Jun 6, 2013

Consideration in Detail – Infrastructure

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (10:13):  The shadow minister made some extraordinary statements during that contribution. One was that the Building Australia Fund was somehow a creation of the Howard government. It was created through legislation moved by me as the minister as part of the creation of Infrastructure Australia. It is a part of the Infrastructure Australia setup, something that they never did. They never set up a process and indeed they opposed the Infrastructure Australian legislation. It is complete nonsense from those opposite.

He went on to pretend that programs that are under construction with real money creating real jobs, creating real improvements in infrastructure do not exist. He should go to Rockhampton, have a look at the Yeppen roundabout, have a look at the duplication of the bridges that are under construction right now. It is not an apparition; it is real. It exists. There is steel and concrete, and there are workers and cranes working right now on the Bruce Highway.

This shadow minister was once the minister and he described the Cooroy to Curra section of the Bruce Highway as the worst section of road in Australia. He was the transport minister, it is in his electorate and he did nothing about it. Well, we have for one section of it. We promised it, funded it, built it and opened it. He did not play a role in any of those activities.

I say to the shadow minister that next week I will be turning a sod on construction in his electorate. Come along—Cooroy to Curra section A, funded by us. Come along.

Mr Truss:  You haven’t invited me. You don’t invite me.

Mr ALBANESE:  You know full well that the—

Mr Truss interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE:  You might not. You are so hopeless that you might not know that the state government—the Newman government—and your mate Jeff Seeney organise the invites. So ring up Jeff. Get yourself on the list. He might not know you exist. The state government will be looking after the sod turning on Cooroy to Curra next Wednesday. Come along. He can say that that is not real as well, because he has gone out there and said—even when we fund projects in his own electorate—that it is not happening. Well, drive on the road. You can, because one section of it is open and the next section of construction we are funding, brought forward into this financial year, will commence construction.

Then he went on to criticise the funding that we have provided for all of these programs, including the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. The Moorebank Intermodal Terminal is absolutely vital for Sydney’s infrastructure, ensuring that we take 3,300 trucks off the road every day. You know what the opposition did?

Mr Craig Kelly interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE:  You see, it is really not that complex. You have a port and then you have the city of Sydney, and then you have an intermodal terminal. Here is what an intermodal does—and maybe the member for Hughes can think about this, because he has campaigned against it. His own party are supporting it, but he has campaigned against it, showing how disingenuous and unfair they are. The state government support it. Your opposition support it, because it will take trucks off the road, because you have freight moving onto rail. It is not that complex: trucks off the road, freight onto rail, rather than going through all of the streets, including in the electorate of Hughes, in order to get to its destination. The freight infrastructure investment that we have done will take nine hours off the journey on the east -west link and seven hours off the journey from Melbourne to Brisbane. Let me tell you: what he does not say is that the land and the site were chosen by the Howard government. They chose the site. Since then the coalition campaigned against it at the last election and now they are for it again. If he is fair dinkum, he will say at the next election campaign that they are actually for this vital project. We issued a release with the board members on the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, as we do with all board appointments. (Time expired)