SUNDAY, 12 JUNE 2016
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan for next stage of Port Access Road to deliver new jobs for Gladstone
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everybody. It's great to be in Gladstone with Zac Beers, Labor's hard-working candidate for Flynn. It’s also great to be here with one of the most distinguished sons and leaders of Gladstone, Leo Zussino, who's been a driving force across the years to make sure the Port of Gladstone and indeed the economy of Gladstone has the best possible future.
Gladstone's been hard-hit by the down turn in the mining boom, but it's an industry town with a range of industries and it services the Hinterland here. I'm a big fan of Gladstone. I've been coming here over a long period of time and the citizens of Gladstone and the surrounding community, they just want to have a government who backs them up. They don't expect people to do anything for them. They're very enterprising people here.
What they do need is a government in Canberra who will help deliver infrastructure that helps increase the productivity of the port, the viability of commercial businesses in Gladstone and its surrounding areas. I am very pleased, and in no small part due to the lobbying of Zac Beers, to be able to announce that if Labor is elected on July 2, we will invest $80 million to help improve the port road access so the industry of Gladstone and the surrounding areas is able to utilise this remarkable port which you can see right behind me.
The story of Gladstone is the story of the port. Labor has been investing in infrastructure to help make sure the roads here work in such a way as to ensure Gladstone has the best possible opportunities in the future. I am also really pleased this infrastructure investment will generate 200 jobs in the construction phase. If Labor is elected, we’re already working with Leo to make sure we can be shovel-ready, the jobs start flowing, the access, the investment this region needs will be backed up by a Labor Government. I might just ask Zac to add a couple of little words here.
ZAC BEERS, LABOR’S CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: This project isn't just about the jobs that will occur during the construction phase, it is also about the long-term benefits for the broader economy here in the electorate of Flynn. We are talking about the agriculture industry across the Central Highlands region, Banana, right down through to North Burnett. The agriculture industry here will have an opportunity to grow with this project being delivered by a Labor Government. What it means is access to global markets around the world for producers here in this region. It will create opportunities for growth, not only for those businesses, but for the jobs that will flow on after it has been constructed.
SHORTEN: Thanks Zac.
If the local journalists have any questions about this particular announcement, I had a chance to talk to my friends from the national media earlier today.
JOURNALIST: There was money for the port access road and it hasn't happened until now. So, why is that?
SHORTEN: Because we didn't have Labor in Government in the last term. The Labor Party has got a history of making the investments to the physical infrastructure at Gladstone. I know from both personal experience and the lobbying of Zac Beers, and the well-argued business case presented by Leo Zussino, this port access road is the next stage. It's the missing link to help open up the port to no less than 80 different commercial opportunities and sectors which could use this port going forward. The best way to guarantee jobs in Gladstone, and the best way to guarantee the port road access, is to vote Labor on July the 2nd.
JOURNALIST: You said shovel-ready, so does that mean shovel-ready this year?
SHORTEN: Well, first of all we have got to get elected. I might get Leo to outline the pattern of works because he has been driving a lot of this.
LEO ZUSSINO, CHAIRMAN OF GLADSTONE PORTS CORPORATION: The Gladstone port access road is actually a declared road of national importance. Under the Howard Government - stage one was funded half by the Howard Government and by the Beattie Labor Government. So it's been a project up until recently that has had both support.
The issue with the road was, back in 2010, the Labor Government provided money to build a road subject to the port getting the project shovel-ready. The port has been spending money over the last four-five years so it could actually be brought to fruition in 2017, starting the construction, provided the funding is available.
The issue we have, is the port access road takes us from what we call Glenlyon Road to Blain Drive, but the impact of the port access road goes right out through the whole electorate. We have down here a port facility called Barney Point Coal Terminal, which we just sent out the last coal ship last month. It's a $100 million facility that's now available to small agricultural products to small mining products to be used. What we do need though, is those products will be coming [inaudible] trucks, and the stage one of the port access road still drops into the community. So to have safe, secure access for [inaudible] travels we need to take the road out to Blain Drive and that's what the funding's about.
We really appreciate the announcement today because with that funding we can ensure that Gladstone port [inaudible] not only stimulating development for the Gladstone community but right throughout the whole of Central Queensland.
SHORTEN: Thanks Leo, thank you everybody. If there's no more questions on local matters and I just [inaudible] you should watch Zac Beers' campaign in Flynn. He's a very impressive candidate. I think Flynn will be one of those seats to watch because this guy continues to impress everyone who meets him.
Thank you very much. See you.