Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ Latest releases from the Ministers en Infrastructure Australia's 2021 Priority List welcomed https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/infrastructure-australias-2021-priority-list-welcomed <p>The Australian Government has welcomed today’s release of Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) 2021 update to its Infrastructure Priority List, showcasing the Government’s commitment to deliver nation-defining infrastructure while helping inform future investment priorities for all levels of government.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Priority List seamlessly couples with Australia’s infrastructure-led economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>“The Priority List drew on 124 new submissions received since the last edition’s release in August 2020, highlighting a $59 billion pipeline of investments for nationally significant priorities across a range of sectors including transport, energy, water, communications, housing and education,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“I am pleased to see a strong focus on economic development in regional communities, with projects such as the Federally-funded Parkes Bypass highlighted by IA as a priority corridor which will deliver long-term benefits for the freight operators, farmers and manufacturers of the region.</p> <p>“Corridor-focused improvements mean reduced travel times and improved freight productivity as this Government continues to support priority projects like these, ensuring goods get to market and drivers get home sooner and safer.</p> <p>“The Priority List helps inform future Australian Government investments as we continue to deliver on our 10-year, $110 billion infrastructure plan which is laying the foundations for economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the Priority List informs all levels of government and the private sector on what priority projects and initiatives are under development across the country.</p> <p>“The Infrastructure Priority List provided important input into the Government’s considerations on which major national infrastructure projects should receive federal funding,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“The Government has already committed to many of the initiatives on the list, which are helping bust congestion, increase road safety and improve travel times in both regional and urban areas.</p> <p>“I am particularly pleased to see the addition of many projects in fast-growing cities to the list, such as the Armadale Road Bridge, following the assessment by IA as having the potential to improve congestion and decrease travel time due to pressure from expected population growth and is an existing Government funding commitment.”</p> <p>Projects on the list already supported by the Government include:</p> <ul> <li>$149 million for New South Wales’ Parkes Bypass;</li> <li>$120 million for New South Wales’ Prospect Highway upgrade:</li> <li>$207 million towards Western Australia’s Armadale Road Bridge;</li> <li>$681 million for Western Australia’s Bunbury Outer Ring Road;</li> <li>$137 million for Australian Capital Territory’s Commonwealth Avenue Bridge upgrade.</li> </ul> <p>Infrastructure Australia is the Government's national infrastructure advisory body, with a key role in assessing business cases for major projects seeking Australian Government funding and maintaining the Infrastructure Priority List to inform future government and private sector investment decisions.</p> <p>IA’s Infrastructure Priority List is available at <a href="https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/publications/Infrastructure_Priority_List_2021">www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/publications/Infrastructure_Priority_List_2021</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Joanne Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Fletcher – Imre Salusinszky 0432 535 737</p> McCormack Infrastructure Australia's 2021 Priority List welcomed $100 million to bolster road safety in South Australia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/100-million-bolster-road-safety-south-australia <p>Fifteen new road safety projects are about to start rolling out across South Australia as part of the first tranche of a road safety package worth more than $100 million, designed to reduce road trauma and save lives.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said tranche one works would start imminently and be completed by June to improve safety and support jobs as soon as possible.</p> <p>“This funding is part of our national $2 billion Road Safety Program and will deliver much-needed lifesaving upgrades including shoulder sealing, rumble strips, works to prevent head-on collisions and barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will always do everything we can to ensure all South Australians make it home sooner and safer at the end of every road trip, no matter where they live.”</p> <p>Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, said getting funding flowing and shovels in the dirt on road safety upgrades across the state was going to create jobs and save lives. </p> <p>“Getting work underway on these projects now means we are delivering safer roads and supporting around 500 local jobs through economic stimulus at a time it is needed most,” Premier Marshall said.</p> <p>“My Government is pleased to be partnering with the Australian Government to get this more than $100 million in funding out the door to improve the safety of our road network and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on our roads.”</p> <p>South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, said South Australians would soon start feeling the difference this funding will make on the state’s roads.</p> <p>“If there is one important New Year’s resolution I encourage all South Australians to stick to this year, it’s to ensure they do their bit to promote road safety so we can all get home safely,” Minister Wingard said.</p> <p>“Crashes happen because people can make mistakes, but these life-saving road safety investments will reduce the impact of those mistakes.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said road safety was a key priority for the Australian Government and this investment was all about ensuring Australians can get home sooner and safer.</p> <p>“As a former transport operator, I know what it’s like to travel long distances on all sorts of regional and urban roads and of course the difference treatments like shoulder sealing, rumble strips and barriers can make to drivers’ peace of mind in preventing crashes,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p>“You just can’t put a price on what safer roads and driver peace of mind means to commuters, which is why I am proud to be part of a Government that takes road safety very seriously.”</p> <p>The Australian Government’s funding for the Road Safety Program is subject to ‘use it or lose it’ provisions and will deliver life-saving treatments on regional roads across SA while also supporting local jobs and providing a welcome boost to local economies.</p> <p>The ‘use it or lose it’ provisions require states and territories to use their notionally allocated funds within a timeframe, or the funds can be reallocated to projects in other jurisdictions.</p> <p>In total, the Australian Government has committed $83.7 million and the South Australian Government a further $20.9 million to fund the state-wide upgrades under this first tranche of the program.</p> <p>For more information on the Australian Government’s road safety initiatives, visit <a href="http://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au">www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au</a>. </p> <p><strong>A list of the projects are below:</strong></p> <table class="Table"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Project</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Total</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">State Contribution</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Commonwealth Contribution</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Riddoch Highway - Keith to Mount Gambier</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 3,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$600,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$2,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Ngarkat Highway - Pinaroo to Bordertown</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 9,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$1,800,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$7,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Karoonda Highway - Veitch to Boundary Road</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$100,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Riddoch Highway - Keith to Mount Gambier</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 1,540,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$320,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$1,220,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Eyre Highway - Head of Bight to Ceduna</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 9,100,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$1,820,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$7,280,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Augusta Highway - Collinsfield to Red Hill</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 7,500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$1,500,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$6,000,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Barrier Highway - Burra to Cockburn</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 18,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$3,600,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$14,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Stuart Highway - Pimba and North of Coober Pedy</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 17,600,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$3,520,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$14,080,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Upper Yorke Road - Maitland to Aurthurton</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 6,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$1,200,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$4,800,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Tod Highway - Kyancutta to Lock</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 4,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$800,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$3,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Birdseye Highway - Lock to Rudall</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 4,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$800,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$3,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minlaton Road - Minlaton to Stansbury</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 3,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$600,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$2,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Playford Highway - Bark Hut Road to Kingscote Airport</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 1,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$200,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$800,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Pages Flat Road - Willunga to Myponga</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$100,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Horrocks Highway - Wilmington to Templars</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>$ 19,900,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$3,980,000</p> </td> <td> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">$15,920,000</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Premier Marshall – Eleisa Hancock 0433 950 083</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Wingard – Gemma Coombe 0415 175 716</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Buchholz – Josh Christian 0439 897 926</p> McCormack $100 million to bolster road safety in South Australia Funding flows to drought-affected regions https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/funding-flows-drought-affected-regions <p>Drought-affected regions are continuing to benefit from Australian Government funding support, with 24 projects sharing in more than $1.1 million under the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s award-winning Tackling Tough Times Together program.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government’s commitment to supporting drought-affected regions was all the more important following the economic shock of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>“While we’ve seen good rainfall in some parts of Australia, there are still many regional and remote communities continuing to battle the impacts of drought,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This has been further compounded by the additional challenges of COVID-19 and, in some parts, bushfires, making our ongoing support all the more vital.</p> <p>“The Australian Government’s $15 million commitment to the FRRR Tackling Tough Times Together program supports hundreds of projects run by local groups in drought-affected regional communities, fostering social connection, enhancing community identities and supporting the recovery of the local economy.</p> <p>“The past year has been difficult for many, however rural and regional Australians continue to show remarkable grit and resilience.”</p> <p>Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said it is pleasing to see so many projects in drought-affected areas benefiting directly from federal funding.</p> <p>“It is important for people to know that funding is still available and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis,” Mr Littleproud said.</p> <p>“Projects funded in this round include a Community Multipurpose Gym Facility Project in Wilmington, the installation of a solar panel system at the Warra Tennis Club and an Outback Festival in Winton to reduce social isolation and drive economic recovery.</p> <p>“I strongly encourage drought-affected communities across remote, rural and regional Australia to apply for the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s future rounds.”</p> <p>The Tackling Tough Times Together program was awarded the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards - Best Grant Program.</p> <p>More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at <a href="https://frrr.org.au/TTTT">https://frrr.org.au/TTTT</a> or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at <a href="http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs.">www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs.</a></p> <p>Tackling Tough Times Together projects are assessed by an independent advisory committee and approved by the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s 13-member board.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Littleproud – Douglas Ferguson 0455 448 985</p> McCormack Funding flows to drought-affected regions Inland rail signals regional growth https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/inland-rail-signals-regional-growth <p>The design and construction of Inland Rail is providing stimulus to companies right across the nation with investments in services and supplies driving employment and growth in regional Australia.</p> <p>The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded a contract worth more than $30 million for signalling design and the delivery of rail safety systems for the Inland Rail project north of Illabo in New South Wales, through to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton in Queensland.</p> <p>Leading global design and consultancy firm Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd is the successful company tasked with delivering the design of rail signalling systems from concept through to final commissioning for these sections.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail was delivering jobs, opportunities and regional resilience.</p> <p>“Our Government backs regional Australia with the infrastructure and programs that will unlock the untapped potential and economic growth of our regional centres,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Investments through projects such as the transformational Inland Rail send a clear signal that regional Australia is open for business and industry is listening and acting.</p> <p>“As a nationally significant project, with economic benefits that reach far beyond the rail line, the design and construction of Inland Rail provides the vital economic stimulus that Australia needs.</p> <p>“Every dollar we spend on Inland Rail is another dollar injected into the Australian economy – this contract with Arcadis is one of more than 1,000 committed to date.”</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that Inland Rail was bringing jobs to regional Australia.</p> <p>“To design the rail signalling systems for Inland Rail, Arcadis will have regional resources in Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee to complement its central offices in Sydney and Brisbane,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>“This $30 million contract for Inland Rail signalling design will provide work for 80 Australians, with the majority of these located in New South Wales and opportunities for local people to apply for regional positions working with Arcadis over the next six years.</p> <p>“Through the design and construction of Inland Rail, the Australian Government’s investment in infrastructure is bringing immediate opportunities to our regions, providing work in professional and trade based sectors.”