Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Latest releases from the Ministers en Billion-dollar investment in NSW dams <p>The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments will deliver a $1 billion water infrastructure package for rural and regional communities impacted by the devastating drought in NSW.</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said both Liberal and Nationals governments had been working together to fund critical water infrastructure projects, including new and expanded dam projects.</p> <p>“Our response to the ongoing drought impacting rural and regional communities is comprehensive and committed. It deals with immediate needs for financial assistance in and longer term investments to build drought resilience for the future,” the Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“And it’s not set and forget. We are continually adding to our drought response, saying loud and clear that we’re backing Australians who are battling the drought.</p> <p>“Together we’ll deliver a $650 million upgrade of Wyangala Dam in the state’s Central West and a $480 million new Dungowan Dam near Tamworth.</p> <p>“Our 50/50 investment with the state government in these priority large-scale water infrastructure projects will free up NSW funding to allow them to progress critical town water projects across NSW. We want to get these projects underway because this is about water supply and security.</p> <p>“These projects don’t happen overnight but we’re working as quickly as possible to get all the necessary work done so we can start digging.</p> <p>“We’re also investing an initial $24 million on a 50/50 basis with NSW for the 100,000-megalitre proposed Border Rivers project on the Mole River, near the Queensland border. This will ensure the project is shovel ready and help to identify the potential benefits that could flow on to irrigators and local communities in NSW and potentially Queensland.</p> <p>“This funding brings our water infrastructure commitments to $1.5 billion across 21 projects that are committed or underway. This is part of more than $7 billion in drought support funding that we are already providing and have committed.”</p> <p>Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Government has already committed close to $3 billion to drought relief and water security since 2017.</p> <p>“In partnership with the Commonwealth, we will build the first new dam in NSW for more than 30 years. The last was Split Rock Dam on the Manilla River in 1987. That’s why today’s announcement is historic,” Ms Berejiklian said.</p> <p>“The NSW Government is working in lockstep with the Commonwealth to make absolutely certain all obstacles are cleared and these dams get built.</p> <p>“Our regional and rural communities are doing it incredibly tough and that’s why we’re making this massive additional investment in partnership with the Commonwealth Government.</p> <p>“This builds on the NSW Government’s record $3 billion in drought support and water security announced since 2017, including funding for 60 bores across 23 communities and 14 pipelines, such as that from Wentworth to Broken Hill.</p> <p>“Dams and other water infrastructure are an important part of the mix when it comes to increasing supply and reliability so that NSW’s water supply is more resilient to the terrible drought being experienced across the eastern states.”</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding would prioritise all necessary business case development and design works.</p> <p>“We are already making significant investments in water infrastructure capital projects nationwide and today’s announcement signals a major acceleration of that commitment,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“No one should doubt our commitment to getting these sorts of projects done in partnership with all states and territories – our $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility are in place to deliver the planning, assessment and construction work needed to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century.</p> <p>“These projects will fit into our strategic plan for improving regional water security through water infrastructure led by the National Water Grid Authority.”</p> <p>Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales John Barilaro said the NSW Government has been getting on with building critical water infrastructure projects but this was a significant turning point to future-proof the state.</p> <p>“Only last week I was pleased to officially switch on the $12.85 million Malpas Dam to Guyra pipeline in the Northern Tablelands region, a project completed on time and under budget by the NSW Government,” the Deputy Premier said.</p> <p>“This partnership with the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will mean more projects, in faster time frames.</p> <p>“Our priority is to get these major projects off the ground as quickly as possible, to combat ‘day zero’ and help regional and rural communities in NSW get through this devastating drought.”</p> <p>Formalised agreements between the Federal and NSW Governments outlining the timeframes will be finalised shortly.</p> McCormack Billion-dollar investment in NSW dams Croydon community collects park upgrade <p>A series of upgrades providing better access and new equipment to Croydon’s Blair Park will be a boon for Sydney’s Inner West.</p> <p>Federal Member for Reid Fiona Martin said the upgrade would foster active lifestyles by providing a quality venue boasting new field lighting, a picnic shelter and a playground.</p> <p>“This upgrade is a big win, particularly for the Burwood Football Club and local schools, who will be able to use the park to host carnivals and other school sports events,” Dr Martin said.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project had seen a $1.3 million Federal Liberal and Nationals Government investment in the region’s sporting infrastructure.</p> <p>“We anticipate visitor numbers up to 120,000 people each year thanks to these fantastic new facilities, which also include a bocce court, new canteen and office areas for Council staff, along with improved access to the field itself,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>Mayor of Burwood Council John Faker said the Blair Park Embellishment Project had been a great success for the community of Burwood.</p> <p>“The Blair Park Embellishment Project is the first extensive enhancement to the park in 30 years. Our local community have been requesting more green space as well as improved facilities and Council have listened,” Cr Faker said.</p> <p>The project was jointly funded with the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government investing $1.3 million and the Burwood Council $29,855.</p> McCormack Croydon community collects park upgrade Sky News Live - Interview with Tom Connell <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Joining me now here in the studio is Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities, and Urban Infrastructure, thanks for your time.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> G’day Tom.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Now, we’ve got agreements today. We always like it when people are getting along and helping out the nation. What are we talking about here, a new approach to population. What’s the detail that we can gleam from this? Because you’ve been talking about this approach for a while.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Yeah well that’s right, this is the first time that the states and territories, with the Federal Government, have agreed on a population planning framework, so in essence, for us to align each of our respective responsibilities much more closely. Because when you think about it Tom, we have the major population growth lever falling in our responsibilities. That's the migration rate, which comprises 60 per cent of the population growth. But the states and territories have the primary responsibility for the infrastructure delivery, for the housing approvals, for the services and the like. And you need to make sure those things are absolutely in sync because if they're not in sync, you have your population for example running ahead of infrastructure, and then you have congestion or you don't have the houses approved and you get house price spikes. That’s what today is all about, and that's why we've got a framework.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> So you go around to all the states and, for example, if you talk to Victoria, they go here's where we want Melbourne to be, here's where we see Victoria. You feed all of this in, and then that actually contributes to the overall net migration rate? That’s how this works?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Yeah. That's basically what that is saying, traditionally the Federal Government has largely set the population rate ourselves with some input from the states and territories, but now we want to have much greater input from them, in terms of what is your desired population growth in your city and your state; can we align our levers to achieve that. And what do you need to have in terms of infrastructure and housing approvals and services to be able to meet that population growth.</p> <p>Furthermore, you've got to look at the demographics too because that's critically important in terms of economic success; in terms of the ageing of the population, the skills there.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Very hard to control.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Yes and no, again migration becomes so important in that regard. We do really well in Australia because we bring in largely skilled migrants who are young, an average age of about 26, and that keeps our working age population high so that we’re not ageing so rapidly, and therefore more are people working, being productive; to support those people into retirement.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> So you're getting more data and you want it to be more accurate, because it has been very inaccurate in the past. How does that feed into the overall population, I mean, are you going through a process where you'll have a population you want to hit in 2030, 2040, 2050, and do you control for that or let growth sort of control where the population goes?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> We are in terms of that second question, certainly much more strongly leaning in terms of where we want to see growth than we ever have. Now, traditionally again migration being the major population growth lever, it constitutes 60 per cent of our population growth. Traditionally we've just let people come and settle wherever they like. Now we've actually created incentives for new migrants to go to some of the smaller cities in the regions, which are desperate for more people but can't get them.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> And that’s the where, the overall, I mean, at the end of this process will you have a figure for 2030, 2040, 2050?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> We haven’t got to that yet.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> But is that what you want to achieve?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> We have agreed through the process today that we will have a rolling three yearly plan, which will update every three years, we’ll update a Population Plan. And we'll do that in collaboration with the states, and then we'll have a yearly statement as well which will in essence track ourselves against that plan. Now, we haven't worked out the details of that in terms of how far in advance we’ll forecast and want to say, well, we ideally do want to see X million people here and x thousand there.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> But is that a possibility?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> That’s where we’re leaning towards, I’m saying, Tom.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> And do you have a broad?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Which is much more of a settlement strategy.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Yeah, yeah. But do you have an idea right now for where you might land, how far ahead- could we, in a year, possibly have 2030, here's where the population we want to get to, here's the number?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, we will certainly have better forecasts in relation to that based on our policy settings at the moment. And traditionally, Tom, on that, we've largely relied on, say, ABS, and you referred to how we're out in the past, or the Treasurer might have referred to that earlier today.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Well, yeah. Basically from 2002 to now, you thought it’d be two and a half million bigger. It got to five million.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It got to five million. And in part, those were projections rather than forecasts. What I mean by that is that it tended to look backwards as to how we've been going and just assumed that it would be going forwards, whereas we want to get to a position and today was about this, to say we actually need much more sophisticated forecasts of our population region by region, city by city.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> And so, if you have that forecast, a better one for 2030, is that a target you try really hard to hit and not go over? Or is that simply trying to get a better estimate? You know would you pull on levers and go: we’re going to be two million over, we don't want to be over?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> If you're doing a forecast, it'll be based on what our policy settings are, and then we want to track ourselves against those forecasts so that the councils and the state governments, who have the primary responsibility for the infrastructure and housing approvals, can have greater surety as well that, okay, this is what the population is much more likely to be coming, and we can plan accordingly rather than be planning for X and then all of a sudden, having a lot more people.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> And one of the big levers you can pull is net migration, permanent migration. You wouldn't be afraid to go: we’re going quite a bit over here. We are pulling migration right back?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, we haven't got to that point yet. We have said that we're going to pull the migration rate down and we're implementing that from 1 July of this year and we’ve said over the next four years, we will cap that permanent migration rate at that lower number, at 160,000 per annum, whereas it was at 190,000 per annum. Then, within that cap of 160, we've got 23,000 dedicated spots for the regions and the smaller cities.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Can I ask you as well, temporary migration, because this can have a much bigger impact and oscillate very quickly, 700,000 I think in the country at the moment. Is there anything you can do to control that?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, it's a good point that you make. Our population is made up of obviously Australian citizens, and then you have new migrants who come in here as permanent residents and then you have temporary migrants. Sometimes they can be Kiwis, they might be international students, they’re long-term holiday makers and the like.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> But the same impact on resources.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> But they can have the same impact on resources and they tend to be more demand-driven programs, particularly, say, what used to be called the 457 visa which provides short-term people to fill skills gaps.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Specialist, yeah.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Specialist skills gaps. Now, we have said, and we've put in place already, incentives particularly for international students, to go to some of the regional areas and the smaller cities because they're the biggest components of short-term migration. <strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Right. But that still has that same net impact. Would you look to reduce that overall or is that something that would hurt the economy so you wouldn’t look to reduce that?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> The permanent migration rate in the medium term is actually what drives the overall migration rate.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> So, is it bouncing around?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It’s the<strong> </strong>year to year, it bounces a bit because of the temporary. But the permanent migration rate actually<strong> </strong>does establish the medium-term growth. <strong>Tom Connell:</strong> But you wouldn't want to temper that rate at all?