Transcript of Doorstop interview with Labor Candidate for Flynn, Chris Trevor – Auckland Hill, Gladstone
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND WATER
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
Monday, 12 November 2007
Subject: Labor commits $20 million for Rockhampton to Gladstone Water Pipeline; Urban Water Policy
ALBANESE: I’m very pleased to be here today with Chris Trevor. CT as he’s known around these parts, back in Gladstone to announce a major commitment to water security for Gladstone. A Federal Labor Government will commit $20 million from our national Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities, to assist the construction of the pipeline from Rockhampton to Gladstone, which will be 110 km’s in length and will provide some 30 gigalitres or 30 thousand million litres of water for Gladstone. There is no issue more important than maintaining water security. It’s important for industry, it’s important for jobs in the area and it’s important for what is an expanding population in Gladstone and in this region.
I’m pleased that this will be done in partnership with the Queensland State Government, which has already committed some $48 million to this project. This is a vital water security project for Gladstone and Labor’s position of supporting urban water security stands in stark contrast with the attitude of the Howard Government.
When Federal Labor through Kevin Rudd announced our Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities as part of Kevin Rudd’s budget reply earlier this year the Treasurer dismissed this plan and said that water security for our towns and cities is simply a matter for the States. Under Federal Labor this plan in conjunction with our $1 Billion National Urban Water And Desalination Plan which will include support for major desalination, recycling and stormwater harvesting projects is one of the real differences in this election campaign.
I’m very pleased to be here with Chris Trevor who campaigned for this funding and who will be an outstanding representative after November 24 for Gladstone and indeed for the central Queensland region.
JOURNALIST: How does this outlay of funds compare to other water announcements around Australia?
ALBANESE: This is a very significant announcement. This is our largest contribution to a regional water project. It’s justified because this is such a critical region for the Australian economy and for the Queensland economy. This is an expanding region, this is one of the areas that is contributing greatly towards the nation’s economic success. That’s why the Commonwealth having reaped a lot of the economic benefits has a responsibility to put back some investment to make sure that those jobs can stay in this region that we can have an expansion of opportunity for young people and the people who are coming to this outstanding regional centre.
JOURNALIST: Who do you think will use this water?
ALBANESE: Water will primarily be for industry that’s expanding here, but of course what that will do is free up the water supply for residents in the region. At the moment the people in the Gladstone area draw water from the Awoonga Dam, that is of course is limited in its ability to expand. What this commitment will do is make sure that there’s water security here for households for industry and to allow the region to continue to expand.
JOURNALIST: Has the Howard Government made any commitment to this project?
ALBANESE: No, this is the first commitment. The Howard Government has vacated the field when it comes to urban water issues. Of course they only discovered water as an issue during an election year. Previously when I’ve been here as the Shadow Minister for Water, I’ve been here without anyone to shadow because they didn’t even bother to have a Water Minister until this election year. That I think says a lot about the Howard Government and how it ignored climate change, it ignored the water crisis that’s resulted from climate change and it really has failed to invest in infrastructure across the board and of course we know that contributed to last week’s interest rate increase. That’s 6 interest rate increases since the last election, that in spite of the Reserve Bank’s 20 warnings about infrastructure and skills and the failure of the Commonwealth to invest in those 2 areas leading to inflationary pressures which leads to pressures on interest rates. The Howard Government simply hasn’t addressed infrastructure across the board and they haven’t addressed water infrastructure in particular.
JOURNALIST: As I understand it the pipeline will result in higher costs to users? How will this commitment help that?
ALBANESE: Well of course the greater the government commitment the less cost to end users and certainly industrial users are going to have to pay for access to water, but we need to therefore balance that with this commitment. What this commitment will do is mean that consumers won’t have to put their hand into their pocket as much. Which is why we’re prepared to make this commitment along with the Queensland Government, that’s a total of $68 million that’s been contributed which really makes sure that this project can go ahead.
JOURNALIST: When will the funding be available?
ALBANESE: We’d make it available as part of our budget announcement that we’ll make next year. We’ve budgeted $250 million from the Commonwealth as part of our Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities. This $20 million commitment is part of that, so it will be a major commitment, we’ll be outlining the precise timeline as part of our next budget. What you’ll see in the first Rudd Labor Budget, produced in 2008 is this being funded as part of that commitment and a full timeline outlined.
JOURNALIST: Chris, did you want to say anything about this commitment?
TREVOR: Look all I’d like to say is this is a great announcement for Gladstone, it will bring water for Gladstone residents long after I’m gone and I am just so pleased that Anthony’s come to Gladstone today and made this critical announcement for Gladstone’s future. Not only in relation to the population base generally but also in relation to major industries. We are on precipice of major industrial activity in this community and it’s just great to have Anthony here to make this $20 million announcement for Gladstone people and for Gladstone’s future.