</p> <p>Local Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee welcomed the news that towns in regional New South Wales were directly contributing to Inland Rail.</p> <p>“Regional New South Wales is benefiting greatly from the design and construction of Inland Rail,” Minister Gee said.</p> <p>“The contracts to design and deliver Inland Rail are allowing businesses in regional New South Wales to employ local people and demonstrating the enormous capability of our regions as businesses look to the bush for their next office and opportunity for growth.”</p> <p>Inland Rail signalling and trackside infrastructure will be designed and delivered to integrate with the Advanced Train Management System, supporting enhanced rail safety and freight efficiency across the national network.</p> <p>For more information on Inland Rail visit <a href="http://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">www.InlandRail.gov.au</a></p> Coulton Inland rail signals regional growth Hit television series The Wilds set to film in Queensland Starring Rachel Griffiths, Mia Healey, and Shannon Berry https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/hit-television-series-wilds-set-film-queensland-starring-rachel-griffiths-mia-healey-and-shannon-berry <p>The Morrison Government will provide $9.8 million to ABC Signature to film the second season of the hit Amazon Prime Video series The Wilds: set to commence filming on the Gold Coast in April. </p> <p>The Wilds centres around a group of teenagers who are unexpectedly marooned on a deserted island while en-route to a weekend empowerment retreat.</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the production is expected to bring investment of more than $73 million to the Australia economy and create more than 270 jobs for cast and crew.</p> <p>“A major benefit of international productions filming in Australia is building capacity in areas of skills shortages for our screen industry. I’m pleased that ABC Signature has committed to undertake training and development opportunities for Australian crew – both for those who live in Queensland and across Australia.”</p> <p>“We have a world-class film industry, extremely diverse filming locations, outstanding studio facilities, and a careful management of COVID-19 risks. These factors have cemented Australia as an attractive destination for international studios to film their productions,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“Queensland is the ideal location for season two of The Wilds, with its beautiful scenery and beaches, plus the deep pool of incredibly knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen and crew who are so vital for our production with ABC Signature. We can’t wait to get started,” said Albert Cheng, COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios.</p> <p>Jonnie Davis, President, ABC Signature said, “We couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting for the second season of our ABC Signature hit series, The Wilds, on Amazon Prime Video. The beaches, the terrain, the incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera will truly add to the exciting story we’re telling with this series.” </p> <p>The Wilds Season 2 is supported under the Morrison Government’s $400 million boost to the Location Incentive to create a pipeline of international projects, which will generate tens of thousands of Australian jobs in the screen industry over coming years.</p> <p>For more information on the Location Incentive Program please visit: <a href="https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arts.gov.au%2Fwhat-we-do%2Fscreen%2Faustralian-screen-production-incentive&amp;data=04%7C01%7CMaryAnn.Hughes%40disney.com%7C7c87677de64d4eb1f3f008d8d8f6ae9d%7C56b731a8a2ac4c32bf6b616810e913c6%7C1%7C0%7C637497901286920995%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=w359RMH37nV950Kh%2F0C25QHCdAMz8dEmxf0N5T6MyiI%3D&amp;reserved=0">www.arts.gov.au/what-we-do/screen/australian-screen-production-incentive</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p>Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a></p> <p>Christine Byllaardt | 0409 433 357 | <a href="mailto:Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au">Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au</a></p> Fletcher Hit television series The Wilds set to film in Queensland Starring Rachel Griffiths, Mia Healey, and Shannon Berry Transcript - Press conference at Monarto Safari Park, Murray Bridge, South Australia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-press-conference-monarto-safari-park-murray-bridge-south-australia <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So first of all, this is so exciting; it’s the next stage of development of Monarto Safari Park. I would like to welcome Uncle Clyde, if I can see him in the group hiding quietly. We are on Ngarrindjeri land and working really closely with the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation to make sure that this project also delivers benefits for all. So thank you for coming.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This project is only possible by the funding we received. It’s a $16.8 million project and it really allows Monarto to grow. Our current visitor centre just simply doesn’t support our current level of visitation, but this new visitor centre will allow us to add about 50,000 visitors a year – is what we’re projecting. That brings huge benefit into the region. For us it allows us to connect more people with nature and then do our critical conservation work.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So the funding that we received: over $11 million from the Commonwealth, over $4 million from the State and then the Rural City of Murray Bridge, building the critical road infrastructure to get people safely into this new visitor centre. So it really is a true collaborative project, which is fabulous to see.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We started this project with a design competition and the architects, they’re local architects and designers, Intro and Studio-gram. They designed a building that we absolutely love. We also love the story behind the design. It’s about bringing together Africa and Australia. It’s about bringing together humanity and wildlife. So it’s very much part of who Monarto Safari Park is. We also love the fact that it’s environmentally sustainable, the design. It looks stunning and it will look absolutely beautiful when it’s finished.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We then went through a procurement process and we’ve appointed Mossop’s to do the building work and the formal completion handover date is just under 12 months away, so by February next year. But we are working collaboratively with Mossop’s because they all know I’d absolutely love to be in here by Christmas if that’s at all possible. And we’re standing now, the first concrete pour, is the southwest part of the building, which is the new café, which will be operated by our catering partners, Adelaide Oval.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So I got really excited about two days ago. My phone pinged with a message at six in the morning. That’s usually not good news, but it was actually this site under lights with the first concrete pour, so it was very, very exciting to see.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So, it does take us to such a new stage of Monarto and the investment we received from the Governments allowed our partner, Gerry Ryan, to have the confidence to announce a $40 million investment in accommodation, which will be just over the way in Wild Africa. Unfortunately Gerry can’t be here – he passed on his apologies and also the assurance that his project is definitely still going ahead. And he is also working with Intro in doing the design for the hotel.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So we’re excited. We’re very thankful for the funding support that we’ve received. So I would like to hand over to the Member for Barker, a supporter of Monarto Safari Park, Mr Tony Pasin.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TONY PASIN</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, thanks, Elaine. It falls to me to welcome you all to not just Monarto but to the Murraylands. I’m particularly grateful to be here with the Premier and as well as the Deputy Prime Minister, who’s in South Australia again this weekend, having been there last weekend. He is, of course, no stranger to South Australia and, of course, we think that’s a great thing because of the trail of infrastructure funding he leaves behind him as he travels through Barker, through Grey and other places in South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is a classic example of what you can do when you work together. You’ve just heard from Elaine – a $16.5 million project facilitated by $11.25 million from the Federal Government partnering with not just the Zoos SA but also the State Government, importantly, with a grant of $4.55 million. Now the Murraylands is quickly becoming the place in South Australia where you come and play. Whether it’s here at Monarto Zoo, which will be a state-of-the-art iconic facility, particularly given the new entrance visitor centre we’re creating, but also we have Gifford Hill, if you’re into the races. If you like burning up the fossil fuels and getting around a racetrack, then, of course, there’s Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I acknowledge his Worship the Mayor, who is also here, a strong advocate for this community and someone who is seeing these projects through into reality.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So with that, ladies and gentlemen, can I take this opportunity to introduce to you – not that he needs any introduction – the Premier. Can I thank him for partnering with the Federal Government and Zoos SA to deliver on this project. And can I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for being here. Can I also acknowledge my good friend and colleague – he towers over me – Adrian Pederick who, as with the mayor, is just such a passionate advocate for this community.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Now Elaine, I reckon I might make the callout – the new hashtag for Monarto Zoo is “The wild is calling”, and I couldn’t think of anything better. I can imagine sitting here and having a coffee looking over the Savannah that is this part of the Murraylands in the future. Obviously this adds to other experiences that we’ve provided for here at the Monarto Zoo, including Lions 360.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But with that, the Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall. Steven.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thanks very much, Tony. Can I also acknowledge today that we’re meeting on the traditional lands of the Ngarrindjeri people and we acknowledge their ongoing spiritual relationship with this precious land. Clyde Rigby is with us here today, and he told me that the name Monarto comes from one of the women who was very senior in providing leadership with the Ngarrindjeri people, a senior spokeswoman for the Ngarrindjeri people.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So it’s just fantastic to be back at Monarto. It’s fantastic to have Michael McCormack back here for the second time in one week. He loves South Australia. This project is another example of the Federal Government and the State Government working together to deliver for the people of our State. This will be an iconic project. In less than 12 months’ time this is going to be busy. People are going to be coming from all over the State, all over the country into South Australia to see the largest safari experience outside of Africa. Now we can’t go to Africa at the moment, but people will be able to come here to Monarto. It’s going to be absolutely fantastic.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Importantly, it’s going to create a huge number of jobs – 136 jobs in construction, 89 ongoing. Now the Monarto Safari Park and the zoo have been attracting in normal non-COVID times around 160,000 visitors per year. The plan now is to sail well past 200,000 visitors, and that will be massive for jobs, the local economy, but also for bringing tourists into South Australia, which is one of our highest priorities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s part of our overall $16.7 billion investment in South Australia at the moment. There’s a lot of hi-vis – there’s a lot of steel caps right across this State at the moment and that is absolutely good news as we try to make sure we can do every single thing we can to create jobs following the COVID‑19.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Now this year is a year where we can’t become complacent. Things are moving in the right direction for Australia, the right direction for South Australia, but that vaccine rollout is going to be absolutely crucial to make sure that we can continue to keep our State safe and our economy strong. They’re our priorities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I want to just create – I want to just, if you like, thank and congratulate every single person involved in this project. It is a real collaboration – State, Federal, Local Government, the zoo board, their fantastic team here in South Australia. And what we will have in less than 12 months’ time is a fantastic new, iconic visitor experience here in South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’m now going to pass over, I think, to Brenton Lewis. I can tell you Brenton is a fantastic mayor, but also before that he worked for the RDA – Regional Development Australia. And this was one of his major passion projects, making sure that we could deliver on the full potential of Monarto at Murray Bridge and of course, Tailem Bend. This is now a really high growth part of our State, a really high growth part of our nation. But that took a lot of work and Brenton Lewis was the major contributor to that. So over to Brenton.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>BRENTON LEWIS</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thank you, Premier; you’re too kind. I love the Premier coming here and he comes here regularly. Normally it’s an occasion of some significance where we’re sealing a deal, where we’re signing off, turning a sod of soil or doing something that heralds yet a new project for this part of South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">To you, Deputy Prime Minister, thank you for coming to Murray Bridge. Tony, the good work you do, it’s much appreciated. Today is a culmination of a lot of knocking on your office door and your door, Adrian, asking you to support us in localised projects of significance.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Elaine, since the day you’ve joined the zoo we’ve watched the management and watched the change, the changing culture, the progressive nature of your organisation. To Julieann, president, and members of the board, ladies and gentlemen, Rodney – I’ve seen Rodney Buchecker here somewhere, where are you, Rodney – that’s for your support as well.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As the Premier has outlined, this is a game changer. How fortunate are we in South Australia to have projects of this size that will bring people from interstate and around the State and when we get our borders open again – and that will happen – we’ll have the international visitors coming to this part of South Australia. How fantastic is that?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s just a proud, proud moment for myself as the mayor of the community of Murray Bridge to be here today, to be part of this, to be welcomed – and to welcome you and you see the Murraylands have yet again another major, major project. We’ve had a run of them; I hope they don’t stop. Thank you so much.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, thank you, Mr Mayor and to my friend and colleague Tony Pasin, the hard-working Member for Barker, to my good mate the Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, everybody here – Elaine – everyone else. Fantastic to be here. The noise of the excavator is soon to be replaced by the rumble of the jungle. This is going to be the biggest safari experience outside Africa, as the Premier has just mentioned. How good is that? How good is South Australia?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is going to transform the Monarto Zoo, the Monarto Zoo which has been operating, of course, since 1983. Fifty-five thousand additional visitors, as Tony has just reminded me. That is going to be so good for the visitor economy. That is going to be so good for ongoing jobs. And the Premier, of course, has said 89 jobs ongoing. That is massive. These are the sorts of things we need to do for regional Australia, regional South Australia. And that’s why as the Federal Government building infrastructure right across this nation, right across South Australia, we are partnering with States and Territories. We are rolling out $110 billion of infrastructure over the next decade.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And the South Australian Government, the South Australian Liberal Government is playing its part, too. They are partnering with us. I met with Corey Wingard on Sunday to talk about what future plans we both had to cooperate together, to collaborate together to build a better South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’m really excited about this project. I know tourism has been hit so hard through the COVID situation. I know how difficult this has been. But whilst it has been difficult, it has also given the opportunity for construction to take place in these sorts of locations, these sorts of destinations. And this is going to be such a destination point for not just South Australians but for interstate travellers and, indeed, as the Premier has said, when we get those international flights coming back into Australia, from people from all overseas to come and see what Monarto Zoo has to offer.