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, the permanent migration rate, we have tempered, we have pulled down. Now, we've announced that for the next four years. Let's get to the next stage where we do announce… <strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Nothing yet on temporary?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well again, for temporary, we've put in place incentives for the international students.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> I wanted to ask you finally about rail. So the Andrews Government is considering this cheaper airport rail link that will rely on existing tracks out to Sunshine. If they were going to go down this path, would the Federal Government still commit $5 billion towards it?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, we want to see a fair dinkum, high-quality service from Melbourne CBD to the airport. That's why we’ve put $5 billion dollars on the table and we're working cooperatively with the states to see that vision implemented. Now, there's a lot of complexity associated with this project so we’re just methodically working through it. A good rail network which is affordable and is at appropriate speeds that people can get there. It's competitive with the other options.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> So the question is, because I know there's a lot to these types of infrastructure, but at the same time, using that track out to Sunshine is seen as failing some of the measures you just mentioned there: being affordable for consumers, being fast as well. Would that be a deal breaker for your government?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, we haven't got to that yet, Tom. I mean, we're in the negotiations in relation to this and I'm having good faith negotiations with the Victorian Government on it. We think it is almost certainly that we'll need to have dedicated tunnel from basically from the CBD to Sunshine, which then becomes a really important node for fast rail to be able to shoot from as well.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Rather than existing tracks?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Rather than existing track, and then to have upgraded track out to the airport. We think that’s most likely outcome.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Right. If that was the option the Andrews Government wanted, you’d have a problem with that?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, we haven't got to that stage yet, Tom. I'm just saying that's our initial view was that…</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> But the Andrews Government seems to be considering it.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> And that that becomes important as well for our vision for fast rail out to Geelong…</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Yeah. Exactly.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> …where we've got $2 billion on the table.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Yeah.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It relies upon having that fast connection out to Sunshine.</p> <p><strong>Tom Connell:</strong> Alright. We'll see where it goes, Alan Tudge. Thanks for your time.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Thanks very much Tom.</p> Tudge Sky News Live - Interview with Tom Connell Regional Airports Program takes off <p>Regional Airport owners and operators will soon be able to apply for a share in $100 million of funding for safety upgrades as part of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s new Regional Airports Program.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the guidelines are now available giving airport owners and operators more information on their eligibility for the program.</p> <p>“For many regional communities, the local airport provides an essential link to the rest of Australia,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“That’s why we’ve committed $100 million over four years from 2019–20 to 2022–23 to help owners of regional airports right across Australia deliver safer runways, taxiways and other safety upgrades such as new fencing or safety equipment.</p> <p>“The Liberals and Nationals are backing people living in rural and regional Australia, whether that be through job creation, access to more reliable transport or better service delivery.</p> <p>“The Regional Airports Program will make sure regional airports meet the needs of communities and local industry now and into the future.”</p> <p>CEO of the Australian Airports Association Caroline Wilkie welcomed the announcement.</p> <p>“With so many regional airports struggling to make ends meet, access to funding for essential maintenance and upgrades will be a game changer for the regions,” Ms Wilkie said.</p> <p>“Our regional airports are the lifeblood of their communities and this funding will help them meet the needs of local people and businesses for years to come.</p> <p>“This is an important step towards ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant regional airport network for the benefit of all Australians.”</p> <p>CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) Mike Higgins said the announcement further demonstrates the continuing support of regional aviation by the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government.</p> <p>“The RAAA looks forward to realising the benefits this program will provide in relieving cost pressures on regional airlines to help keep airfares as low as possible.”</p> <p>Owners and operators of any regional airport who can identify a real need for an upgrade are urged to make an application under Round 1 when they open on 24 October 2019.”</p> <p>Applications for Round 1 will remain open until 12 December 2019 to provide communities with the time needed to make strong proposals.</p> <p>The guidelines and other information is available from <a href=""></a> or by calling 13 28 46.</p> McCormack Regional Airports Program takes off Major works underway as Ballarat line upgrade construction nears completion <p>Ballarat line passengers are being asked to plan ahead for service changes as work continues on the massive pipeline of investment for passengers on one of Victoria’s busiest regional train lines.</p> <p>During a 23-day Ballarat Line Upgrade works blitz from Saturday 9 November to Sunday 1 December, coaches will replace trains for the entire journey between Ballarat/Wendouree and Melbourne.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said buses would replace trains, as the staged commissioning of the Ballarat Line Upgrade works began.</p> <p>“It’s exciting to see the construction on the Ballarat Line Upgrade nearing completion, but there’s still work to be done to deliver passengers the extra services they’ve been waiting for,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“Coaches will replace trains while crews get on the line in November to complete the duplicated track between Deer Park West and Melton, upgrade key stations and undertake critical signalling commissioning.”</p> <p>After works are complete, there will be a staged commissioning phase, including critical safety testing and driver training, prior to new services being introduced in 2020.</p> <p>Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan thanked passengers for their support and understanding while coaches replaced trains and urged people to plan ahead.</p> <p>“The good news is, the project has already delivered benefits for passengers, including a completely rebuilt Rockbank Station featuring a 350-space car park, pedestrian overpass and other modern facilities,” Ms Allan said.</p> <p>“We’ve also opened a new car park at Bacchus Marsh Station, and passengers will continue to see benefits as the project nears completion.”</p> <p>Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the upgrade would deliver more frequent and reliable services.</p> <p>“This half-a-billion investment in the Ballarat line will bring more frequent and reliable services, transforming the state’s second busiest regional train line,” Ms Henderson said.</p> <p>“It will provide much-needed extra services in the morning and afternoon peak periods, plus a train every 40 minutes off-peak for growing communities along the line.”</p> <p>Crews have worked more than one million hours on the project, including laying almost 30 kilometres of track, building crossing loops and duplicated track, upgrading Wendouree, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh stations, and constructing a new station at Cobblebank.</p> <p>From Saturday 19 October to Thursday 24 October, V/Line will complete critical maintenance on the regional tracks leading to platforms 4, 5 and 6 at Southern Cross Station.</p> <p>While these works take place, Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough passengers will travel on trains to Melton, connecting with coaches to and from Melbourne. Replacement coach services will also run between Bacchus Marsh and Melbourne.</p> <p>The Ballarat Line Upgrade team will also take the opportunity to complete track work at the Hopkins Road level crossing in Rockbank while trains aren’t running.</p> <p>For more information about the Ballarat Line Upgrade and other major projects across Victoria, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Passengers are encouraged to allow extra travel time and plan ahead by visiting <a href=""></a></p> <p>The Ballarat Line Upgrade is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival, which is upgrading every regional passenger train line in Victoria, creating more than 1,000 jobs. Regional Rail Revival is a joint initiative of the Australian and Victorian governments.</p> McCormack Major works underway as Ballarat line upgrade construction nears completion Beach safety reaches new heights at Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club <p>Beachgoers at Seacliff will be safer on the beach from today with the official opening of the new Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club Patrol Tower.</p> <p>The Patrol Tower, which was jointly funded by the Federal Government, the Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club (Seacliff SLSC) and the City of Holdfast Bay, will provide greater visibility for beach patrols and an emergency management area as well as a new first aid room, disability accessible facilities and storage for the Club.</p> <p>Federal Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint said the completion of the Tower was a significant milestone for the community and for the hard working volunteers at the Seacliff SLSC.</p> <p>“The new Patrol Tower will help our wonderful Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club volunteers carry out patrols and keep our community safe at the beach,” Ms Flint said.</p> <p>“The new tower will also provide much-needed shelter and facilities for our Club volunteers, and equipment storage. The Club pioneered the Beach Access for All initiative that made Seacliff South Australia’s first disability accessible beach and their new facilities will help them support more South Australians to get onto the beach and into the water.”</p> <p>Ms Flint said she had worked closely with the Seacliff SLSC to secure $150,000 in federal funding toward the Patrol Tower and congratulated the Club on its completion.</p> <p>“I would like to recognise President Dr Glen Patten OAM, immediate Past President Andrew Chandler and everyone at the Seacliff SLSC for working with me on this important local project and for all they do for our community,” she said.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $150,000 investment in the Seacliff SLSC Patrol Tower would “deliver important economic and safety benefits to the local community”.</p> McCormack Beach safety reaches new heights at Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club Inspector-General sets up shop in Mildura <ul> <li>Office for Murray-Darling Basin Inspector-General to open in Mildura</li> <li>New office reinforces water oversight in southern Murray-Darling Basin</li> <li>Inspector-General safeguards water use and Basin Plan implementation</li> </ul> <p>Mildura is set to become home to the Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources, with one of the two offices being set up in the city.</p> <p>Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said the new office was a significant step that would restore confidence in delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.</p> <p>“I’ve always said the people who operate the river should live on the river – and so should the people who police it,” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>“This will give the Inspector-General and his staff a real connection to the communities they serve.</p> <p>“The Inspector-General and his support staff will engage with Basin communities about Plan implementation and compliance.</p> <p>“Everyone needs to have confidence the Plan is working and the rules are being followed.”</p> <p>Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton said it makes perfect sense for an office of the Inspector General to be established in Mildura. </p> <p>“Mildura has the added benefit of the having Victoria’s largest regional airport, which provides easy connectivity to our capital cities for families and businesses,” Minister Coulton said. </p> <p>“Regional centres are a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family and I'd like to see more people moving out of the capital cities and exploring what communities such as those here in the Sunraysia region have to offer.”<br /> Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster said the Inspector-Generals office would help to strengthen community confidence in the Basin Plan.</p> <p>“I’m pleased the Inspector-General will have direct contact with people in the Mallee,” Dr Webster said.</p> <p>“Better still, his staff will live in Mildura and will have a real understanding on how the plan impacts on the wider Sunraysia region.</p> <p>“They’ll take their children to the same schools, join the same football clubs share the same community as people who’s livelihoods depend on water.</p> <p>“This will also bring more professional jobs into Mildura, so more people can return here after they finish university.”</p> <p>The Inspector-General will also have a presence in the Northern Basin. Both offices will create new economic opportunities in both regions.</p> <p>The Inspector-General will provide independent assurance of Basin Plan implementation and make sure Basin governments meet their responsibilities under the Water Act.</p> <p>The office of the Inspector-General will refer any matters of alleged wrongdoing to the statutory state and territory authorities, who are responsible for implementing and enforcing compliance in their areas.</p> Littleproud Inspector-General sets up shop in Mildura ABC Radio Melbourne - Interview with Jon Faine <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Alan Tudge is the Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, he joins me in the studio. Mr Tudge, good morning to you.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Good morning Jon.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Do you think there is a climate extinction emergency at the moment? Sorry, extinction emergency.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I wouldn't use that language. Clearly, the Government believes that climate change is occurring and we all globally need to take action and that's what we're doing.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Is it an emergency?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I mean, I don’t like what these protesters are doing in terms of blockading Melbourne and other cities around the country. Have your protest if you want to have your protest, make your point known, but don't interrupt everybody else's life as you go about it.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>But the whole point of the protest.</p> <p>If they do, I hope the police are there, and will move them on so that people can get on with their lives.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>The whole point of a protest is to cause people some disruption, to force them to stop their normal patterns of behaviour and think about something differently.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Sure. I mean, you can still do that, have your banners there on the side of the street, make your point known, but you don't have to disrupt everybody else's life as you go about it.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Have you ever protested about anything in your life?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> When I was a university student, I do recall being part of some protests.