Apr 29, 2016

Transcript of doorstop – Leichhardt

Subject: Malcolm Turnbull’s cities “announcement”

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining me. Malcolm Turnbull today is finally revealing his cities policy. Malcolm Turnbull today will talk about the 30 minute city, but it’s more like a 30 minute policy.

This is classic Malcolm Turnbull – a victory of style without any substance – without any actual weight to his policy.

Labor put out our 10 Point Plan on Cities at the National Press Club in 2014 that included of course support for the 30 minute city concept which is a concept regarded by urban planners as good public policy to make sure that people live within 30 minutes of a job, of education and health facilities, and other services.

But Malcolm Turnbull isn’t backing it up with any substance. What underlines that best is yesterday’s extraordinary statement on social media by Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer about the Melbourne Metro complaining that the Melbourne Metro would not have a stop in her electorate of Higgins, even though she’s a part of a government that cut $3 billion of funding from the Melbourne Metro project.

Bill Shorten announced last year a $10 billion infrastructure investment financing facility that would work with the private sector and would work with state and local government to ensure that projects could come to fruition. But he didn’t do that in a vacuum.

He did that with the context of the funding that we gave to public transport in government. When the Abbott and Turnbull Government came to office they cut funding for Melbourne Metro.

They cut funding for the Cross River Rail line. They cut funding for public transport in Perth and Adelaide.

And now, they would have you believe that a commitment to consider, at some time in the future, someone else paying for those projects is an advance. It’s not.

If Malcolm Turnbull is to be taken seriously, today and in Tuesday night’s Budget the funding must be put back from the cuts that were made to public transport in the 2014 Budge, and there must be additional investment.

Value capture is not new. Value capture is a concept that is a part of the existing Melbourne Metro project, and it’s as if this Government hasn’t even looked at the proposal that’s there, that’s funded by the Victorian Government to make sure that the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel will go ahead.

So contemptuous are they of serious policy analysis and development and actually delivering that they haven’t bothered to look at that detail. And that’s why this is an empty statement today.

It’s an empty statement because it doesn’t come with a commitment to actually have public funding which is necessary because unless you do that, value capture can increase and provide some funding where there are new buildings around new rail line or a new road, but it can’t fund all of it.

If you have a view that you can only have value capture to fund all of a project, and that it has to produce a return on that investment, then what that’s a recipe for is a recipe for just more toll roads and not investing in public transport or investing in the congestion-busting infrastructure that Australia needs.