Transcript of Interview: Sky News AM Agenda with Kieran Gilbert



08 April 2015


Kieran Gilbert: As Infrastructure Minister, the Assistant Infrastructure Minister, one of your areas of course and focuses have been on this asset recycling—an initiative to try and get the states boosting their own infrastructure. In Melbourne, we've got some international representatives of the consortium behind the East-West Link or the axed East-West Link. What's the Government doing to recalibrate in the—when it comes to your focus on infrastructure in Victoria given the intransigence of the Andrews Government on this big signature policy, what are you doing now to get that spend, to get that infrastructure boost?

Jamie Briggs: Well, the East-West Link has not yet been axed that's the reality—there is still a contract in place, there is still a plan, there is still the capacity for the 7000 jobs which will be created to build this East-West stage one and two there. We want that to happen. Our money is still on the table to build this road and as I say the contract between the State Government and the consortium…

Kieran Gilbert: It's not going to happen is it?

Jamie Briggs: Well, the contract between the State Government and the consortium, now five months after the new Labor Government came to power, is still in place. The reality is Mr Andrews made a promise before the election that he wouldn't pay compensation, that he wouldn't be required to pay compensation. What's clear is he either builds a road with the money that's there or he pays a substantial amount of compensation with Victorian government taxpayers' money without any road…

Kieran Gilbert: So, what's the Federal Government plan B though? Because he's not going to do that is he?

Jamie Briggs: Well, look our plan A has always been to build the road, that's the thing that creates the jobs. We've said to them, have you got any other projects which can create these jobs immediately and there isn't. The closest that they can come up with is a Melbourne metro which is a drawing on a page at this stage. It's not even an actual plan, there's no business case, there's no detail about how it will be delivered and at the best it wouldn't be delivered until at least 2018 at least—more like 2019 before real work would get underway. So, we want this road built is a simple message. The Victorian taxpayers don't want to pay free money and we don't want to damage our global credit rating because of an action of an Andrews Government in legislating away the rights of this consortium. If they do that, that will hurt Australia, it will hurt Australian jobs and it will cost us investment.

Kieran Gilbert: Okay Jamie Briggs, thanks so much for your time. We'll chat to you soon.

Jamie Briggs: Thanks Kieran.