Mar 25, 2013

Statement on expanded ministerial responsibilities

It is an honour to again have ministerial responsibility for the nation’s regions and Local Government sector in addition to my existing portfolio areas of Infrastructure and Transport.

I thank the Prime Minister for the confidence she has placed me.

Regional Development Australia networks were established in our first term and have a critical role to play in driving and supporting economic development across our country.

I am also passionate about Local Government.  It is the level of government closest to the people and I have a long history of advocating a closer relationship between the National Government and local communities through their elected representatives.

From the outset, this Federal Labor Government has been determined to make sure that regional Australia benefits fully from our strong, growing economy.  After all, regional communities are at the heart of our nation’s continuing economic success and prosperity.

That’s why we’ve doubled spending on our regional highways and country roads, and increased investment in rail tenfold, including rebuilding more than a third of the nation’s Interstate Rail Freight Network.  In fact, almost two thirds of our record $36 billion Nation Building Program is earmarked for projects in regional Australia.

We have also begun rolling out the National Broadband Network, a 21st century piece of the infrastructure which will further bridge the ‘tyranny of distance’ and allow businesses to relocate to regional communities.

I look forward to building on these achievements and the progress we’ve made towards making all our local communities even better places to live, work and raise a family.

Federal Labor has and will continue to govern for all of Australia.