Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:55): Yesterday saw one of the most absurd media stunts I have seen for a long time: the Prime Minister purporting to open the Gateway WA road project in Perth. This is a fantastic road project—an upgrade of the roads around Perth Airport worth nearly $1 billion. There he was, the Prime Minister, beaming as he touted for votes in Saturday’s Canning by-election, announcing that the project had been completed and was an example of everything the government was doing for the people of Western Australia. There are only two problems with that. The first is that this government had nothing to do with this project—did not add an additional cent, let alone a dollar, to this project, which was funded 2011. The member for Cowan was actually at the sod-turning at the beginning of major construction with me way back then.
Mr Simpkins: Thanks for inviting me.
Mr ALBANESE: We invited coalition members—unlike this government, which invited no-one from the Labor side, even though the project was initiated by the former federal Labor government. There is a second problem with this opening: the project is not finished. It will not be finished until next year. They have brought forward the opening, pretending it is all done in advance, so that they could do a media statement. But they could not do anything other than that, because not a single project anywhere in the country, let alone Western Australia, that was initiated by this government has been completed—not one. So what we have seen is a magical infrastructure reannouncement tour that never sleeps. It is like a rock’n’roll tour of a band with little to offer except lame cover songs. Well, it is time for a new playlist. Indeed, those opposite may well be looking for a new band leader.
Let us look at projects in Western Australia and who has actually supported building infrastructure. The Great Northern Highway was announced by Labor in the 2013 budget—and reannounced by this government in December 2013 and on multiple occasions since. The North West Coastal Highway was funded by the former Labor government in the 2013 budget—and reannounced several times since. The Swan Valley Bypass is a good one. They decided, in order to hide the fact that it was a reannouncement, to give it a new name. It has a new name, Northlink, but it is not a new project. The Tonkin Highway was announced with a $140 million commitment in 2013 by the former government—and reannounced by this government in February 2014. The Leach Highway was announced and funded by the former Labor government—and reannounced in February 2014. The Esperance port access project—$60 million—was announced and funded by the former Labor government and commenced construction, when I was present, on 16 March 2012. They reannounced it as if it was new in February 2014 and—bingo—it was opened on 2 April 2014. It was a great project done two months. Unfortunately, of course, it was almost completed at the time when they pretended it was new. There are other projects: the Great Eastern Highway in the member for Cowan’s electorate, the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland, the Bunbury port access road, grain rail freight and of course public transport as well with the visionary Perth City Link project—a project that would never have been funded by those opposite, because they do not believe in funding urban public transport. We have further committed $145 million to the Community Connect South project, the duplication of Armadale Road and construction of the North Lake Road bridge. They finally caught up on the weekend and agreed to match Labor’s commitment—again, Labor leading from opposition because of the failure of the government to provide leadership on anything. Labor has committed $25 million to upgrade Denny Avenue. We also have committed $2 million to advance planning work on the Kwinana Outer Harbour through a submission to Infrastructure Australia. Those opposite want to build the Perth Freight Link to a port that is full to capacity. They are not doing the proper planning work and are completely hopeless. It is no wonder that they are struggling in Canning, as they are right around the entire nation.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.