Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12805


Mr HAYES (Fowler) (14:22): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport representing the Minister for Broadband. Will the minister explain how our infrastructure investments, including the national broadband network, are helping to position Australia for the Asian century?

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:23): I thank very much the member for Fowler for his question and note that members of his local community will soon see the rollout of the NBN in parts of Liverpool, Ashcroft and Mount Prichard. We do indeed have an ambitious plan for the future that positions our nation for the Asian century to take advantage of the opportunities that are there and to make sure they are spread throughout the community. That is what we are doing, and part of that has to be investing in modern, nation-building infrastructure—including the NBN.

The NBN is critical infrastructure to embrace the opportunities that are there for the Asian century. We have in Australia suffered from the tyranny of distance between ourselves on such a vast island continent and our distance from the rest of the world. The NBN will bring us that much closer and overcome those distances so that location becomes unimportant. That is why we, like our counterparts in Japan, Singapore and South Korea, are investing in super fast broadband. This will be a major boost for business enabling all Australian companies better access to Asian markets, so unlocking opportunities for greater regional collaboration and innovation and opening up new educational opportunities for our schools, our TAFEs and our universities—providing access to the best available resources from across the nation and the world. With the right plan we can maximise the benefits from the new middle class in Asia by creating high-paying, highly-skilled jobs for Australians. Our ambitious infrastructure agenda is a key part of this plan.

In addition to the NBN, we are investing $36 billion in our Nation Building Program in critical road, rail, port and intermodal infrastructure so that we can get our goods to markets and so that we can engage in trade in the region; the full duplication of the Hume Highway, which will be completed over the coming months; the rebuilding of one-third of the interstate rail freight network; and the building of the Moorebank intermodal terminal in south-west Sydney, which will create 1,700 jobs on a permanent basis and provide real opportunities for employment in south-west Sydney as well as make a big difference to the functioning of the port at Port Botany and to our efficient nation-building infrastructure, because it is on the interstate rail freight network as well. We have this plan. Those opposite are showing today, yet again, that all they have is relentless negativity.

Mr HAYES (Fowler) (14:26): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, you mentioned the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. Can you explain why this infrastructure is so important and how is it being received?

Mr Craig Kelly: Not very well, Chris.

The SPEAKER: The member for Hughes will leave the chamber under standing order 94(a). Warnings obviously have no impact; 94(a) might have some more.

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:26): I thank the member for Fowler for his question and for his support for jobs in south-western Sydney. There are some who do not support them, but the member for Fowler certainly does. The 40 companies that attended the market soundings for the Moorebank intermodal project certainly support it as well. The Leader of the Opposition had this to say earlier this year:

The government has recently committed to build a government-owned and run inter-modal freight hub at Moorebank in Sydney even though this will cost more and take longer to build than the private sector alternative planned, literally, for the other side of the street.

Again, it is an example of him not going to the detail, not bothering to get proper advice. This is what the Business Council of Australia had to say about the proposal in a letter from Tony Shepherd received this week:

Jennifer Westacott and I have had the benefit of a full briefing on this project. I have had a number of follow-up discussions with the department. The Business Council supports the Commonwealth's strategy on this important piece of economic strategy. It is the most cost-effective and practical strategy and should produce a better outcome for the federal taxpayer and for New South Wales. The formation of a GBE to optimise private sector funding …

What would the Business Council know about it? They actually got the briefings and looked at it. It is supported by the Business Council. I table the letter from the Business Council.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister is not too late to table.