Subjects: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, infrastructure, Bruce Highway, M1, Light Rail, Budget.
KATE JONES, TOURISM INDUSTRY MINISTER: Look it’s great to be here at Broadbeach with Anthony Albanese. As you know, he was the Minister for Infrastructure in 2009 when we first bid for the Commonwealth Games. We knew from day one that we would have the support of our federal colleagues. Similarly, he was the Infrastructure Minister in 2011 when we actually secured the bid to host the Games here. So it is great to be here with Anthony Albanese who has been part of the story from day one with just 24 hours to go until the opening ceremony. We know that one of the great legacies of the Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast will be the infrastructure that will last long after the last athlete waves goodbye. This includes, and Anthony will talk about this, significant upgrades by the Federal Government in regards the Carrara Stadium and of course 18 venues that have either been built or upgraded for the Commonwealth Games.
This will provide a long-term legacy not only for the Gold Coast but across Queensland including the wonderful Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane. Today we are hosting a tourism industry lunch where the Premier will be speaking about the long-term benefits of the tourism industry for Queensland. Of course the tourism industry has grown by over $2 billion in our first term of government already. We know that this is an industry that will continue to grow and provide jobs for Queenslanders into the future. So that’s why we have launched our brand new tourism campaign – Queensland: Where Life is Beautiful and Perfect the Next – in time for the Games. We want to leverage as much exposure for Queensland from hosting the Commonwealth Games to grow the tourism industry and to grow tourism jobs. Anthony.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much Kate and it is indeed a great honour to be here with Kate Jones and Meaghan Scanlon on the Gold Coast just one day before tomorrow night’s fantastic opening ceremony in what I am sure will be an enormous success, not just for Queensland and the Gold Coast in particular, but for the entire nation. The fact is the eyes of the world will be on Australia and here on the Gold Coast in the coming fortnight and it is an opportunity to sell what Queensland and the Gold Coast and Australia have to offer as a tourism destination and that is just one of the reasons why we supported the games bid very strongly back in 2009 when we were in government.
When we were in government I am very proud that as the Infrastructure Minister we funded, through $365 million, the commencement of the Gold Coast Light Rail network. That was at the time the first-ever significant investment from the Commonwealth in any light rail project and it is an exciting partnership between the Commonwealth Government, the State Government and also the private sector. It was opposed at the time by the Coalition both at the state and national levels.
In addition to that we funded $37 million for the upgrade of the Carrara Stadium. Now that was the largest-ever grant through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. On top of that we upgraded the Pacific Motorway with over $100 million of funding. We upgraded the bike paths through a grant to Gold Coast City Council here. We were a Government that that was committed to infrastructure for the Gold Coast and unlike the predecessors and indeed since 2013 when I think the Gold Coast has been taken for granted.
Well this fortnight all the eyes of the Australia and indeed the Commonwealth and the world will be on the Gold Coast. It is a great opportunity to showcase what a fantastic destination it is. These Games will create many thousands of jobs in the short term over the next fortnight but also will create tens of thousands of jobs, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs, into the future by showcasing Australia as a tourism destination.
MEAGHAN SCANLON, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT: It’s wonderful to be here today and I am extremely excited for the Commonwealth Games to be held here tomorrow. The opening ceremony will be held in my electorate in Carrara tomorrow and I know that people all throughout the Gold Coast are so excited and I want to thank Anthony Albanese and Federal Labor for their commitment towards the Gold Coast. It was of course Federal Labor, in conjunction with State Labor, that delivered Light Rail Stage I which is a fantastic piece of infrastructure here and we know all of the infrastructure delivered for the Commonwealth Games will leave a long-lasting legacy for the Gold Coast.
So today Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement in relation to the Bruce Highway highlights the ineffectiveness of the wall-to-wall Federal LNP MPs here on the Gold Coast. We still haven’t heard about whether they will fund the six-laning from Brisbane to the NSW border. We know that we need to fix the M1 and yet the LNP MPs here on the Gold Coast seem incapable of committing funding towards our city. So I want to thank the Federal Labor Government which has shown a tremendous commitment towards Gold Coast. The Palaszczuk Government has put $206 million on the table when it comes to the M1 upgrade because we know that we need to keep delivering for our city. And I am so excited for the Commonwealth Games and the potential that the Gold Coast has throughout this next fortnight.
REPORTER: Do you have a total what was spent?
ALBANESE: We put in over half a billion dollars as a Commonwealth Government to infrastructure on the Gold Coast during our time in office – large projects and small – partnering with the local council – the Gold Coast City Council – and also partnering of course with the Queensland State Government, the largest grant of which was $365 million for the Gold Coast Light Rail project. Now like other rail projects it has been an incredible success. Its patronage has far exceeded what the forecasts were and at the time the Federal Coalition members opposed this project. They said it would be disruptive, which of course with any infrastructure project you do get some disruption, but they were quite happy to be there at the ribbon-cutting and the opening, even those members who had opposed it at the time.
REPORTER: Half a billion dollars – are you sure we will get that money back in return?
