MONDAY, 9 APRIL 2018
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s $83 million for Midland Station and extension; Labor’s Fair Share for Western Australia Fund; Western Australia Infrastructure; Live Exports; Newspoll; Government division.
LAUREN PALMER, FEDERAL CANDIDATE FOR HASLUCK: It's wonderful to be here, thanks all for coming. My name is Lauren Palmer, I'm Labor's Candidate for the seat of Hasluck and I'm joined today by Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, West Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, Rita Saffioti, Minister for Planning and Transport, Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, and Michelle Roberts, Member for Midland and Minister for Police and Road Safety. Thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Lauren. Lauren's our Candidate for Hasluck. It's great to be here with Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia. I'm accompanied by my Shadow Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese, and of course Rita Saffioti the State Minister for Transport here as well at Midland Railway Station.
I'm very pleased to announce that if Labor is elected after the next Federal Election, we will support the extension of the railway line from Midland to Bellevue. We will support the movement of Midland Railway Station, some 800 metres closer to the hospital. What this will allow, with $83 million of funding from Federal Labor, is it's another step forward to improving the public transport options, right through the growing Perth community.
We regard the announcement from Midland Railway Station to be a very important part of developing this part of Perth. The decision has been arrived at after consultation and advocacy from the West Australian Government. This reflects our commitment to creating new jobs - 280 jobs, to creating more liveable communities, to giving commuters the options to use rail transport, as opposed to just relying on motorcars, and fundamentally it reflects our commitment for a fair share for Western Australia.
We believe that Western Australia hasn't been getting its fair share. So Labor has created a Fair Share for Western Australia Fund, which will allow greater support for infrastructure, above and beyond, what a Federal government would normally do. We've already announced the Morley-Ellenbrook line extension, working with the West Australian Government. We've announced an expansion of hospital resources at Joondalup. And now we're proposing our next leg of our Fair Share for Western Australia, which would be the Midland and Bellevue extension and of course the rework of the Midland Railway Station.
It is now my pleasure to hand over to Premier Mark McGowan to talk further about his vision for Perth and Western Australia.
MARK MCGOWAN, PREMIER OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Thank you very much Bill. Can I firstly thank Bill and the Federal Labor Opposition for their commitment of $83 million towards this important project. As we know, Midland has been ignored by the Federal Liberal Government. This commitment will ensure that we can get on more easily with the task of improving this area, relocating the train station, making sure the train station integrates with the new hospital. It's a sensible thing, it's been talked about for decades, and finally we're going to be able to do it.
$83 million is an important contribution towards this project. It will allow for the state to get on and do this project in the time frames we envisioned before the State Election. What's more, it also allows for important land redevelopment options around the new station - the land is largely owned by the state, allow for important land redevelopment options to incorporate apartments, retail, commercial, all the things that will create jobs and opportunities out here in Midland.
As you can see, the station is very tired. This will ensure that we have first-rate public transport here in Midland. It will make sure that Midland is the beneficiary of our METRONET plan, and we're very grateful to the Federal Labor Opposition for their support for METRONET but also their support for Western Australia. Can I have over to Rita Saffioti who will say a few words.
RITA SAFFIOTI, MINISTER FOR PLANNING AND TRANSPORT: Thank you. As you all know, this is a key component of our METRONET vision and something we committed to at the last election. The relocation of this station together with the redevelopment around this area will create a number of jobs, but also really help Midland grow into the future. This is an exciting project for WA and we welcome the Bill Shorten Opposition's commitment to this project, and lets us continue to plan for this project, as we currently are.
So, in the final stages of planning, we're going through the business case and hopefully the business case will be prepared by the third quarter of this year. And again, this is yet another project committed to WA, another project delivering key jobs, and also to improve connectivity around the suburbs. Thank you. I will take any questions on the station redevelopment? Any questions on the station redevelopment?
JOURNALIST: Is this dependent on Federal funding? Will that project take place without Federal funding?
SAFFIOTI: We have always said that we believe WA needs a greater share of infrastructure funds, so that's why we have always been very, very much putting our case to both sides of politics in Canberra. And it's really good to see Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese here today making a significant commitment. We've always said that we need to partner with the Federal Government. WA doesn't get its fair share, and these types of allocations and these types of funds really helps WA get on with building the infrastructure that WA deserves.
JOURNALIST: So without that Federal funding though this won't go ahead?
SAFFIOTI: As I said, we're continuing - what we're doing is continuing to plan and prepare the business cases for our projects. The criticism in the past has been that state governments have not been doing the work to prepare the case when and should federal funding be available. So, we're going ahead, preparing the plans, preparing the business cases, preparing the project definition plans to ensure that we have the best case possible. And I'm very confident that we will continue to get Federal funds to build METRONET, because everyone agrees, it's what we need for the future.
JOURNALIST: Obviously the Federal Budget is just around the corner. Are you hoping that announcements like this from Federal Labor will put that pressure on the Turnbull Government to come through with what you want?
SAFFIOTI: I think what Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese have shown is a real commitment to WA and, in particular, a real knowledge of the key priorities of WA. So, what we've seen already is a significant commitment to the Ellenbrook rail line, and today a significant commitment to Midland. What we've seen is them on the front foot really arguing the case for WA and I think that helps in negotiations with all parties in relation to securing WA funds.
JOURNALIST: Was this always the plan to have the Federal Government fund Bellevue and other parts of METRONET?
