Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ Latest releases from the Ministers en Torrens to Darlington project creating more jobs https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/torrens-darlington-project-creating-more-jobs <p>The next 157 jobs associated with the biggest infrastructure project in South Australia’s history will start to roll out in the next few months as $85 million worth of early enabling works get underway.</p> <p>As part of the North-South Corridor upgrade, enabling works on the Torrens to Darlington (T2D) project include relocations for water, electricity, gas and telecommunications services for the southern section of the project and are a required precursor to construction of the Hybrid+ design.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said getting on with these early works now will ensure the project stays on track for main construction of the southern tunnel to start in 2023.</p> <p>“We know these utility services need to be relocated to make way for the tunnel, so we are getting that done while we continue finalising the reference design,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“These early enabling works are estimated to be worth around $85.6 million, supporting employment for more South Australians during the very early phases of this important project.”</p> <p>South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Corey Wingard MP, said the works getting underway this year are the first package of the overall enabling works for this project, which are estimated in excess of $350 million.</p> <p>“By doing these early works now, we’re making sure the project progresses as smoothly as possible in the future,” Minister Wingard said.</p> <p>“These 157 jobs are on top of the more than 200 that have been supported by the design, planning and ground investigations phase of the project.</p> <p>“This is the biggest infrastructure project in the state’s history and we are proud to be getting on with delivering it for the people of South Australia.</p> <p>“Not only will it get people from A-to-B faster, this project will also create up to 4,000 jobs in the process and underpin the construction industry in South Australia for the next decade – starting this year.”</p> <p>The Hybrid+ option has been selected as the preferred option for delivering the T2D project, comprising a combination of tunnels, lowered and ground level motorways as well as overpasses and underpasses at key intersections – completing the final approximate 10.5 kilometre of the North-South Corridor between the River Torrens and Darlington.</p> <p>To enable the planned start of construction in 2023 and ensure delivery risks are managed, it is essential that these early enabling works start this year.</p> <p>The T2D project will complete the approximate 78-kilometre, non-stop motorway between Gawler and Old Noarlunga, allowing road users to bypass 21 sets of traffic lights between the River Torrens and Darlington.</p> <p>The project is jointly funded by the Australian and South Australian governments, with $5.4 billion budgeted for the section between Darlington and Anzac Highway, which will be delivered first.</p> Fletcher Torrens to Darlington project creating more jobs Greater access to arts and cultural exhibitions for regional Australia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/greater-access-arts-and-cultural-exhibitions-regional-australia <p>Six cultural organisations across Australia will receive more than $679,000 in support for a future beyond COVID-19, under the Morrison Government’s Visions of Australia regional touring program.</p> <p>Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Government is continuing to support the creative and cultural sector in regional communities as Australia begins the process of recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>“Australia’s cultural sector has worked hard to adapt to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Now we’re welcoming audiences back to cultural events across the country and this funding will provide valuable support to continue these efforts,” Minister Fletcher said.</p> <p>“Through these grants, three touring exhibitions will visit 19 regional venues, providing regional areas with events to look forward to and provide a much needed economic boost for their local communities.”</p> <p>Funding will support a broad range of engaging touring projects showcasing high quality, contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture; as well as supporting three exhibition development projects exploring contemporary social issues and an innovative digital exploration of one of Australia’s World Heritage islands.</p> <p>“We’re proud to be supporting a diverse array of activities and tours in this round, including the National Gallery of Australia’s important and ambitious 4th National Indigenous Arts Triennial, a key event on the Australian cultural calendar.”</p> <p>The Visions of Australia program funds the development and touring of arts and cultural exhibitions, with a focus on increasing arts access for Australians living in regional and remote areas.</p> <p>Each year the Government provides around $2.4 million through Visions of Australia to support exhibitions to tour regional and remote Australia and encourage curatorial and financial partnerships across the collections sector. </p> <p>For the full list of recipients and more information visit: <a href="http://www.arts.gov.au/visions">www.arts.gov.au/visions</a></p> <p><strong>List of Round 12 funded projects: </strong></p> <table class="Table"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Recipient</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Project</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Grant</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>National Gallery of Australia</p> </td> <td> <p>Touring Ceremony: 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial to 5 venues across Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria.