Transcript of Interview, 2GB Breakfast Program with Alan Jones



16 April 2014

Alan Jones: Well, one aspect of this announcement yesterday in relation to Badgerys Creek is the genuine infrastructure announcement. Tony Abbott sensibly has said there'll be no airport if the private sector don't stump up the money. But it's the roads and infrastructure which will accompany this airport, independently of the airport, they are needed whether or not an airport goes ahead. And Tony Abbott is going to, this morning, unveil the roads component when he visits the site of the new airport which he wants under construction, but that's—you heard on this this morning.

But Jamie Briggs from South Australia—very able bloke, this—he's the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. He's rung through. Jamie Briggs, good morning.

Jamie Briggs: Good morning, Alan.

Alan Jones: Now, this is a fairly big announcement. This is big stuff. So what are you going to do this morning? $3.5 billion, I understand, in new roads?

Jamie Briggs: Well, it's a massive announcement and it's deserved, because Western Sydney is an enormous part of our economy, as you know better than anyone. Western Sydney contributes enormously to our national economy and we want it to contribute more.

Alan Jones: I don't know whether you know the geography of it that well because you are a South Australian and you'd be forgiven for not knowing it, but I just might say to our listeners what they're talking about is if you take the M7 to Badgerys Creek, you've got the picture? Well, they're talking about a four lane motorway, which is needed no matter what. So that's the front line of the announcement, isn't it?

Jamie Briggs: Well, there's multiple. There's the Northern Road as well, Alan, and…

Alan Jones: Yeah, that's to Narellan.

Jamie Briggs: Yeah, and it'll be a substantial investment, over a billion dollars on that road to ensure that what we want to do is connect Western Sydney. This is not just about connecting Sydney to Western Sydney; this is about creating an economy in Western Sydney which will grow more quickly. Two million people grown to three  million people in the next couple of decades. It is a substantial part…

Alan Jones: Quite.

Jamie Briggs: You know, I come from Adelaide. We've got 1.1 million people in Adelaide and we get substantial infrastructure investment, as we should, but people of Western Sydney I think have missed out over the last decade and particularly under Labor they missed out. What we've got with Barry O'Farrell and the infrastructure Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a commitment to build $3.5 billion of roads in the next decade. And can I make the point, Alan, these won't be private sector roads. These will be publicly invested in roads.

Alan Jones: Yeah. Absolutely. Exactly. It's taxpayers money and rightly saying. Just let me take this because we do, as you know, Jamie, every morning here traffic reports. It's a nightmare. So firstly, a four lane motorway linking Badgerys Creek to the M7, everyone can understand the geography of that. Then a four lane link to the M4. That's from Northern Road to Narellan. Now, how many times do we hear about massive congestion in that area? So a four lane link from Northern Road to Narellan, then the upgrade on Bringelly Road, which is chaotic, from Camden Valley Way to the Northern Road—those of you who live out there know exactly what that is. Bringelly Road, a mess.

There could well be an announcement this morning to fast-track the WestConnex motorway and then, of course, local roads as well, which are a mess. $200 million because of the usage of those roads. Now, I understand, Jamie Briggs, who is the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, this will be funded on an 80/20 split between the federal and state governments.

Jamie Briggs: Yeah, that's right, Alan. We don't usually do that on off-network roads, as they're described. We usually do a 50/50 arrangement with urban roads. But this is so important. This is so important for our economic future. We've said to New South Wales Government ‘we're going to take 80 per cent hit on this because we believe this is a very important project to build the Western Sydney capacity for our national economy. So that's why we've taken what is an unusual step and I'm sure it will be welcomed by people of Western Sydney.

Alan Jones: No, no, no. Very sensible. And there'll be a Western Sydney infrastructure task force to oversee all of this and I understand it'll be led by you and the dyed in the wool bushy here. You’ve most probably now have got to know him quite well, a good fellow, indeed, Duncan Gay.

Jamie Briggs: Duncan is terrific. I want to take a moment just to praise Barry O'Farrell, Mike Baird, and Duncan Gay, who over the last couple of months have worked tirelessly for the people of Western Sydney to ensure that they get the best deal. Barry O'Farrell is a tough negotiator on this stuff, so is Duncan Gay, and they made sure that we are well and truly feet on the sticky paper, Alan, if that makes sense. $1.3 billion over the next four years the Federal Government will contribute. It will be outlined in the Federal Budget.

This is part of Tony Abbott's, Joe Hockey's plan to grow our economy more quickly. We're going to have more to say about infrastructure, if I can give you that little secret between now and the budget, Alan, because infrastructure is vital to ensure that our economy is achieving what we want it to achieve into the future.

Alan Jones: Right. Now, let me just say you're the Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure. I don't know what's happening in Adelaide, but it's rained and rained and rained and rained here and not a drop of it has been harvested, Jamie. I hope there's room for some dams somewhere.

Jamie Briggs: Well, I'm also on Barnaby's dam task force, Alan.

Alan Jones: Good. Good.

Jamie Briggs: And I'm sure Barnaby Joyce is—who is a terrific Agriculture Minister—will be in the Prime Minister's ear about the need for that sort of investment as well. Look, you know this is a government that wants to get on and do things, not just talk about it. We're going to deliver things for people, not just make announcements. And what I do want to see though is Anthony Albanese pull the Labor Party into line here, and rather than have three different views, which is what we've got this morning—Anthony Albanese praising the announcement, you've got Ed Husic out there trying to start a scare campaign—it's time the Labor Party stop playing politics and get on with it.

Alan Jones: Yeah, don't get carried away. Look, I'm not going to have that debate with you now, but I'm concerned about the Badgerys Creek thing because there is no proposal, as such, it's just a geographical point, and until we can get private sector people put something up the money, and no one's put their hand up yet, and until we can get airlines committing, and no one's put their hand up yet, but we're not going to talk about that. The supporting documentation in relation to the roads and everything is outstanding. So thanks for talking to us, Jamie.

Jamie Briggs: My pleasure, Alan.

Alan Jones: There we are. Jamie Briggs, who is the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.