SAFFIOTI: It was always a plan to get as much funding as possible. I mean, the idea that WA shouldn't fight for infrastructure funding is absurd, and I've heard comments from the Opposition that we shouldn't be fighting for more WA funds, of course we should be. We are a WA state that doesn't get its fair share of GST. What this is, is in a sense a recognition of that, and a recognition that WA needs more infrastructure funding, and more infrastructure funding for vital projects, such as this one. As the Premier said, it has been talked about for decades. This gives us the ability to go ahead, finish the business case, get the project up and running. Thank you.
SHORTEN: Are there any questions perhaps on national matters?
JOURNALIST: Should we be banning live exports again considering the pictures on 60 Minutes last night?
SHORTEN: I think anyone who saw the 60 Minutes footage last night would have been appalled. I think most Australians don't think that should be happening and certainly were not aware it's happening now. My Shadow spokesperson, Joel Fitzgibbon has extended bipartisanship to the Government on how we resolve this problem. There can be no doubt that animal welfare has gone backwards under the last five years of the Liberal Government. There can be no doubt that business as usual in terms of the images we saw last night, is unacceptable. We will work with the Government because this sort of issue should be above politics. But what we also would like the Government to do, is to put on notice some of the shonks and cheats in the industry that business as usual is unacceptable to the Australian people. We should have an Inspector-General. We should make sure this does not happen again. We will work with the Government because this issue really is a national disgrace.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, could you talk to us about Newspoll? Specifically, do you think there is work to be done on your own standing? I'm looking at some of the attributes for what people look for in a leader and the attributes they don't look for in a leader; in touch with voters, caring and arrogant. You're behind Mr Turnbull on all of those.
SHORTEN: What outlet are you from?
JOURNALIST: I'm from The Australian.
SHORTEN: Okay, alright, well just on the Newspoll, which is published by The Australian - I'm not like Mr Turnbull. I don't define my success or, indeed, my job by what Newspoll does. I actually think the Australian people want us to focus less on polls and personalities and a lot more on what we do for the people. It's Mr Turnbull who said that 30 Newspoll is a definition of success, that's his problem. I actually think most Australians want to see politics move beyond the polls and the personalities, to what are we going to do for the people?
Anthony and I are here standing with Mark and Rita and Lauren, our candidate in Hasluck, talking about what we think the people in Hasluck need. Mr Turnbull would be well advised to spend less time engaged in a hateful civil war with his backbench and more time getting out with the real people. The fact of the matter is that Midland Railway Station, as you can see, is old. It does need to be upgraded. The fact of the matter is that Perth is experiencing remarkable population growth and we need to be investing, not just in roads, but also in public transport.
The real issues of Australia are not the opinion polls, it's the cost of living. It's flat wages. It's private health insurance companies treating their customers as mugs. The real issues are whether or not our schools are properly resourced and our hospitals are properly funded, so we can reduce the waiting lists for elective surgery.
So, no I don't define myself or Labor by polls released in newspapers. What the people of Australia want is for the politicians of Australia to start thinking about the people and not themselves.
JOURNALIST: I am not sure if you saw the tweet from Kevin Rudd this morning saying that he only fell behind in the Newspoll once, and if you were held to the same standard, you would be long gone. Can you rebuild that relationship with Mr Rudd since he is still seemingly so bitter about what happened?
SHORTEN: I am not going to interpret someone's emotions through a tweet. Mr Rudd did a very good job as Prime Minister of Australia and what I'm focused on is making sure that a united opposition provides a real alternative. I know that the old political play book was that oppositions should be a small target as possible, not offer what their views are and hope that the government of the day falls over. But that's not the path that my united Opposition's been taking.
Let's use transport and infrastructure as an example. We are leading. There was an earlier question you asked the West Australian Transport Minister, will the Government follow on the next budget? I hope that the Liberals follow our policy because this is good policy. If you talk to commuters, they would like to see the railway station upgraded. They want to see more jobs in the region. They want to have public transport as an option. I don't mind if the Liberals copy our policies in the next budget because that shows the politics for once, is working, that what we're doing is getting a competition of ideas.
JOURNALIST: Is Mr Rudd right though, would you have been long gone? Have you had been held to a lesser standard than he was in regards to Newspoll performance?
SHORTEN: I think leading the Opposition for 4.5 years and Labor is in a competitive position, shows we're doing a good job. And I just want to again express my gratitude to my party. The reality is that we've learnt from our mistakes. I think if you now look at who would win the gold medal of disunity, it would be the Coalition. They can't sit in the same room as each other, which, of course lets the people of Australia down. When political parties are more focused on hating each other, than focusing on the needs of working and middle class Australians, that's when the system's broken.
Any other questions?
REPORTER: Just on the GST quickly, you said that you wanted to see an end to the hunger games between the states. Do you think that WA's argument for a higher share are justified? Are you considering them carefully?
SHORTEN: I think Western Australia has got an argument to say that they haven't received their fair share in previous years. I think when you're down to 30 and 35 cents in the dollar -
[TRAIN GOES PASSED]
SHORTEN: Alright, maybe that’s just the train system’s way of saying wrap up this press conference so I will quickly answer the last question on GST. Western Australia hasn't been receiving its fair share. The McGowan Government are being fierce advocates for ensuring Western Australia gets their fair share. Labor is hearing that case loud and clear. We are finding space in the Federal Budget to give Western Australia their fair share. We can do this though, not by a hunger games where you pit different states of the Commonwealth against each other, but instead we do it because we're not giving $65 billion away to the top end of town in corporate tax give-aways.
Labor can help fund its promises in Western Australia, Labor can help restore a fair share for Western Australia because what we're not doing, is giving money to big banks and multinationals. And Mr Turnbull would be well advised in the Budget to drop his corporate tax cuts for the top end of town and give Western Australia their fair share.
Thanks very much, everybody.