Bill's Transcripts



SUBJECT/S: Labor’s $100 million investment for the Bridgewater Bridge; hoursing affordability; Banking Royal Commission; NEG.

BRIAN MITCHELL, MEMBER FOR LYONS: Thank you for coming this afternoon, my name is Brian Mitchell the Federal Member for Lyons. I'm here at Bridgewater Bridge, this is my electorate and I’m very proud to have here today Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition to make a significant announcement about the bridge.

We're joined by Rebecca White, the Opposition Leader here in Tasmania, my federal colleagues, Senator Catryna Bilyk, Julie Collins MP, Ross Hart the Federal Member for Bass and one of our new state colleagues for Lyons, Jen Butler. 

Thank you all for coming, we're here today for infrastructure in Tasmania. Under the Liberals, they have been utterly delinquent about delivering on infrastructure for Tasmania. In six years of Labor Government, Labor invested on average $316 million a year, each year over six years on infrastructure in Tasmania. Under the Liberals that's already halved in two years - that drops even further to $62 million a year. So we're going from $316 million a year on average under Labor, to $62 million dollars a year under the Liberals. And that's at a time when Tasmania's infrastructure needs are growing with massive increases in tourism and in significant increases in freight and trade. 

What we're here today to announce is a significant infrastructure project for the Bridgewater Bridge and I'll introduce you to Bill Shorten.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much Brian. It's great to be here in Tasmania and especially with so many of our Labor colleagues, State and Federal and in particular I want to acknowledge the presence of Bec White, Labor's fantastic Tasmanian leader. 

I'm here today because Federal Labor is the party of Tasmania. Tasmania has been receiving the raw end of the deal from Mr Turnbull and his predecessor Mr Abbott for too long. The Bridgewater Bridge was a fantastic bridge in the 1940s when it was built. But there is no doubt with the expanded tourism, with the growth that Tasmania is experiencing, with the extra freight, that this bridge which is a key link between the south and the north of Tasmania, now needs reinvestment. 

Under the current Liberal Government in Canberra we've seen the Midland Highway, the funding proposed for it, cut by no less than $100 million. Tasmanian's pay their tax to Canberra and they have the reasonable expectation that they will see some of their taxes reinvested in infrastructure in Tasmania. 

So I'm very pleased following the lobbying of Brian and other Tasmanian MPs, to be able to say that if I'm elected at the Federal Election, if it's held at the end of this year or early next year, that we will expend $100 million, as a down payment to start the Bridgewater Bridge replacement and modifications, $100 million. What we will do is we are reversing the cuts to the Midland Highway, we're putting the money back in the budget for Tasmania. Needless to say we'll have a lot more to say about our infrastructure plan for Tasmania and not just roads but of course hospitals and schools and TAFE. 

But today I'm very pleased to announce that a Shorten Labor Government will expend $100 million, at least, as a down payment on the Bridgewater Bridge. This is long overdue, not only for the residents who live in the vicinity, but also for all of Tasmania, who rely on the Midland Highway. And I encourage Mr Turnbull in the Budget coming up in less than three weeks, to match our offer, and by all means do better and then we'll certainly have a good look at that, and see what we need to come up with. But it's about time that the Liberal Party of Australia remembered where Tasmania was and started paying attention to Tasmania. 

I'd like to hand over to Bec now to talk a bit further about the importance of this project and then happy to take questions on Federal matters.

BEC WHITE, LABOR OPPOSITION LEADER IN TASMANIA: Thank you Bill. We certainly welcome this commitment today by the Federal Labor Party. We've got a wonderful relationship with our Federal Labor colleagues and that's been proven by the significant commitments they've given to the Labor Party - to the Tasmanian State I should say, over last number of years.

Bill's been in Tasmania a number of times, supporting Tasmanian communities, supporting infrastructure projects that will make Tasmania a better place. We haven't seen the Liberal Party deliver for Tasmania. I challenge the Liberal Government in Canberra to match this commitment, to make sure we can see the replacement of the Bridgewater Bridge. This is a project that our community deserves to have, because of the huge increase we've seen in traffic, the huge growth we've seen in our population in this part of the State, that's seen a number of residential developments take place, more housing, more people travelling on the road, which is putting pressure on the infrastructure that simply hasn't been able to keep up. This project is vitally important for the economy of Southern Tasmania and it is vitally important now that the Liberal Party match it and make sure this project can proceed. So we certainly welcome this commitment for the Labor Party federally for Tasmania, it is a wonderful thing and demonstrates the good relationship that Tasmania has with the Federal Labor Party. The Federal Labor Party understands where we are. We haven't seen the Federal Liberals here, and it's a shame that they've failed to recognise Tasmania now for too long. We deserve our fair share and under the Labor Party, Tasmania will get it. 

I'll hand back to Bill.

SHORTEN: Thanks Bec are there any questions about this project?

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten why just a $100 million? You say it’s a down payment, why not more?