Subjects; Shore power for White Bay Cruise Terminal, NSW Election, Stadiums, Malcolm Turnbull.
ELLY HOWSE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BALMAIN: Good morning. I’m Elly Howse, Labor’s candidate for Balmain in the State Election and I want to welcome everyone today to White Bay in Balmain. Today we have an excellent announcement for the people of Balmain. Today Labor is announcing that we will be funding shore power in the White Bay cruise ship terminal. I want to thank Michael Daley, the Opposition Leader, and Penny Sharpe, Deputy Opposition Leader, for this announcement as well as Anthony Albanese, the Federal Labor Member for Grayndler and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure. I also do want to thank hundreds of local residents who have been speaking to me for months and months and we have been fighting on this issue. Local residents have had to shut their windows every time a cruise ship is in and docked. We’ve had local schools like Balmain Public School and Father John Therry where students have to shut their windows in the classrooms and they can’t go out into the playground because of the fumes and the noise from the cruise ships when they’re docked.
Today’s announcement is a game changer for the cruise ship industry and for this area in Balmain. For six years since the facility opened under the Liberal Government residents have been talking and writing and emailing the Government asking for action on this issue but they have been ignored by the current Government. Today that changes. Today Labor is the one who is listening to our local residents. Today Labor is announcing that we will deliver shore power. It is only a Labor Government that is going to be able to deliver this for the residents in Balmain and I thank Labor for this really important commitment. It shows we are really committed to improving air pollution and air quality in this area and I think it’s something that local residents will be ecstatic to hear about.
I’ll now introduce Anthony to say a few words.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM: Thanks very much Elly and it’s great to be here with someone who can actually stand up for the residents of Balmain and more importantly actually deliver real solutions to the issues which are here. And to deliver it through a Labor Government, which would be led by Michael Daley and Penny Sharpe. I want to thank Michael in particular for listening to the concerns of the electorate that I represent and the one that Elly seeks to represent after March 23.
I also make this announcement as the Shadow Tourism Minister because cruise ships are a vital part of our economy. They bring in jobs and economic activity. But with that needs to be a social license to operate. And that social license has got to be based upon sustainability and environmental best practice. Environmental best practice is ship to shore power and that’s what this announcement will deliver. And indeed I’ve spoken to the industry including Ann Sherry from Carnival who will work with us to deliver this because she knows how important this issue has been over recent times.
The fact is that the Berejiklian Government, just like the various incarnations of Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments, have ignored this issue. Cruise shipping is vital not just to Sydney and New South Wales but to the national economy. And people who come to Australia to participate in cruises from overseas want to go to Sydney. And Sydney needs somewhere for these cruise ships to be parked. Right here at White Bay, it is not acceptable that you have fumes spewing out at the same height that residents are here in this park and, more importantly, just up the road at Father John Therry and Balmain Public School, where I’ve had students come to me in the electorate office and talk about the illnesses, produced doctors’ certificates, saying their health has been impacted by this.
Well Labor Governments don’t just sit back and watch, we take action. And a Daley Labor Government, along with a Shorten Labor Government will fund this capital infrastructure and recuperate it over time with an increase in charges for ships, which are berthed here in Sydney. It’s a practical response and stands in stark contrast to the hand ringing and non-action of the sitting State Member Jamie Parker representing the Greens Political Party who can complain but can’t actually deliver anything, like he hasn’t delivered anything of practical input with regard to the impact of Westconnex on this electorate or the impact of cruise ships. What this electorate needs is a Labor Member and Elly Howse will actually be able to deliver for this electorate.
MICHAEL DALEY, NSW LABOR OPPOSITION LEADER: Thank you Anthony, not only for the funding but for the commitment that you’ve given to this facility for a long time. We’re here really today because Elly Howse is a very determined person. She has driven me mad about this since she has become the candidate. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve had with her. She just keeps saying: ‘Ship to shore power Michael, ship to shore, don’t forget, don’t forget. It’s vital for the people of White Bay and this area’. And it is. It’s just unacceptable that when a ship comes in that children have to flee the playground, go into the classroom and shut the windows and shut the doors. It’s unacceptable that people who are living in this beautiful part of Sydney have to shut their doors and windows whenever there is a ship in.
