Subjects; South Australian infrastructure cuts; Barnaby Joyce
TONY PILKINGTON: Albo, good morning and a Happy New Year.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning Tony. Good to be with you again.
PILKINGTON: Yeah, that story very quickly. That’s true? You didn’t meet your dad until you were what, 20s or 30s?
ALBANESE: No, it was much later than that indeed, in my 40s. I met him in 2009 and he passed away in 2014, but at least we got to meet up and that was a good thing.
PILKINGTON: Amazing story.
ALBANESE: If they want all the detail, Karen Middleton wrote about it in her book, a biography.
PILKINGTON: So you were raised by single mum in Sydney all of those years ago. That wouldn’t have been easy, but you knew your dad was alive or you didn’t know that he was living overseas, living in Italy?
ALBANESE: No, I was told that he died before I was born.
PILKINGTON: Really? I’d forgotten that.
ALBANESE: It was, I guess, very difficult for women to have children out of wedlock in the 1960s.
PILKINGTON: So Albo, how did you find out your dad was still alive? Did your mum tell you?
ALBANESE: She told me when I was a teenager, when she thought I was old enough to know the real story and then much later in life, she passed away in 2002. My son had been born in 2000 and I thought about trying to find him and I was successful.
PILKINGTON: It’s a great story, but we’ve got to get onto politics now. That story’s a bloody sight more interesting than politics. Okay. You wanted to talk about an initiative from Barnaby Joyce that will affect the economy of South Australia, what’s it all about?
ALBANESE: Well, that’s right. I’m visiting Adelaide today to talk about the savage cuts in the Budget for South Australian infrastructure when it comes to a federal contribution over the next four years. The Budget figures show that it will go from getting $921 million this current financial year, dropping off to $95 million dollars in 2020-21.
PILKINGTON: What’s the reasoning Barnaby Joyce is giving?
ALBANESE: It’s just a part of the cuts that are there in the Budget that are substantial. That would represent just 2 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget going to South Australia and that’s just not fair. As you would be aware, South Australia is home to more than 7 percent of Australians and that’s why it’s absolutely critical that Barnaby Joyce as the incoming minister say ‘this isn’t fair, I’m going to fix it, and I’m going to give South Australia its share’ and of course there are projects that are ready to go. The AdeLINK light rail project is important. The ongoing issue of the North-South corridor. What you could do is Torrens to Torrens that are well under under construction now of course. When that finishes, just choose a section in between there and the Superway.
PILKINGTON: Albo, are other states copping a cut too? It’s not just South Australia?
ALBANESE: They are. The Budget figures drop off to a total of $4.2 billion in 2021. Now, the expected expenditure last year was $9.2 billion. So that is a significant drop off, but it’s South Australia that’s really being hit. No state is being treated as badly as South Australia. I mean $97 million.
PILKINGTON: That’s a lot of money.
ALBANESE: It’s essentially small change when it comes to the federal infrastructure budget for a state or territory. And what that means is that there is a virtual withdrawal of the Commonwealth from any assistance for construction in South Australia and of course that means less jobs to be created and less economic activity. It comes on top of course of the message that we hear today of the Federal Treasurer putting off the review of GST payments that particularly might hurt South Australia until after the state election.
The Commonwealth Government really must come clean with the people of South Australia well prior to the state election so that they know exactly what the federal attitude is. Barnaby Joyce could actually, you know, turn this around. He’s the Deputy Prime Minister. He’s in a position of influence and he should use it.
PILKINGTON: Alright, Albo. He’ll be in town today.