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>What about?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I mean the thing is about this particular group is they're deliberately going about city to city, constantly interrupting people's lives.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>That’s the whole point of it.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> And I hope that the police are there, can move them on. So make their point. They've got some air time on prime time radio this morning, so they’ve been able to make their point with you.</p> <p>But for goodness sake, let people get to work, get home, do the things which they want to do. We’ve just been through an election, Jon.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>We have, and I made that point.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> And you made that point early on.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Do you support the protesters in Hong Kong like your Parliamentary colleague Tim Wilson, who went over there to march with them?</p> <p>That's a very different issue over there when you've got China who is aggressively muscling up in relation to residents in Hong Kong. And we obviously support what China had agreed to in terms of a one country, two systems ruling for the next 30 years, which is what they committed to do.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Do you support the street protests?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> It's up to residents of Hong Kong what they want to do.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Should Australia supports human rights over an oppressive and tyrannical regime that's using military and police muscle to assert control over people protesting for liberty, freedom, and democracy?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I can understand where some of these protesters are coming from. However, the Australian Government's formal position is that we support a one country, two systems approach, which has been in place and which China had agreed to, and we’d want everybody just to de-escalate and resolve things peacefully.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>You're trying not to offend China.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I'm not the Government's spokesperson on these issues either, Jon, Marise Payne is, and the Prime Minister is, and I'll just leave it up to them to make further commentary on it.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>I hope you're a fan of the ABC TV satire Utopia. [Utopia excerpt]</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> I have your press release here, a plan in place for Geelong City Deal rollout, Miniter. This is straight out of Utopia.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Jon, it’s your final week. I'd thought you'd be a bit less cynical in your final week.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Sceptical, not cynical.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>No, this is actually a really good plan that we've developed in consultation with the state government and local councils down there.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Is that on the talking points?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>What's that?</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> This is a really good plan we’ve developed with the state government, local council, to revitalise Geelong.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Alright, let me at least give you a few key facts in relation to this.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Yeah, and the substance please, not the spin.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>And there’s substance, Jon, and it's your final week. So listen, this plan is $370 million of new money going towards revitalizing the tourism economy from Geelong down the Great Ocean Road.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> To be spent on what?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>So, it's to be spent on a number of things. Now, the major point, though, is that outside of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road down there is the most popular tourist attraction in Victoria.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> One of the most popular in Australia, more people go to it than the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru combined.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Absolutely, that’s right. About six million people go down there. But two-thirds of them literally just drive down there and back again. And the tourism infrastructure down there, in some respects, is a bit tired, as you probably know, particularly down towards the Twelve Apostles. So this money starts at the Twelve Apostles actually, a brand new visitor centre there. There's going to be a new seating area, where you can sort of sit and have your lunch under cover.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>There’s one that was just built, it was finished about a year ago.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>New steps down to the-</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> [Talks over] At the Apostles. It’s just been built, new toilets, facilities, café, it was only finished a year ago.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>This is a whole new precinct down there with a new visitor centre. It's going to be upgrading the old homestead nearby. There's going to be new steps at the Gibson down to beach and it will actually go through the cliffs, so you walk down through the cliff down to the beach. It's going to be terrific new development down there, so that people hopefully go down there and stay.</p> <p>We're also putting in place electricity and sewerage and other things so that other businesses may be able to start up.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> What, so people don’t go to the toilet in the bushes anymore.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well there’s obviously that, it is a lot more than that, Jon, in terms of upgrading the Twelve Apostles precinct which anybody who's been down there recently would probably acknowledge is pretty tired. But then from there there's also money going into other parts of the Shipwreck Coast and then all the way to Geelong where there will be a new Convention Centre built in Geelong.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Well there's not a new convention centre being built, there's planning for a Convention Centre.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well there’s money set aside for the actual construction as well, so the planning is the first piece of the puzzle. And then there’s money set aside for the construction.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> When?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Oh well the planning will take, say, 12 months and then the construction will be the two or three years thereafter.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Ten years it says in your press release.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well, we want to get on with it as quickly as possible, so our money is there. The State Government is the major funder of the Convention Centre. But we want to get cracking on it.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> So why is Senator Sarah Henderson, the former member who failed at the last election to be the Member for Corangamite, why is she on your press release instead of the actual sitting members who happen to be from your political opponent’s party, the Labor Party?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well this is a three levels of government who have agreed to this, and Sarah Henderson is a member of the government.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> But the local member?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>And she is our Senatorial representative in that part of Victoria.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>She’s not the Senator for Geelong and the Ocean Road. She’s the Senator for Victoria.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>She’s the Senator for Victoria.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> So- but if you are in fact partnering with the State Government and the local member’s not even been given a look in, isn't that just you playing party politics with a major announcement?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>No, not at all. I mean, I can see you've got the press release there in front of you. You've got three levels of government there at the top of the press release. We’ll be making the formal announcement down in Geelong today.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> But you've added on Sarah Henderson who lost the seat of Corangamite.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well, she’s a Senator now, so she's a Senator from Victoria. She still lives down that way. She represents the area. For us, that is a very typical way the governments operate Jon.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Alright. And just finally are you concerned about Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing US troops that have been between the Turks and the Kurds, which it's widely expected will lead to, well, possibly a massacre on worst case scenario of Kurds. You yourself were personally involved previously in bringing people from that troubled area and finding them sanctuary here in Australia.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>I mean, this is a decision of the United States, not ours. And President Trump has been making the point that he'd be withdrawing troops for some time I think since he's been elected. We're, look we're obviously in close consultations with United States and our other allies in the region. We have some concerns for some of the Australians who are still in the region and Marise Payne, the Foreign Minister, is obviously dealing with that as we speak.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong>Should we be bringing those women and children home?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Just let me finish on the previous point. I mean, she has said in her statements overnight that she's just calling on everybody just to de-escalate and just be calm in relation to the response here. President Trump has issued some statements in relation to Turkey.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> I don’t so much want a potted summary of where the geopolitics is, I'm more interested in what you, Alan Tudge, think we should do about Australian citizens who are trapped in this.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>There's about 64 largely women and children who are trapped in one of the camps there.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Should we bring them home?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>We're not rushing to repatriate those people.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> So we've brought the Yazidis in because they're Christians, but we won't help these people because they’re Muslim?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>No, it’s nothing to do with that. It's to do with there’s 64, these were typically the wives and children of some of the ISIS fighters. Some of them aren't Australian citizens at the moment. They may be eligible for Australian citizenship by virtue of having been married to one of the ISIS fighters who was Australian.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Should we be bringing them back?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>There may be some security risks associated with some of them as well, so we just need to tread carefully in relation to this and this is exactly what the Foreign Minister is doing.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> Thank you for your time this morning. It's always been fun to engage in the contest of ideas.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well thank you Jon. It's been a pleasure having these discussions with you over the last, oh, a great many years over a lot of topics.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> I don't think you believe that, but you’re saying it anyway.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well some of them have been fun, some of them less so, Jon, but congratulations to you on an outstanding career and you've made an absolutely terrific contribution to Melbourne so well done.</p> <p><strong>Jon Faine: </strong> That’s kind of you and thank you. Alan Tudge, Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population and no, it's not true that he's the role model for utopia.</p> Tudge ABC Radio Melbourne - Interview with Jon Faine Inspector-General sets up shop in Mildura <ul> <li>Office for Murray-Darling Basin Inspector-General to open in Mildura</li> <li>New office reinforces water oversight in southern Murray-Darling Basin</li> <li>Inspector-General safeguards water use and Basin Plan implementation</li> </ul> <p>Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said the new office was a significant step that would restore confidence in delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.</p> <p>“I’ve always said the people who operate the river should live on the river – and so should the people who police it,” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>“This will give the Inspector-General and his staff a real connection to the communities they serve.</p> <p>“The Inspector-General and his support staff will engage with Basin communities about Plan implementation and compliance.</p> <p>“Everyone needs to have confidence the Plan is working and the rules are being followed.”</p> <p>Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton said it makes perfect sense for an office of the Inspector General to be established in Mildura. </p> <p>“Mildura has the added benefit of the having Victoria’s largest regional airport, which provides easy connectivity to our capital cities for families and businesses,” Minister Coulton said. </p> <p>“Regional centres are a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family and I'd like to see more people moving out of the capital cities and exploring what communities such as those here in the Sunraysia region have to offer.”<br /> Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster said the Inspector-Generals office would help to strengthen community confidence in the Basin Plan.</p> <p>“I’m pleased the Inspector-General will have direct contact with people in the Mallee,” Dr Webster said.</p> <p>“Better still, his staff will live in Mildura and will have a real understanding on how the plan impacts on the wider Sunraysia region.</p> <p>“They’ll take their children to the same schools, join the same football clubs share the same community as people who’s livelihoods depend on water.</p> <p>“This will also bring more professional jobs into Mildura, so more people can return here after they finish university.”</p> <p>The Inspector-General will also have a presence in the Northern Basin. Both offices will create new economic opportunities in both regions.</p> <p>The Inspector-General will provide independent assurance of Basin Plan implementation and make sure Basin governments meet their responsibilities under the Water Act.</p> <p>The office of the Inspector-General will refer any matters of alleged wrongdoing to the statutory state and territory authorities, who are responsible for implementing and enforcing compliance in their areas.</p> Coulton Inspector-General sets up shop in Mildura Doorstop Geelong <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> So, a fairly historic day today, Alan, the signing of this deal?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It's a really important day for Geelong and the whole Shipwreck Coast because we're outlining a 10-year vision to really activate the tourism economy and that means more people down here, more jobs, more wealth for local people.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> You mentioned tourism too. That tourism spend's quite small, isn't it? Seventeen cents, I think, at the moment.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Yeah. It's ridiculously small and this is the real issue, is that so many people come down to this beautiful part of Australia, but they literally do day trips there and back. And what this plan is about is building better infrastructure so that people are more likely to come and spend money, stay the night and really get to know the region. And through that, you're creating jobs in the process.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> How do you balance increased tourism and preserving those natural assets people take for granted?