We want these ships here. We want what the cruise ship industry brings to Sydney. But we also understand that it has to be fair. It has to be fair and sustainable. So with this announcement today it just means that the people who live in this area don’t have to breathe in fumes. They don’t have to worry about pollution confronting them on a daily basis and it’s taken long enough. We’ve given the government eight long years to do this. We’ve given the Berejiklian Government eight long years to do something about it. They’re not interested in doing it and as Anthony said, what we want to do if we form Government in 15 days is to reset the discussion about the environment and climate change all over New South Wales. This is emblematic of what we want to do: make sure that there are places for industry on a long term and sustainable basis. This is a terrific outcome for the people of White Bay, for the seat of Balmain. It sends a clear signal to them; they have a choice on election day. If they want to continue to have a Greens Member in Balmain that can’t deliver, that’s fine. If they want ship to shore power, if they want a material difference to their lives, then vote for Elly Howse and for change.
JOURNALIST: Mr Daley, how much of an election sweetener do you think this will be for the residents of Balmain in bringing them back to Labor?
DALEY: Elly’s been raising this with me, but I’ve been talking to people in this area for many, many years about this in my capacity as Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Planning. I haven’t had a single resident in this area say that it’s not an important issue. They all say for them it’s a game changer, a life changer and a vote changer. But it’s not about the election, it’s about fairness and sustainability and you just can’t have a proposition that people are going to be potentially poisoned when a ship comes in. It’s not acceptable in the 21st century for this sort of interface between industry and residents. We don’t accept it in other areas. I’ve got Port Botany in my electorate there are buffer zones between residents and the ships. There’s no buffer zone here. People live right on the water and this is really in the scheme of things a small but very significant investment for the people of this area.
JOURNALIST: Eighteen million dollars is a small price to return a seat that was the birthplace of Labor to the Labor Party though isn’t it?
DALEY: There’s no doubt we’d like to get Balmain back, but I think the people of White Bay would like their lives back more than we’d like the seat back. That’s what today is all about.
JOURNALIST: So if you win Government will you proceed with this promise even if you don’t win the seat of Balmain?
DALEY: Absolutely. We’re not like the Liberals. It’s not like the oval in Orange. If we don’t win the seat we’ll still proceed with it, but if we don’t win Balmain the likelihood of us forming Government is made more difficult. So I’m saying to the people of Balmain, ensure there is a Daley Labor Government. Put us into power, vote Elly in. If we win Balmain, the likelihood of us being able to form Government is greatly enhanced. So no pressure; the people of Balmain have a choice to make and it’s a very significant one in a number of ways.
JOURNALIST: But this issue does go to the heart of a big platform for you and that is the noise and development and amenity of Sydney, doesn’t it? You’ve got fumes, you’ve got noise from one particular spot and it just feeds into that wider narrative you’re trying to make.
DALEY: I said on my very first day as Leader that there’s a madness that’s descended upon Sydney. And a ship on the doorstep of a house and a school spewing fumes into the living rooms and playgrounds of residents, that’s part of the madness of Sydney. This is a significant investment today to lift that madness.
JOURNALIST: Do you know at this stage what the increase in fees would be for cruise ships following this commitment of money?
DALEY: As Anthony said, we’ll sit down with the industry and work this out. We’re not about ambushing industry at all. Anthony’s been in touch with Carnival Cruises already. We’ll work it out amicably and over a long period of time it would be not a significant increase at all.
ALBANESE: That’s right. Look the industry understands that it has a responsibility here. And they, I’m sure, will work with us constructively. They’ve said that and what they want is a clear direction forward. It’s what industry is looking for in general from government and certainty is what they’re not receiving from either the Berejiklian Government or the Morrison Government. We’re providing them with certainty. We’re providing the upfront capital cost. We’ll recoup that over a period of time because we know that the cruise ship industry does deliver an important economic boost for Sydney, New South Wales and for the nation. So as the Tourism Shadow Minister, I’m about growing tourism. Not just here, but right throughout the country. Sydney is a global capital, but Sydney could be so much better. This is just one of the ways, let alone before we start on the issues that Michael is leading on like having a night time economy here in Sydney. And really we can do so much better. Because at the moment, frankly, Melbourne is ahead of Sydney on so many issues when it comes to delivering for people who visit. Sydney should be the global capital. We have this magnificent natural beauty of this harbour, which is here. And it’s why people who travel on cruise ships want accessibility to Sydney. But it needs to be done in a way that’s sustainable. And we can hear the noise here behind us. It is absurd that in 2019 a ship keeps its engines running at a great cost to the environment, to emissions but importantly to the amenity and liveability of people who live in this local community.
