Subjects; Labor’s City Partnerships policy
DEBORAH KNIGHT: Anthony Albanese, Shadow Cities Minister, joins us on the line. Albo, hello to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Deb.
KNIGHT: A big issue you’ve got here, trying to fix our cities.
ALBANESE: Look it’s an enormous issue and it’s one that impacts on every one of your listeners if they live in a city like Sydney. Right now they know that our roads are overcrowded, they know that there’s issues with community infrastructure, a failure to have enough schools, somewhere for the kids to play sport and that’s really a product of bad planning.
So what we’re proposing with City Partnerships is essentially that the three levels of government would work together to ensure that we not only avoid the mistakes of the past, but we get quality buildings. We get quality planning. We make sure that we don’t either do what has happened for a long time, which is outer suburban growth without proper community infrastructure, without thinking about where the jobs are going to come from, or infill (inaudible). That’s happening in places like Wolli Creek, which is very close to me you have considerable population growth but not a single new school, no increased health facilities at the local hospital, no additional parks for the kids to play. My boy played soccer for a number of years. Last year there were three or four shifts every night for training because there simply isn’t enough open space.
KNIGHT: Well it’s a huge issue and I think the encroaching cities are playing havoc with your phone in fact. So wriggle around a little bit because we’ve got a bit of a dodgy phone line with you. But we know that City Deals and urban planning is something that the Prime Minister has looked closely at and he introduced his City Deals program himself. Why is he failing? What’s so wrong with that plan?
ALBANESE: Look we think it’s a good thing that you have a Prime Minister that is interested in urban policy. But the problem is that the City Deals so far have essentially been in marginal electorates with commitments that have been about electoral politics. There’s no framework, there’s no guidelines for them, there’s no involvement from the bottom up of the communities that are represented. So, for example the Western Sydney City Deal, each of the Mayors was asked to sign the deal without knowing what was in it for the region and without the centrepiece of it, which is of course the Western Sydney Rail Line and there’s no funding from either level of government for actual construction for that rail line in either of the budgets that were introduced earlier this year.
KNIGHT: Albo, we’ve got a question from one of our listeners. Chris in Lilyfield what’s your question to Anthony Albanese?
CALLER: Mr Albanese I appreciate the way you think and it’s great and I like the way you discuss problems with everybody and that’s wonderful, but I think if you go to the root cause of why we’re having all of this incredible – I’m afraid 75 now, so I’ve seen a few years – It seems that most of the problems we are now faced with are due to too many people trying to do too much and the government requiring too much money to try to catch up with the amount of population we’ve got. How do we control it?
KNIGHT: What do you think about that Albo? Population growth…
ALBANESE: Well certainly population growth is placing pressure, particularly we can’t continue to have circumstances whereby you have all of the population growth concentrated in just a couple of cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. There’s no doubt that that is creating pressure and part of that is making sure that the planning happens in terms of where jobs are being created, so we grow our regional cities as well.
ALBANESE: One of the things that I mentioned last night was the Hunter Valley Councils who’ve all come together. They have a common first priority project which is the completion of the Glendale Interchange. Now what that’s about is essentially a piece of infrastructure that will transform that area around the old Cardiff industrial area.
KNIGHT: Well infrastructure is so key to it all and that’s what we need to see. But look it’s good that you’re tackling this issue. It’s sort of thing you’d assume with this policy, Albo, that an aspiring PM would be doing, so you know you’re obviously keeping Bill Shorten on his game.
ALBANESE: Well I’m doing my job as the Cities Shadow Minister and I’ll continue to do that job and work hard on policy. One of the things that the Opposition has done, under Bill Shorten, is we’ve put out more policy than any Opposition in living memory.
KNIGHT: All right.
ALBANESE: That’s a good thing. It means we’ll be prepared if we’re successful in forming a government.
KNIGHT: All right well we’ll see how you go in the Super Saturday by-elections coming up as well. Anthony Albanese thanks for your time.
ALBANESE: Thanks for having me on Deb.
KNIGHT: Anthony Albanese there.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.