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is so exciting, Elaine. Tremendous day, a historic day for South Australia. And I know that this visitor gateway centre is going to play such an important part. It’s going to have a children’s playground area, it’s going to have meeting rooms. But it is going to be the first point where many people from around the nation, around the world, see what Australia, what South Australia, has to offer as far as a zoo experience, a zoo experience like no other, as my good mate Tony mentioned. And I’m hoping it’s on my hat, too – the wild is calling. Indeed it is. And why wouldn’t you want to come to South Australia to Monarto to experience the best that these SA Zoos have to offer.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And as I say, it is an exciting day for South Australia. Earlier this morning I was at the ARTC headquarters in Keswick in Adelaide to announce $220 million worth of funding for an advanced management train system, an advanced system which is going to revolutionise the eight and a half thousand kilometres of freight rail network and this is South Australia ingenuity. This is going to be a signalling system that is going to revolutionise the train system right across the nation – not just in South Australia, right across the nation. And indeed, I know it’s going to be taken up by other places elsewhere in the world because it’s going to increase efficiency. It’s going to increase productivity. It’s going to increase safety on the rail system. And that’s fantastic.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And of course, Tony and I are partnering up as well to announce, along with the Premier, $104 million as the first tranche of the road safety package. So they’re just things like rumble strips and grade separations and shoulder strengthening of roads and those things which can make such a difference, which will create jobs – and they already are – but most importantly, will save lives, lives of South Australians, lives of people in regional areas and lives of visitors to this great State as well.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’m excited – you can probably tell that – to be here today. This is a great visitor centre. It’s a work in progress. You can hear the rumbling of the excavator off in the distance, but as I say, it will soon be replaced by the wonderful noises and sense and feeling of this great zoo, an internationally acclaimed zoo attracting more than 55,000 more visitors each and every year. Great day to be in South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So if there’s any questions for any of the speakers or also the architect or builders?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I have a question for you. We sort of heard a bit about it then, but just tell us a bit about the detail, what’s going to make this visitor centre so special, so unique?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Apart from the design, which is beautiful, it is going to be open to the public, even those who don’t choose to come inside the park, so particularly for local residents. It’s something we’ve worked closely on the mayor on, to have a place where people can have their coffee. So there’ll be a café, retail, all of our admissions and memberships. There’ll be the playground. Inside this area that you can see, it’s what we call the heart and that’s where we’ll be encouraging people to come to mingle, to meet up for tours such as the Lions 360 experience. It will have our staff, our volunteers. So it will be an operational full visitor centre and designed to be as accessible as possible for anyone with special needs, parenting rooms, a spot even to hold a dog if somebody we have – a lot of grey nomads or travellers who are coming around Australia and they come in and they’ve got their pet with them, can’t necessarily bring that pet in to see our lions; we want to make sure we look after the pets, so it’s got a pet room.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So it really has got such a huge level of design thought that’s gone into it in partnership with Intro and Studio-gram.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s the first step really, isn’t it? I mean, how exciting is it that this is the first step and you’ve got a $40 million resort as well. I mean, in a couple of years this could look quite different.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Absolutely. And Monarto has grown hugely over the last 10 years and particularly over the last five years. And we’re really now on the cusp of what will be the next iteration of Monarto Safari Park. As I said, Gerry Ryan is totally committed to the $40 million investment. The land next door that we call Wild Africa now has some animals in it. We moved the first group of animals on Christmas Eve, which was a bit of a milestone for us. So that’s getting ready to be able to offer an absolute world-class tourism experience. You’ve heard it will be the largest safari experience in the world outside of Africa and yet it’s an hour’s drive from Adelaide. So it will be an 80-room resort and safari resort hotel, then about 25 glamping units. We’ve already through a partnership with SA Water dug our water holes, so it’s starting to look really, really lovely. It will be an amazing experience. We regularly have staff here on site at sunrise and the sunrises that you see at this place and the sunsets are just stunning. People even just coming in here, you’ve seen the emus. They’re our native wildlife that are joining in. But when you see Wild Africa, when it’s got cheetah and rhinos and giraffes, it is going to be an amazing experience.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So when is construction expected to begin on that next stage?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Look, Gerry is hoping to be open if he can by June ’22. So he’s probably only a few months behind the visitor centre development. So come, you know, 2022 – it’s not that far away we will be operating both the visitor centre and our accommodation.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">[Indistinct] visitor centre by Christmas, did you say?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ELAINE BENSTED</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I am definitely hoping that. I think Mossop’s have heard that more than once from me. Look, as I said, we did have a few delays, as many organisations have, with COVID. The formal handover date is middle of February. I’d love to be in by our busy, busy season for Christmas. But we’ll just wait and see. I know they’re doing – pulling out all stops. As I said, this concrete was poured under lights starting at, I think, quarter to six in the morning. So they’re working really hard, but officially it’s at least by February next year. Thank you.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, as I said, it was absolutely fantastic to have the Deputy Prime Minister back in South Australia. It’s the second time he’s been here in a week. He’s a massive supporter of what we’re doing. Most importantly, he’s part of that critical team that are making sure that South Australia is working the Commonwealth to deliver for our State. Jointly we have $16.7 billion worth of projects in South Australia at the moment, which is creating, you know, just a huge, huge number of jobs in our State now and well into the future. And that’s exactly and precisely what we need.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just while you’re wearing your tourism hat, FiveAA reported this morning that a number of staff at Events SA are going to be stood down today. Given that the Adelaide 500 was going to be this weekend, I mean, there are, I guess, concerns that there aren’t any replacement events in the pipeline. Is that the case?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’ve got the WTA event on in South Australia at the moment then we move into Tasting Australia and then in the middle of the year we’ve got Illuminate Adelaide, which is going to be a fantastic project. What we’ve decided to do on the advice of the SATC is move away from a single event every year in February-March to a range of projects right throughout the year to spread those events. And Illuminate Adelaide is going to be absolutely superb. It’s going to be right in the middle of winter where we know that we’ve got great capacity to take additional interstate visitors into our State. And there’s going to be a huge number of additional projects that we’ll announce in the coming months. We’ve got a group that has been working I think extraordinarily well identifying opportunities. And what we’ll do is we’ll take the money which was previously going into the supercars and we’ll spread it throughout the year. So rather than having one project we’ll have a larger number of smaller projects which will create more jobs. That’s our focus this year.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What’s your response to the staff being stood down? We’re hearing there’s about nine staff being stood down?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Yeah, well, obviously the SATC has made a decision not to continue with the supercars. We support that in Government. They are responsible for their staffing arrangements. But what we are doing as a Government is moving away from the Government providing all of the events to the private sector providing events. So I’m quite sure as those new events roll out those people will find other employment.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But, look, it’s a consequence of not continuing with the supercars, but our focus is creating on many, many more jobs by spreading that money that was going into supercars right across the entire year. And that’s what we’ll be seeing, starting with Illuminate Adelaide in the middle of winter, which is always a pretty tough period for our tourism operators, our accommodation, our restaurants and cafes. So that’s the direction that we’re heading in and I think it will be ultimately very, very good for jobs in South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Health Minister said on Sunday when the vaccine arrived that all 4,000 doses would be used within the first week and 12,000 within the first three weeks and SA Health said something similar on Sunday. Today we’re on Friday and we haven’t even used a thousand doses yet in terms of what the State Government has delivered. It sounds like we’re really running behind.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, look, I think that you’ve got to recognise that this is an important project. We want to get those early days right. It is a combination of approaches between the Federal Government and the State Government. So we are looking after those people who are on the frontline. So people that are working in our quarantine hotels, down at our airport, and the Federal Government is responsible for delivering into aged care facilities and also disability residential facilities as well. So it’s a combined approach. It’s going very well.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is, as Professor Brendan Murphy says, the largest peacetime logistical exercise in our country’s history. We’ve got to get this right. We’re learning from what’s happening in other parts of the world and I think that it’s going extraordinarily well to date.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Health Minister did specifically say that the State Government would deliver 4,000 doses. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get that delivered in the first week. Can you acknowledge that?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So I’m not sure whether you’re talking about the combined effort between the two. We did have 4,000 Pfizer vaccines or doses, which came in over the weekend with 12,000 in total that we will be looking to rollout into that what we call phase 1A and then we move into phase 1B. And we’ll also be then bringing the AstraZeneca vaccine in. I can provide further details later in the day exactly where we are. But I think it’s important to be naturally cautious in the early days, make sure we get the protocols right. This is a very important project and we’re absolutely determined to have the very best vaccine rates in the country here in South Australia. We’ve got a very, very supportive population. Incredible testing rates here in South Australia, great tracing capability, great uptake of the QR code technology and now we want to continue that right the way through with the vaccination program.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The ambulance union last night said they were unable to staff a number of resources, including eight emergency ambulances. Does there need to be extra staff hired to support that demand?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Yes, since coming to Government I think we’ve now put on an additional 180-plus staff in South Australia. Our emergency departments are not operating where they need to at the moment, but that’s a combination of issues; it’s not just related to the number of ambulances and the number of ambulance personnel. It’s a complex system and since coming to Government we’ve looked at the situation that we inherited from the previous Government and we’ve got a multi-pronged attack on how we’re going to deal with the current situation.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Now the current situation is exacerbated by the massive upgrade that we’re doing at the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department at the moment. So during that construction there is a reduction in the number of beds within that emergency department, but very soon that will be the largest ED in the entire State.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’re massively expanding Flinders, we’re massively expanding out north at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, we’re doing huge upgrades out at Modbury and a brand new emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In addition to that we’re doing a lot of work in terms of patient flow through our hospitals, getting some of those longer stay patients out of the beds into more appropriate accommodation, freeing up beds and improving that flow through the hospital. And we’re also tackling the issue – excuse me – of getting patients who would normally go to EDs into more appropriate types of care. And very, very soon we will be opening up that urgent mental health care facility which will take the pressure off of the ED, especially at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I think what I’m trying to say today is there’s not one single issue which is affecting times at our emergency departments; there are a number of issues and the Government is working on all of those simultaneously. I’m absolutely convinced that we will be able to improve that patient flow. We are putting additional resources into our South Australian Ambulance Service. More than 180 new staff since we’ve come to Government and, of course, a massive upgrade of the ambulance fleet – I think 46 new ambulances since we’ve come to Government.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">One of the roles they weren’t able to fill last night they said was a 000 caller. Do you think there does need to be more staff, though, to make sure that that roles are being filled?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, look, there are obviously going to be surges within our health sector. What we’re doing as a Government is to make sure that we can provide the appropriate level of resource. We’ve significantly increased the number of ambulance officers since we’ve come to Government. But more than that, we’re improving patient flow, upgrading our emergency departments and looking for alternative ways to look after patients outside of emergency departments where that is appropriate.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just on submarines, the Financial Review has reported that the Federal Government is looking at ways to get options to get out of the contract. Have you had any conversations with Canberra about that and if so, I mean, how frustrated would you be if it was to fall through?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, look, I think that this is a massive, massive project for our nation. It was great to have Pierre Eric Pommellet here in South Australia earlier in the week then over to Canberra. He’ll be back again on the weekend. It’s great to have his eyes on the project here. There is a contract negotiation going on between the Federal Government and, of course, the Naval Group. My understanding is that those negotiations are progressing.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Look, we’re just interested in jobs here in South Australia. The Naval Group have created hundreds and hundreds of jobs so far since they’ve arrived in South Australia and there are thousands of jobs to come, and that’s great news for our State.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Did you know how many vaccines the State Government was going to deliver this weekend?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, I can get that provided to you.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Will you be hitting the newly reopened dance floors this evening?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I don’t know about that. I’ll tell you what’s happening tonight, though, is it’s the opening of the Adelaide Festival. I can tell you, it was the largest arts festival in the world last year. I think it’s going to be the largest arts festival in the world this year as well. So Adelaide Festival kicks off tonight. The Fringe is in full swing. The WTA finals are tomorrow night. Next weekend we’re moving into WOMAD. There is a huge amount happening in South Australia at the moment and that means great news for people looking for work.