taking office, has failed to offer any support for this important project.

Australians are sick of silver-tongued politicians who tell them what they want to hear but fail to match their rhetoric with action.

AdeLINK would provide more than 2000 construction jobs in the short term.

But in the long-term it would lift Adelaide’s productivity, creating a platform for ongoing prosperity and jobs growth.

Apr 27, 2017

Coalition finally realises value of infrastructure investment

After four wasted years, the Turnbull Government has finally accepted that borrowing to invest in productivity enhancing infrastructure can drive economic growth and job creation.

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s declaration today that at a time of record low interest rates it makes sense to borrow for projects that boost economic productivity is precisely what Labor, the Reserve Bank and economists have been saying for years.

However, investing in the right projects is critical, which is why the Government must reverse its ill-advised decision to sideline Infrastructure Australia by establishing an Infrastructure Financing Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Infrastructure Australia was created by the former Labor Government to independently assess infrastructure projects and to work with states and the private sector on funding arrangements.

Its key role is to ensure that when the Government does borrow for infrastructure, it invests in projects that stack up.

Creating another bureaucracy to sideline the independent adviser makes no sense.  The Government should have already learned that lesson from its creation of the Northern Australia Investment Facility, which was announced two years ago but has not invested in a single project.

Having finally accepted economic common sense on infrastructure investment, the Government should use the 2017 Budget to tackle traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on economic and jobs growth in our cities.

Infrastructure Australia approved Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and the Melbourne Metro projects before they received funding in the 2013 Budget.

One of the key reasons for the 20 per cent decline in total public sector infrastructure investment in the Government’s first two years in office was its 2014 decision to scrap such projects in favour of dud road projects that had not been the subject of proper planning.

The Government should also work with Infrastructure Australia on other critical public transport projects including the Western Sydney Rail, Perth’s Metronet and the AdeLINK light rail project in Adelaide.

Apr 26, 2017

Labor unveils plans for rail link to Western Sydney Airport

A Shorten Labor Government will super charge jobs growth in Western Sydney by linking the new Western Sydney Airport with Sydney’s rail network from the first day it opens.

A rail connection from day one is critical if we are make the airport a catalyst for job creation for Western Sydney – and will boost economic growth by up to $3.6 billion annually.

That’s why Labor will provide $400 million to work with the NSW Government to get these works underway as soon as possible, contingent on a positive assessment from Infrastructure Australia.

Overall, the project will create more than 43,000 direct jobs and support up to 98,000 jobs indirectly in Western Sydney.

It will:

  • Extend Sydney’s South-West Rail link from Leppington via Bringelly to the new airport;
  • Build a new outer orbital train line from Macarthur in the south to St Marys in the north, which would also service the airport.

A second stage of the project will complete Sydney’s outer orbital rail link with construction of a new line connecting St Marys to the Sydney Metro Northwest at Rouse Hill, scheduled to open in 2019.

Without vital investments linking the new Western Sydney airport to Sydney’s rail network, it will be harder for passengers to use the new airport.

Proper public transport is critical to the success of the new airport and the Western Sydney economy.  However, it is clear new services would be necessary even without the new Western Sydney Airport.

Already home to two million people – more residents than Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin combined – Western Sydney is the country’s third largest economy.  In the next two decades the region’s population is expected to grow by a further one million, with more than 300,000 new homes expected to be constructed.

If planned and developed properly, the 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.

Labor will ensure at least 10 per cent of all workers on the construction of the project and associated infrastructure are apprentices and a significant proportion of the total workforce is drawn from Western Sydney.

The new north-south rail link will transform Western Sydney’s overall transport system, which is plagued by congestion and poor connectivity.

Under existing arrangements, railway lines connect parts of Western Sydney to the Sydney CBD, but there is no north-south link to allow people and goods to move more efficiently within the Western Sydney region itself.

Independent analysis from Deloitte and Arup states:

“The economic benefits of the north-south corridor are clear.  From 2024 to 2040, north south rail will add $44.7 billion in benefits to the economy, reaching $3.6 billion per year in 2040.”

This problem is acting as a hand brake on economic development on a region that is crying out for productivity-enhancing investment in infrastructure.

Governments must recognise Western Sydney’s potential by investing in the infrastructure required to lift productivity and accelerate growth, including better connections between its various communities.

This should be a bipartisan commitment. Labor calls upon the Turnbull Government to stop ignoring Western Sydney and make a firm commitment to connecting the new Western Sydney Airport to the rail network.

A map detailing the projects to be funded by Labor is below.  A fact sheet on today’s announcement is available here.

 

rail

Apr 26, 2017

Coalition reinvents the wheel on Cities

The Coalition’s announcement today of a National Cities Performance Framework is simply a reinvention of the State of Australian Cities report years after it was abandoned by the same Coalition Government.

The annual State of Australian Cities report was established by the former Labor Government.

It produced a comprehensive analysis of statistics and trends about the demographic and planning challenges facing major Australian cities.