</p> </td> <td> <p>$289,180</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>National Motor Museum</p> </td> <td> <p>Touring its highly successful Bush Mechanics exhibition to new audiences at 4 venues across Western Australia.</p> </td> <td> <p>$72,080</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>C&amp;H Clarke Family Trust and Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology</p> </td> <td> <p>Touring Dancing in Fetters: the culture of convict dance to 6 venues across Queensland, Tasmania, Norfolk Island, New South Wales and Western Australia with strong links to Australia’s convict heritage.</p> </td> <td> <p>$129,465</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Milk Crate Theatre</p> </td> <td> <p>Developing the Arts, Homelessness and Reclaiming Narrative exhibition that celebrates 20-years of performance work at Milk Crate Theatre elevating the voices of people whose stories are under-represented.</p> </td> <td> <p>$35,220</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Artback NT</p> </td> <td> <p>Developing Some Like it Hot featuring the work of two leading artists from the Northern Territory, Franck Gohier and Therese Ritchie, exploring the theme of gender in the tropics.</p> </td> <td> <p>$72,450</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Inkhorn Projects and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery</p> </td> <td> <p>Developing the Virtual Macquarie Island 2.0 interactive exhibition that explores Macquarie Island as an important scientific research station and World Heritage Site.</p> </td> <td> <p>$81,400</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Media contacts:</h2> <p>Minister Fletcher<br /> Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a><br /> Christine Vanden Byllaardt | 0409 433 357 | <a href="mailto:Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au">Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au</a> </p> Fletcher Greater access to arts and cultural exhibitions for regional Australia Press Conference - Canberra, ACT https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/interview/press-conference-canberra-act <p><strong>MARK COULTON:</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Today I am here to announce the committee to undertake the review into regional telecommunications. This will be the fifth review done every three years and I think this one is being done at a very, very relevant time. What we've seen over the last 18 months with COVID is that there's an unprecedented interest in people living and working in regional Australia and quite often being connected to jobs not only in the capital cities but overseas as well and that interest in people wanting to live and move in the regions is dependent on good, reliable levels of communication, whether that is data or voice. </p> <p class="Normal0">And so the way the review works, it looks at government policy, it looks at whether that’s working and looks at the gaps. An example of what would come out of the review, on the 2018 review there was an identified need for more data going into regional areas and this was the motivation for the Regional Connectivity Program of which we've just had the first round that has been very, very well supported by the community and the communications industry. </p> <p class="Normal0">As part of that, it was also identified that the lack of independent consumer information that wasn't of a commercial nature was also an issue and so the Regional Tech Hub has been set up offering independent advice to people in regional Australia about their connectivity issues. And the other issue that followed on from that is the alternative voice trials looking at what technology may follow in some of those more remote areas that are relying on wireless loops and on unreliable copper connections. </p> <p class="Normal0">So I'm very pleased to announce that Luke Hartsuyker, a former minister in the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, which chair the Review. In Opposition Luke, as regional communications shadow minister, formulated the Mobile Phone Black Spot Program that has ultimately led to the funding of 1,200 extra mobile phone towers across the region, 925 of those are up and running at the moment. And so Luke is very well qualified and experienced to undertake the chairman's role in this committee.</p> <p class="Normal0">He is backed up by a very, very competent committee who have a broad range of skills that will be incredibly useful. So he will have Kristy Sparrow, who is a Queensland grazier and the co-founder of the Better Internet For Regional, Rural and Remote Australia, commonly known as BIRRR, and Kristy has been a fierce advocate for telecommunications into rural and remote Australia. Sue Middleton is a Western Australian farmer and a consultant, community advocate and is a board member of the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal and she has a lot of other roles as well. Professor Hugh Bradlow is the president of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and one of Australia's leading telecommunications technologists which will be incredibly important as well. And Mr Michael Cosgrave is one of Australia's leading policy experts on telecommunication competition for over 20 years and he's been at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.