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Can I just ask, the hard border with Melbourne has come down. What does that mean for visitors to our State?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>STEVEN MARSHALL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I think so many people are going to be relieved that that hard border arrangement with Victoria has been removed as of midnight last night. So a lot of family reunion. A lot of people coming in for the festival, for the Fringe, for the tennis, for WOMAD, which is also great for our State because that is going to create jobs.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I was looking forward to seeing the Premier do the Nutbush then, but never mind. Next time.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just on the Naval Group negotiations, are we any closer to seeing a formal contract there?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">They’re ongoing, and those discussions are necessary, and they’re happening.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Are you confident all the members of your parliamentary party are aware of what’s appropriate office conduct and what isn’t?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Absolutely. And they have been for some time. You don’t get into Parliament without being a community leader. And I expect my members of parliament, the staff are very important, and I expect my members of parliament to treat them accordingly, to treat them with respect. The Prime Minister gave a very, very good speech yesterday about respect, and I think that’s what’s needed always. I mean, people right across Australia look to the Federal Parliament for direction, for good Government, and they expect us to respect one another and that’s what should be the absolute bottom minimum.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Is it ever appropriate for a politician to touch a staff member in any context?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No. Well, not in an inappropriate way. No, of course it’s not.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And why did –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">They can shake hands, of course, they can, you know, do those sorts of things, but, no. And at the moment it’s elbow bumping through COVID laws etc. But, you know, any inappropriate touching is not on, not appropriate and is not acceptable. And not just in the parliament, but in any workplace. I mean, you know, people need to respect one another and they need to respect people’s personal space. They need to respect people for who they are and what they are and, you know, our staff do a great job. They do a great job in long hours, in difficult situations. And, you know, at the end of the day they need to be respected for the jobs they do and as human beings. And, you know, in any workplace right throughout Australia those rules apply.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Why did MPs need a letter to tell them to report criminal conduct?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, the AFP made quite clear to the Prime Minister that was conveyed then, of course, to the presiding officers – the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the President of the Senate – that in the event of serious criminal allegations being made they should be referred to the appropriate authorities. And the Prime Minister’s Office, parliamentarians themselves are not arbiters of justice in that regard. That needs – those issues, those allegations, should be referred to the proper authorities, and that is the police, whether it’s the State police, whether it’s the Australian Federal Police, no matter what jurisdiction it occurred, it should go to the proper authorities and then justice can be done.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Has the rollout of the COVID vaccine been halted in aged care centres in regional areas?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I don’t believe so. There’s 134 vaccination sites around Australia in week 1, 44 per cent of those are in regional areas. This is the largest peacetime logistical exercise in Australia’s history. Now that’s been said by the Chief Medical Officer, that’s been said by the Secretary of the Department of Federal Health and it is. It is a large logistical exercise. It won’t be without some hiccups along the way, but Australians can be rest assured that the jab is necessary, that this is going to get us back to some sort of pre-COVID normality. And as many of those who’ve already received the jab have said, “I’m not just doing it for myself; I’m doing it for the loved ones around me. I’m doing it for those strangers I have never encountered before, but I’m doing it for Australia.”</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Federal Government is also well behind in terms of vaccines at aged care facilities. Was it too ambitious a target you set?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, Australia is well in front of any other nation you like to look at in the world as far as what we’ve done as far as the COVID-19 situation is, you know, concerned. I mean, you look at other countries in the world where, dare I say, other Western democracies, where they’re still dying at the rate of two a minute. We haven’t had any community transmission cases in most States for some time now. New South Wales has gone through almost a month without a community transmission case. I was on a plane last night. I overheard a woman say, “I’m going back home to Adelaide. Where else what you want to be?” I mean, the States have done very well, the territories have done very well. They’ve been led by the Commonwealth as far as COVID-19 is concerned. And I have to say Australians have been magnificent. They’ve exercised social distancing, they’ve worn face masks, they’ve been absolutely magnificent. And that’s why we’ve kept Australia as COVID-free as we have.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’ve heard some wild claims about, you know, tens of thousands of vaccinations coming through within a few weeks. It doesn’t seem to be rolling out that way at this stage. Can you comment on that?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, of course we’re getting tens of thousands of shipments of vaccines. And I’ve seen – I’ve been to the warehouse where they are arriving. DHL and Linfox are helping with that logistical exercise. They’re getting their trucks and planes are also in this exercise of getting these vaccines out. The Pfizer vaccine, of course, has to be stored at minus 70 degrees. This is a huge logistical exercise. And of course, Australia is a very large country. It is a massive country. And the amount of kilometres travelled by trucks and planes to get the vaccines out this week was further than from here to the moon – 400,000 kilometres. This has been an amazing exercise in the first week alone. And, you know, many, many people have received the vaccine. They will receive it as part of this phase 1A. That will be nursing homes, nursing home workers, hospitals etc., frontline medical personnel, disability carers and those who have disabilities. We’ve got the agenda. We’re going to roll it out. Hopefully by September, October most if on the all of the population will be vaccinated. And we’ve got enough vaccines for all of Australia, whether it’s Pfizer AstraZeneca. And of course, we’re also going to vaccinate the South Pacific Islands because that’s what a good neighbour does.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The infrastructure report has declared the Hobart port as a priority. Why is the port considered not suitable and in need of major funding if the operators of the ship and local port authority say there’s no problem?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I what chat to Michael Ferguson last night, who is the Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister. We’re working through all those issues. The IA does a list of priority projects, put it on their list. That’s good advice to Government. It’s not Government-run. It’s not Government-led. It’s independent of Government, and that’s the way it should be. They offer the advice. We look at that advice. I’m pleased that there are a number of projects from South Australia on that list. And even this morning the advanced train management system was previously on the IA agenda. They said that this is going to be an important thing for safety, productivity and efficiency of Australia’s freight rail network. And today $220 million of Commonwealth money went to that very project. So over the next three or so years that’s going to be rolled out across the network. Over the next 10 or so years, that’s going to be rolled out over the entire eight and a half thousand kilometres of network. And this is South Australian ingenuity, inventiveness at its best. And this is the IA working collaboratively with the Government at its best. Thank you very much.</p> <h2 class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p>Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668<br /> Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - Press conference at Monarto Safari Park, Murray Bridge, South Australia Infrastructure Australia's 2021 Priority List welcomed https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/infrastructure-australias-2021-priority-list-welcomed <p>The Australian Government has welcomed today’s release of Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) 2021 update to its Infrastructure Priority List, showcasing the Government’s commitment to deliver nation-defining infrastructure while helping inform future investment priorities for all levels of government.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Priority List seamlessly couples with Australia’s infrastructure-led economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>“The Priority List drew on 124 new submissions received since the last edition’s release in August 2020, highlighting a $59 billion pipeline of investments for nationally significant priorities across a range of sectors including transport, energy, water, communications, housing and education,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“I am pleased to see a strong focus on economic development in regional communities, with projects such as the Federally-funded Parkes Bypass highlighted by IA as a priority corridor which will deliver long-term benefits for the freight operators, farmers and manufacturers of the region.</p> <p>“Corridor-focused improvements mean reduced travel times and improved freight productivity as this Government continues to support priority projects like these, ensuring goods get to market and drivers get home sooner and safer.</p> <p>“The Priority List helps inform future Australian Government investments as we continue to deliver on our 10-year, $110 billion infrastructure plan which is laying the foundations for economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the Priority List informs all levels of government and the private sector on what priority projects and initiatives are under development across the country.</p> <p>“The Infrastructure Priority List provided important input into the Government’s considerations on which major national infrastructure projects should receive federal funding,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“The Government has already committed to many of the initiatives on the list, which are helping bust congestion, increase road safety and improve travel times in both regional and urban areas.</p> <p>“I am particularly pleased to see the addition of many projects in fast-growing cities to the list, such as the Armadale Road Bridge, following the assessment by IA as having the potential to improve congestion and decrease travel time due to pressure from expected population growth and is an existing Government funding commitment.”</p> <p>Projects on the list already supported by the Government include:</p> <ul> <li>$149 million for New South Wales’ Parkes Bypass;</li> <li>$120 million for New South Wales’ Prospect Highway upgrade:</li> <li>$207 million towards Western Australia’s Armadale Road Bridge;</li> <li>$681 million for Western Australia’s Bunbury Outer Ring Road;</li> <li>$137 million for Australian Capital Territory’s Commonwealth Avenue Bridge upgrade.</li> </ul> <p>Infrastructure Australia is the Government's national infrastructure advisory body, with a key role in assessing business cases for major projects seeking Australian Government funding and maintaining the Infrastructure Priority List to inform future government and private sector investment decisions.</p> <p>IA’s Infrastructure Priority List is available at <a href="https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/publications/Infrastructure_Priority_List_2021">www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/publications/Infrastructure_Priority_List_2021</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Joanne Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Fletcher – Imre Salusinszky 0432 535 737</p> Fletcher Infrastructure Australia's 2021 Priority List welcomed $100 million to bolster road safety in South Australia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/buchholz/media-release/100-million-bolster-road-safety-south-australia <p>Fifteen new road safety projects are about to start rolling out across South Australia as part of the first tranche of a road safety package worth more than $100 million, designed to reduce road trauma and save lives.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said tranche one works would start imminently and be completed by June to improve safety and support jobs as soon as possible.</p> <p>“This funding is part of our national $2 billion Road Safety Program and will deliver much-needed lifesaving upgrades including shoulder sealing, rumble strips, works to prevent head-on collisions and barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will always do everything we can to ensure all South Australians make it home sooner and safer at the end of every road trip, no matter where they live.”</p> <p>Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, said getting funding flowing and shovels in the dirt on road safety upgrades across the state was going to create jobs and save lives. </p> <p>“Getting work underway on these projects now means we are delivering safer roads and supporting around 500 local jobs through economic stimulus at a time it is needed most,” Premier Marshall said.</p> <p>“My Government is pleased to be partnering with the Australian Government to get this more than $100 million in funding out the door to improve the safety of our road network and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on our roads.”</p> <p>South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, said South Australians would soon start feeling the difference this funding will make on the state’s roads.</p> <p>“If there is one important New Year’s resolution I encourage all South Australians to stick to this year, it’s to ensure they do their bit to promote road safety so we can all get home safely,” Minister Wingard said.</p> <p>“Crashes happen because people can make mistakes, but these life-saving road safety investments will reduce the impact of those mistakes.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said road safety was a key priority for the Australian Government and this investment was all about ensuring Australians can get home sooner and safer.</p> <p>“As a former transport operator, I know what it’s like to travel long distances on all sorts of regional and urban roads and of course the difference treatments like shoulder sealing, rumble strips and barriers can make to drivers’ peace of mind in preventing crashes,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p>“You just can’t put a price on what safer roads and driver peace of mind means to commuters, which is why I am proud to be part of a Government that takes road safety very seriously.”</p> <p>The Australian Government’s funding for the Road Safety Program is subject to ‘use it or lose it’ provisions and will deliver life-saving treatments on regional roads across SA while also supporting local jobs and providing a welcome boost to local economies.</p> <p>The ‘use it or lose it’ provisions require states and territories to use their notionally allocated funds within a timeframe, or the funds can be reallocated to projects in other jurisdictions.</p> <p>In total, the Australian Government has committed $83.7 million and the South Australian Government a further $20.9 million to fund the state-wide upgrades under this first tranche of the program.