I am delighted to have been appointed Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and Shadow Minister for Tourism.
I’m pleased Bill Shorten has added Regional Development to my portfolio responsibilities, allowing Labor to sharpen our focus on our regions and ensure they have the infrastructure required to underpin future economic growth.
Labor has a proud record on Nation Building, delivering record infrastructure investment between 2007 and 2013 that saw Australia rise from 20th to 1st on a list of OECD nations in terms of infrastructure investment as a proportion of GDP.
By contrast, the Coalition has cut infrastructure investment, cancelling all public transport investment in 2013 and overseeing a 20 per cent decline in public sector infrastructure investment between the September quarters of 2013 and 2015.
While Malcolm Turnbull could have used the recent election campaign to get serious about infrastructure, he instead succumbed to crude pork barreling by allocating $750 million for 77 small road projects around the country – 75 of which were located in Coalition electorates.
In contrast, Labor’s comprehensive infrastructure plan, particularly our strong support for public transport as a way to tackle traffic congestion, was critical to our success in lifting our electoral support on July 2.
While the Coalition uses infrastructure investment to win votes, Labor invests to eliminate bottlenecks, build capacity and boost productivity and jobs growth.
I look forward to continuing to develop Labor’s policies for shipping and aviation.
Prior to the election, Labor produced comprehensive shipping and aviation policies. But Mr Turnbull produced no policies in these important areas.
I am also pleased to retain the Tourism portfolio.
With our nation needing to boost existing industries to make up for the decline in the investment stage of the mining boom, we need to support growth in tourism to create jobs, particularly in regional areas.
I look forward to working with my colleagues Stephen Jones, Warren Snowdon and Pat Conroy as part of Labor’s team.