ALBANESE: There’s no doubt that there will be much more than that over the medium and let alone the long term. This provides a real focus on the Gold Coast, the fact that you have a regional city hosting an international event, the Commonwealth Games, is a great tribute to this region. This region relies upon tourism for job creation. And that’s why there’s nothing better than having a significant international event. We’ll see the significant benefit for the economy over the next fortnight, but there’s been all the lead-up. There’s also been the fact that without the development of the Carrara Stadium you wouldn’t have had the creation of the Gold Coast Suns. The Gold Coast Suns of course attract people to the Gold Coast, particularly during the quieter times in terms of tourism development. So part of the business case I well recall being put in for Commonwealth funding for that project by the-then Bligh Labor Government is the fact that people come not just for a game, but they come and they stay for a few days or indeed for a week or two. So that is of enormous benefit long term here on the Gold Coast as well.
REPORTER: Just briefly you mentioned the light rail as a big funding investment. We’ve seen Stage 3 planned to Burleigh but people have been talking about to Coolangatta Airport. Is that likely if you were back in government?
ALBANESE: Well look, when Infrastructure Australia considered the light rail project it was to go from the airport right through to connect with heavy rail. It’s good that it now is connected with heavy rail. That’s from savings from projects that were funded by the former Federal Labor Government as well. There’s been no additional funding put in by the Commonwealth Government for that project so there’s an opportunity for the Commonwealth Government in its Budget in May to show that it actually genuinely supports the Gold Coast and infrastructure development by putting new additional money in. That’s the opportunity that they have between now and the next six weeks.
REPORTER: Would you fund it if you’re in government?
ALBANESE: We’ll make our announcements at the appropriate time but I think what you could look at from Federal Labor is that we’ve shown a commitment to the Gold Coast, be it large projects like light rail; the upgrades to the Pacific Motorway; the upgraded Carrara Stadium; the bike paths and infrastructure indeed even along the waterfront here. Some of this was funded by the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. We’ve shown our commitment to the Gold Coast and that is in spite of the fact that there are no Federal Labor members here on the Gold Coast. We now have a senator in Senator Murray Watt who is doing more, frankly, to advocate for Gold Coast infrastructure than all of the lower house members combined.
REPORTER: What would you fund on the M1?
ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see what the Commonwealth Government does in its Federal Budget in May. We’ll be making our announcements in the lead-up to the next federal election. But if you look at what the Commonwealth will do, at the moment the Commonwealth infrastructure budget is due to fall from the $9.2 billion it was estimated to be in the last financial year in 2016-17, out in terms of the forward estimates, it drops to $4.2 billion. So it falls off a cliff. What we need to do to ensure future employment creation is to make sure that infrastructure investment, which is the key to future economic growth, continues to keep pace with population growth. That means investing including in our regional centres such as here on the Gold Coast.
If you look at the past investment as well, Gold Coast residents have benefited from the upgrades on the other side of the border as well including the Sextons Hill upgrade. That was fully federally funded, because at the time the State Coalition Government as well as the Federal Coalition Government had ignored that for such a long period of time. That project was over $300 million dollars. So if you look at the upgrades that are there, we will continue to support Gold Coast infrastructure, as we will throughout regional Queensland. Brisbane will of course benefit as well from the Cross River Rail project which is a project that benefits not just people in Brisbane but people of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast by increasing the capacity on the rail network. That was funding that was actually already in the Commonwealth Budget that was ripped out by Tony Abbott and kept out by Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull likes riding on trains and trams and taking selfies on them. What we want to see in this year’s Budget is some funding for rail and light rail.
REPORTER: You mentioned your new tourism campaign that you’ve launched. Can you repeat it for me?
JONES: What’s really exciting is that we know there’s six words that people associate with Queensland and that is in relation to our beautiful weather. The new twist on the campaign is we’re going to showcase what is great about Queensland’s lifestyle. So our new campaign where life is beautiful one day, perfect the next. And we’re really going into markets both domestically here across Australia with television commercials – one will air live just ahead of the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night – as well as targeting the New Zealand market. We’ll also be having an online media campaign globally as well. What this showcases is what we know is great about Queensland; what’s uniquely something you can only get in Queensland and our market research is showing that this will have cut-through and that people really do associate that life is beautiful and perfect the next as being something that is uniquely Queensland.
REPORTER: Perfect is an interesting – ‘perfect the next’ when we have a cyclone up north. Is this a little bit …
JONES: That’s why this campaign is very much focused on not just being about the weather which was the original version of the ad some decades ago. What we’ll be showcasing in the ad is actually the lifestyle, so laying back on the beach at Great Keppel Island, beautiful seafood as well as going out to the outback and the unique dinosaur experience in Queensland, which is the only state that can offer it. So we are very confident that our research shows that this is a campaign that will resonate with Australians, New Zealanders and globally. It also feeds in very much to what we’re seeing in all market research which is about nostalgia. Similarly, Tourism Australia has launched their new campaign profiling Crocodile Dundee, a new twist on that. We’re also seeing major corporations around the world really tapping into old themes and brands that people have known for a very long time, that are familiar. In an ever increasing busy world, we’re seeing nostalgia is cutting through so we’re very confident this campaign will deliver results.
REPORTER: Was it a last minute decision to take the emphasis on the weather out?
JONES: No, absolutely not. This is a campaign that has been in the works now for about 12 months. The filming has happened over the last couple of months and so certainly this has been based on the research that we’ve been doing both internationally and domestically about the reasons why people travel and what has really changed in recent years is that people are looking for unique experiences that they cannot get anywhere else. Deeper than just saying ‘we had the most beautiful beaches’ which of course we know we do. But actually about what you can do in a destination. So this follows on the campaign we’ve had in marketing in the last couple of years which highlights experiences in unique destinations.
TUESDAY, 3 APRIL, 2018