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> You've always got to balance that correctly. But there's still so many opportunities down here and things like even additional walking tracks, which are funded in here, might open it up to a whole new different set of tourists to be able to explore that particular area. I'm really excited about the investment down at the Twelve Apostles because it's an iconic part of Australia and yet there's really so little infrastructure down there at the moment. So people literally do go down there, take a look at the Twelve Apostles and then drive back [inaudible]. Plus importantly and I mentioned this before, $23 million, in essence for the underlying infrastructure, which then enables new businesses to set up down there. So ideally actually we might have a hotel down there or other restaurants or cafés, so you can really make it an experience over a period of days, potentially.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Jaclyn, you said earlier before this is above politics, it's an enduring document and everyone is going to be held accountable. How is that going to work exactly? You're going to be accountable to each other or to somebody else?</p> <p><strong>Jaclyn Symes:</strong> Well, I think the public. I think this Geelong deal is about the Geelong community and those along the Great Ocean Road. So, the money is on the table. We've got pretty good public servants that are delivering it. There's an implementation committee. I think the media are pretty across the plan. I reckon there's a few people to hold us to account and we've got an implementation plan which says when and how we're going to deliver it.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Everyone here will be well aware that the long and sometimes tortuous process it is to get to this point, you would hope that it doesn't descend to finger pointing if certain projects aren't delivered by these deadlines?</p> <p><strong>Jaclyn Symes:</strong> I'm feeling really optimistic about the delivery of the projects. I think they've been well thought out, they're well structured. There's the implementation plan to say how to get along with it and I think we're actually quite excited about delivering them. I don't think there'll be finger pointing, I think there'll be celebration when we reach each milestone.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Sarah, it must be nice to be back to see this come to reality given you had a little bit to do with making it happen in the first place.</p> <p><strong>Sarah Henderson:</strong> James, it is great to be back and it's wonderful. This is a very exciting day for Geelong and the Great Ocean Road and the broader region. As you know, I've been advocating for the City Deal for a very long time and it was a great day when that was announced, led by the Commonwealth Government, our Government of course, and it's now fantastic to see the three levels of the government working together and driving an enormous amount of investment into our region, $370 million and not just into Geelong city but also right across the region, including down our magnificent Great Ocean Road. So, it is a very exciting day.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Yeah. Nothing that hasn't quite made the final plan that you'd like to see in it?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Sarah has always got a long list.</p> <p><strong>Sarah Henderson:</strong> T here's always more to do. No. Look, James, as you know, we worked very hard to make sure that some really important projects in Lorne, in Skenes Creek, in Apollo Bay were included in the City Deal, so I was very pleased to drive that initiative to make sure that all of the Great Ocean Road economy was included in the City Deal.</p> <p>And so now I think we've got not just an incredible investment in the Twelve Apostles as a destination but also investments along the Great Ocean Road which will encourage tourists and visitors to stop, to spend more money, to stay overnight, and to experience the wonders of our region.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Just on the fast train, Alan, the last time you were here, you announced $2 billion dollars for the fast train. How are those talks going with State Government?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> They're progressing. We obviously want to see these built as quickly as possible and we've got $2 billion on the table to see it happen, and that would mean a 32-minute journey from Geelong Station to Southern Cross. And that would completely transform this region in the process, building that connectivity. Now I'm in discussions, in good constructive discussions with the State Government at the moment. The project does interact with the Melbourne Airport Rail Link project in terms of the initial first bit from Southern Cross to Sunshine and that's the most complex and expensive bit. And so we're working through that, but I'm hoping that we'll have full commitments from the State Government in the near future.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> And you're still saying $4 billion will do it, what you have to do?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Let me be clear about this, it's actually a $10 billion project. $6 billion is from Southern Cross Station to Sunshine, but that's been covered by the Melbourne Airport Rail Link money where we've got $10 billion set aside. And then you've got an additional $4 billion expenditure from Sunshine in Geelong of which we're putting in 50 per cent. And then we're asking obviously the State Government to come up with the other 50 per cent. So as I said, we're working through it. The State Government's got the business case underway, that's a $50 million business case. But we really just want to get cracking.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> I might get a statement from Jaclyn on that if I can, on the fast train?</p> <p><strong>Jaclyn Smith:</strong> Sure. Well I think in terms of regional rail, the Andrews Labor Government has demonstrated its bona fides when it comes to investing in regional rail and trains and making passengers' journeys more comfortable, quicker and more efficient. And I think Jacinta Allan, the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and Major Projects, is very committed to making sure that we're at the table having those conversations. And as the Federal Minister has indicated, the reports out of those conversations have been very positive.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> What's the state view on that? Obviously the funding, is it enough money to get this done, finished?</p> <p><strong>Jaclyn Smith:</strong> I'll leave the matters of costing projects to the relevant Minister. But as I've said, she's at the table, she's having productive conversations and I think our record speaks for itself when we talk about the investment that we make in public transport in the state of Victoria.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Okay great. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> I'll just add to just your answer Jaclyn, with holding everybody accountable as well. This is the seventh deal which we have signed nationally. And so far the implementation plans are very effective in terms of outlining precisely what each level of government's responsibilities are to deliver upon. And furthermore we'll outline at a yearly public update against each of these commitments as well. So that's another mechanism of accountability back to the Australian public in terms of ensuring that we're delivering upon them.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Okay because questions will obviously be asked if in 10 years' time if everything's not done.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It's going to be very, very clear because I mean as you see when you walk through the documents, I mean some of them have very precise timelines attached to them. I've just opened up here Apollo Bay Harbor. You know, Q1 2020 is the consultation; Q3 project plan agreed; Q1 2021 commencement of the design; commencement of construction Q1 2022. So we hold ourselves accountable. We meet at the leadership level frequently in terms of myself, Jaclyn, the Mayor of Geelong or other mayors of other shires. And that's outlined in the document as well in terms of the governance structures. And then there is an officials level committee as well which oversees it and elevates any issue which they're concerned about falling behind to the respective Minister to make sure it stays on track.</p> <p><strong>Sarah Henderson:</strong> And the other thing that's important to point out is that if those milestones can be brought forward, there's the ability to bring the funding forward and to bring the projects forward. So if the various proponents are able to do that, then there is the ability to bring those projects forward as well which is very important.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Just on your population hat, Alan, is there a danger Geelong's growing too fast at the moment in terms of its growth rate?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It certainly has been growing quickly. And I can understand why because it's such a beautiful part of Australia and there's job opportunities down here, you can have an amazing lifestyle. I know some people will decide to commute into Melbourne each day. As you probably know, the largest driver of our population growth is the migration rate, that constitutes 60 per cent of the nation's population growth and we've brought that migration rate down from a cap of 190,000 down to a cap of 160,000. And then within that we've actually allocated dedicated positions just for some of the smaller cities in the regional areas. So we think that will take a bit of pressure, population pressure off Melbourne, Sydney and places like Geelong.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Okay great.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Thank you.</p> <p> </p> Tudge Doorstop Geelong Plan in place for Geelong City Deal rollout <p>A clear path toward economic diversification, tourism growth and a thriving city centre has been laid out today with the launch of the Geelong City Deal Implementation Plan.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the City Deal would inject $370 million into Geelong and the broader Great Ocean Road region.</p> <p>“Earlier this year, we outlined our promises to rebuild the tourism infrastructure in this iconic part of the world; today, we commit to the Implementation Plan to make it happen. More tourists means more jobs,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“This is government working at its best when the three levels come together to agree a long-term master plan.”</p> <p>Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes said all three levels of government were committed to achieving a shared vision for Geelong over the next 10 years through the City Deal.</p> <p>“Planning can now begin on a new 1,000-seat waterfront convention and exhibition centre, set to enhance Geelong’s position as a premier city, with a revised business case and an agreed project plan due by mid-2020,” Ms Symes said.</p> <p>“Revitalisation of central Geelong and the city’s waterfront under the City Deal will improve access, support tourism and enhance community activities and major events.”</p> <p>Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said she was pleased to see a clear path forward for priority infrastructure projects in the Greater Geelong region.</p> <p>“This is a beautiful part of Australia and projects under the City Deal recognise the need for world-class tourism infrastructure to ensure Geelong and its surrounds remain one of the nation’s most iconic tourist destinations well into the future,” Senator Henderson said.</p> <p>“After fighting so hard to secure a City Deal including for major projects like the upgrade of Apollo Bay Harbour, Point Grey Lorne and the development of a world class coastal walk, I am delighted that we have reached this next stage in delivering these vital projects for our region.”</p> <p>Mayor of Greater Geelong Bruce Harwood said with sound plans in place, a number of important infrastructure initatives can become a reality.</p> <p>“This is an exciting time for the Greater Geelong region with projects under the Deal set to create employment opportunities for our growing community and attract more tourists to our clever and creative region,” Cr Harwood said</p> <p>“With a finalised Implementation Plan in place, we can now move forward with key projects designed to further revitalise our CBD and waterfront, grow our visitor economy and ensure the diverse natural beauty of the region can be enjoyed by everyone well into the future.”</p> <p>Initiatives under the City Deal include investment in the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct, revitalisation of central Geelong and the city’s waterfront, delivery of priority tourism infrastructure projects along the Great Ocean Road and Shipwreck Coast, the redevelopment of the Queenscliff Ferry Terminal, expansion of Deakin University’s Geelong Future Economy Precinct, and a commitment to support Indigenous, local and social employment and procurement opportunities.</p> Tudge Plan in place for Geelong City Deal rollout Australian Road Transport Innovation Shared at World Summit <p>An Australian Road Transport Delegation has joined the international stage with a focus on sharing knowledge and building best practice in road safety, transport investment, systems management and the use of technologies to develop future transport networks around the globe.</p> <p>Speaking at the 26th World Roads Congress in Abu Dhabi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the gathering presented unprecedented opportunities to share our expertise, especially with regard to data collection and investment in roads, while also learning from what is being done around the world to address some of the challenges facing us at home.</p> <p>“We are here with over 120 other nations to engage on how we best use our roads and to share, learn and listen to world leaders about new innovations in transport networks, emerging technologies and initiatives to drive down road trauma,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“The safety challenge is fundamental to our future transport network, particularly with the distances many people must drive in Australia, especially for those who live in regional, rural and remote areas.</p> <p>“We are already seeing the benefits of safety focussed road upgrades with two of our biggest projects – The Pacific Highway in New South Wales and the Bruce Highway in Queensland – returning significant reductions in road fatalities along completed sections. But there is more to do, especially in reducing road trauma in regional Australia and for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians.”</p> <p>“Automated vehicles are potentially a game-changer in safety and also for those who have limited mobility or are unable to drive, something most of us take for granted. If successfully integrated with public transport, such vehicles could connect more people to jobs and services that are currently out of reach due to unreasonable commutes or lack of services.”</p> <p>“I’m looking forward to engaging with industry leaders in this space over the next three days to understand how technology and innovations can continue to build our national transport network and improve safety on our roads.”</p> <p>The World Roads Congress is held every four years on a rotating basis for member countries and brings together over 120 nations to share new techniques, innovations, strategies, trends and best practices in the fields of road, infrastructures and transport.</p> McCormack Australian Road Transport Innovation Shared at World Summit Tiger Brennan Drive duplication almost complete <p>Works to upgrade Tiger Brennan Drive from Dinah Beach Road through to McMinn Street are almost complete, with the road expected to open in a week’s time.</p> <p>Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the new duplication unlocked the potential of Darwin city.</p> <p>“This is a landmark project which has supported many local jobs,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“In a week’s time Territorians will be able to use this road, along with Garramilla Boulevard creating an attractive entry way into the Darwin CBD.”</p> <p>The Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler said since the opening of Garramilla Boulevard, travelling to and from Darwin City had become a lot easier.</p> <p>“Once the duplication of Tiger Brennan Drive is complete, it will ease traffic congestion further for commuters travelling to Darwin’s CBD and help disperse traffic more equally,” Ms Lawler said.