Subjects: Infrastructure funding; M1; roads funding; High Speed Rail; Financial Assistance Grants; Labor’s plan to boost broadcasting of women’s sports
REPORTER: So we’re standing here with the M1 behind us, talk to us about what we’re doing today.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT: Labor is the party of nation building and the party of infrastructure development. Here on the Central Coast it was the former Labor Government that contributed $195 million to deal with the congestion points on the M1.
Since the change of government in 2013, the Coalition haven’t invested a dollar on this road between the Central Coast and Sydney. It was Labor that put in place the upgrade of the M1 and it was Labor that signed the arrangement with the State Government for the F3 to M2 known as NorthConnex that will make such a big difference for commute times between the Central Coast and Sydney.
But it’s also Labor that’s concerned about the big picture. It’s Labor that will establish a High Speed Rail Authority to preserve the corridor and to complete the planning for a High Speed Rail network, which would run from Brisbane to Melbourne but in particular have stops at Newcastle and Wyong on the Central Coast.
That would put the Central Coast just over half an hour from the CBD of Sydney. That would transform the Central Coast. It would improve the economic viability of companies to be located here, to create jobs here on the Central Coast, because of the reduction in travel times. This is a visionary project. We know it stacks up. We know it has a positive economic benefit because of the study that we did in government.
That’s why we need to progress the High Speed Rail Authority as part of the unanimous recommendation that was made to the Federal Government by people like Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council of Australia, and Tim Fischer, the former National Party Deputy Prime Minister.
This should be above politics. But what we’ve seen from this government is a lack of vision. That’s why Labor, when it comes to infrastructure, is the party that will deliver. We delivered in terms of upgrades to the road network. We’ll also deliver in advancing the High Speed Rail project.
REPORTER: From your point of view, Emma, with the M1 and the upgrades, are there any particular issues from your electorate that people are finding with the M1?
EMMA MCBRIDE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DOBELL: Yes, there are. You would know that one in four people travel outside the Central Coast every day for work. We want people to be able to spend more time with their families and less time on the road.
This congestion on the road means that people are travelling longer than they should and due to persistent unemployment problems on the Central Coast people are having to commute outside of the Central Coast, so what Labor delivered in government was a significant improvement in the upgrades, but we need to see more investment.
ALBANESE: We also need to see, and Labor’s committed to local road funding, under Labor we increased funding for the Roads to Recovery program through local government. We’d continue to deliver and we will have more to say about local roads upgrades during this campaign, but it’s Labor that has defended local government and its right to have the appropriate funding to ensure the local road network is looked after.
Under the Coalition Government they cut Financial Assistance Grants to local government that impacted particularly here in Wyong Council and Gosford Council because the way that funding occurs is that those outer suburban or regional councils such as here on the Central Coast received most of the funding. So those cuts had a direct impact. We want to see local road networks upgraded as well as the major road networks, as well as advancing improvements to rail.
REPORTER: Any particular road issues in your area, Emma, that you guys have had brought to you?
MCBRIDE: Yes. Every day when we’re door-knocking, residents are talking to us about local roads. We know that the Central Coast has had significant ongoing growth in the last 10-15 years, and that is causing congestion on our local roads as well as on our arterial roads, so we need to make sure local roads are addressed as well as our major roads.
It would make a significant difference to people who are having to commute to the Central Coast. So what Labor delivered in government was a significant improvement in the upgrades, but we need to see more investment.
REPORTER: And same thing with High Speed Rail as well? Is this something that your electorate when you’ve been door-knocking, have they been very open to this idea and they’re wanting it?
MCBRIDE: Absolutely. It’s really exciting to know that Labor has a track record on delivering transport and infrastructure and that we are committed to the Authority. I know that for people who are commuting each day over two hours each day that this will change their lives and their families. It will make a significant difference to our community.
REPORTER: Just on another note, there was sports funding announced today. Twenty-one million to broadcast women’s sport. I know that in particular, with your background in netball, this would be welcomed by yourself.
MCBRIDE: It’s a really exciting announcement as Patron of Wyong District Netball Association and a volunteer Director of Central Coast Heart, our new Premier League team, any opportunity to boost the coverage and the recognition that women’s sport deserves is a good thing. Last year we saw with the Diamonds winning the 2015 World Cup. We’ve seen success with the Southern Stars and with the Matildas. So we have a fantastic women’s sports history and heritage in Australia.
Unfortunately, at this point in time it doesn’t get the recognition or the broadcast coverage that it needs and with this $21 million to the ABC, people will be able to see and appreciate and grow the audience of women’s sport.
REPORTER: Do you think it’s also going to encourage younger girls to follow into women’s sport at a higher level?
MCBRIDE: Absolutely. My niece Isabelle is part of Sydney Olympic and for young 11-year-olds like her who are starting out in their sporting career, it is wonderful. They’ll know that they’ll be able to have a secure future in sport and have a professional and long-term career.
REPORTER: I guess having more young girls being able to see their heroes, it’s great to see more female role models on the screens rather than having to pay to go to games?
MCBRIDE: Absolutely. Young girls and young women need to be able to see people who they can relate to, people who represent them. For me, growing up as a young netballer, if I had been able to watch the Swifts, to see that coverage that women’s sport does deserve, it does really encourage women to be active in their community, to stay playing sport, and to really have strong sporting careers.