I would like to thank Labor's candidate for Dunkley Peta Murphy for organising today's forum with the Committee for Greater Frankston.
In 1962, John F. Kennedy commented that neglecting cities would be at the government’s peril, ‘for in neglecting them we neglect the nation’.
While our urban life has changed enormously over recent decades, this observation is as true today as it was 50 years ago.
Australia is one of the fastest urbanising countries in the OECD and our economy relies upon the success of our cities.
Indeed our cities, which are home to almost 90 per cent of Australia’s population, generate 80 per cent of our GDP.
But these thriving, growing cities require investment to secure their productivity, sustainability and liveability…
To ensure that they continue to be places of opportunity for all people.
If people can’t access employment, training or educational opportunities, if people are stuck in their cars for hours commuting to and from work, and if people cannot afford a roof over their heads, then they can’t achieve their potential.
And of course this means that, in turn, our cities don’t fulfil theirs.
Successful cities are inclusive cities, with diverse vibrant communities – not disconnected enclaves of privilege and disadvantage.
You should not be able to tell someone’s income by their postcode – whether that is 3000 (Melbourne City) or 3200 (Frankston North).
These values underpin Labor’s national urban policy agenda.
We recognise that the Federal Government has a particular responsibility to invest in our growth corridors.
Too often we see the population of our outer suburbs increase before the necessary infrastructure such as public transport and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals have been put in place.
This bad planning leads to bad outcomes and a higher cost of retrofitting infrastructure to try to catch up with the community's needs.
We recognise that if we are to achieve genuine positive change then we must work from the bottom up.
This means working with communities and local councils as well as the private and not for profit sectors, and, of course, state and territory governments.
That’s why earlier this month we announced our City Partnerships policy, which aims to achieve precisely this.
INVESTING IN GREATER FRANKSTON
Frankston is a perfect example of an urban area that would benefit from this type of investment.
Once a fishing village, proclaimed a city in 1966, Frankston continues to build on its legacy, providing a home and a thriving community for its diverse residents.
Urbanist Edward McMahon once said that, ‘growth is inevitable and desirable…the question is not whether your past of the world is going to change. The question is how’.
And what I know from my conversations with Peta Murphy over recent years and with you – councils, the Committee for Greater Frankston, local businesses and community members – is that you already have a fair idea of what you’d like to see happen in this area.
It is clear that the significant investment in infrastructure projects from the Andrews Labor Government - level crossing removals, the Frankston Station redevelopment, the Chisholm TAFE redevelopment - are having a transformative impact on the Frankston region.
But you need a Federal Government that listens and provides the necessary investment to underpin your vision for this diverse and vibrant region.
The challenge across this area is surmountable but not insignificant.
Job growth lags behind other urban areas, with fewer than 28 local jobs per 100 residents across Frankston.
Residents can access less than ten per cent of Melbourne’s job market in a reasonable commute time.
We need more of these jobs to be here and to be local.
And insufficient parking at Frankston Station means the car park is full before 7am, leaving people to scramble for somewhere to leave their car in nearby streets or in parking at Kananook and Seaford stations, which are also over capacity.
Federal Labor will build upon our previous investment across this region, as occurred when I last had the privilege of serving as the Infrastructure Minister in the former Labor Government.
Indeed, we invested millions of dollars in local roads, including funding to fix dangerous black spots.
We invested in Frankston City Council’s ‘The Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration’ project through our Liveable Cities Program.
We provided the Council with funding for the construction of a new Community Learning Hub to provide family support programs and skill development opportunities for the community.
And it was Labor who also previously invested in the Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre and who funded the local trade training centre at Chisholm TAFE.
But there is much more to be done.
We’re committed to increasing public transport services around the nation, including between capital cities and regional centres.
Consequently, a Shorten Labor Government will move quickly to deliver the much-needed Frankston to Baxter Rail Upgrade.
The truth is that the recent funding for this project by the Coalition is over ten years.
There is no money for 2018-2019 and more than 70 per cent of this promised funding will not be available until years five to 10.
This falls well short of the Coalition's claim to be delivering the extension of the line to Baxter.
Labor has advocated for the electrification and duplication of the Stony Point Line to Baxter to improve train services for commuters across Dunkley and on the Peninsula.
I stood at Frankston Station with Peta Murphy before the 2016 election had been called and committed to funding a business case immediately upon the election of a Labor Government.
And that’s because we know the benefits of this project speak for themselves: better services, greater accessibility to public transport, reduced travel times, and more parking but most important of all – ensuring commuters get home earlier so they can spend more time with their families.
LABOR’S CITY PARTNERSHIPS POLICY
Projects such as these can also function as a catalyst for greater economic growth.
Our City Partnerships policy aims to unlock the potential of our urban areas to ensure our cities are productive, sustainable and liveable places for all.
As part of this policy we will work with local government in a way that is genuine, in a way that supports expertise such as yours and in a way that brings people, so that together we can build a strategic vision underpinned by real investment in our cities.
City Partnerships will engage all three levels of government through genuine collaboration, as well as the private sector, to set out a strategic vision for our cities.
Importantly, it will be policy driven from the bottom-up through organisations such as yours.
We will link City Partnerships to a renewed National Urban Policy that gives greater consideration to smart technology and sustainability.
We will require City Partnerships to assess what gains can be made through productivity uplift and the additional revenue that will flow to the Federal Government as a result.
We will provide a rigorous and transparent approach to investing in infrastructure; ensuring evidence-based decision making guides the Commonwealth’s allocation of funds.
And we will re-establish the Major Cities Unit within Infrastructure Australia, tasking it with independent oversight of this program, including recommending City Partnerships to the Minister.
But we also want to ensure that industry expertise is more effectively utilised and that City Partnerships align with strategic planning guidelines.
This is why we will establish an expert panel to update strategic planning guidelines for cities as well as the development of guidelines for City Partnerships, which include an assessment of benefit to the economy.
It will consider ways in which the community and stakeholders can be more effectively engaged in the development phase of City Partnerships.
Labor is committed to unlocking the potential of our cities – inner urban areas, regional cities, outer suburbs and growth areas – by bringing together all levels of government, the private sector and community in a way that is meaningful so that we achieve genuine structural change.
But of course in some places, such as here in Frankston, genuine collaboration between many of the stakeholders is already in place.
I want to congratulate the Committee for Greater Frankston, Paul Edbrooke, the State Member for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Shire Councils and local businesses for the work they do in engaging the community and developing a true vision for this region.
I look forward to working with you all and with Labor’s candidate for Dunkley Peta Murphy to deliver positive outcomes for Frankston.