</p> <p>“I thank Territoria Civil and all the local subcontractors that have worked on this project to ensure it was completed nine months ahead of schedule – supporting more than 540 local jobs.</p> <p>The streetscaping along this section of Tiger Brennan Drive complements the stonemasonry along Garramilla Boulevard, with reinforced walls to support the duplication showcasing stunning patterns depicting the nearby tidal mangroves of Sandgrove Creek – all designed in the Territory and installed by Territory contractors.”</p> <p>Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon said Garramilla Boulevard would showcase Darwin’s tropical appeal to tourists and investors.</p> <p>“The Australian Government has committed $29.5 million to the Garramilla Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive Stage 3 project,” Senator McMahon said.</p> <p>“This fantastic project will clear congestion, helping Darwin Territorians and visitors get to their destinations sooner and safer.”</p> <p>Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the City of Darwin was proud to be a part of the Tiger Brennan Drive Duplication project.</p> <p>“The project has provided a unique opportunity for all levels of government to work together and we are delighted that it has been completed and delivered to the community,” Lord Mayor Vatskalis said.</p> <p>"This major road provides an attractive and important additional access route into our city that will improve access and attract more people to the city centre.”</p> <p>Landscaping works will continue to progress along both Garramilla Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive, over the coming months.</p> <p>To celebrate the opening of Garramilla Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive, a family open day will be held at Frog Hollow Park near the new amphitheatre on Saturday 12 October 2019.</p> <p>The Australian Government committed $29.5 million to the Garramilla Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive Stage 3 project, with the Northern Territory Government investing $25 million and the City of Darwin a further $5 million.</p> Tudge Tiger Brennan Drive duplication almost complete Press Conference Canberra - Population Centre <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> Today we’ve launched Australia’s Centre for Population which is going to be the key repository of everything to do with population in our country. It’s going to do better forecasting, it’s going to do greater transparency and it’s going to help us manage our population growth better. Australia is a fast-growing population. We’ve done very well out of that but it also put immense pressure on our big capital cities and so we need to manage that better. We’ve already put key things in place including slightly reducing the migration rate, we’re encouraging more new people into the country to go to some of the regional areas and the smaller cities that want to grow more quickly. And we’ve introduced more congestion-busting infrastructure.</p> <p>Later this year we’ll also be developing a framework with the states and territories to better align our respective responsibilities so that the infrastructure planning approvals, the services, are better aligned with the population growth in different parts of the country so that one is not going in front of the other.</p> <p>The Centre though is the key element of pulling all of this together. Victoria Anderson has been appointed as the head of that Centre and she will have a team by the end of the year of 20 people inside of Treasury to undertake the research, provide the evidence base, to work with the states and territories, the academic community, the think tanks and to provide sound evidence-based public policy to governments. So this is the big day for Australia. We’ve got a plan to better manage our population growth going forward and the Centre is going to be a key part of that.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Why is it only happening now given how crucial it is to have accurate forecasts?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> The Prime Minister as you probably know established the population portfolio about twelve months ago now and about six months or so ago we introduced our first Population Plan and that Population Plan has reduced the migration rate, encouraged more new people into the regions and some of the smaller cities. It outlined a Fast Rail Plan, which will connect up the satellite cities of the big capitals so that people can live and work in Geelong, for example, and be able to easily commute into the big capital city markets of Melbourne. And it also outlined the fact that we’re working more closely with the states and territories to better align our responsibilities. The Centre though was in the May budget in terms of its funding. The funding started on 1 July this year and now we're officially launching it. It'll be at full capacity by the end of this year.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> You’ve already reduced the permanent migration intake in Australia. Are you going to continue to reduce that number?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> So we've reduced the permanent migration intake from 190,000 cap down to 160,000 cap. We've already brought it down this year to about 162,000. The cap now over the next four years will be 160,000 and we've made that clear for the first time that we've outlined it over the forward estimates rather than just an annual one.</p> <p>Then of course within the temporary migration settings we have created new incentives for the key components for the temporary migrants to go to some of the regional areas and smaller cities, particularly international students because 80 per cent of international students today go to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane and yet they constitute the largest components of the temporary migration settings. So we've got incentives for the international students as well to go to some of the smaller cities in the regional areas.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> With the population statement, what do you expect that to tell you that you don’t already know and won’t that just delay further action on tackling growth?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> So we've already taken action as I’ve outlined, and we outlined the initial steps in the first Population Plan just a few months ago. And further action will be taken. The population statement next year will provide a very transparent document of exactly what is occurring in our population settings; where the growth is, what the demographics are, the skills within our population and where the stresses are within our community as well. So it will be the annual snapshot of our population each year, creating that transparency. But in the meantime, we continue to do the policy work to better manage our population growth.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> You mentioned the ABS mispredicting population growth by about 3 million people. How can you be sure that this kind of research will have a better projection?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> So in some respects, the ABS has done projections rather than forecasts. Now, what I mean by that is they’ve looked backwards as to what has occurred in the past and assumed that that will continue into the future. Whereas this population centre will be very much doing forecasts based on what is likely to occur in the future, what our policy settings are. And so it’s more likely to be more accurate. And it will also be done at a more localised level as well.</p> <p>Now, ideally, we had a common set of forecast across the country, because we find that in some areas, different jurisdictions will have their own forecasts, which are different to what our projections are. Ideally we’ve got a common set of forecasts so that everybody can plan accordingly. Then, the equally important part of that is to track on an annual basis how we’re going against those forecasts and adjust accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> What do you think Australians should take away from the Prime Minister’s speech last night, with his warnings about negative globalism?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> I think it was a very good speech that the Prime Minister outlines, talking about the fact that Australia’s interests are served by being engaged in the world but on our interests. And he talked about positive and practical globalism, and where it's done through our own interests. Obviously, we're taking our interests into account as we engage with the broader community rather than necessarily being spoken to from other institutions, which aren't in our interests.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Are you expecting more refugees to come to Australia from the Pacific due to climate change?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> Our humanitarian intake is set in terms of how people come into the country. We have a particular process. As you know, we've increased the humanitarian intake to 18,750 people each year and it will stay at that number.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> That wouldn't change due to the forecast?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> Well we've got a cap in terms of the humanitarian intake. It's a generous cap, and we also have terrific settlement programs as well for when people do come into the country, and many make a terrific contribution when they’re here. So that cap will be maintained.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> When can we expect the final policy?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> The final population policy?</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Yeah.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> Well, it's an ongoing piece of work. We outlined our initial population policy three to four months ago now. I provided an update to that policy just last week, and then the statements which will be produced annually will provide further updates as well.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> How are you going to balance freedom of movement within the country when you want people to go to particular areas, when there are clear drivers moving people towards the big cities?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong> Well we've put in place already some settings to encourage new people to consider going to an Adelaide or a regional area rather than to a Melbourne or Sydney. Now, this is not a radical concept, because we already do that already at a smaller scale and it's been shown to work. We have a 99.8 per cent compliance rate, and the evidence shows that 84 per cent of people are still in that location where they first went to five years afterwards. It's also been done very successfully and that’s one of the reasons why we’ve massively increased our expenditure on congestion-busting infrastructure.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Do you consider yourself to have an ongoing mandate based on how the policy will develop over time?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>I don’t understand that question.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Well considering the policy isn’t fully developed and is going to be changing based on this forecast, do you consider yourself to have an ongoing mandate based on the election or will you take something further at the next election in a few years?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge: </strong>Well we outlined our plan before the election. People understood our plan. We’d already announced that we’re reducing our migration rate. We’d announced some of these incentives for new arrivals to go to some of the regional areas. We’d already announced the fact that we’re investing more economic development opportunities in some of the regional areas and the smaller cities. We’d outlined our Fast Rail Plan. We’d increase the congesting-busting infrastructure to $100 billion as you know, and we have foreshadowed that we’d work with the states and territories to develop a better population planning framework. So all of that work will continue. But of course, it’s going to be ongoing work as the population continues to grow.</p> Tudge Press Conference Canberra - Population Centre Doorstop at Hildasid opening <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Minister McCormack, tell us about today—how important this facility is to Wagga and the surrounding region.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well, what a remarkable and exciting day, not just for Kurrajong, not just for our city but indeed for our entire region. This facility provided for with a $1.2 million National Stronger Regions grant by the Federal Government combined of course with community input; a $3 million facility going to provide hope and opportunity for the participants of Kurrajong who can have lifestyle options they weren't able to have before. This is going to be such a great facility for Hildasid Farm, and not only to be used by just Kurrajong, but also the entire community. They've been involved with this from the absolute start. And Cathie Smith has been an absolute dynamo to get this off the ground. And whilst it's dry and it's looking a little bit forlorn at the moment, how good will this facility be when we get a bit of water. It already looks pretty good. But when we get a bit more water, it's going to look absolutely remarkable.</p> <p>So, well done to everybody involved with this project from local tradies, to the Kurrajong Race Day, to Penny Lamont's Long Lunch. All been involved, all provided valuable assistance, and now it's a remarkable facility for the whole community.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Do you think there's room for facilities like this in the Riverina and [inaudible]…?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well indeed, I do believe there is. This could be indeed a microcosm for the nation—getting community involved, helping to grow trees, helping to plant, helping to do things to involve the community. Now, I know we've got the National Disability Insurance Scheme and that's rolling out across the nation and that's providing so much help and so much opportunity for participants. But this is something that I know Kurrajong has fought hard to achieve. Sixty years—Kurrajong has been getting in, helping those disabled people in our community. And what a wonderful facility this is going to be going forward.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Absolutely. Is this offering local jobs as well?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well, it does provide local jobs. It provided of course many, many jobs in the formation; many, many jobs in the build and ongoing jobs. So there's going to be people out here helping participants, people out here in a voluntary capacity. It is job-building. It is job-creating. But it's going to provide so much hope for the future.</p> <p>Alright. All good. Thanks guys.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Can I just ask you a few more questions if that's alright?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> [Talks over] Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Go on.</p> <p><strong>Question:</strong> So I just want to specifically ask you a question. You've labelled the Government's decision- ACT Government's decision to legalise cannabis as dopey. Explain your reasons [inaudible].</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well [indistinct] I mean, the fact is that cannabis should be an illegal drug. Apart from the fact that obviously, under certain circumstances, for medicinal purposes, cannabis can and is being used. But for the ACT Government to come out and say that cannabis should be a recreational drug, I've never believed in the recreational drug. That's absolute nonsense. And ask any police officer, rookie or veteran, what they think about the decision and they'll quickly tell you they don't want drug drivers on the roads. This is an absolute madness, to go down this path. It's a dopey decision. We don't want Canberra having this sort of hashtag. Pardon the pun. But it is absolute crazy, absolutely crazy, to think that people will be allowed to use drugs. And then who knows what they might do. They might get behind the wheel of a car.</p> <p>Many, many people, medical experts have shown, have proven, that cannabis use and prolonged cannabis use is not good for the individual and the ACT Government is sending the wrong message—the wrong message to young people, the wrong message to society—and I urge and implore them to reverse the decision.