SUBJECT/S: Labor’s $32 million commitment to upgrade Hobart Airport roundabout; Three Amigos failure to stand up for Tasmania; Labor’s $100 million commitment to Midland Highway; Malcolm Turnbull’s broken NBN promise to Tasmania
JULIE COLLINS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well it’s great to be here with my colleague, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, for Cities and for Tourism, Anthony Albanese and to have with us our Lyons’ candidate Brian Mitchell for this big announcement today here at the Hobart Airport roundabout. It’s also fabulous to have with us the Sorrell Mayor, Kerry Vincent. This issue has been raised with us for some time. What we’ve seen of course, from our opponents, from the Liberals – the Liberal Members of Parliament representing Tasmania in the Federal Parliament – is months and months of big talk, and we’ve heard a lot about their election wish-list, but this week’s Budget delivered absolutely nothing for Tasmania. They’ve delivered nothing for Tasmania. So it’s great to be here with Anthony Albanese, because of course Federal Labor continues to deliver for Tasmania, just like we did in Government. We’ve seen in recent weeks announcements from Labor in relation to the University of Tasmania and the $150 million that we will be committing in response to the move to the campus at Newnham and of course to Burnie. So that $150 million for UTAS has been warmly welcomed around the state. We’ve also made announcements in relation to NBN on the West Coast of Tasmania, so it’s great to have Anthony with us here today to make another announcement to show Labor’s further commitment to Tasmania in contrast to the Liberals who’ve done nothing and who did not stand up for Tasmania in the Budget again this week.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: Well thanks very much Julie and it’s great to be back here in Tasmania with Julie Collins, my parliamentary colleague, and Brian Mitchell who I hope after July 2, in the as yet unannounced election, becomes a colleague in Canberra because then there will be yet another Member who will stand up for the interests of Tasmanians. It’s also great to be joined by Kerry Vincent the Mayor of Sorell, a community that will benefit from this announcement. This announcement, of $32 million, to fix this roundabout, a federal contribution to be added to with $8 million from the State Government, would ensure that this is fixed once and for all. This is a vital project for a number of reasons. Firstly, because the communities including Sorrell are currently hindered by this being a congestion point every morning and every afternoon. It’s also critical because it’s an entry point for many people when they first visit Tasmania and first impressions are important. We know when you cross over that Bridge and see Mount Wellington and see the fabulous Hobart city that will be made even better by the $50 million we put aside for the Macquarie Point Development and Revitalisation, we know also though that if your first impression is being stuck in traffic then that is not a good one. That’s why, with airport traffic expected to double over coming years this project needs to be done and needs to be done now. A flyover will ensure that that occurs. I’m very disappointed that Tuesday night’s Budget didn’t have this in, I thought this was an absolute no-brainer to get fixed. But then again Tuesday night’s Budget also confirmed the $100 million cut to the Midland Highway funding that was put in the 2013 Budget by the former Labor Government. It confirmed the cut in half of the rail revitalisation project – $60 million cut from that project. And it confirmed that over the life of Turnbull and Abbott Governments there hasn’t been a single major infrastructure announcement for Tasmania or a single major tourism announcement for Tasmania. They are running out of projects to be opened that were funded by the former Labor Government, be it Three Capes, or be it other important projects like the Brighton bypass, the Kingston bypass, the upgrades to the Midland Highway that we committed to and funded when we were in Government. It’s about time that Canberra had a Government that actually stood up for Tasmanians. Brian Mitchell will do just that.
BRIAN MITCHELL, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LYONS: I’m thrilled by this announcement , thanks for coming down Albo, this will make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Being a resident of Sorrell myself, I see the congestion here every day and I’ve worked very hard with Kerry Vincent and Julie Collins to get this announcement up. This will make a real difference in people lives in the Sorrell Municipality, people from Dodges Ferry to Primrose Sands, they’re going to have a great quality of life from this and it’s going to drive economic growth in Sorrell. Sorrell has the capacity to be a great satellite city of Hobart, with great facilities, great amenity and really drive the population growth in this part of Tasmania. This is a great announcement from Labor and only Labor will get this done. I’m absolutely thrilled by it, thank you.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, how soon will see the funds flow if a Labor Government is elected and when will see it built?
ALBANESE: We’ll put it straight in the Budget, we’ll have negotiations with Tasmania, the Federal Government doesn’t build roads, we’re prepared to fund it and we would want it done as an urgent priority. So if we’re elected we would want the funding to commence from the coming financial year. We want to get this done because what you’ve got to do, the longer it’s delayed, the worse we can see the banking up here now well past peak hour, the worse it will become. So we want to get this done, we also note that with the drop off in infrastructure investment from the Commonwealth to Tasmania that’s having an immediate impact on jobs, so we want to if we’re elected I’ll be flying to Tasmania to talk to the State Government working out a timetable to make sure this project get done.