</p> <p>For more information on the Australian Government’s road safety initiatives, visit <a href="http://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au">www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au</a>. </p> <p><strong>A list of the projects are below:</strong></p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p>Project</p> </td> <td> <p>Total</p> </td> <td> <p>State Contribution</p> </td> <td> <p>Commonwealth Contribution</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Riddoch Highway - Keith to Mount Gambier</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 3,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$600,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$2,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Ngarkat Highway - Pinaroo to Bordertown</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 9,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$1,800,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$7,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Karoonda Highway - Veitch to Boundary Road</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$100,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Riddoch Highway - Keith to Mount Gambier</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 1,540,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$320,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$1,220,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Eyre Highway - Head of Bight to Ceduna</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 9,100,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$1,820,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$7,280,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Augusta Highway - Collinsfield to Red Hill</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 7,500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$1,500,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$6,000,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Barrier Highway - Burra to Cockburn</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 18,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$3,600,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$14,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Stuart Highway - Pimba and North of Coober Pedy</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 17,600,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$3,520,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$14,080,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Upper Yorke Road - Maitland to Aurthurton</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 6,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$1,200,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$4,800,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Tod Highway - Kyancutta to Lock</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 4,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$800,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$3,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Birdseye Highway - Lock to Rudall</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 4,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$800,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$3,200,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Minlaton Road - Minlaton to Stansbury</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 3,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$600,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$2,400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Playford Highway - Bark Hut Road to Kingscote Airport</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 1,000,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$200,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$800,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Pages Flat Road - Willunga to Myponga</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 500,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$100,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$400,000</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Horrocks Highway - Wilmington to Templars</p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$ 19,900,000 </strong></p> </td> <td> <p>$3,980,000</p> </td> <td> <p>$15,920,000</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Premier Marshall – Eleisa Hancock 0433 950 083</p> <p>Minister Wingard – Gemma Coombe 0415 175 716</p> <p>Assistant Minister Buchholz – Josh Christian 0439 897 926</p> Buchholz $100 million to bolster road safety in South Australia Funding flows to drought-affected regions https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/littleproud/media-release/funding-flows-drought-affected-regions <p>Drought-affected regions are continuing to benefit from Australian Government funding support, with 24 projects sharing in more than $1.1 million under the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s award-winning Tackling Tough Times Together program.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government’s commitment to supporting drought-affected regions was all the more important following the economic shock of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>“While we’ve seen good rainfall in some parts of Australia, there are still many regional and remote communities continuing to battle the impacts of drought,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This has been further compounded by the additional challenges of COVID-19 and, in some parts, bushfires, making our ongoing support all the more vital.</p> <p>“The Australian Government’s $15 million commitment to the FRRR Tackling Tough Times Together program supports hundreds of projects run by local groups in drought-affected regional communities, fostering social connection, enhancing community identities and supporting the recovery of the local economy.</p> <p>“The past year has been difficult for many, however rural and regional Australians continue to show remarkable grit and resilience.”</p> <p>Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said it is pleasing to see so many projects in drought-affected areas benefiting directly from federal funding.</p> <p>“It is important for people to know that funding is still available and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis,” Mr Littleproud said.</p> <p>“Projects funded in this round include a Community Multipurpose Gym Facility Project in Wilmington, the installation of a solar panel system at the Warra Tennis Club and an Outback Festival in Winton to reduce social isolation and drive economic recovery.</p> <p>“I strongly encourage drought-affected communities across remote, rural and regional Australia to apply for the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s future rounds.”</p> <p>The Tackling Tough Times Together program was awarded the 2020 Australian Philanthropy Awards - Best Grant Program.</p> <p>More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at <a href="https://frrr.org.au/TTTT">https://frrr.org.au/TTTT</a> or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at <a href="http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs.">www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs.</a></p> <p>Tackling Tough Times Together projects are assessed by an independent advisory committee and approved by the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s 13-member board.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Littleproud – Douglas Ferguson 0455 448 985</p> Littleproud Funding flows to drought-affected regions Inland rail signals regional growth https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/gee/media-release/inland-rail-signals-regional-growth <p>The design and construction of Inland Rail is providing stimulus to companies right across the nation with investments in services and supplies driving employment and growth in regional Australia.</p> <p>The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded a contract worth more than $30 million for signalling design and the delivery of rail safety systems for the Inland Rail project north of Illabo in New South Wales, through to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton in Queensland.</p> <p>Leading global design and consultancy firm Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd is the successful company tasked with delivering the design of rail signalling systems from concept through to final commissioning for these sections.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail was delivering jobs, opportunities and regional resilience.</p> <p>“Our Government backs regional Australia with the infrastructure and programs that will unlock the untapped potential and economic growth of our regional centres,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Investments through projects such as the transformational Inland Rail send a clear signal that regional Australia is open for business and industry is listening and acting.</p> <p>“As a nationally significant project, with economic benefits that reach far beyond the rail line, the design and construction of Inland Rail provides the vital economic stimulus that Australia needs.</p> <p>“Every dollar we spend on Inland Rail is another dollar injected into the Australian economy – this contract with Arcadis is one of more than 1,000 committed to date.”</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that Inland Rail was bringing jobs to regional Australia.</p> <p>“To design the rail signalling systems for Inland Rail, Arcadis will have regional resources in Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee to complement its central offices in Sydney and Brisbane,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>“This $30 million contract for Inland Rail signalling design will provide work for 80 Australians, with the majority of these located in New South Wales and opportunities for local people to apply for regional positions working with Arcadis over the next six years.</p> <p>“Through the design and construction of Inland Rail, the Australian Government’s investment in infrastructure is bringing immediate opportunities to our regions, providing work in professional and trade based sectors.”</p> <p>Local Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee welcomed the news that towns in regional New South Wales were directly contributing to Inland Rail.</p> <p>“Regional New South Wales is benefiting greatly from the design and construction of Inland Rail,” Minister Gee said.</p> <p>“The contracts to design and deliver Inland Rail are allowing businesses in regional New South Wales to employ local people and demonstrating the enormous capability of our regions as businesses look to the bush for their next office and opportunity for growth.”</p> <p>Inland Rail signalling and trackside infrastructure will be designed and delivered to integrate with the Advanced Train Management System, supporting enhanced rail safety and freight efficiency across the national network.</p> <p>For more information on Inland Rail visit <a href="http://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">www.InlandRail.gov.au</a></p> Gee Inland rail signals regional growth Entries open for Prime Minister's Literary Awards https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/entries-open-prime-ministers-literary-awards <p>The 2021 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, which recognize Australia’s outstanding literary talent, are now open for entries.</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison strongly encouraged writers to put their unique stories forward for this year’s Awards,</p> <p>“Last year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Awards again highlighted the diverse literary contributions we have in Australia,” the Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“The Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution literature, history and poetry have in connecting us to Australian voices and our story as a nation. “</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the Awards pay homage to the valuable contribution Australian writing makes to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.</p> <p>“The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards identifies Australia’s pre-eminent writers each year, showcases their works, and provides national recognition for their talent,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>The Awards are presented in six categories – children's literature, young adult literature, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, Australian history – with a total prize pool of $600,000.</p> <p>Entries, which close on Friday 26 March are sought for books published in the 2020 calendar year.</p> <p>For more information about the Awards and entry guidelines, visit: <a href="http://www.arts.gov.au/pmla">PM's Literary Awards</a></p> Fletcher Entries open for Prime Minister's Literary Awards Major funding announced for innovative train management system https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/major-funding-announced-innovative-train-management-system <p>The Australian Government is investing a further $220 million for an innovative signalling technology that is increasing the safety and reliability of Australia’s freight rail network and generating hundreds of jobs.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham today announced the funding for the next major planning phase of the Advanced Train Management Systems (ATMS) following its successful deployment and commissioning on the freight rail line between Port Augusta and Whyalla.</p> <p>"After more than a decade of intense development, testing and design, a cutting-edge train management system has gone live in South Australia after commissioning trials were completed late last year,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>"We now look to the next phase of ATMS which will focus on planning and designing its implementation from Melbourne to Perth and linking the east-west freight corridor to Inland Rail through Parkes using ATMS as the new signalling platform.</p> <p>"ATMS is recognised by Infrastructure Australia as a priority initiative that benefits the entire freight and logistics industry and is supported by Australia’s nine major freight rail businesses.</p> <p>"The freight rail industry has an outstanding safety record in Australia and ATMS will strengthen and deliver high standards of safety and further reduce the risk of train-to-train and overspeed accidents.</p> <p>"The freight rail industry and the Australian Government have worked closely to explore the opportunities to accelerate ATMS implementation across the interstate rail network and I thank the rail industry and the Freight on Rail Group for their ongoing co-operation.</p> <p>"When completed, the national rollout of ATMS will reduce the number of train control rules across the National Rail Freight Network from 18 to one representing a significant step towards skills interoperability for train drivers and network controllers.”</p> <p>Minister for Finance and Senator for South Australia Simon Birmingham said the Australian Government’s continued investment in advanced train technology would support the more efficient and safer movement of rail freight across Australia.</p> <p>“This cutting-edge technology is going to be a game-changer in the way rail freight will be moved across Australia’s rail network and that’s why we’re backing it through this major $220 million investment,” Minister Birmingham said.</p> <p>“This technology is going to be developed right here in South Australia and it’s precisely projects like this that continue to transform our state into a powerhouse in high tech manufacturing and innovation.</p> <p>"Through this investment there will be a significant scaling up of capacity at ARTC’s project operations centre at Mile End which will be a major job maker for our state with up to 300 direct highly skilled jobs and a further 700 indirect local jobs expected to be created.”</p> <p>ARTC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mark Campbell said ATMS is a modern, communications-based, safe-working system designed for Australian conditions by ARTC and technology partner Lockheed Martin.</p> <p>"ATMS revolutionises how trains operate on the national interstate rail network and provides a quantum leap forward in safety, capacity and productivity for freight rail operations,” Mr Campbell said.</p> <p>"Work is now underway to accelerate the next phase of ATMS deployment as the primary safe work system for 3,464 kilometres of track between Melbourne to Perth.”</p> <p>Chair of Freight on Rail Group (FORG) and the ATMS Oversight Implementation Group, Dean Dalla Valle, said ATMS will deliver a significant and long-lasting safety and productivity boost for the sector.</p> <p>"This ground-breaking technology will also help unlock latent capital of existing rail freight infrastructure and rollingstock by significantly lifting productivity of future services,” Mr Dalle Valle said.</p> <p>FORG was tasked by the Australian Government to work closely with ARTC to develop a business case to help fast track ATMS implementation on the nation’s interstate rail network.</p> <p>The initial $70 million investment for the development and now deployment of ATMS was jointly funded by the Australian Government committing $50 million and ARTC committing the remaining $20 million.</p> <h2>Media Contact:</h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Birmingham – Benn Ayre 0428 342 325</p> <p>Mr Campbell – (08) 8217 4366</p> McCormack Major funding announced for innovative train management system Monarto Zoo safari roars ahead https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/monarto-zoo-safari-roars-ahead <p>Today’s sod turning at regional South Australia’s Monarto Zoo officially marks the start of construction on a new state-of-the-art Safari Gateway Visitors Centre.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $16.7 million project would provide enormous economic benefits to Monarto and neighbouring regions.</p> <p>“With this investment, the Visitors Centre will be able to attract new visitors to the region, create ongoing jobs and cement the zoo as a must-see tourism attraction,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Monarto Zoo is set for major redevelopment, with the Visitors Centre being the first stage.</p> <p>“In addition to the creation of 136 jobs during construction and 89 ongoing positions, this will enable the zoo to be better equipped to really pounce on the rapid growth in visitors they have seen in recent years.”</p> <p>Premier of South Australia said the Visitor Centre will simultaneously create jobs while creating a premiere tourist destination in South Australia.