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Are you sort of worried that other states such as New South Wales may try and follow their lead?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> New South Wales surely wouldn't be that stupid. Surely, they would not be that stupid. And the Federal Government will look into provisions as to how we can make this decision get turned back in the ACT.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> I was actually going to say that it is possible for the Commonwealth Government to actually overrule because it's not in line with their own legislation. So is that something that you will pursue?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Absolutely. We will certainly look at that. I know the Attorney-General Christian Porter is doing just that as we speak. And this decision should be overturned for common sense and for just the right outcome. This isn't the right outcome. To legalise cannabis is just a dopey decision made by dopey people.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> So, in terms of the argument that this will prevent people from actually sourcing it on the black market, as you say, illegally.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> [Interrupts] Oh, it's nonsense you can always find excuses to want to do something but that's just nonsensical. The fact is it's the wrong decision made in haste, made for the wrong outcomes, and it should be reversed.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> I just wanted to ask you about the Murray Darling Basin Authority socio-economic meetings that are occurring …</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> [Interrupts] You don't mind if I keep this eye line, do you?</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Yeah, that's fine.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Good, good.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Across the Riverina, and we've heard from some locals who have said this is the 37th review that is happening. How is this going to affect any difference?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well obviously we're in a very, very prolonged dry spell, and obviously people—irrigators, river communities—do not have allocations, and that is heartbreaking for them. We understand that. But to go on pause the plan at this point in time, to go and blow the entire plan up, would be ill advised. Fact is the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was brought in with the cooperation of the states and the territories. It's not a perfect plan. It is able to be adapted, it is able to be tweaked and we're doing that, but we need to do it with the right consultation. We need to do it with the right people having their say, experts and people who just need water, and we'll do that. We'll do that with the ACCC, we'll do that through the right process and protocol and we'll come up with the outcomes from those discussions, and then we'll look at what we can do to help not just the river communities, but also obviously the environment.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> So is your government concerned about the socio-economic impact of the Murray Darling Basin Plan?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well, yes of course, and the fact is we can't make it rain, and we're in a very long dry spell. It will rain again and when it rains again it'll rain hard and heavy. And that's why I am putting in place the National Water Grid Authority to build more water storage infrastructure. We already have 5900 megalitres in the Scottsdale dam, the Camden Rivulet Dam in north east Tasmania, building up to a capacity of 11,300 megalitres. I inspected that just the other day. That work only began in October 2018; it's a magnificent, magnificent water storage. We'll put shovels in the ground before too long with the Emu Swamp Dam. Delighted that the Queensland Government has come on board with that particular project, already the irrigators there have backed themselves to the tune of $24.3 million, just like they did in Tasmania at the Camden Rivulet Dam with $12.03 million.</p> <p>So when you've got local irrigators willing to back themselves, you've got states willing to put up priority project lists which the New South Wales Government has; we'll look at those, and we'll look at those in the next week or so to see where we can build more dam, more water storage infrastructure, more pipelines, heighten, lengthen and strengthen weirs, and we'll get on and we will do it. For far too long we've talked about it, but we're getting on and we're building dams and we're going to do it. That's going to be my legacy. I want to be the National Party leader remembered for building dams, and I'm doing it through the National Water Grid Authority. It's been established, it's up and running this week and we're getting on with the job that people expect us to do.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> So returning to socio-economic conditions—so obviously in the future that's a good thing to hope for in terms of building dams and getting that water capacity retention, but at the moment, would you guys- would your government consider any sort of funding or some sort of support for communities that are struggling with socio-economic losses? For example, we've seen that SunRice has cut another 32 jobs in their rice mill facilities because the national rice crop is so low, which rice growers are saying is attributable to low water allocations.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Yes, of course it is. And that's why we've provided a million dollars to more than 100 councils to help them through this process, to keep jobs in the town, to keep money generating around the towns. I spoke to Griffith's mayor John Dal Broi this morning about SunRice and other measures within the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, and I'm going to Carrathool today to open the new Carrathool bridge.</p> <p>So we're building the infrastructure. It will rain again. And of course, we've already provided more than $7 billion of assistance to drought communities. That assistance is including $3.9 billion for the Future Drought Fund.</p> <p>Of course, we've got $3.3 billion on the table through the loan facility, through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, and through the National Water Grid Authority, to make sure we build dams in the right catchments to store more water so that we can harness it and harvest it in future times.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> So speaking on that $7 billion of drought funding—on Twitter last night, Tony Windsor actually said if you assume 40 per cent of the nation's farms are in drought, and 35,000 of those farming families would each supposedly receive part of that $7 billion, that would mean they're each getting about $200,000. That obviously isn't happening. So I guess the question is for farming people on the ground, where is the money going?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well look, Tony Windsor has long been a critic of anything that this Government has done. But the fact is we are getting on with the job of making sure that we've got water storage infrastructure. We are getting on with the job of building drought resilience. And Tony Windsor is a former member of parliament. Yes, he Tweets a lot, some of his tweets are interesting to say the least. We're just getting on with the job. Tony can do what he likes, Tony can Tweet what he likes and good luck to him.</p> <p>The fact is we're getting on with building dams, we're getting on with building resiliency in drought communities, we're looking at what we can do as far as the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is concerned, we're looking at what we're doing as far as water trading is concerned and the buying and selling of water, we've got the ACCC involved there, we've got Mick Keelty involved there. I know we've put in place measures to actually monitor those sorts of things. David Littleproud spends every one of his waking moments making sure that we've got the right measures in place for the drought. We can't make it rain—if we could, we would but the fact is we are supporting our farming communities, we are supporting our regional communities and we'll continue to do so.</p> <p>[unrelated content—background chatter]</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Do you think that the Reserve Bank cutting interest rates will have an effect on disposable income levels on the general economy in the Wagga Wagga and the Riverina?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Well, of course the Reserve Bank makes its decisions independent of Governments as they should. [indistinct] weighs up all those facts and figure and makes its decisions [indistinct]. The banks need to follow certain, the banks [indistinct] the Reserve Bank [indistinct] and ensures that they pass on any necessary rate cuts to customers. The fact is the Riverina is hurting at the moment through the drought—I understand that. That's why I was out at Winton yesterday announcing a number of projects for Grenfell making sure that that drought Community Support Program is being spent in the right areas, not just in the Grenfell's but also in the little towns around those regional major centres.</p> <p>That's why that in those 13 additional councils which received the million-dollar support Temora was included, and we'll certainly look at—if the dry period continues—to look at other shires in the area. Already seven out of the 12 local government areas I represent have received that million dollars' drought support, but obviously there are other shires—Lockhart, Junee, Cootamundra, Gundagai—which are also very, very dry. Wagga Wagga too. Whilst the canola fields look out okay, whether or not there's much seed in the head, whether there's much oil seed is to be debated. I know a lot of the farmers already to already cut their crops to hay and that's disappointing although at least they still have something as food and fodder.</p> <p>But we'll continue to monitor obviously the situation as far as the drought is concerned and obviously as far as disposable income is concerned well we're doing our part with tax cuts. We're making sure that the tax cuts that we offered have been legislated and already people have taken advantage of that. We're making sure that as far as businesses are concerned they're paying the lowest tax rate they have since 1940 at twenty-seven-and-a-half per cent on a downward trajectory to 25 per cent by 21/22.</p> <p>So certainly we're getting on with the job of making sure that if you, that people keep more of the money that they in fact earn.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> A million dollars in a council area doesn't go very far, especially if you have a large geographical area with a lot of roads.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Sure. You ask that to Mark Liebich, the Mayor of Weddin Shire yesterday, and I think he'd dispute that. Yes, it does go a long way and it provides upgrades to child care centres, it provides lighting for sporting ovals, indeed watering the rugby field—the very, very dry and barren rugby field in Grenfell yesterday—that's going to provide a much softer surface. So, they've already increased the number of juniors from 50 to 100 and as Mark Liebich and indeed as Mark here is one of the Grenfell Panthers Rugby Club mentioned, he said: this is a game changer for us.</p> <p>And I spoke to a number of businesses, a number of individuals, and even the show society yesterday where they were delighted that they're going to get an extra 86 horse stalls for the showground there. So I think the money does go a long way—a million dollars for a local council is a significant amount of money. And obviously if the drought continues we will look at either a top up or more assistance as needed.</p> <p>But, you ask the Mayors who received the million dollars and they'll tell you that it is a lot of money and it's helping keep employment in the town and helping money generate around the town because a lot of that money is being spent with local tradies and put through local businesses.</p> <p><strong>Journalist:</strong> Wonderful. Thank you</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack:</strong> Okay. Thank you very much.</p> McCormack Doorstop at Hildasid opening Launch of the Australian Government's Centre for Population <p>Today, I am launching the new Centre for Population, to be based inside of Treasury.</p> <p>This Centre was in the May budget with funding starting in July of this year.  It will soon be at full capacity of about 20 staff.</p> <p>The Centre will become the primary location for all population related matters inside the Australian Government and will work closely with the states and territories, academics and think tanks in order to share data, research, ideas and expertise on population.</p> <p>Australia has a fast growing population - more than double the OECD average - which has supported our economic growth but in recent years has put pressure on our big capital cities.</p> <p>The Centre will provide data and policy analysis to support the following broader objectives:</p> <ol start="1" type="1"> <li>To support Australia’s economic growth;</li> <li>To ensure the liveability of our cities and ongoing strength of our regions;</li> <li>To achieve a more optimal settlement pattern in Australia; and</li> <li>To ensure Australia remains united and together as a people.</li> </ol> <p>In the immediate term, it will focus on particular tasks to support these objectives, including integrating data, better forecasting, greater transparency and initial research. I discuss these further below.</p> <h2>Background</h2> <p>Australia has done well from our population settings over the decades. Our population growth, and the migration settings that support it, have been key drivers of our economic growth, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis.  It has made a significant impact on our workforce participation rate as well as our productivity. Treasury has estimated that a sixth of our per capita wealth over the last 40 years has been due to population factors.</p> <p>It has also made our cities larger, more vibrant and diverse, and supported opportunities for younger people that previously weren’t always present.</p> <p>But this growth has put pressure on the liveability of our cities, especially when infrastructure, housing approvals and services have not kept pace. This has been the case over the last decade or two in Sydney and Melbourne, and to a lesser extent in South East Queensland. These three locations constitute 75 percent of the entire nation’s population growth. </p> <p>In recent years, we have also experienced regional areas that have struggled to find the workers for the available jobs. The leaders of smaller cities, such as Adelaide’s, Darwin’s and Perth’s have aspirations for faster population growth.</p> <p>Last year the Prime Minister established a new Population portfolio inside of Treasury with the aim of addressing some of these challenges while supporting our economic growth.  We outlined an initial Population Plan which reduced our migration rate, encouraged more growth in the regions and smaller cities and boosted congestion busting infrastructure.  Importantly, it foreshadowed working more closely with the states and territories to integrate the differing responsibilities that each level of government has.  COAG agreed to establish a Population Planning Framework which is being considered by Treasurers in October and Leaders in December.</p> <p>The Centre, however, becomes the critical component to all of this on an ongoing basis. </p> <h2>Initial tasks of the Centre</h2> <p>In supporting the broader objectives, the Centre will be focused initially on four tasks.</p> <p>First, on integrating and sharing population data from across the Commonwealth and, should the states agree at COAG later this year, from within their jurisdictions as well. Even within the Australian Government, there are data sets from at least 8 different agencies that are not adequately coordinated and integrated.</p> <p>This includes bringing together data from the ABS, the Treasury (used to inform the Budget and the Intergenerational Reports), Department of Home Affairs, Department of Education (in terms of student populations and policy), the Department of Health and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (population projections for States and Territories to inform aged care policy), the Department of Social Services (for social security and housing support planning), and Department of Infrastructure (for transport and other related forecasts).</p> <p>Second, it will undertake better forecasting and annually track actual data against the forecasts. Population projections and forecasts have often been inaccurate and not aligned. This has made it more difficult for local and state governments to plan accordingly.