After three years of obfuscation about the future of the State of Australian Cities report, answers provided at Senate Estimates this year revealed the Coalition was dumping it.

This is despite the fact that the report was downloaded three million times when published by the former Labor Government and considered to be a tremendous success and great resource by industry and policy experts.

But instead of building on the success of previous reports, the Coalition first abandoned this evidence-based decision making before deciding to reinvent it.

This follows a string of poor policy decisions relating to our cities.

Upon its election the Coalition abolished the Major Cities Unit, disbanded the Urban Policy Forum, marginalised Infrastructure Australia and failed to initiate a single new public transport project.

Apr 13, 2017

Ramos-Horta to deliver Inaugural Tom Uren AC Lecture

The Nobel laureate and former President of Timor-Leste, Jose Ramos-Horta, will deliver the inaugural Tom Uren AC Lecture on May 7 to commemorate the life of the former Australian politician, prisoner of war and peace activist.

Mr Uren, who served as a minister in the Whitlam and Hawke Governments, died on Australia Day, 2015, after an extraordinary life of progressive activism.

Labor Party branches in my electorate have established the annual Tom Uren AC Memorial Lecture to build upon Tom’s intellectual legacy and lifelong commitment to peace and justice.

Dr Ramos-Horta is the perfect choice to deliver the inaugural address given Tom’s dedicated advocacy for independence for Timor-Leste.

In 2013 the Timor-Leste Government awarded Tom the Order of Timor-Leste Medal for his long-standing support for self-determination for the East Timorese people.

On the occasion of Tom’s death, the Timor-Leste Government released a statement which described him as “a man of dignity and courage’’.

“Tom spoke powerfully many times over the years of struggle about what was happening in Timor-Leste and consistently gave support to Australian activists working in solidarity with the Timorese people,’’ the statement said.

Dr Ramos-Horta will focus this inaugural Tom Uren AC Lecture on justice for Timor-Leste with regard to the disputed gas fields in the Timor Sea.

The lecture is being inaugurated with the active involvement of Tom’s family.

It will take place at the Balmain Town Hall, in the suburb where Tom was raised and lived his final years.

For ticket information: https://tom-uren-lecture.eventbrite.com.au

Tom Uren_Invite_DL

Apr 11, 2017

Coalition oversees record collapse in engineering construction

New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures identifying the biggest decline in engineering construction activity on record have again highlighted the need for increased infrastructure investment in next month’s Budget.

ABS figures for the year to December 31 last year show engineering construction activity declined by 19.7 per cent over its level in 2015 – the biggest annual fall on record (see graph below).

It followed declines of 13 per cent in 2015, 9.6 per cent in 2014 and 1.3 per cent in 2013. For the first time on record, activity declined over four consecutive years.

The ABS figures cover the value of work done building or upgrading infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, harbours, water storage and supply, sewage and drainage, electricity generation and distribution and telecommunications.

Since taking office the Coalition has cut infrastructure investment while pretending otherwise by re-announcing old projects devised and funded by the previous Labor Government.

Previous ABS figures established that total public sector infrastructure investment declined by 20 per cent in the Coalition’s first two years in office.

They also confirmed that for every one of the Coalition’s 12 quarters in office, total public sector infrastructure investment was lower than it was during every quarter under the former Labor Government after its first Budget in 2008.

The Coalition cuts have come at the very time when the Government should have lifted investment to sustain economic activity in the face of the decline of the investment stage of the mining boom.

Indeed, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe has made repeated calls for increased transport infrastructure investment in recent months.

After four years of cuts and spin, it is time for the Government to listen to the experts and lift infrastructure investment.

It should start by investing in urban rail projects, which Mr Lowe said just last week would ease pressure on housing affordability.

Apr 5, 2017

Government must heed RBA warning on infrastructure

The Turnbull Government must respond to the advice of Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe about the link between inadequate infrastructure investment and high housing prices by lifting rail and road investment in next month’s Budget.

In a speech in Melbourne last night Mr Lowe said an imbalance between population growth and housing construction had been “compounded by insufficient investment in the transport infrastructure needed to support our growing population’’.

Mr Lowe continued: Nothing increases the supply of well-located land like good transport links. Under-investment in this area is one of the factors that has pushed housing prices up”.

This is the latest of several recent warnings from the RBA about the need for increased infrastructure investment, which would boost economic activity and support jobs as well as easing pressure on housing prices and delivering long-term productivity gains.

Since taking office, the Coalition has cut infrastructure investment but pretended otherwise with frequent re-announcements of old projects funded by the former Labor Government.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show total public sector investment in infrastructure declined by 20 per cent in the Coalition’s first two years in office.

The figures also show that quarterly total public sector infrastructure investment has been lower in all 12 quarters under the Coalition than in every single quarter under the former Labor Government.

After years of pretending to have increased investment, it is time for the Turnbull Government to actually invest in new rail and road projects.

Australians are spending too long in traffic jams and, as Mr Lowe pointed out last night, the lack of adequate infrastructure is affecting housing prices.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

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