TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Launceston, Thursday 23 June







SUBJECTS: Labor's positive plan for Tasmania's infrastrucutre

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It’s fantastic to be here in Launceston today with Ross, with Helen and with John to talk about the very important new announcement from Federal Labor. Federal Labor has committed today to investing $75 million in upgrading the water and sewerage treatment leading into the Tamar River. We know that this sewerage system is old, it’s under a lot of pressure with increasing population in Launceston and we know that at the worst times raw sewerage has flooded into the river. It’s such a beautiful river and it’s such a beautiful natural environment in Launceston and the surrounding area and it’s a tragedy to think that this beautiful natural environment is pressured with this sewerage flowing into the river. It’s not just bad for the environment, although of course it is bad for the environment, we know that there are communities up down the Tamar that are regularly getting warnings not to drink the drinking water from their tap, or to boil it. This is a whole system that is under pressure and it will take some years to improve the whole system and Labor’s commitment of $75 million is over the next three years, $25 million a year, to upgrade to a proper tertiary standard for sewerage treatment and facilities before the sewerage is released into the river. We think that this is a very important first step and obviously we would urge the State Government to match this funding. We know that local councils around the Tamar have said that they are prepared to contribute to this important work and again we urge the State Government to make a contribution. And, of course, we urge the Federal Liberal Government to follow Labor’s lead and make a similar contribution to cleaning up the Tamar. This comes on top of other very important announcements that we’ve made locally including $150 million for new campuses for University of Tasmania at Inveresk and in Burnie. We know that the construction work for those campuses will provide about 3000 jobs and of course there would be hundreds of ongoing jobs once the campuses are established. Those campuses will serve about 12,000 students. We want young people in the north of Tasmania to have the opportunity of a university education but we also hope that young people will come from other parts of Tasmania, other parts of Australia and even other parts of the globe to study here. It will be a great boost to the Launceston CBD to have those students buying a cup of coffee, buying their books, students supplies [inaudible] and of course the construction jobs are very important. Both on the sewerage upgrade and the construction of the university campuses we think that major infrastructure projects not only deliver very important jobs for the local community but we’d like to see them deliver apprentice positions as well. We know that this area has lost hundreds of apprenticeships over recent years, the north of Tasmania, and that’s a real tragedy not just for those individuals who miss out on a good a quality job for their future, but also for the whole economy. In years to come we will have shortages of skilled workers because of the short-sightedness of the federal government. They have cut 122,400 apprenticeships across Australia in the last couple of years alone. As well as the upgrading of the water and sewerage treatment facility and the establishment of the new campuses of the University of Tasmania we’ve also said that it is absolutely vital to support better tourism infrastructure for Tasmania with a $44 million tourism infrastructure fund for Tasmania. Tourism is going to be an increasing part of Tasmania’s economic success in years to come. It’s a fantastic place to come for a holiday. I’ve come on holiday here with my family and we know that those small investments can really help boost tourism into local communities - but you can’t do that unless you’ve got a good quality NBN as well. Tasmanian businesses want to trade with each other, they want to trade with the rest of Australia and they want to trade with the world. And to do that you need a decent NBN. That’s why, as well as securing the infrastructure, we want to invest in a first class National Broadband Network for all Tasmanians. Of course Labor’s also about health and education and I might let Ross say a few words about the broader infrastructure announcements.

ROSS HART, CANDIDATE FOR BASS: Thank you Tanya for that announcement. It’s really important for people to note that this has been a 10 year period where people have been arguing for the upgrading of the infrastructure for the Tamar River. I pay tribute to local advocates that have kept this on the front page of our local communities. That’s something that we really need to understand. If you’re going to invest millions of dollars in private infrastructure on the river bank here you need to have a river that has safe water in the future to be able to put your foot in the water and not end up in the department of emergency medicine at the Launceston General Hospital. This project will deliver thousands of jobs, we’re talking about engineering and construction jobs, and as Tanya said we also talk about 10 percent of those jobs being apprentices’ jobs. I’ve delivered this and the promise for the university relocation from the position of a candidate in an election. Mr Nikolic, the current member for Bass, has delivered very little in this electorate other than slogans - jobs and growth don’t come from a slogan. A slogan like ‘jobs and growth’ means nothing in this electorate. We’re doing the hard work in delivering jobs in this electorate - visionary material, visionary work for the development of this state. And Tanya has said we are investing in education, we’re investing in heath, we’re investing in essential infrastructure for this state - $400 million worth of investment if this is supported by both TasWater and by the State Government we’ll be delivering clean water into this river. It’s not acceptable for this to be kicked down the road like a can down the road to the next election campaign. It’s vitally important that this long-term project, this ten year project is started and started now. Labor has the vision to deliver that. Labor has the vision to deliver those jobs - real jobs - into this economy and for the benefit of this community.

HELEN POLLEY, SENATOR FOR TASMANIA: When Tanya talks about the vision, it was the former Labor Government that put in $41 million into the flood levy which has protected - as you well know - against the flood, 3000 business and homes. Part of our vision has always been – and it goes right back to when Lance Barnard was on the Launceston City Council and Michelle O’Byrne was the Federal Member – we had a vision for this river and we’re going to deliver. Andrew Nikolic is big on talk but he does very little when it comes to delivery. This is real money and it’s going to create a lot of jobs and is actually going to be beneficial and not only for the tourism industry but for every household that relies on water.

JOHN SHORT, SENATE CANDIDATE FOR TASMANIA: This is a fantastic announcement today. This will mean jobs for the local area but it will also mean young people in this area getting an opportunity to get an apprenticeship or traineeship and give young people a head start in life. I know how important apprenticeships are, and I think that people in the area would love to see more apprenticeships put on and this will be an opportunity to do that.

JOURNALIST: Is this $75 million only guaranteed if the State Government matches the funding?

PLIBERSEK: This is $75 million guaranteed if Labor is elected. Obviously we would like the State Government to make a contribution as well. It’s very important that you see three levels of government cooperating on such a large and significant project and this project will take a number of years to complete. It will be done in stages. Our commitment is $25 million a year for the first three years - $75 million. We have heard that local government is ready to contribute as well and the only thing missing is the contribution from the State Government and I might say from the Federal Liberals. It would be terrific if the Federal Liberals followed us on this commitment, if they followed us on the second Bass Link. I think it would be a good thing if they followed Labor’s lead to invest in upgrading water quality in the Tamar.