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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11569

Infrastructure


Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (15:07): My question is to the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. I refer to his statement that the Melbourne Metro has no business case and the costs are unknown and it has not been through Infrastructure Australia. Isn't it a fact that the planning for the Metro was funded in the 2009 federal budget? In 2011, the Victorian government completed the business case I have here, and this was the basis for funding in 2013. Given that $1.5 billion has been sitting idle for two years, will the government now support this vital infrastructure project?

Mr Pyne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. While I am certain the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment can answer the question, the senior minister for him is not the Deputy Prime Minister; it is the Minister for the Environment, in which case the question is misdirected and I would therefore offer that the transport minister might seek to answer the question.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen. The member for Throsby will cease interjecting. The member for Watson on the point of order.

Mr Burke: On the point of order, I can understand why they do not want the Minister for Cities and the Built Environment to come near the table. But it was a reasonable question. It is in order, and the fact that they have chaos in their ministerial arrangements is merely a reflection of them.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will cease interjecting. The member for Moreton will cease interjecting. The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. The Leader of the House on the point of order.

Mr Pyne: It is an important principle of government that the question should be directed to the correct minister, otherwise members of the opposition will simply start asking questions of anybody on this side of the House, misdirecting it if they feel they are going to get some political gain out of that. This government is about building the economy of the future. It is not about playing their silly political games. They messed up to whom the question was directed. They are trying to make a political point. We are generously offering the correct minister to answer the question. If they do not want the correct minister to answer the question then the answer and the question should be disappeared.

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. I am ready to rule. I understand the technicality the minister is making. The member for Mayo is the minister for cities. It is up to the executive as to who answers the question, if they want to redirect it.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I have ruled on the point of order.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I have not ruled the question out of order and I have not asked for it to be rephrased.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. I have ruled on the point of order.

Mr Albanese: I am raising a second point of order.

The SPEAKER: I will hear the member for Grayndler.

Mr Albanese: I accept totally that it is up to them who takes the question.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert is warned.

Mr Albanese: I accept totally that your ruling is correct, in terms of their ability to transfer questions. But if I as the shadow minister for cities cannot ask a question of the minister for cities about a rail line in the city of Melbourne, then what is he responsible for?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lyons will cease interjecting.

Mr Albanese: I know he has no department and no staff—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat.

Mr Albanese: Can I seek leave—

The SPEAKER: No, you cannot. You can resume your seat. That is what you can do. The Deputy Prime Minister has the call.






















Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (15:11): Here we have the member for Grayndler again trying to put his plaque on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the pyramids and the Tower of Babel. How many more projects does he want to claim as his own? How many more projects does he think he built? Where are all these invisible projects that should have the minister's plaque on them?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Prime Minister will resume his seat. The member for Grayndler on a point of order, and he needs to state the point of order.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr Albanese: Absolutely—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. The member for Dawson and the Leader of the House will cease interjecting. Whoever is interjecting up the back there will cease, too. The member for Grayndler no a point of order, and he needs to state the point of order.

Mr Albanese: Absolutely. It is a very specific question about the Melbourne Metro.

The SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

Mr Albanese: It is about a real project that had real funding and a real business case.

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat.

Mr Albanese: It goes to relevance.

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. He is warned that that is an abuse.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: You did not state the point of order, and I asked you to.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: Now you have stated it for the first time.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: You did not. The Deputy Prime Minister has the call.

Mr TRUSS: To put it simply, he has not built the Melbourne Metro, either. It is not there.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will withdraw.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will cease interjecting.

Mr Albanese: I withdraw—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. The Deputy Prime Minister has the call.

Mr TRUSS: You do the planning and then you build it, but the reality is that the planning has not been done, either. Should we go out and start putting holes in the ground. That is not a plan. The reality is that the Victorian government acknowledges that it is at least two or three years away from having the Melbourne Metro at the stage where any kind of construction can begin. I stand by the statements that have been made. The reality is that there is no plan that can be costed and put to the stage where it can be assessed by Infrastructure Australia. A couple of years, or more, work has yet to be done.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will cease interjecting.

Mr TRUSS: Sorry, Mr Shadow Minister, you do not need to start preparing the plaque for this one any time soon!