</p> <p>“This Visitor Centre will be yet another drawcard for Monarto Safari Park which attracts around 160,000 local, national and international visitors in a normal year,” Premier Steven Marshall said.</p> <p>“The fact that this will be the largest safari experience outside of Africa is a coup for our state, putting us on the map globally and enhancing our world class tourism credentials.</p> <p>“Not only is this exciting project created a major tourism drawcard for South Australia it’s going to create 136 jobs during the entire construction and a further 89 jobs once operational,” Premier Marshall said.</p> <p>South Australia Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the Visitors Centre will be a valuable asset to the community.</p> <p>“It is set to include a children’s play area, meeting areas, a café, office space and public amenities,” Minister Basham said.</p> <p>“Other facilities such as Safari gardens and a car park are also receiving much needed upgrades.”</p> <p>Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said it is pleasing to see the Australian Government investing in regional South Australia.</p> <p>“I argued strongly for the Federal Government to invest into the Monarto Zoo redevelopment because I understood the positive flow on effects for the wider Murraylands. I’m thrilled that the Deputy Prime Minister is here today to witness what our Government’s $11.25 million investment will deliver for this project and our region.” Mr Pasin said.</p> <p>“This is an exciting day that marks the beginning of a new era for the Monarto Zoo. This state of the art visitor facility coupled with other exciting developments will transform the Monarto Zoo into a world class tourism experience bringing many thousands of first time visitors including international tourist to the Murraylands which will benefit both the state and local economy,” Mr Pasin said.</p> <p>The Australian Government committed $11.25 million, the SA Government $4.55 million and the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia $900,500 to fund the $16.7 million project.</p> <h2>Media Contact:</h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Premier Marshall – Eleisa Hancock | 0433 950 083</p> <p>Minister Basham – Ryan Smith | 0466 498 060</p> <p>Mr Pasin – Anna Hawkins (08) 8724 7730</p> McCormack Monarto Zoo safari roars ahead Inland rail signals regional growth https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/inland-rail-signals-regional-growth <p>The design and construction of Inland Rail is providing stimulus to companies right across the nation with investments in services and supplies driving employment and growth in regional Australia.</p> <p>The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded a contract worth more than $30 million for signalling design and the delivery of rail safety systems for the Inland Rail project north of Illabo in New South Wales, through to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton in Queensland.</p> <p>Leading global design and consultancy firm Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd is the successful company tasked with delivering the design of rail signalling systems from concept through to final commissioning for these sections.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Inland Rail was delivering jobs, opportunities and regional resilience.</p> <p>“Our Government backs regional Australia with the infrastructure and programs that will unlock the untapped potential and economic growth of our regional centres,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Investments through projects such as the transformational Inland Rail send a clear signal that regional Australia is open for business and industry is listening and acting.</p> <p>“As a nationally significant project, with economic benefits that reach far beyond the rail line, the design and construction of Inland Rail provides the vital economic stimulus that Australia needs.</p> <p>“Every dollar we spend on Inland Rail is another dollar injected into the Australian economy – this contract with Arcadis is one of more than 1,000 committed to date.”</p> <p>Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said that Inland Rail was bringing jobs to regional Australia.</p> <p>“To design the rail signalling systems for Inland Rail, Arcadis will have regional resources in Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee to complement its central offices in Sydney and Brisbane,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>“This $30 million contract for Inland Rail signalling design will provide work for 80 Australians, with the majority of these located in New South Wales and opportunities for local people to apply for regional positions working with Arcadis over the next six years.</p> <p>“Through the design and construction of Inland Rail, the Australian Government’s investment in infrastructure is bringing immediate opportunities to our regions, providing work in professional and trade based sectors.”</p> <p>Local Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee welcomed the news that towns in regional New South Wales were directly contributing to Inland Rail.</p> <p>“Regional New South Wales is benefiting greatly from the design and construction of Inland Rail,” Minister Gee said.</p> <p>“The contracts to design and deliver Inland Rail are allowing businesses in regional New South Wales to employ local people and demonstrating the enormous capability of our regions as businesses look to the bush for their next office and opportunity for growth.”</p> <p>Inland Rail signalling and trackside infrastructure will be designed and delivered to integrate with the Advanced Train Management System, supporting enhanced rail safety and freight efficiency across the national network.</p> <p>For more information on Inland Rail visit <a href="http://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">www.InlandRail.gov.au</a></p> McCormack Inland rail signals regional growth Inland Growth Summit https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/speech/inland-growth-summit <p><strong>MARK COULTON:</strong></p> <p>It’s always good to be with you. But also, great to be here with my good friend Nola Marino.</p> <p>But having said that, Nola and I turned up in Canberra on the same day in 2007 and Nola is a dairy farmer.</p> <p>She and her husband started from scratch in Western Australia and being a dairy farmer very much involved in the community. She ran the footy club for a number of years.</p> <p>And the halls of Parliament House are strewn with the carcass of people who thought Nola’s petite size was in some way an indication that she was a pushover.</p> <p>And she’s a great champion for regional Australia, and she is doing a great job as the Assistant Minister for Regional Development in the Territories.</p> <p>So, she looks after a lot of those islands that we have control over.</p> <p>But it’s great to be here.</p> <p>And isn’t it interesting that during the worst pandemic the world has seen over this last century that we’ve got a summit here trying to find out how we can get more people to take up the jobs and opportunities in our region.</p> <p>And that’s not some sort of a fluke – it’s because of the work that people in this room have been doing for a long time to set up to a joint organisation where we do have these opportunities.</p> <p>And to overcome this problem is a long-term process.</p> <p>So, there’s a syndrome in Canberra I call silver bulletitus – everyone is looking for, “Oh, no, we’ll get the doctors to the bush, we’ll do this. Oh, no, we’ll do this.”</p> <p>And, you know, we are sometimes paying the price for that.</p> <p>You know, one of the silver1)2) bulletitus things we deal with now is the fact that we pay locums three times the rate of a normal doctor to come and fill in a position.</p> <p>It’s actually a disincentive for someone to actually come and set up and provide permanent services, because they can sit on the Gold Coast for half the year and earn the same money by going to a country town.</p> <p>So, we’ve recognised that and we’re in the early stages working with the state and the federal government even just here.</p> <p>And we’ve got five trial sites announced the budget, one that’s up and running call the Murrumbidgee Model trial where we combining the resources of the state government—they’re responsible for manning the hospitals.</p> <p>We’re responsible for the GP services—and creating an employment environment where people want to come not because of the remuneration but because they’re supported and because it’s actually going to enhance their career.</p> <p>Offering five-year contracts for registrars so they don’t have to change towns every year, like the current form, a contract that comes with leave, maternity leave, because there’s clearly much more women now coming through the medical fraternity than men, so you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got an environment so that they can still feel comfortable to pursue their career in the regions but it’s not going to interfere with their family life.</p> <p>Last week the first students in the Murray Darling Medical School were enrolled in Orange, Wagga Wagga and Bendigo.</p> <p>This time next year they will be enrolled in the new facility that’s being built up here in Dubbo.</p> <p>Dubbo’s Sydney University campus is going to recruit locally as a post-grad course. So, they are looking for people who may be qualified in education - they might be nurses or paramedics or schoolteachers.</p> <p>Any degree they’ve got, but they are established in the community and have a desire to do medicine.</p> <p>They’ll be the sort of people we’ll be recruiting here, so we don’t have to bring people from outside, we’ll grow our own. So, these things take a long, long time.</p> <p>Another part of my responsibilities is regional communications and so, you know, we’ve had five rounds and five and a half rounds of the mobile black spot program.</p> <p>We’ve funded about 1200 towers on that program. But it’s basically got to a point now where the telcos have said, “We don’t care. With the subsidy you’ve got we’re not going to go there because they’re not profitable.” So we are changing the guidelines for those programs. And so Round 5A is open now, and it’s open for more innovative models.</p> <p>Two of the towers in Round 5 are a partnership between Field Solutions and Optus out here in the Macquarie Valley.</p> <p>There’s one at Nyngan and the other one further out towards Nyngan at Mullengudgery.</p> <p>And they’ll be delivering high speed, high-capacity broadband off those towers as well as Optus will be providing voice. And so those sorts of collaborations are important.</p> <p>The regional connectivity program is being assessed now.</p> <p>It’s grossly oversubscribed but we are looking for innovative ways of delivering telecommunications in that program because in round 6 of the black spot program – and I’ve put in a budget submission for another round of the regional connectivity program – we’re changing the guidelines so that we can be on cutting edge.</p> <p>But one of my frustrations is that quite often people are languishing thinking that they’ve got no way out, you know, what happens is the phone doesn’t work, “It’s the bloody government’s fault.” All they have to do is whinge about it and my job is done.</p> <p>Now I was talking to a good friend of mine who was going crook because he said, “I can’t talk to the operator in my tractor.”</p> <p>I went out there in the car with an aerial and I said, “Well, you know, you need to put an aerial up.” He said, “You’re kidding me? It’s a thousand bucks.” I said, “The tractor and the plant is worth a million. Why wouldn’t you spend a thousand dollars to put an aerial on it so that you can talk to the guys driving it?”</p> <p>And so we’ve set up a Regional Tech Hub. We went out to tender. The NFF was successful.</p> <p>These advisers are regionally based. You can ring them up and they’ll talk you through it.</p> <p>You’ll say, “Look, I’m having trouble with my internet,” and they’ll say, “Where do you live? These are the options.</p> <p>You might be able to get (your internet from) Telstra or Optus, you know, you might go to the Sky Muster satellite, or do you know that another company is putting a tower up there?</p> <p>Because I worked at home during the pandemic.</p> <p>I’m at Warialda, I live out of town. My internet connection is the Sky Muster satellite. I did all my Zoom meetings when I’m at home. All my phone calls came through my iPhone through the satellite, not from the Telstra tower, through the satellite.</p> <p>And there’s a lot of people who said, “Look, it’s been out for two months and I can’t make a phone call.” “Have you got the Sky Muster satellite?” “No. What’s that?”</p> <p>So, we need to make sure that people know what’s available but it doesn’t mean that we’re not still striving to fill in those gaps.</p> <p>There’s still a hundred thousand Australians that don’t have mobile coverage, and that’s their challenge at the moment.</p> <p>Ultimately it might be, you know, ordering satellites or whatever, but we’re still working in that space.</p> <p>So, welcome here today.</p> <p>As Brad (Cam) said in the introduction, I’ve been around for a little while now and I can never remember not only in this job, but I don’t think I can remember as someone that’s lived in the bush all their life a feeling of optimism, not only in the agriculture sector.</p> <p>You know there’s optimism in the beef industry. I’ve got a little block – Robyn and I trade in a few steers, and so you’ve got to have optimism to pay $1,500 for the steers to buy in.</p> <p>You’ve got to have a bit of faith that you know that the market’s going to hold up at the other end. But that’s what’s happening right across. We’ve had a great grain market. You know, one thing about the bush – you never know what’s around the corner.</p> <p>The mice have come to join us, and they’re a problem at the moment. They will move on, as they always do, but they’re causing a lot of grief at the moment eating all the summer crops.</p> <p>But generally, the optimism is good.</p> <p>I’m hoping that the discussion today looks at the key things we can do.</p> <p>We have relied a lot on overseas workers to fill in the gaps, and they’ve done a great job. You know, here in Dubbo, there is a very strong multicultural community that are contributing enormously to this community, and we see that right across in other towns as well.</p> <p>That’s been disrupted because of COVID. But that’s another way to encourage people to come from elsewhere in the country.</p> <p>But the other thing we need to do – and I think we are doing much better – is looking after our own.</p> <p>You know, through the Clontarf Foundation, there were 57 Aboriginal lads do their HSC here in Dubbo last year. And all but a couple of those have gone into trades, they’ve gone into further education. They’re working in the area and that’s what we’ve got to do.</p> <p>If we want this area to prosper, we’ve got to make sure that we bring everyone with us, and we can’t just ignore some of our people.</p> <p>We’ve got to bring everyone along with us because it’s going to take all of us to actually do what needs to be done.</p> <p>So, Brad, well done. Congratulations on your appointment.</p> <p>You’ve been involved in the RDA for a long time. John – I know he’s not here today; he’s probably fishing or something – but John has done a really good job here for a long, long time focusing on that, and you’re a great replacement to carry the mantle on, and welcome.</p> <p>So, ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the day and I’ll look forward to hearing some of the outcomes.</p> Coulton Inland Growth Summit Concept designs for Mitcham Hills corridor upgrades released https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/concept-designs-mitcham-hills-corridor-upgrades-released <p>The Morrison and Marshall governments have released concept designs for vital junction upgrades along the Mitcham Hills corridor that will improve road safety and traffic flow through the Adelaide foothills.</p> <p>The Australian Government has committed $20 million to works on the Old Belair Road and James Road T-Junction and improvements along Old Belair Road between Sheoak and Blythewood roads.</p> <p>The South Australian Government is funding $20 million in upgrades to the Russell Street, Main Road and Sheoak Road junction.<br /> Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said around 17,500 vehicles pass through the T-Junction every day and there were 50 crashes on Old Belair Road between Sheoak and Blythewood Roads from 2015 to 2019.</p> <p>“Delivering safe and efficient roads is a key priority of the Australian Government, because even one crash is one too many,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“That’s why I am proud to see these $40 million in upgrades progress, with works to deliver vital safety benefits for motorists while supporting around 115 full time jobs during construction.</p> <p>“This is fantastic news as we continue to drive South Australia’s recovery by delivering lasting infrastructure projects that provide jobs, economic stimulus and long-term community benefits.”</p> <p>South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Corey Wingard MP, said the projects teams are now seeking feedback from the community on the designs.</p> <p>“The Marshall Government is delivering its plan to keep South Australia safe and strong, by creating jobs, backing business and building what matters,” Minister Wingard said.</p> <p>“These notorious junctions have been a constant source of frustration for hills communities and these upgrades will provide commuters with safer and more reliable journeys.