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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1226

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (10:23 AM) —I came here this morning to do Senate duty. I am becoming an instant expert on these issues and I am advised—

Senator Ian Macdonald —Don’t kid yourself!

Senator CARR —Given your contribution, I will not be learning anything from you. Senator Milne, of course the question of urban infrastructure will be considered. Does it improve productivity? Does it improve the quality of life? Of course it does. That is the point of these provisions. You make some points about the approach taken to the West Ring Road in Melbourne. I live within 200 metres of the Tullamarine Freeway and I can assure you how important that piece of infrastructure is for health and safety, for accessibility for the people of the region and for productivity.

Senator Allison —When are we going to get a train on it?

Senator CARR —You may well ask that. That is a question which could be considered by a body such as this. That and the rail link to Melbourne Airport are the types of issues which I expect would be considered in the discussions. I do not know what the states will put forward in that area. You know the argument as well as I do, Senator Allison, in regard to rail links to the airport. These are the types of questions which I have no doubt will, over time, be considered. The issues which you speak of—and this is the point I am trying to make about what you are saying is your view—is that these are ad hoc processes. Surely that is what this bill does. It deals with the issue that you are raising as a general concern. I suggest to you that that is why the bill is worthy of support.

Questions have been raised about the matters on page 3 of the bill, the functions of the bill. I acknowledge that, on first reading, there may be a perception that these words could have been put better; although, on the advice I have been given, legally the provisions of this bill will not be able to be distinguished between primary and additional functions—at law. The measures proposed here are to ensure that there is greater attention to the issues of climate change by ensuring that Infrastructure Australia works within the government’s framework for climate change measures. The way it has been explained to me is that the provisions of the bill have been divided between those functions in general and those additional functions which will be undertaken immediately.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Bartlett)—Senator Milne, are you wanting to move your amendments?