JOURNALIST: So Mr Albanese, how long would a ship keep its engines running while it’s docked here, is it a few hours?
ALBANESE: They’re there the whole time – 24 hours a day. Now, we’re here in the middle of the morning. At 3am that same level of noise is a lot louder and that is why there is an absolutely legitimate reason why this needs to be fixed and I have implored the various Infrastructure Ministers in the revolving door that is the Government at a Federal level to do something about this. And they’ve ignored it and enough is enough. This is 24 hours a day – completely unacceptable, not just the noise, but of course the smell and of course the health impacts. Spewing out particulates onto a local community is unacceptable in 2019.
JOURNALIST: While I’ve got you Mr Albanese, the ABC revealed today that a hotel in Alice Springs is segregating guests based on their race. What’s your response to this kind of blatant racism in 2019?
ALBANESE: Well it’s just completely unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. In 2019 we need to understand that people are just people, regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexuality. We need to treat people with dignity and with respect and this is an appalling revelation today.
JOURNALIST: What should the Government do?
ALBANESE: Well I’ll tell you what should happen, is that the Government should be condemning this, point one. Point two it should be demanding that they immediately stop this practice and never be done anywhere in this country again. We’re a better country than that. We’re an inclusive country. We’re one that has respect for people, whether they be Australian residents or whether they be people who come here.
JOURNALIST: What should the company itself do?
ALBANESE: Well the company should hang its head in shame, is the first thing they should do, and they should take action. In my view, anyone who engages in this sort of practice has no right to continue employment in their job.
JOURNALIST: If you become the Minister for Tourism and the company doesn’t act, what would you do about this?
ALBANESE: I think, hopefully, that happens well beforehand. This needs immediate action, not to wait until May 11 or May 18. But like in other areas, Labor is leading from Opposition, Federally and in New South Wales, and if current governments of the Coalition don’t act then we won’t be found wanting.
JOURNALIST: If no action is taken, would you consider placing a ban on government and public service staff staying at Accor Group hotels?
ALBANESE: We would consider whatever action is appropriate. But I’m sure that the leadership in Accor, that have by the way a fantastic Indigenous traineeship program, that I know are making sure they have a very strong apprenticeship program, bringing people through of diversity as well. They, I’m sure, will be just as shocked as I am about these revelations and I’m very confident that they’ll take action.
JOURNALIST: And lastly, Malcolm Turnbull did an interview overnight. Is he right when he says that some within the Coalition moved on him because they were worried he would win the election?
ALBANESE: Well Malcolm Turnbull is right. It is difficult to understand why the August coup against Malcolm Turnbull happened, let alone why anyone on Earth would think that Peter Dutton would be a stronger candidate for Prime Minister than Malcolm Turnbull at the Federal election. What we see here is a Coalition that’s obsessed by itself. We’re very different from that. What we’re obsessed by is lifting the living standards of Australians, creating opportunity in education, building infrastructure, making sure that healthcare is available to all.
This Government moved against Malcolm Turnbull, in spite of the fact that he was on 49 per cent so almost a 50-50 result from the previous Newspolls. He’d led as preferred Prime Minister on 58 consecutive occasions and the truth is that so many people in his own party were determined to destroy Malcolm Turnbull as their priority and that’s why they are not fit to govern. They have Scott Morrison as Prime Minister who was the fourth choice. Malcolm was first, Dutton was second, Bishop was third. Scott Morrison was the Steven Bradbury of Australian politics, who skated through and became Prime Minister, even though he didn’t need two hands to count how many supporters he actually had who thought he was the best person to be Prime Minister.
I mean that’s why this Government needs to be put out of its misery and Malcolm Turnbull, with his comments overnight, has belled the cat when it comes to their priorities. They’d rather fight each other than govern the country. How about we give them a bit of time in Opposition, where they can fight each other without creating such destructive consequences for our nation.
JOURNALIST: Mr Daley, so we had a decision in the Land and Environment Court this morning on the stadiums. So the original injunction has been vacated and there’s currently no injunction stopping the demolition of the Sydney Football Stadium. What’s your response?
DALEY: Well if the Premier is true to her word, the wrecking balls will be coming in this afternoon in defiance of the wishes of the people of New South Wales. Fifteen days to go until an election. Only someone spectacularly arrogant would send the wrecking balls in to knock that stadium down now, given that the anger about this is white hot. I’m advised that Local Democracy Matters are contemplating an appeal to the Court of Appeals as early as Monday. What the Premier should do is wait until the judicial processes have taken their course. Only a Government dripping in arrogance would seek to proceed in the manner that they said they would, but we’ve had Dominic Perrottet out the other day saying to me and to the people of New South Wales: ‘Just get out of the way’.