JOURNALIST: How far advanced are the plans for what you actually build here, you would’ve just driven past of the Tasman Bridge, the new slip lanes, and I think I stood there in 2010 when we were talking about that. How quickly can you get these plans and get these things to fruition.
ALBANESE: Well we can get this done. As you yourself have witnessed the benefit of the Albanese/Collins combination, the Albanese/Collins/Mitchell combination gives us another prop forward, to use rugby league terminology, here as well. Three people standing up for this region. I never make commitments that don’t happen. Every single time I’ve made a commitment in Tasmania it has been delivered, either on time or ahead of time and this is a vital project. We can get it done, there is not a pipeline of projects for Tasmania, so it’s not like you’re taking away activity from other areas that are funded by the Federal Government. So this is an absolute priority, we’re convinced it can be done. A lot of the preparatory work is already done and the planning, we know what’s needed here, which is a flyover, a grade separation and we want to see this project come to fruition. And we want to see the people of Sorrell and other communities benefit, as well as those people like myself who have the privilege of visiting Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: You have the Midland Highway in some state of being repaired, is that something Labor would seek to focus on again if it were back in Government, putting more money into that project.
ALBANESE: Well we haven’t seen a dollar, not a dollar, from the Abbott/Turnbull Governments for the Midland Highway. We put $500 million in, they took, remember Tony Abbott came in Opposition and on the back of light beer shandy coaster said that you could duplicate fully the Midland Highway for $400 million, we said that was nonsense. What you can do is get the priorities done for $500 million. We did the costings, we did the work, we delivered the funding. He cut it. And so we would again prioritise the Midland Highway. Of course the Midland Highway is Tasmania’s most important road, connecting the North to the South, so it’s an absolutely priority in terms of for a national Government because Tasmania is such a vital state for our nation, in terms of creating jobs and boosting the Tasmania economy the Midland is critical. Of course it’s also important for road safety and I will work with, as I have already, with Brian for example including on the Bass Highway as well. All of these projects are important, I want to see them done and I think people, if they have a look and compare what happened during my six years as the Infrastructure Minister compared with the complete inactivity, where not a single new announcement has been made by the incoming Government. It’s quite extraordinary now, three budgets, no announcements in terms of new infrastructure for Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: Reinstate the $100 million [for Midland Highway]?
ALBANESE: Of course we will. We would get it done. We had a plan to make sure that Tasmania benefitted. It’s short-sighted for a cut such as that. And so we would certainly commit, as I have before, because all of the Tasmanians are prepared to stand up for their state. What I find extraordinary is that the State Liberal Government here have just copped these cuts, cuts to the Midland Highway, cuts to rail revitalisation, no major projects, the sort upgrades that occurred to Bellerive to the Aurora Stadium, the works that we did at Glenorchy. All of those vital projects that we did that have been ignore by the incoming Government haven’t had any commitments and the State Government have seemed to meekly accept that that’s the case and the Federal Members who were elected last time essentially are just seat warmers – they sit there but they’re not vocal in standing up for Tasmania or being advocates for Tasmania.
JOURNALIST: It’s Budget-In-Reply day today, can we expect you yourself to advocating for Tasmania in Canberra today?
ALBANESE: I certainly am and I think the fact that I am here says that you know I am very proud of the work that I have done in Tasmania. I think I’ve got, as someone who’s from Sydney, a track record. I sat this morning in the ABC radio studios there and I’ve almost got a permanent seat having visited here. I think one year, as a Minister I visited here thirteen times in a year and that is critical. Because Tasmania, the southern island, can be left out by those on the northern island, unless it has strong advocates. Strong advocated who are representing Tasmania, but also strong advocates who understand that this beautiful state has a critical role to play in our national economy, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and tourism that I have responsibility for. There’s always, always strong advocacy from the Tasmanians, can I say with regard to the Tasmanian tourism industry they’ve really got their act together. I’ve had now, a couple of roundtables here, one here in Hobart, one at Cradle Mountain with the Tasmanian tourism industry. They’re coordinated, with had the sort of work that’s occurred on the West Coast as well where Jason Clare, my colleague, was announcing important focus for the National Broadband Network as a result of the advocacy of Brian Mitchell once again. I remember during the last campaign standing in Launceston, standing in Hobart as the Communications Minister and saying that Tasmanians would miss out under Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull promised, he’s now the Prime Minister , he was the Communications Minister, he promised that each and every Tasmanian home and business would be connected to the National Broadband Network with fibre in 2016. Right now. That was his promise. So it’s 2016, I say to every Tasmanian who doesn’t have access to the National Broadband Network, you have a strong opportunity to send a superfast message to Malcolm Turnbull on July 2 that you don’t like being misled. Misled directly by Malcolm Turnbull at the last election, they can repay Malcolm Turnbull by not voting for him to remain as Prime Minister because simply he doesn’t deserve it. Thank you.