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Australian Agenda -

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11 AUGUST 2010

Subjects: Forum, Infrastructure Announcement, Sustainable Population

KIERAN GILBERT: First though, let's speak to the Minister for Sustainable Population, the Minister
for Agriculture, Tony Burke joins us.

Tony, thanks for joining us.

TONY BURKE: G'day Kieran.

KIERAN GILBERT: You're the Member for Watson, that's south-western Sydney, you've got a sense of
what people want in this region. What do you think the issues will be tonight that dominate in this

TONY BURKE: Oh look, there's no doubt what Julia Gillard's been talking about when we talk about
sustainable Australia absolutely strikes home here. You've seen the announcements today about rail
links, about improved roads whether it be the M5, the links between the M2 and the F3 or getting
the Parramatta to Epping link up on rail.

People here have seen year after year congestion get worse. They've seen the population increasing
without the infrastructure keeping pace.


TONY BURKE: People are losing so much time out of every day, and I guess what they want is to say
it's not too much to ask to be able to get half an hour of daylight at the end of the day when you
get home from work rather than losing it all to congestion.

KIERAN GILBERT: Hence the rail link announcement today I suppose. We'll get to that in a moment.
First I want to get your sense of what's at play here. We're 10 days away from the election. How
much is at stake tonight? Because it's a small auditorium, 200 undecided voters, unscripted,
there's a lot of opportunity here but a lot of risk as well.

TONY BURKE: Oh look, this is one of those forums where no matter what level of preparation that
anyone does you're in a situation where the public will come out with whatever issues are
concerning them.

But make no mistake, a whole lot of the issues that will come out will relate directly back to the
one issue that Tony Abbott's been avoiding, and that's...

KIERAN GILBERT: But there are some unknowns here, there's a lot of uncertainty, isn't there?
Anything could pop up.

TONY BURKE: Oh yeah, that's true. That's exactly right. But make no mistake, the economy matters
and will be linked to every issue. And it's the one issue where Tony Abbott has been running a mile
from being willing to face Julia Gillard. Even today he's making sure, you know, when they're
actually in the same place, they're both here and still he'll make sure that he's not in the same
room just in case there's talk about the economy.

KIERAN GILBERT: On the rail link, this Parramatta to Epping rail link, it's been promised before,
you know it was first promised back in 1998, 12 years ago. Why should voters not be cynical about
this promise on the eve of this election?

TONY BURKE: Oh, people want to see it happen. There's no doubt about that.

KIERAN GILBERT: But it's been promised so many times before.

TONY BURKE: Yeah, and I remember with the M5 East, the M5 East right where I grew up being promised
and us waiting for ages for it to come and then when it happened it was great for a few years,
population kept increasing and what was a fantastic road for about a year turned into a parking
lot. So now we've got a situation with the next level of wanting to be able to expand the M5 East.
Yeah, there gets to be frustration about why these things happened earlier.

KIERAN GILBERT: So you guarantee this will be built? You guarantee this road - this rail link, will
be built under your government.

TONY BURKE: You've seen the promises that have been made today, and importantly, while people might
be critical of the timing, importantly Julia Gillard as Prime Minister has made sure that the
announcements today have been made in a way that does not jeopardise us being in surplus in three
years time, three years earlier than scheduled.

KIERAN GILBERT: We've just got Tony Burke speaking in Redfern at GenerationOne...

TONY BURKE: Tony Abbott

KIERAN GILBERT: Sorry, Tony Abbot, Tony Burke's with me here. It's been a long campaign. Tanya
Plibersek is doing the introduction, which is odd, but it's at GenerationOne, Redfern in Sydney,
let's cross now to Tanya ahead of Tony Abbott's speech.