MONDAY, 11 MARCH 2019
SUBJECT: Labor’s $112 million commitment to light rail on the Gold Coast; The LNP taking the Gold Coast for granted
MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: Well thanks everyone for coming along today, it's great to be here at the Helensvale Light Rail Station, and I should mention at the outset that we're getting the 136 tram, so we will have a limited period here for chatting. The reason we're here today is to make an announcement about light rail, and when you think about it, Federal Labor and State Labor have really built the Gold Coast. It was Federal Labor that delivered funding for Stage 1 of the light rail, it was State and Federal Labor that built Metricon Stadium, the CBUS Stadium as it was then known, the Gold Coast Hospital, all sorts of schools, M1 upgrades and here we are again today announcing funding for the Gold Coast light rail stage 3. So Labor is serious about the Gold Coast, and we're serious about building the Gold Coast going forward. It's great to be joined by all of the Gold Coast candidates, we've got Tracy, Aaron, Luz, and Des but now I'd like to hand over to Bill Shorten, the Federal Opposition Leader - thanks Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hello everyone, thanks Murray for that introduction. Great to be here with our candidates because we are going to show that Labor intends to make the Gold Coast marginal for the Government. We are here to win every vote we can, and one of the things we're offering people on the Gold Coast is better public transport and more jobs. So I'm pleased today as part of our commitment, to jobs, to local tourism, to decongesting the traffic, and of course to making sure that we have more public transport, Labor if elected will commit $112 million to stage 3A, which will see the light rail, the trams be extended from Broadbeach all the way down to Burleigh Heads. This is 7km of track, it's 2,400 jobs. It's going to connect also the light rail and the trams up with the heavy rail here - it's just great news. The Gold Coast is one of the most go ahead areas in Australia, but the area has grown, but the politicians in Canberra haven't always kept up with the growth in the area. Well I'm here to fix that problem. Labor is committed to $112 million which will see the light rail extended another 7kms, all the way to Burleigh Heads and we will create 2,400 jobs in the process. Good for tourism, good for public transport, good for the locals, and of course good for the environment - trams are very environmentally friendly.
Happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, how is your offer any different to what's already been put up?
SHORTEN: Well we're matching what the Government's said, but I would also point out to you that we've got the runs on the board. From 2009 as Murray said through the stadium, through to our commitments. The Gold Coast has been taken for granted by the LNP. You've got the retiring Minister Ciobo, you've got the Member for McPherson, and of course you've got Minister Stuart Roberts the famous uploader and downloader using $40,000 of taxpayer money for you know, we've never found out what.
The reality is the LNP takes the Gold Coast for granted. The LNP has been crowing and crowing and crowing and what have we seen for the Gold Coast from the LNP? Big fat zip. If you want to have imagination go to a political party who doesn't take your vote for granted. I mean, a classic example of how the Gold Coast has been left in the lurch by this out of touch government, is that 50,000 people have had their penalty rates cut. The Gold Coast is ground zero for wage cutting in the nation when it comes to hospitality and retail, and this government's got nothing to say about it. The problem in the Gold Coast is that everything's going up except your wages. Well Labor's here to change that and we're going to provide better, fairer tax cuts for people who live on the Gold Coast. We've got a wages policy something the government don't have and yes we are committed to building the infrastructure which the Gold Coast needs.
JOURNALIST: Just specific though, you mentioned there, you just said there that you're matching what's already been offered. But you said they've done 'zip'? So if you're saying you are matching how does that work?
SHORTEN: What I am doing is giving you a history lesson in who has got the ball rolling here. The reality is that the only reason that we're standing here at a light rail facility is because Labor in 2009 pushed it. I mean it's how politics works on the Gold Coast. The LNP collect the votes and don't do the work, we're turning up and saying give us a chance, we will do the work.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten have you perhaps missed a chance to trump the LNP and pledge (inaudible)?
SHORTEN: I think the LNP have been missing in action for the last six years. Ask yourselves, what has this government done to help provide tax relief for working citizens of the Gold Coast? What has this LNP Government in Canberra done to restore people's penalty rates? Energy prices are going up and up and up, they've frozen the Medicare patient refund so people are paying more out of pocket costs. Did you know on the Gold Coast on average it's about 25 per cent more out of pocket payment to see a GP, 40 per cent across Australia as well, to see a specialist. This is a government who doesn't know that cost of living is a giant issue on the Gold Coast, but what we're doing here is we're providing a rail option or tram options for people. We're also going to provide more jobs hopefully, but we've also got a plan to get wages moving and to tackle cost of living. You know, I think what the LNP needs on the Gold Coast is a big giant wake up call. They're either running out the door like Steve Ciobo, or they're missing in action like some of the other members of parliament. Labor's here because we're hungry for the votes of people on the Gold Coast and we're going to demonstrate it by doing the things that people on the Gold Coast need, rather than fighting amongst ourselves.
JOURNALIST: (inaudible) in the Queensland Government to put up their share?
SHORTEN: Listen, Annastacia Palaszczuk is so much more pro-Queensland than the current Prime Minister in Canberra ever will be. I haven't come here to give a lecture to the Queensland Government, I've come here to say that a Federal Labor Government in Canberra, with our great candidates, we will stop treating the Gold Coast as the forgotten zone of Australian politics. It is a fact, and you all know it and people know it, that because these seats have traditionally, in particular Moncrieff, McPherson and Fadden, voted loyally for the LNP.
It is a fact that because people have voted loyally for the LNP in Moncrieff, in Fadden, in McPherson, they've been taken for granted. I just want to give one suggestion to the people on the Gold Coast: try and shake this mob up by not giving them your vote this time. You'll be pleasantly surprised by what you get from Labor. We understand the big challenge on the Gold Coast, as it is all around Australia, is that everything is going up except your wages. We didn't get trapped behind a traffic jam of LNP limos announcing this extension, nor have we got trapped behind an LNP traffic jam of ministers saying they've got a plan for your wages, for your energy prices, for your Medicare costs, for properly funding your hospitals, making sure your schools are properly funded. Labor's on the side of everyday Australians and today's announcement is another demonstration of our commitment to see the Gold Coast go ahead.
JOURNALIST: Bill, there are some pretty big plans for the light rail future extensions. Would a Labor Government's support further extensions to say, the airport, the Spit, that kind of thing?
SHORTEN: Well obviously, once we've done stage 3A then Stage 3B comes on the table. The ideal path would be to see a connection all the way from here right down to the airport. But you know let's do the next stage. Stage 3A is the next step. But I'm a Victorian, which means that you know, we've been to the Gold Coast and a lot of Victorians moved up here, which is a good thing on balance, I suggest. But we get it. We get the Gold Coast in a way which I'm not sure that the Government in Canberra do. I want to see more public transport, I want to see more jobs, I want to see wages moving, I want to see real action on cost of living, better hospitals, better schools. I think we've got to catch a tram soon, they don't just wait for us.
See you, thanks everyone.