This is not just about stadiums. The stadiums are emblematic of everything we’ve seen with this Government. They change their minds, they don’t do the planning, when the business case doesn’t stack up they ignore it anyway, communities aren’t consulted, plans aren’t done. It’s like the light rail, it’s like the Westconnex, it’s like the Opal Building, it’s like a million dead fish in Menindee. This Allianz Stadium debacle is emblematic of everything this Government does and you know, at the end of the day, it’s always the taxpayer, it’s always the ordinary citizen of New South Wales, that gets stung with this mob. The top end of town, they just do fine, thanks very much, but it’s always the ordinary citizen that gets burned.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the Government would be as brazen as to send in the wrecking balls this weekend, while there’s no injunction?
DALEY: Absolutely. They haven’t said they wouldn’t. In fact, the Treasurer said: ‘Get out of the way of our wrecking balls’. There was a rally there yesterday afternoon, ordinary people expressing themselves, and we had the farce yesterday of me standing there giving a press conference while an injunction was in place, while the thing was being demolished behind us. If there’s one thing you can count on with this Government, it’s that arrogance reigns supreme and on stadiums it’s business as usual, in that regard.
JOURNALIST: What did you make of the fact that the Premier was pressed on this repeatedly yesterday, about when the stadium would be demolished, and she didn’t use the word stadium, but said it was business as usual?
DALEY: That’s just a bewildering lack of leadership. It means that this stadium issue, having been such a hot button issue, it’s been so controversial for so long, the Premier either didn’t know what to do, or she did and she just wouldn’t be honest about it. That’s a comprehensive failure of leadership – a bewildering failure of leadership.
JOURNALIST: And I want to ask you about this point about the injunction and the demolition. So the injunction was against a so called ‘hard demolition’ of the roof and walls, but as you rightly pointed out yesterday, there was demolition work taking place. Is that disingenuous?
DALEY: Well we don’t know what was going on there yesterday, because just like the secrecy that surrounded the Westconnex, just like the secrecy that attends the light rail, what’s happening inside the stadium is a secret as well, because members of the public aren’t allowed in. How about the Premier opening the gate and letting a delegation of people come and see what has been happening there under the cover of darkness or in the morning yesterday? It’s secretive, chaotic, business as usual.
JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, I might get your thoughts on this. I mean, how interesting is it for you that a stadium, a $730 million stadium, has become a defining issue in the State Election?
ALBANESE: Well what we see here is that Sydney and New South Wales, because New South Wales isn’t just Sydney, in spite of what the Berejiklian Government seems to think. It needs a whole range of infrastructure – a whole range of it. But what we’re seeing is a State Government, that refused by the way, when I was the Infrastructure Minister, we put $2.1 billion on the table, New South Wales had to contribute $500 million, for the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link.
That would have opened up those high value jobs around the Macquarie precinct and Macquarie University, to the people of Western Sydney. That would have been opening now. That would have been opening right now, but the New South Wales Government refused to build it, because they’re obsessed with toll roads and they’re obsessed by not doing the right thing. Now, I’m a football fan, along with Michael, a fan of the Rabbitohs, and the fact is that Allianz Stadium was a perfectly good stadium. And the idea that you knock it over to build another one is just all about the arrogance of the Berejiklian Government and the elite who run the SCG Trust, who are completely out of touch with the needs of the people of New South Wales and I congratulate Michael on his stance. He’s been consistent, he’s been strong and he’s showing leadership. The fact that Gladys Berejiklian can give a press conference and not use the word stadium shows that she knows, deep down, that she’s doing the wrong thing, but because the top end of town have called for this, then she’s incapable of showing the leadership to say: ‘No, enough is enough. This is a mistake. I will change tack’. And the arrogance of knocking over the stadium just days before a State Election, I think she will be punished and I think she deserves to be punished by the voters if this proceeds.
DALEY: Can I also add that the Premier is at Parramatta Stadium today, or is going to be at Parramatta Stadium. Whilst the Premier is at Parramatta, she needs to explain to the people of Western Sydney and to the people of New South Wales, how it can be that Parramatta Stadium was $360 million, but Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s east, which has a slightly larger capacity, is double the cost. Where is the money going?
FRIDAY, 8 MARCH 2019
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.