</p> <p>“The feedback from the community on these designs is an important part of the process and we want to hear what you have to say. All feedback will be reviewed and considered – our aim is to deliver the upgrades that the community wants.”</p> <p>Federal Member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint MP, said ensuring commuters have a safe and quick journey is a key priority and encouraged locals to participate in the consultation.</p> <p>“Our local residents know their roads best, which is why their feedback is so important,” Ms Flint said.</p> <p>“This stretch of road is incredibly unsafe and I am so pleased to have secured funding to fix this problem.</p> <p>“Alongside other upgrades to the Mitcham Hills Road Corridor, this project will deliver a safer and quicker journey for thousands of locals every day.”</p> <p>Early works on the upgrade to the Old Belair Road and James Road T-junction and improvements along Old Belair Road (between Sheoak Road and Blythewood Road) are expected to commence in mid-2021, with main works expected to commence in late 2021.<br /> Further details on dates for works on the Russell Street/ Main Road / Sheoak Road junctions will be provided following the community feedback process.</p> <p>Detailed planning continues for the Shepherds Hill Road, Brighton Parade and Waite Street intersection upgrade, with a concept design expected to be released early this year.</p> <p>For more information on the project visit: <a href="http://www.dit.sa.gov.au/mitchamhills">www.dit.sa.gov.au/mitchamhills</a>.</p> Fletcher Concept designs for Mitcham Hills corridor upgrades released University of Tasmania’s Inveresk construction blitz builds https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/university-tasmanias-inveresk-construction-blitz-builds <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Another significant milestone for the University of Tasmania’s new Inveresk campus has been reached with a major tender awarded to a leading Tasmanian construction firm.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">In a project set to further stimulate the economy in Northern Tasmania, Fairbrother Pty Ltd has won the main construction contract for the university’s $45 million River’s Edge building.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The new Inveresk campus is being delivered through a $283 million partnership between the Australian and Tasmanian governments, the City of Launceston and the university.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the project was a key initiative under the Launceston City Deal to establish Launceston as one of Australia’s most innovative and liveable regional cities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The project will revitalise the region’s economy and during construction will create about 100 full-time equivalent jobs, including for apprentices,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, said the development would provide Northern Tasmania with world-class learning facilities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“These facilities will strengthen links between the university and industry, government and businesses in the region, and encourage growth, innovation and productivity,” Minister Tudge said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The new campus is expected to host 10,000 students by 2032 and will deliver courses to address skills shortages and improve employment outcomes in Northern Tasmania.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Tasmanian Minister for State Growth, the Hon Michael Ferguson MP, congratulated Fairbrother and said he looked forward to seeing construction begin soon.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This project will mean more jobs for locals, capitalising on the skills pipeline we have been building through a concerted vocational training push in the region,” Minister Ferguson said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“It is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Launceston’s history and we’re pleased to have one of Tasmania’s leading construction companies building River’s Edge.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Federal Member for Bass, Bridget Archer MP, said early works started in late January to prepare the foundations for the River’s Edge building.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This is the second of three new university buildings that will be constructed on the new campus between now and 2024,” Ms Archer said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The staged approach to construction is maximising economic benefit and supporting local industry.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, said at such a critical time for economies around the world, delivering the Northern Transformation Program was crucial for the region’s growth.</p> <p class="paragraph">“Supporting the regional economy has always been an important goal for the university and our partners, so it is exciting to see significant direct and indirect benefits flow into the community when it is needed most,” Professor Black said.</p> <p class="paragraph">“For years to come, the education, research and innovation that will happen in the Inveresk Precinct will support and shape the future of Launceston, our island and beyond.”</p> <p class="paragraph">Fairbrother General Manager, Kurt Arnold, said the company was proud to be involved in a project that was so important to Northern Tasmania. </p> <p class="paragraph">“The significant construction program will enable our continued commitment to the Tasmanian construction industry, employing local tradespeople, businesses and suppliers,” Mr Arnold said.</p> <p class="paragraph">“It also provides a unique and challenging project on which to train and educate our young apprentices.”</p> <p class="paragraph">The River’s Edge building, designed by John Wardle Architects, is the second of three new university buildings that will be developed at the Inveresk campus between now and 2024. The River’s Edge building is scheduled for completion at the end of 2022. </p> <h2 class="MsoBodyText"><strong>Media contact:</strong></h2> <p>Minister Fletcher: Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a></p> <p>Minister Tudge: Steve Kidner | 0466 385 097 | <a href="mailto:Steve.Kidner@dese.gov.au">Steve.Kidner@dese.gov.au</a></p> <p>Minister Ferguson: Carly Dolan | 0437 925 010 | <a href="mailto:Lucy.Langtry@dpac.tas.gov.au">Lucy.Langtry@dpac.tas.gov.au</a></p> <p>Professor Black: Ben Wild | 0438 510 616 | <a href="mailto:Ben.Wild@utas.edu.au">Ben.Wild@utas.edu.au</a></p> Fletcher University of Tasmania’s Inveresk construction blitz builds Transcript - ACT Light Rail Press Conference https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-act-light-rail-press-conference <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><strong>7:28AM</strong></p> <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>ZED SESELJA</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, thank you all for being here. It’s great to be here with my good friend Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Chris Steel, for what is, I think, a really important announcement in Canberra’s transport infrastructure – that is $132 million of Commonwealth contribution to the next stage of light rail. Now, this is part of a massive Commonwealth investment in Canberra across the board, not just in transport infrastructure, but when it comes to transport infrastructure all around Canberra we are investing. Whether it’s the Monaro Highway, whether it is the Tuggeranong Parkway or whether it is the Kings Highway, the Barton Highway, we are seeing investments right around the city and this is the next stage of that. Of course, it comes back on the $68 million investment in Stage 1. I know this will be welcomed, as we’ve seen this project unfold. Of course, I think it is important that we see the links across the town centres and of course, the next stage over to Woden. So well done to Michael McCormack on this. As a Canberran I welcome it and I welcome the record Commonwealth investment that is happening in Canberra and this $132 million is part of that. With that, I’ll throw to the Chief Minister.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Thank you very much, Zed and I particularly acknowledge and thank Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for taking time out of a busy schedule on a sitting day to be here and for this very significant Commonwealth commitment towards Stage 2A of light rail. This is a significant project for the ACT. Its significance is long term in terms of good transport infrastructure that will reduce congestion. But it’s also got a really important short-term jobs impact and bonus for the ACT for our construction sector and a spill over into economic activity. This 2A project will be an important marker of renewal within the Canberra CBD. And in the post-COVID environment there will be a need to focus on CBD renewal. So this project together with numerous others in the city are going to be important drivers of economic activity in the CBD.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I want to particularly thank and acknowledge the Commonwealth for this announcement. They’ve built on a number of others as Zed has indicated where we’ve had strong collaboration in the development of projects through an Infrastructure Australia pipeline, engagement early with the Commonwealth on infrastructure priorities and then an agreement to share funding to make things happen. This approach to collaborative federalism has been a real feature of Australia’s COVID response.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As a group of national leaders, first ministers and treasurers have met more in the last year than in the previous decade and that frequency of engagement, sharing of ideas has led to these sorts of practical outcomes. And I think that’s what Australians expect. I know Canberrans want just their fair share of the national infrastructure pie and this announcement today goes a long way to Canberra receiving its population share of what is a very large Commonwealth infrastructure program. It’s a great thing for Canberra. It’s a great thing for the transport sector and it will make our city a better place to live in in the long-term. That’s a really positive outcome out of this period. It would, of course, be remiss of me not to have a little shout out to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. We’re possibly unlikely collaborators, Josh and I, but we have been working incredibly well together and this is another practical example. And I do want to acknowledge that Josh listens when we talk. We talk frequently, and this is another practical example of that. So, Michael, to you and the Prime Minister as well, thank you for this announcement. We very much look forward to continuing our collaboration and the next major infrastructure project that will be funded 50:50 between the ACT and the Commonwealth.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>CHRIS STEEL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This announcement today gives us real confidence that we can move to the next stage of this important infrastructure project for Canberra with the submission of NCA works approval around quarter three of this year. This will be a disruptive project in the short term, but it will provide long-term benefits for our city, both in terms of public transport but also wider economic benefits with high-quality mass transit powered by 100-per-cent renewable electricity. So we’re looking forward to getting on with the project. We still anticipate that work will begin as early as 2021-22 on raising London Circuit and other early works. We’re looking forward to getting on with that work with the support now of two governments. Happy to take questions after that.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I acknowledge that we are on Ngunnawal territory and I acknowledge my good friend Senator Zed Seselja. I acknowledge my good friend Chief Minister Andrew Barr and of course, Minister Chris Steel. It won’t be too long and we’ll be all aboard – all aboard this congestion-busting, job-creating, hope-building, confidence-creating project. This is so exciting and as the Chief Minister has just said, this is what happens when governments collaborate and the commuters here – the Canberrans walking by – they don’t care what particular stripe of government is up on the Hill or here in Canberra, they just want to get things done. They want to get things done because they want to get to where they need to be sooner and safer. And this is what happens when you’ve got a Commonwealth Government working with the ACT Government and that is what we’re doing, not just here in Canberra but right across the country. $110 billion of infrastructure that we’re rolling out over the next decade, right across the nation. And that’s so important because as we come out of the back of COVID-19, as the vaccine rolls out, as we get on with the recovery, it’s not just a health recovery, of course, it’s an economic recovery and it’s so needed. All of these commuters know that, all of you good people who’ve turned up here today for this exciting announcement know that, too. And we’re building for a better future. We’re building for a better future with the ACT Government, with every state and every territory government. And I’m really excited to be announcing this today with my colleagues here, my parliamentarian colleagues, because I know how much this is going to mean for Canberrans. I know how much it’s going to mean for visitors who come to this great city. This is a very liveable city, as Minister Chris Steel has just said. This is a renewal for Canberra. This is an exciting project. Fantastic to be here today announcing it – $132.5 million of Commonwealth money and of course, Zed and I were announcing the funding for the upgrade of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. So there’s a lot of things happening in and around Canberra. That will continue to happen as Andrew and I and of course, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer – who the Chief Minister has just so kindly talked about – we get on with building a better Canberra, a better future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Deputy Prime Minister, you speak about getting on with it. With this money, does this mean that you and your Government will push for those approvals to go ahead so they can start the project?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, as Duncan, one of the planning people, announced earlier, of course the planning is well underway. We expect that planning to continue through the year. And by next year we’ll start construction.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">You talk about the infrastructure spend across the country being $132 million here out of $110 billion. Can we expect more funding for Canberra in the future?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Absolutely. This is but one project – one project of many. You heard Zed Seselja talk about all sorts of things earlier – Barton Highway, we’ve got all sorts of linkage roads and Commonwealth Avenue we announced just a few short weeks ago. This is building for a better Canberra. This is building our future and this is helping Canberra, like the rest of the country, construct out of COVID-19. This is going to create jobs – 1,000 jobs for this very project. 1,000 jobs. That means, you know, a lot of procurement, indeed, for local businesses. That means confidence for the Canberra economy.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Senator, you haven’t always been a fan of this project. What changed your mind?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ZED SESELJA</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, look, obviously the people have spoken and what I’ve always said is once the first stage of light rail was completed it made absolute sense to expand that and turn that into a network and not just have it from Gungahlin to the city. So that debate is over. The question now is making it work and, of course, making it accessible to as many Canberrans as possible. Of course, [indistinct] goes to south side. I still am sceptical that as a Tuggeranong resident I will see it come to Tuggeranong any time soon. But you never know, and the first stage is to get it to Woden. Look, I think it will be welcomed in Woden. I think it will be welcomed in that area. I think linking those town centres is going to be [indistinct].</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Can you push some funding to get it to Tuggeranong?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ZED SESELJA</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">To Tuggeranong, look, it’s obviously a way off. But what I’ll continue to push for is more commonwealth funding for Canberra, because it’s record investment in Canberra at the moment. So, you know, we haven’t been choosing between public transport and car-based transport. We are investing in both. So this is now $200 million for light rail in total but, of course, the Monaro Highway, the Barton Highway, the Molonglo Valley bridge, Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, the investments are huge, as well as our national institutions where $1.4 billion has been announced just in the last couple years from the federal government in Canberra. That’s a huge investment. If we can do more, we absolutely will.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So just in regards to [indistinct], will you be pushing for [indistinct] Stage 3 of light rail?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ZED SESELJA</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I’ll keep pushing for more funding for transport infrastructure. And so there will be other priorities. Light rail will be one very important priority amongst many. And when I have the conversations with Deputy Prime Minister McCormack he knows I’m in there regularly saying, “We want infrastructure funding here in Canberra.” We’ve been getting a lot of it in recent years, and those conversations will continue.