THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON CHRIS BOWEN MP
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK
Labor welcomes the fact that after months of dithering and in-fighting, the Abbott Government will formally sign Australia up as a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The Bank has the potential to boost infrastructure investment in our region by more than $100 billion. That’s why, for months, Labor has been calling on the Government to join the Bank.
We welcome the commitment of $930 million to the AIIB. But regrettably, because of the Abbott Government’s chaos, Australia had to play catch-up. Many of our friends like the UK, New Zealand, South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, India, and Singapore threw their support behind the bank some time ago.
It is a great shame so much time was wasted as Abbott Government Ministers leaked against each other from Cabinet and the National Security Committee.
This has been an embarrassing display by the Abbott Government over the last several months, especially from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who is widely believed to have led the inexplicable opposition to the Bank proposal.
Now, we hope the Government will engage constructively on priorities for the Bank and work to ensure robust transparency and accountability arrangements.