Mr CHAMPION (3:04 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. How are the major nation-building infrastructure projects progressing, particularly those in South Australia and Western Australia?
Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) —I thank the member for Wakefield for his question. He of course was very proud to be at the opening of the Northern Expressway in Adelaide in September. The expressway was opened three months ahead of schedule, thanks to the government’s economic stimulus plan. This will cut travel times by up to 20 minutes. More than 3,300 Australians were put into work as a direct result of that project. I congratulate the contractors, because 14 per cent of the people who worked on site and got training were young or Indigenous—well above the 10 per cent target that they had. They showed that the target can be achieved. Those young people and Indigenous workers who I met the four times that I visited the project were very proud, as were their families. They can be proud of the fact that they can see the product of their work.
Just this month, the $155 million Mandurah Entrance Road in Western Australia was also opened, again almost three months ahead of schedule as a result of the government’s economic stimulus plan. This project had 200 people working on it. It is part of a broader commitment to the region because it provides a link from the new Perth-Bunbury highway, completed last year, into the Mandurah town centre. These road and rail projects that we brought forward as a result of the economic stimulus plan were critical in creating employment during the global financial crisis. They are also critical in building nation-building infrastructure for many years to come.