</p> <p>For example, the ABS projected Melbourne would grow by 500,000 people between 2004 and 2018. Actual growth was almost three times that at 1.3 million.</p> <p>Federal, state, territory and local governments use differing assumptions for population projections, sometimes relying on different data sets between them which adds complexity. At the local level, projections are typically provided by state and territory governments using ABS data, however many local governments also compile their own projections.</p> <p>Within one state jurisdiction, it was reported to me that that the aggregate of each of the sub-regional forecasts was 12 percent different to the state wide forecast.</p> <p>The Centre is tasked with improving the reliability of forecasts.This will include taking over responsibility of forecasting net overseas migration. This now means that all components of population growth forecasts and projections for the Budget will be in one location.</p> <p>As well as forecasting, it will track the actual data against the forecasts. This will ensure governments are better equipped to make informed recommendations about a range of matters, including for the allocation of government resources.</p> <p>The third task will be to create greater transparency over population data to support better planning. The Centre’s work will culminate each year in an annual National Population Statment, the first of which will be released in 2020.</p> <p>Developed in partnership with states and territories, the Statement will be an overarching document capturing the population landscape in our country including composition, distribution, and broader demographic trends. This will include population data against other key inputs such as housing approvals.</p> <p>It will assist all levels of government and our community better understand how our populations are changing from the national level through to our smaller regional towns. It will also look at the way our population estimates from previous years have compared to actual growth, to improve future estimates.</p> <p>Bringing all of this together for the first time, the Statement will be the basis for analysing how our population is changing and how to continue to best address these changes.</p> <p>A new website has also been established to provide a single home for the Centre’s work and the Government’s population analysis and research. This will be a repository for key information and will ensure the community has ready access to the latest population insights.</p> <p>The Centre is also working closely with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and with the academic community to identify ways to improve the visibility of population data even further.</p> <p>The fourth task of the Centre will be to undertake key pieces of research.  It will focus immediately on two items: population drivers and population distribution.</p> <p>Each state, territory, city and town has its own population story. The Centre will look carefully at the drivers of population growth in Australia and how they differ across the country. This is fundamental to understanding what our future population will look like.</p> <p>For example, net overseas migration has been the dominant factor in Melbourne’s recent population growth, while net internal migration plays a larger role than overseas migration in regional Victoria. Similarly in Sydney, where nearly all the population growth has been from net overseas migration, while net interstate migration is negative. It is imperative these differences are analysed and understood.</p> <p>The Centre will look at the composition of population growth across Australia and explain the elements and underlying factors which drive this growth. Building this strong evidence base will inform better population projections which will in turn help all levels of government and the community with planning and policy development.</p> <p>Related to this will be research to better understand the distribution of our population and the role policy can play – factors which influence where people choose to live, both now and into the future. It will develop insights into why people choose to settle where they do, when and why some people choose to move and how policy impacts those decisions.</p> <p>By executing on the tasks and research priorities outlined, the Centre for Population will support the Government’s Population Plan and help us to better plan for Australia’s future.</p> Tudge Launch of the Australian Government's Centre for Population Sky News Live interview with Laura Jayes <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> And on that note, let's go to Alan Tudge now. He's the Minister responsible, he'll be making the announcement later today. Alan Tudge, thank you for your time. What is wrong with the data you have at the moment? What information don't you have available to you? What resources don't you have to make these decisions?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> G'day, Laura. In essence, what the Centre for Population will do is aggregate a lot of the different data sets that we already have. Now, we have about eight different data sets within the Commonwealth Government which aren't integrated at the moment. So the first step is going to be to integrate that data. And then ideally we integrate the State Governments' data as well that concerns population. Second, we do want to have better forecasting capability. Typically, at the moment, we've actually done more projections rather than forecasts, and what I mean by that is that you tend to look backwards as to what's occurred, and then model that going forwards, rather than actually forecasting precisely what might likely occur based on your policy settings going forward. And then I think thirdly Laura, it's about having greater transparency for everybody to see, so that we can then integrate our population forecasts, what's occurring around Australia, with the infrastructure, with the housing approvals, with the services et cetera.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> What's the end game here? Is it less overseas migration or just more managed?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> No, in some respects, there's a few objectives here. The most important objective still is to support our growing economy, and population is a very important driver to that. Not just in terms of overall GDP, but GDP per capita i.e. our population settings make a difference in terms of how individually wealthy we are. But secondly, we do want to ensure that our cities maintain their liveability. And previously over the last couple of decades, we've had tremendous growth in our big capital cities but very little growth in some of the smaller cities and the regional areas. So our objective is to take a little bit of the heat out of the big capitals and support the growth of those other areas, particularly the regional areas actually, which are struggling to find workers. And then the third objective really, Laura, is to ensure that Australia maintains its harmony and stays together. So those three things have to come together in our overall population plan. We've already outlined the initial steps of that, but there's obviously more work to be done.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> Just this week, we saw the skills shortage data for the last financial year as well. There's now 39 skills on that list, that's three more than the year before. How are you putting that data into this research and collaborating that?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> So that a key thing which is done and updated every six to 12 months in terms of what the skills shortage lists are, and that determines whether or not a business can sponsor somebody into the country. But we've certainly been leaning more aggressively in, and I know that Pete sort of raises this, how do you manage population? In some respects, we've linked in much more heavily already over the last six months on this by, A) actually reducing the migration rate down by about 15 per cent on a permanent migration. Second though, we've created a lot more incentives for new migrants to come into the country, to go to some of the smaller cities and the regional areas. This includes international students, which are a very big part of the of the incoming people coming into the country. But as well as for permanent migrants to go to some of those other areas, because the default position typically is that most people come into Melbourne and Sydney, and to a lesser extent Brisbane. Those three locations have 75 per cent of our overall population growth right now, whereas ideally we'd have a slightly better distribution of that growth.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> As we just mentioned immigration is intrinsically linked to the growth of our economy. Is part of your remit here to, I guess, decouple that into the future, albeit slowly? Because it was Scott Morrison as Treasurer who said a cut in the migration intake, I think the suggestion from Tony Abbott at the time was around 90,000 as an annual cap. That would cost our economy about $3 billion.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Well, population is a critical component to our economic growth. I mean there's three big levers to economic growth. They're the three P's as people might know: Population, Participation and Productivity. So population is one of them, but it doesn't just support overall GDP growth for the country, but it supports GDP per capita growth because it does critically support our participation rate, because we tend to bring in people who are on average 26 years of age which is much younger than the overall average age for Australians. And that means we've got a larger working-class population to support the ageing of the population. It also supports productivity as well because typically people that come into the country have higher skills or at least they've got higher qualifications than the average Australian, so it does support productivity as well. So it is critically important. But we also need to make sure that we maintain the liveability of the cities, that we support the regions that need more people and that's where we need to balance that out and lean more strongly in. So our population settings though just aren't about immigration, they also are about other factors that we can put into place; the infrastructure to be aligned, working with the states and territories so we're planning better, faster rail to some of the satellite cities so that we can get growth in those satellites cities and economic growth is central in those smaller cities.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> Are you not thinking about limiting how many children we can have here in Australia are you? Just checking.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> No Laura, so we're all safe on that count, but immigration does constitute about 60 per cent of our overall population growth; natural factors about the other 40 per cent.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> Just finally, perhaps looking at a scenario where you link the annual overseas migration intake to progress in infrastructure or to those skills shortages, so could there be a scenario where that cap, and I know you're not meeting the cap at the moment, that cap changes perhaps on a two yearly or five yearly or even annual basis?</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> It's a good question Laura, and it's almost precisely what we're endeavouring to do, is much more closely match our population growth with the infrastructure and housing approvals in the cities and the regions and we need to do that with the states and territories. So I'll be meeting up along with the Treasurer, with the other treasurers later this month and then it will be at the leaders, we'll be talking about what we're calling a population planning framework and it's deliberately designed to do that. This Centre for Population though becomes the key repository of the information to support that effort.</p> <p><strong>Laura Jayes:</strong> Alan Tudge, appreciate your time this morning.</p> <p><strong>Alan Tudge:</strong> Thanks very much Laura.</p> Tudge Sky News Live interview with Laura Jayes Full steam ahead for second Murray River crossing at Echuca-Moama <p>Construction on a vital second river crossing between Victoria and New South Wales at Echuca and Moama is a step closer, following the awarding of the contract to McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) Pty Ltd.</p> <p>Stage 3 of the project includes new bridges over the Murray and Campaspe rivers and two new flood relief bridges.</p> <p>For those choosing a different pace, there will be a new pathway for walking and cycling.</p> <p>McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) has been announced as the contractor to build the new road between Echuca in Victoria and Moama in New South Wales, taking thousands of vehicles off the existing Murray River Bridge and better linking the two states.</p> <p>A new two-lane, two-way road north of the new Warren Street roundabout in Echuca to the Cobb Highway in Moama, is included in the Stage 3 build.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government is working with Victoria and New South Wales to future-proof the region.</p> <p>“The new bridge will have a single lane in each direction, meeting traffic demands for at least 30 years– but beyond that, the design will allow for additional lanes to be added in the future,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“The new crossing for the Campaspe and Murray rivers will also provide economic and travel benefits right across the region and is estimated to provide direct employment for up to 240 people.”</p> <p>Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said Stage 3 is the vital link of the project which once complete will boost the cross-border economy for Echuca and Moama locals with a reliable second crossing.</p> <p>“The new bridge will give drivers an alternative to the existing bridge, which transports around 25,000 vehicles each day – including 1,500 trucks and heavy vehicles, helping to reduce congestion and improve industry productivity,” Ms Allan said.</p> <p>“The second crossing is expected to reduce this figure by around 40%, which means around 10,000 less vehicles each day driving on local roads over the coming years.”</p> <p>New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the announcement of the successful contractor for Stage 4 will be made in the coming weeks.</p> <p>“Providing a second river crossing will cut travel times for drivers and cyclists and pedestrians will benefit from a new walking and cycling path,” Mr Toole said.</p> <p>“The bridge will allow improved access for emergency services and will support high productivity freight vehicles, improving freight access through southern New South Wales and northern Victoria.</p> <p>“As part of Stage 4, the NSW Government will be upgrading the Cobb Highway intersections of Meninya Street and Perricoota Road, with work to take place concurrently with the building of the new bridge.”</p> <p>Stage 2 of the Project, the upgrade of Warren Street, is on track to be completed and fully reopened to traffic later this year.</p> <p>The $323.7 million Echuca-Moama Bridge Project is jointly funded by the Federal, Victorian and New South Wales governments, with Stage 3 being delivered by Major Road Projects Victoria.</p> <p>An animated fly-through of the project can be downloaded here: <a href=""></a></p> McCormack Full steam ahead for second Murray River crossing at Echuca-Moama Echuca Moama Bridge Press Conference <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> Well it's great to be here today on the banks of the Murray River to mark a big and important milestone and announcement for the local community and I'm very pleased to be joined with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack; our New South Wales state colleague Paul Toole and also here as proud and happy local members, Peter Walsh, Member for Murray Plains, and Sussan Ley, the Member for Farrer, in the Federal Parliament.</p> <p>We've also got a number of other people here today because we're really pleased to be announcing that we- the contract has been awarded; the federal and state governments have agreed on funding and delivering stage three of the Echuca Moama project. And this is the big heart of the Echuca Moama project; it involves the construction of two bridges over the Campaspe and Murray River; it also involves the construction of shared walking and cycling paths. But most importantly, after quite a period of time, it delivers that much needed second river crossing for the local community and it's a project that's being delivered in partnership with three levels of government.