Jul 16, 2010

Speech at the launch of RDA Ipswich and West Moreton – Metro Hotel Ipswich Inter

Speech at the launch of RDA Ipswich and West Moreton – Metro Hotel Ipswich International

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

16 July 2010

Thank you Shayne (Neumann MP) for your welcome and introduction.

It’s a pleasure to be here in Ipswich for the official launch of the Ipswich and West Moreton Regional Development Australia Committee.

I know the Committee has already done some excellent work: bringing back to life the Regional Managers Coordination Network and organising forums such as the one you are having later today, to bring together regional leaders and plan for the future.

I’m told that for some of you, this morning is your first encounter with the Ipswich and West Moreton RDA. But I know it will not be your last.

Regional Development Australia has been set up by the Federal Labor Government as the first ever tripartite regional development advisory body; linking the federal, state and local governments together with regions across the nation.

All up, there are 55 RDA committees spanning the country. The Ipswich and West Moreton RDA covers the local government areas of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset.

They are made up by local leaders who volunteer their time to work across each region for the benefit their communities.

I can think of no more appropriate and committed people than the former Treasurer of Queensland, David Hammill and Kathy Bensted.

The task for Regional Development Australia is to develop strong, long-term strategies and solutions for your region’s needs.

Federal Labor knows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues facing Australians. That’s why RDA’s are able to determine their own regional priorities; suiting and consulting with their local communities.

I understand that the Ipswich and West Moreton RDA has identified six priority themes to promote sustainable development in this region, which you will be able to discuss at the Leadership Forum today. They are:

  • social impacts of growth;
  • water;
  • information and communication infrastructure;
  • transport infrastructure;
  • aviation; and
  • agribusiness.

These are real issues here in the Ipswich and West Moreton region, and a reminder of the big challenges we face as a nation.

They are critical issues that Federal Labor is working to tackle.

For example, our appointment of a Sustainable Population Minister to balance quality of life with Australia’s population.

Our Water for the Future Program and Infrastructure Australia’s focus on water infrastructure are tackling the sustainable use of this essential resource.

Importantly, the themes you have identified will likely be different to those identified by other RDA committees. The Government does not want to tell you what issues are important to your area. Instead, we want you to tell us.

Just last month in Canberra we held what has been described as a “turbo charged” community cabinet meeting, in which 17 federal ministers and parliamentary secretaries addressed representatives from local communities all around the nation for the third Australian Council of Local Government.

Local representatives, including RDA members, asked questions on such varied topics as population growth, social housing, climate change, and aviation.

It was a great opportunity to engage directly with the issues that are facing local communities, as the Leadership Forum today will be.

The ideas that come out of your forum will inform the Regional Roadmap being developed by RDA Ipswich West Moreton for the future of your area. I look forward to seeing the final product.

The Federal Labor Government is listening to local communities. Both RDA and the Australian Council of Local Government are historic initiatives of this Government, allowing communities direct access to Canberra.

As part of this new partnership with local communities, we set up the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, which is delivering over $1 billion directly to local communities in every local government area in Australia.

Over 5,000 community infrastructure projects, such as new and upgraded sporting facilities, public libraries, parks and playgrounds, are either built or underway as part of this program.

And, importantly, all of these projects have been put forward by local councils as community priorities, not determined by Canberra.

I will mention that Round 3 of this program is currently open for applications, with Councils in the Ipswich and West Moreton RDA region being allocated just over $1 million for local projects. So, I encourage any of you with ideas to speak to your local councils as soon as possible, most of whom I understand are represented here today.

Our Government has worked hard to re-engage in important areas that have been vacated and to take new steps that are essential to a modern, 21st century Australia.

  • We have restored leadership on Infrastructure, establishing a Minister for Infrastructure and Infrastructure Australia.
  • We have backed up these reforms with record investment, with $37 billion over six years being allocated to the Nation Building Program. Later today I will travel to one local project to have benefitted from this record investment; the Ipswich Motorway. The upgrade between Dinmore and Goodna goes from strength to strength, thanks to the accelerated funding provided through the Federal Labor Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan.
  • Major progress is being made and we are on track to open this eight kilometre section, which will be widened to six lanes, by 2012.
  • To date, close to 6,000 people have been inducted to work on the site.
  • It’s been an important project and affirms that we made the right decision to fund it and cancel the Goodna Bypass.
  • The Ipswich Motorway upgrade is a prime example of what the Gillard Labor Government’s nation building agenda is all about, creating jobs today by building the infrastructure we need for the future.
  • We have put urban congestion and public transport back on the national agenda. We have invested some $4.5 billion in urban public transport projects like the Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project and established the Major Cities Unit.
  • We released the first State of the Cities report to establish a national framework for urban infrastructure.
  • We released Australia’s first ever National Aviation Policy White Paper Flight Path to the Future in December last year in order to provide a long-term, forward-thinking policy in this area.
  • The National Broadband Network is set to be the biggest nation building project in history, truly able to overcome the tyranny of distance, and able to transform how we work, do business and deliver services. And;
  • Our Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program is investing record funding in long-overdue local infrastructure right across the country, such as the $10 million Springfield Central Parklands project here in Ipswich and the new Sport and Recreation Centre at Tamborine Mountain.

This Federal Government has achieved a great deal, but we have much more work to do.

Julia Gillard is committed to moving Australia forward.

That starts with a strong economy and bringing the budget to surplus by 2013.

We are developing national urban policy and major cities reforms, strategies to make our infrastructure work harder and smarter; and harnessing all levels of government and the private sector to continue nation building to lift productivity.

We appreciate feedback on any and all of these areas of government policy.

Looking at the Ipswich and West Moreton RDA committee members, I know that this region will be well served by your collective and varied experience and commitment to your community.

Success depends on local input, on local ideas, and on meeting local needs.

The Gillard Labor Government is committed to building a more productive, sustainable, socially inclusive, and fairer Australia.

All of you play a large role in making that happen.

You’ve got a busy morning ahead of you with the Regional Leaders Forum – so it is my pleasure to officially launch the Ipswich and West Moreton RDA.

And now I understand it’s straight down to business.