Jun 22, 2012

Doorstop – Macquarie Point Railyards, Hobart

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much for coming along today. This is an exciting project. It’s extraordinary that you have an 8.4 hectare site which can have so many uses. A key theme is the economic activity that will be generated through the construction phase. We can see over a billion dollars of development and job creation here in that phase, then further economic activity with commercial use of the site.

This will improve the quality of life for people here in Hobart and people who visit Hobart. The quality of life will be enhanced by leisure activities through a mix of open spaces.

We need to make sure that any development here is sustainable. I’d like to see buildings here that are six star, that are green and that enhance liveability. Obviously, the tourism potential of this site is extraordinary.

If you were designing Hobart from the beginning there’s no way that you’d have all this industrial activity on what is a prime location..

QUESTION: How long will it take to clean up?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The money is available immediately. As the Premier and Minister O’Byrne have said, a lot of the work has been done already. So this is essentially job-ready. We’ve got the Brighton Transport Hub getting up and running. In terms of activity, so there is no reason why the remediation can’t commence soon. Now that my signature is on the agreement, it’s in the bank. So, let’s get on with it.

QUESTION: What do you mean it’s job ready? Like, we’ve heard some survey or work and things like that have been done. So do you mean bulldozers can move on now to take out the contaminated soil? Is that what needs to happen?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well obviously not bulldozers here at 10 o’clock this morning.

But what we know is that in terms of the planning work, we can commence immediately. The consultation as to what will happen to the site can occur while the remediation is going on.

The beauty of this project is that it is ready to go in terms of getting the land ready through remediation, while consultation is going on with the community for the uses of this site.

QUESTION: And you’re happy with the State Government’s plan to turn the Hobart Port into the gateway of Antarctica?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Oh look, absolutely. We are very happy. Infrastructure Australia has worked very closely with the Tasmanian authorities over many, many months. Minister O’Byrne and I met in South Australia as well as in Canberra at the Ministerial Council with the infrastructure coordinator, Michael Deegan just last month. And what we did there was to work on the structure of the authority. We’ve even had discussions about who’s going to be on the authority, how it will run. All of this detail will be rolled out in the coming days and weeks.

QUESTION: Would we be getting this money if you didn’t need Andrew Wilkie’s support?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, this is an exciting project; this project is being done on its merits; this is an exciting project for Hobart.

This Government has invested more than $850 million in infrastructure for Tasmania, more than doubling the infrastructure spend. We’ve engaged with Tasmania on the revitalisation of the rail network.

We have road projects right around Tasmania and we have projects funded through our Liveable Cities Program. This is the second part of funding under the Liveable Cities Program – right here in Hobart.

QUESTION: The State Government has floated the idea of exporting wood chips from the Port of Hobart if Triabunna doesn’t reopen. Is that something you’d like to see here?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look, that’s not a matter for me. That’s a matter for the Tasmanian Government. My job isn’t to micro-manage. My job is to ensure that the national Government is back re-engaged in the business of cities.

I’ve been here since 2007 announcing projects including fixing up the tennis centre so the Hobart women’s tournament could continue to take place every January in the lead up to the Australian Open.

I’ve been here for the Kingston project, the lights at Bellerive. I’ve been to Tasmania on more than a dozen occasions. And what I’ve done is worked with my Federal colleagues and the Tasmanian Government to deliver improvements for Tasmania because Tasmania has such a vital role to play in our nation.

QUESTION: Andrew Wilkie has urged the State Government not to stuff this up. Are you confident that they can manage this properly?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: The Tasmanian Government will manage this in an appropriate way. They’ve put in place the right structures. They have the right vision. I’ve been working with them for a long period of time on this project. I think this is going to be a project which is driven by the community. This is a project for the community driven by the community and everyone associated with it will be very proud.

And when you go over the bridge, over the Derwent and when I arrive in Hobart, I’ll be looking over at this site and I’ll be thinking today we made a difference. And I look forward to coming back as this project evolves from the vision that it is today into a reality.

QUESTION: Will there be Federal funding for the next step for the actual building and development here?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, you needed funding to get the remediation done because you didn’t want to pre-empt what would occur on the site. But let’s be very clear here, this won’t be a cost to government.

This is going to bring major benefits to the Tasmanian Government. You don’t have to subsidise someone to build a hotel on the site. You don’t have to subsidise someone to build commercial activity or houses or educational institutions. This is a real opportunity that will see over $1 billion minimum investment on this site.

What the Federal Government has done is ensure that it can happen sooner rather than later.

That’s what today’s announcement is about, making sure that we get that alignment between the remediation of the site and the planning for future uses.

QUESTION: How much of a role did you play in securing money for Tasmania’s health system?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: I play a role in lots of things and I play a role as a Leader of the House of Representatives in the Government as a cabinet minister.

Thank you.