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">[Indistinct] I’m just wondering now if we can just get an understanding of when [indistinct].</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">There’s still a series of rather complex EPBC approvals required for Stage 2B. As I understand it that’s perhaps more on a heritage aspect as it goes through the oldest part of Canberra, the Parliamentary Triangle. It does also require approval of both houses of parliament. So I’ll be calling on these two gentlemen for their advocacy and support and their vote for the project when it ultimately comes before parliament. But you can’t get to Stage 2B until you’ve got stage 2A complete, and this is a really important signal today.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I think we should reflect on the history of the light rail project. It was perhaps considered unlikely that I’d get Joe Hockey over the line as a funding partner. I’ve been persistent in this. I think it’s a great project for Canberra, and I want to acknowledge that, you know, the commonwealth has recognised this. They did fund stage 1 and now they’re stepping up for Stage 2A. So I think that’s a pretty good basis to have a conversation about stage 2B and beyond. And I’ll certainly take the senator’s indication he wants it to Tuggeranong and talk to him about some financial support for that – happy to go 50-50.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So have any submissions been – any planning applications been submitted to NCA at this stage or are they –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">For Stage 2A?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Yes.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">That’s coming –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, no, 2B.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, not yet. We’ve got to go through the EPBC approvals first. So Stage 2A planning approvals, which have to go to both the NCA and the ACT [indistinct].</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Are you still saying that you’re hope it will be completed through this term of government or are you still not sure?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Sorry?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Are you still saying that you want [indistinct] to be completed in this term of government?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It won’t be completed in this term of government, no. I mean, given the approvals process [indistinct] be able to get 2A done, and clearly we’re in a position to get that underway, get works underway and get on with it. That’s what we’re going to do.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">You’re asking for Commonwealth funding for this for quite a while. How [indistinct]?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, in terms of the 2A contribution this is a very significant contribution, and we acknowledge that. It will make a big difference in terms of the ACT Government’s approach to finance through the project. Clearly now is a very good time to be in the market to buy or be going to be refinancing some of our debt. That will reduce our interest costs. But at the moment access to finance is a major issue. This contribution certainly helps, and what it will do across the entire territory balance sheet and the entire territory infrastructure program is free up some capacity for some further collaboration on other projects into the future. We are, of course, mindful of the need to protect our credit rating and to have a manageable level of debt, but every little bit helps, and $132 million is nothing to sneeze at, and I do want to acknowledge that. That’s very significant for us and for this project.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">You were talking about the renewal of the CBD in general. What other projects should we keep an eye on?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ANDREW BARR</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">There are numerous. I’m very conscious of the time of these two gentlemen, so we might take that offline, but there are a number, and we’ll get that information to you.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Mr McCormack [indistinct] on a different matter, would you consider hiring Craig Kelly? Would he be a good fit for the Nats?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, Craig Kelly has indicated to The Sydney Morning Herald that he is going to be not coming to the Nats, that he’s going to be sitting on the crossbench. He told the parliament yesterday that he would be sitting on the crossbench for the remainder of the parliamentary term as an independent.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">[Indistinct]</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, he’s going to be sitting on the crossbench as an independent for the remainder of the parliamentary term. He’s told The Sydney Morning Herald that; he’s told the parliament that.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What’s your opinion [indistinct]?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What’s my opinion of what?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Would he be a good Nat?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, he’s not going to come to the Nationals. He’s actually – as I say again – he’s going to be sitting as a crossbench independent. He’s told The Sydney Morning Herald that he’s not going to go to One Nation, he’s not going to go to the National Party; he’s going to be an independent.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Were you surprised as everyone else when he resigned?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Yes.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">[Indistinct]</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, the government will continue as per usual. We will continue to deliver for all Australians. We will continue to rollout the vaccine. We’ll continue to build infrastructure right across the nation. It’s great to be here today announcing a project with the Chief Minister. That’s what I do all the time. I don’t know care what political stripe or persuasion States or Territories are. I’ll work with Chief Ministers, I’ll work with Premiers, I’ll work with people like Chris Steel. We want to get on and build a better Australia. We want to get on and make sure that we build out of COVID-19.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s been a very challenging 12 months or more. This has been very challenging for Australians, and most Australians don’t care what seats people occupy up there on the Hill. They just want to see delivery. They want to get out the back of COVID-19 and make sure they’ve got a job for themselves and their futures. They want to make sure that their children have got good health services, good education services. And that’s what the Liberal-Nationals government up there on the Hill is concentrating on – every day and every night, working for Australians.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What concessions did the Government have to make to get Facebook to reinstate the news?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What concessions did...?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The government have to make to get Facebook to reinstate the news?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, look, that was a discussion that the Treasurer had with Mr Zuckerberg. The important thing is that news is going to be back on Facebook. And Facebook were shown by the Australian Government that what they did by pulling down those websites, by pulling down those important government and perhaps more important health websites was just not on. It was not on. I’m glad that they’ve seen reason. I’m glad that they’re coming to the party. I’m glad that they’re going to pay media organisations such as yourselves. I mean, you’ve all come out here this morning –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">[Indistinct]</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, they’re going to be paying. Like I say, your media organisations have sent you out here this morning. You’re doing a wonderful job, as you always do. And it’s important that we do get journalists and cameras and reporters out to these sorts of events to report the news for and on behalf of Australians. And why shouldn’t the organisations which send you out here for these important events get paid to have those stories online and on Facebook?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just with Craig Kelly, before his conversation with The Sydney Morning Herald the morning did you have any conversations about him joining the Nats?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I reached out to Craig some weeks ago as a colleague. Craig and I came into the parliament together in 2010, and I reach out to colleagues of all political persuasion. In fact, I had a good chat to a Labor member yesterday who’s under the pump a bit. And I spoke to her and, you know, said I was thinking of her. But that’s just me. I spoke to Craig Kelly because I reached out to him as a friend. I didn’t discuss joining the Nationals with him. Thank you very much.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>ENDS 7:46AM</strong></p> <h2 class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Jo Williamson, 0418 475 668</p> <p>Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - ACT Light Rail Press Conference Now is the time to move regional https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/now-time-move-regional <p>Australians are turning the dream of a tree change into reality, with the largest quarterly shift on record of city dwellers making the move to regional Australia.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said metropolitan Australians are finally waking up to countless opportunities present in regional, rural in remote Australia that accompany an unparalleled lifestyle.</p> <p>“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, regional Australia has been one of the safest places in the world. Couple this with the more than 54,000 job vacancies in the regions and it is completely understandable as to why so many are seeking that tree change,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Alongside the bustling resource and agricultural industries, regional Australia presents endless opportunities in education, infrastructure, health, defence and so many more engaging and important sectors of the Australian economy.</p> <p>“When people witness the lifestyle that regional Australia affords them – less hustle, less hassle, big backyards, stronger communities – it does not take long to for them to realise their full potential and relocate.”</p> <p>Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee said recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed capital cities had a net loss of 11,200 people from internal migration in the September 2020 quarter, beating last quarters record of 10,500.</p> <p>“After being stuck inside throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of Australians are dreaming of a tree change or sea change, and with a suite of Australian Government and industry incentives in place, there’s no better time,” Minister Gee said.</p> <p>“The Australian Government is working hard to capitalise on this trend. We are partnering with businesses and the tertiary education sector, to remove impediments that prevent people from relocating to the regions and revitalise the Decentralisation Agenda.</p> <p>“We have made a $41 million commitment under our Regional Decentralisation Agenda in the 2020–21 Budget to drive closer collaboration between businesses and tertiary research organisations, while also delivering practical solutions to enable the growth of important industries for the regions.</p> <p>“This is in addition to our record $110 billion 10-year regional infrastructure pipeline, which is investing in critical regional road and rail projects and our $1.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program which is supporting thousands of small-scale local priority projects.</p> <p>“Simply put, we are making the decision for businesses and individuals to make the move to regional Australia a ‘no brainer’.</p> <p>“As corporate companies and industry turn their sights towards the untapped potential of country Australia, it is critical that we have a shared vision that will turbocharge job opportunities and economic prosperity in regional Australia.</p> <p>“Yesterday, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) launched their regionalisation agenda, which will compliment and build upon the Government’s regional development initiatives, while last week, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) launched a massive $4.6 million campaign to target the one in five people who are thinking about moving regional.</p> <p>"This increased focus and investment in our regions by key players such as the NFF and RAI is a testament to the opportunities that the bush has to offer.</p> <p>“The best thing we can do for country Australia is create the right conditions and policy framework for private companies and individuals to make the move and invest in our regions.</p> <p>“I look forward to working with the NFF and RAI to proactively attract more businesses and more Aussies to the country.</p> <p>“Our regions are the lifeblood of this nation and with drawcards such as world-unparalleled surroundings, affordable housing and job opportunities, it’s no wonder more people are calling regional Australia home.”</p> <h2>Media Contact:</h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p>Minister Gee – Gabi Phipps 0400 917 405</p> McCormack Now is the time to move regional $132.5 million of federal funding for ACT's Light Rail Stage 2A https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/1325-million-federal-funding-acts-light-rail-stage-2a <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Australian Government today announced funding for an important infrastructure project to boost the nation’s capital – construction of the first section of the City to Woden light rail extension.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $132.5 million commitment for Stage 2A of light rail would help make the project a reality for Canberra.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Extending the light rail will also create jobs and bust congestion in the ACT by improving public transport and pedestrian and cyclist safety,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This is what the Australian Government’s $110 billion investment pipeline is all about – getting Australians home sooner and safer whilst boosting local economies as we bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr acknowledged the contribution from the Australian Government emphasised the importance of the project for the Territory.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The Commonwealth’s support for the project is welcomed, and it follows in the footsteps of the financial support received for stage one of the ACT’s light rail network ,” Chief Minister Barr said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The project is critical to the Territory’s Jobs and Economic Recovery plan, and I look forward to working with the Commonwealth on progressing the approvals for the entire stage 2 project.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said for Canberrans, extending the Gungahlin-City light rail made sense.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“It is important we get light rail right for Canberrans. With construction anticipated to commence in 2022, Stage 2A is the first leg of bringing light rail to Woden, and will extend the existing route by three stops to Commonwealth Park.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Today’s announcement boosts the Australian Government’s infrastructure bonanza in Canberra to more than $1.4 billion in recent years,” Senator Seselja said. </p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the ACT Government has already seen great results for local jobs, transport and the economy with Stage 1 of the Light Rail, with further benefits from  Stage 2A.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Light rail is seeing more Canberrans choose public transport, with more than 43% of people surveyed stating they had never used public transport before catching light rail,” Minister Steel said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Stage 2 of light rail will extend the benefits of better public transport, by extending the line to create a north-south spine for our city-wide light rail network.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Whilst this project will be very disruptive during construction, it will deliver long term transport and economic benefits for our city, with better quality, mass transit, powered by 100% renewable electricity.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Stage 2A will add 1.7 km of track and three new stops South of the existing line operating ‘wire free’ from Alinga Street through to Commonwealth Park. An additional 2,500-3,000 passengers a day are expected in the first operating year.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 | Dean Shachar 0418 202 860</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Chief Minister Barr – Kaarin Dynon 0422 772 215</p> <p>Senator Seselja – Cassandra Choake 0427 839 164</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Steel – Anton Gallacher 0422 574 108</p> McCormack $132.5 million of federal funding for ACT's Light Rail Stage 2A