Transcript of Interview: Breakfast with Grant Goldman, 2SM



25 March 2014

Western Sydney infrastructure,
Badgerys Creek,
Search for MH370

Grant Goldman: The Acting Prime Minister joins us, Warren Truss. Good morning, Warren.

Warren Truss: Good morning.

Grant Goldman: Thanks for taking the time this morning. There's a number of things we could talk about, one on the Western Sydney front. Tony Abbott has got himself right onto the front foot there to look at infrastructure in the west and he says he's taking control of it himself, obviously with the help of others. It's probably a good move.

Warren Truss: Well, what’s proposed is that there will be a new Cabinet level committee that will look after infrastructure to try and bring on stream some of the very large projects that we have already announced and to drive our infrastructure agenda. It involves quite a bit of cross-departmental work, so we're seeing up a committee a little bit like our Sovereign Borders operation to make sure that these things get done.

Now, Western Sydney will be one of the priorities, but we've already announced other projects, like WestConnex, et cetera, which will require significant relationships between various departments and, of course, the state governments to bring them on board and we want these things to happen quickly.

Grant Goldman: Alright. Will this be inclusive of Badgerys Creek? Is that still on the agenda or—there are people thinking that maybe that's not the option, but I tell you now, you talk to the people of Western Sydney, this is something that's much needed now.

Warren Truss: Well, the purpose of this committee is really to talk about the infrastructure needs of Western Sydney and other parts of Australia and clearly a decision about where a site or a second airport in Sydney will be located will have some varying on what decisions are made about infrastructure in Western Sydney. But the key thing is that Western Sydney, with or without an airport, needs substantial upgrades to its infrastructure and governments will need to play a lead role in ensuring that happens.

And it'll be more than just roads and rail. There's also a need for social infrastructure, community infrastructure. There's two, three, four million people going to be living in that area before too much longer and they're entitled to the amenities that a large city has.

Grant Goldman: Do you know, a lot of people forget this, but the centre of Sydney is actually Parramatta.

Warren Truss: Yes. That's true. The geographic centre is a fair way away from the water and there'll be a lot—and a big proportion of the growth in Sydney is clearly going to be in the west of Parramatta.

Grant Goldman: True. Well, good luck with that. Look, as far as what's happening with that lost Malaysian Airlines flight 370, it does seem as though now that they've officially announced that it looks like that plane has gone down in the southern Indian Ocean. Look, the Prime Minister copped a fair bit of flak for bringing it out into the open, saying that it was pretty much the case, and as it turned out, he was right or his information given to him was right. I can't believe some of the flack he copped over that.

Warren Truss: Well, I think people like governments to be open. We've been exceptionally open in providing information, even when that information was not necessarily definitely confirmed.

Grant Goldman: But he warned that it was not confirmed.

Warren Truss: Well, we always said that and we couldn't even be absolutely certain that we were searching in the right quarter of the globe, let alone close to the actual site. But all of the satellite data that's been coming on stream have tended to confirm that we were looking in the right place.

Grant Goldman: And this is from about three or four countries now, so it would seem that it is the right place.

Warren Truss: Well, the fact that the Malaysian Prime Minister has announced that he considers that the plane has gone done in this area and that there is no—there will be no survivors, that is a significant statement and it alters the nature of what we've been doing in that area. It now will move fairly quickly to an investigation of what has actually happened and that will involve some changes in the arrangements from now on. There is an international convention which outlines how that should proceed, so some key decisions will have to be made by Malaysia, as the country with the ultimate responsibility to this rescue operation, as to how the conduct of the search will continue into the future.

Grant Goldman: Yeah. Now, what is your information as late as now as to what HMAS Success is doing there? Because they're in the area. We've heard rumours, I thought I'd try and confirm them or not with you, that perhaps they've actually found something.

Warren Truss: Well, there was debris just found again yesterday. In fact, probably more was sighted yesterday than any other day. But so far we haven't been able to bring any of that on board a vessel so that there can be any kind of detailed examination to confirm whether or not it might be related to a lost aircraft. It is incredibly difficult, this search. Things are sighted from the air and then one aircraft has to return to Australia to refuel and then the next aircraft comes in and can't find the debris in the same location.

Grant Goldman: Because…

Warren Truss: It's not as though it has moved, it's just that it's relying largely on visual sightings and it is so hard to see small pieces, and even large pieces, from an aircraft even flying at low altitude. So it has been a real, real, real challenge. And then we bring ships in to look for the items that have been positively identified from the sky, and, again, it's hard to find. So it's proving to be a very challenging search.

Grant Goldman: There's no doubt about that. I was looking forward to saying hello, Prime Minister, this morning, because you were stand-in Prime Minister, but apparently you're back to deputy again.

Warren Truss: That's right, yeah. Tony Abbott's been back in the country for a couple of days now and so I slipped quite in a relaxed way back into my usual role.

Grant Goldman: Well done. Thanks for taking the time this morning. Appreciate it.

Warren Truss: Thank you.

Grant Goldman: Warren Truss, the Deputy Prime Minister.