Jun 20, 2013

Question Without Notice – Full Duplication of the Hume Highway achieved under Labor

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (15:07): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Minister, I understand there is a historic event occurring in Holbrook this Sunday. Will you inform the House about that event and advise what significance it will have for the country?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (15:08):  I thank the member for Throsby for his question. Indeed, Sunday will be an historic day. The completion of the Holbrook bypass means that for the first time, more than a century since Federation, we will have a fully duplicated Hume Highway between our two great cities of Melbourne and Sydney—for the first time. This Labor government has got it done—808 kilometres of it, nearly $1 billion put into the Hume Highway since we were elected—100 per cent federally funded, the Hume Highway upgrade. It is consistent with what we have done in the Pacific Highway, where we are getting on with the job of full duplication—almost $8 billion compared with $1.3 billion under the former government over 12 long years; and the Bruce Highway, $5.7 billion, compared with $1.3 billion over the 12 years of the Howard government. This will be an exciting day for the community and a great day for the nation.

Almost two centuries after explorers Hume and Hovel plotted apart from Sydney south to Port Phillip Bay, Australians will finally be able to enjoy a safe and separated 21st century road. Those explorers took 2½; it can now be done in less than half a day. Road safety will be a big winner as a result of the full duplication.

It is consistent with this government’s approach. When the Prime Minister and I are in Holbrook on Sunday, we can take pride that this is a government that has doubled the roads budget, that has increased the rail budget by more than 10 times, that has invested more into urban public transport since our election in 2007 than all previous governments combined—building infrastructure for the future, creating jobs today but boosting future productivity through nation-building investment. It contrasts with those opposite, who don’t have proper plans and don’t know anything about Infrastructure Australia and proper processes, we have seen that; who just have thought bubbles—bubbles which have all be oomph of one of the light beer shandies that the Leader of the Opposition loves so much. Their idea of a costing is to flip over the coaster and just write it out and say, ‘That is our proposal for funding.’ We have seen it. They do not go through proper processes. We do and that is why Labor has historically always been the party of nation building. Sunday’s event will confirm that. (Time expired)