</p> <p>We all want to have a say about this project today and there is a lot to say about this project. What I wanted to add to the voices here is that the Victorian Government is really pleased to partner with the Federal Government and the New South Wales Government on delivering this project as part of our big investment in transport infrastructure right across Victoria. And this is indeed, the largest project we've got underway here in northern Victoria, and it is a big project when you consider that there are around 25,000 vehicles a day that use the existing river crossing, we need to take the pressure off that and we need to plan for the future which is what this project is all about.</p> <p>I just want to finish by thanking and acknowledging the local community for their ongoing work and support in making sure that the three levels of government get on and deliver this project. Also, I see here today we have Mal Kersting, who's the recently retired VicRoads Director, who this project was one of his babies for a very, very long time. He's worked extensively with the local community over many years to get us to this point; so it's great that Mal's here today. I think he's here today to really make sure we get on and deliver this project and we're absolutely delighted to say that that's exactly what we're doing with the announcement today of both the contract award and the delivery timeframes for this important project. Michael, shall I hand over to you.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Well thank you very much, Jacinta, McConnell Dowell constructors - a very happy company because they've been awarded the contract for this important, important nation building infrastructure. This isn't just about Echuca Moama; this isn't just about Victoria and New South Wales; this is indeed about our nation continuing to build the infrastructure that our nation expects and needs and wants and most of all deserves. This is going to create hundreds of jobs. It's more importantly going to ease the pressure off the 140-year-old bridge.</p> <p>And of course, today is the day when locals breathe a big sense and sigh of relief because they know that we're getting on with the job and people expect state and federal governments to work together and we are doing that collaboratively; we're doing it cooperatively. Very pleased to be here with Jacinta Allan and Paul Toole to make this important announcement; to make this important announcement as far as the contribution for each level of government to make this important announcement about the jobs that are going to be created in the build; the freight efficiencies that are going to be created as a result of this construction and to let locals know that yes, we do indeed care. All levels of government care about the fact that this has been waited for for many decades and now we're getting on and building it. Delighted to be here with Sussan Ley; delighted to be here with Peter Walsh. They know, as local members, just how important this project is. And with that I'll hand over to Paul Toole.</p> <p><strong>Paul Toole: </strong> Thank you Michael. Firstly, can I acknowledge all of our dignitaries that are here today as well. Firstly, can I just say what a fantastic project that is going to be in construction. This is a project that shows the collaboration between the Federal Government, the Victorian Government, and the New South Wales Government. And the Deputy Prime Minister is right, this is actually about building big infrastructure in this country that is important for not only locals but also when it comes to driving our local economies and also improving efficiency and safety on our roads. You have a look at the trucks that use the current bridge at the moment, 1500 heavy vehicles each and every day use that crossing. A second crossing is going to provide greater opportunities to drive the economy more and to see more vehicles travelling across it but also makes it safer for our locals.</p> <p>Now, this project has had a number of stages. We do know that there is a stage four to actually be announced and that will be announced very shortly and that will actually include intersection work on the Cobb Highway between the Meninya crossing and also the Perricoota Road. So we're pretty excited that in the coming weeks, very shortly we'll be able to announce that stage of the project as well.</p> <p><strong>Peter Walsh: </strong> Good morning everyone. As the local member, can I just particularly think both the state and the federal ministers for being here and the announcement. I know Echuca has been waiting a long time for this announcement to be made. The team’s been doing a great job on at Warren Street. They’re ready to go on the next stage. So this- if you think about this weekend, with the Ute Muster, Deni Ute Muster, the field days, long weekend in New South Wales, it's probably the weekend that puts the most pressure on the roads through here and on the bridge. A five kilometre bank up coming back from the Deni Ute Muster a couple of years ago. When this bridge is built, it'll be great to get all that traffic out of the town and people can just travel through.<br /> But thank you guys for coming along, making an announcement. I know there'll be some local contractors who’d be very happy with the syndicate that's got it; probably some local contractors that won't be quite so happy with the syndicate that got it. But the work will be done. That's what we need. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>Sussan Ley: </strong> There's not much more for me to add. Michael, can I thank you as Deputy Prime Minister for your leadership when it comes to infrastructure builds across rural and regional Australia and that certainly includes my electorate of Farrer just on the other side of the river. It's good to be here with Minister Paul Toole from New South Wales, flying the cross border flag, because this is about uniting two communities; $318 million of spend on really a Rolls Royce, gold class bridge to look after these two communities – both of which are growing. I think, Peter, we're running out of room in Echuca so people are finding the magic of New South Wales…</p> <p>[Laughter]</p> <p>…as they build on the north side.</p> <p>[Laughter]</p> <p>Whereas once it was sort of Echuca with Moama, it's now very much two twin almost cities in this vital part of rural and regional Australia.</p> <p>So, a great day to celebrate. We're all looking forward to this. We can see that it's happening. A shout out to Major Roads Project Victoria for their strong work and their attention to detail and the timeliness with which they're approaching the delivery of this project. It's really, really good to see. Thank you very much.</p> <p>[Applause]</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Any questions?</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Yeah. A few questions please.</p> <p><strong>Unidentified Speaker:</strong> Yeah. Who do you want to go for?</p> <p>[Laughter]</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> The Deputy Prime Minister, whoever wants to answer it. Whoever has an answer for me will work. How much does stage three cost?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Well, federal contribution is $28.7 million and I know the federal contribution to the entire project is now up to $125.7 million. But I might get my colleagues to - there’s $323 million all up, yeah.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Is the entire project?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> That’s the entire project – stages 1 through to 4.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> And you mentioned the federal contribution to stage 3. But does stage 3 cost more than the federal contribution.</p> <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> We’ll get you a breakdown.</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> We'll get you a breakdown [indistinct] media release.</p> <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> Yes.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> My other question was: so, you mentioned the locals for decades have been asking for this second bridge. So, what's taking so long?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Well obviously, you have to have the right planning and obviously, you have to have the right business ratio [the river boat named “Canberra” cruises past and toots horn].</p> <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> It is Canberra?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> The answer to that question is not Canberra.</p> <p>[Laughter]</p> <p>But these things take a while. I mean, we're also obviously on a $100 billion federal infrastructure spend and I know the Victorian Government is also spending a considerable amount of money on infrastructure. I say: good on them for doing that. I know the New South Wales Government at the moment, their spending over the next four years is $94 billion. We are in the age of infrastructure and so we're getting on with projects that, yes, have been demanded for many, many years. Tomorrow, I'm going to be very much looking forward to spending the day with Sussan Ley at Carrathool, where they're opening a bridge which has taken 70 years to build.</p> <p>So, irrespective of what's happened in the past, we're getting on with it right now. You've got people from different political parties. You've got the Liberal Party represented here. You've got the Labor Party here represented and you've also got the National Party. That's what people, I think, want and expect: political parties of different backgrounds, different persuasions, working together to build a better Australia, to build a better future. Now, this bridge is not only here for the here and now, it's also for the future because it's going to be designed in such a way that in the future, if the demand requires it, if the business case stacks up, and as we see, Echuca and Moama grow, as we see more tourists and more industry and more business coming to this area, there will be the ability to tack on, to add onto it and to expand this bridge. So, that's building not only for the here and now, but building for the future and I think that's what people expect and that's what they're getting.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Beautiful. Maybe a local minister to speak a little bit more about the bridge.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Just quickly – estimated completion date?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> 2022.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Deputy Prime Minister, sorry. Can I ask you…</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Yeah, sure.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Do you have an outlay of from stage 2 to 3 to 4, some timeline, dates and sort of costings?</p> <p><strong>Michael McCormack: </strong> Jacinta, do you want to just [indistinct].</p> <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> [Talks over] Well I'll have a crack at that. And Allen, who's here for Major Roads Projects, can correct me in terms of any of the dates. So, stage 1 was completed in the middle of last year and Peter can also validate that, and stage 2 is due to be completed towards the end of this year. So we'll be ramping up on stage 3 as stage 2 winds down. And as Paul has indicated before, he's looking at, very soon, making some further details available on how stage 4 will be done on the New South Wales side of the river. So we can see that by the end of 2022 - because it's a big and complicated job - it's expected to take up to three years to do this work, that we’ll see this project completed.</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Okay. So that's the project, not Stage 3, 2022.</p> <p><strong>Jacinta Allan: </strong> That's all of it. I can't speak for New South Wales but yes. Yeah. Is that helpful?</p> <p><strong>Journalist: </strong> Yes.</p> McCormack Echuca Moama Bridge Press Conference Hobart City Deal <p>In February this year the Prime Minister, Premier and local mayors signed a commitment to Hobart in a landmark agreement.</p> <p>Designed by three levels of government, the Hobart City Deal will secure the fast growing tourism and science industries that are key to Hobart and Tasmania’s future.</p> <p>Now, just seven months later, we can show the people of Hobart just how this design will be turned into results.</p> <p>The 10-year, $1.6 billion Deal will unlock the city:  tackling congestion bottlenecks; boosting tourism; and make the airport a true international gateway, which will drive scientific investment and create an extra 720 jobs.</p> <p>Today’s release of the Implementation Plan sets out the next three years as the city deal is realised.</p> <p>It will take Hobart from a great city, to an unbeatable one.</p> <p>Most importantly it makes sure all city deal partners are accountable – it’s making sure we put our money where our mouth is.</p> <p>We know what needs to be done to make this plan a reality, and the focus will be on key areas, backed with tangible actions to make sure we hit our marks.</p> <p>Tasmania’s tourism industry already supports 42,000 jobs. That number will be boosted even further with a more direct gateway for international visitors and freight to be completed next year, with the start of international flights at Hobart Airport.</p> <p>The business case for an Antarctic and Science Precinct will kick off before the end of this year.</p> <p>This will help cement Hobart’s position as the gateway to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean including through establishing an Antarctic and Science Precinct.</p> <p>As will the arrival of Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, due in Hobart in 2020. It will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations and the central platform of our Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research.</p> <p>Back on dry land, a combined more than $890 million in significant infrastructure investment – including construction of the new Bridgewater Bridge, jointly funded by the Australian Government ($461 million contribution) and Tasmanian Government ($115 million) - will start works to bust congestion and encourage the uptake of public transport.</p> <p>Part of the Greater Hobart Transport Vision, design of upgrades to Macquarie and Davey Streets will also commence this year, with construction expected to start as soon as possible. Similar timelines are in place for the Kingston congestion package.</p> <p>Investment in affordable housing and improved planning is a key focus of the deal and is of increasing importance to the people of Hobart.</p> <p>Building a more diverse, affordable and inclusive housing mix is underway with the signing of contracts to build at least 100 new dwellings. The Australia Government committed $30 million to construction which will be complete in 2021.</p> <p>This is complemented by the Central Hobart Precinct Plan to be completed in 2021. The focus area includes 64 blocks between Davey Street, Burnett Street, Brooker Highway, Molle and Harrington Streets.</p> <p>Activating the Northern Suburbs Transit Corridor with a $25 million boost from the Morrison Government- has been a long time coming.</p> <p>We will have completed an options analysis on the most effective transport solution by the end of the year. Work will then get underway on a project plan to deliver the infrastructure needed.</p> <p>A lot of the groundwork on a number of City Deal projects is already complete and this plan is a blueprint on how we will continue to build on Hobart’s position as a vibrant, liveable and investment-ready city</p> <p>One of the great achievements already progressed, and now being implemented, is the Greater Hobart Act. The Act was collaboratively drafted and has now passed the Tasmanian Parliament, providing an enduring framework for strategic and shared integrated planning and decision making.</p> <p>Like Launceston, which we are both well aware of the first-hand impacts the city deal has had there, Hobart will soon be thriving and benefitting from those same results.</p> <p>In Hobart, and across southern Tasmania, there is plenty to be excited about.</p> <p>Much of it thanks to the game-changer that is the Hobart City Deal.</p> <p>A game-changer for Hobart, and a game-changer for Tasmania.</p> <p>This City Deal has come together through the hard-work of both the Morrison and Hodgman Liberal Governments, and we look forward to continuing to deliver for the greater Hobart region in partnership with local government.</p> <p>I encourage the people of Hobart to check out our plan at <a href=""></a></p> Tudge Hobart City Deal