</p> <p class="Normal0">So as you can see, it is a well‑rounded out committee that has a variety of skills at the top level that will be actually instrumental in helping Luke with this report. </p> <p class="Normal0">So it's live now, the review process, and due to be completed by 31 December this year. So I might hand over to Luke to say a few words and then we can have questions at the end if that's okay. </p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>LUKE HARTSUYKER:</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Minister, for your words of introduction and this appointment as the chairman of the committee. I'm both honoured and delighted to be able to participate as chair in what is a very important role. And as the Minister has said, the onset of COVID has caused a re‑evaluation by many as to how we conduct business and how we utilise telecommunications, and working remotely is becoming more and more prevalent. </p> <p class="Normal0">Regional Australia is not just a great place to live, it's a great place to work, it's a great place to invest and it's a great place to run a business but if we're to maximise the competitive advantage of regional Australia, we must have high‑quality telecommunications infrastructure.</p> <p class="Normal0">The Government's been making significant investments in regional, rural and remote Australia to deliver equitable access to telecommunication services no matter where we live and no matter where you operate your business and it's the role of this committee to evaluate the adequacy of services in regional, rural and remote Australia in 2021.</p> <p class="Normal0">Some of the programs funded by the Government such as the Mobile Black Spots Program are at a mature stage and others, such as the Regional Connectivity Program and the Regional Tech Hub are only just beginning their work and the committee will be examining whether the programs are operating effectively.</p> <p class="Normal0">It's not just about delivering a report card. The committee will be looking at the potential for new providers and new technologies to provide affordable and effective services and making recommendations to government as appropriate. 5G and LEOSats have the potential to greatly enhance the delivery of telecommunication services, and the Internet of Things will create new demands on our telecommunications infrastructure.</p> <p class="Normal0">Fast, reliable, affordable connectivity is not just about business, however, it's about community as well as the economy. Telehealth services, emergency and disaster response, social engagement, they're all dependent on the Internet and the mobile phone. The committee will assess whether existing services are meeting the needs of community and look for ways to do things even better. Good data and evidence are an important part of the process but public consultation is even more important if we're going to get the most out of this review. </p> <p class="Normal0">The committee will meet via videoconference today to plan the way forward. We'll be calling for submissions from all Australians living in regional, rural and remote Australia so that their voices can be clearly heard. The committee will be visiting many communities as part of the review process and information on how to involve one's self in that review will be put out very shortly.</p> <p class="Normal0">There is a great deal of work to be done and I'm confident that the team will deliver a comprehensive report which will document the current state of play and inform policy making going forward. So thank you, ladies and gentlemen.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Media Contact:</strong></p> <p>Mr Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> Coulton Press Conference - Canberra, ACT Regional Telecommunications Review committee announced https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/regional-telecommunications-review-committee-announced <p class="MsoBodyText">An independent committee has been appointed to examine and undertake a review into regional telecommunications services.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Federal Regional Communications Minister, Mark Coulton MP today announced the membership of the committee that will carry out the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">The committee will review the state of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia, and will report to the Government with its findings and recommendations by 31 December 2021.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">The Hon Luke Hartsuyker will chair the committee. Mr Hartsuyker, as a former regional MP, has a thorough understanding of rural Australia and the telecommunications needs of rural communities.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Four other representatives - Ms Kristy Sparrow; Ms Sue Middleton; Professor Hugh Bradlow; and Mr Michael Cosgrave – make up the committee.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Minister Coulton said the five members were selected because of their extensive experience in telecommunications, agriculture, regional business, competition and consumer regulation, and community affairs.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">“I am pleased to have such a high calibre panel looking at these important issues,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">“The members have a broad-ranging knowledge of the telecommunications sector and of regional Australia, they appreciate the needs of regional communities, and they will undertake a thorough examination of regional telecommunication issues that will include an extensive public consultation process.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">“As part of this consultation process, the Committee will engage closely with stakeholder groups and regional communities to understand what is happening with telecommunications and the issues they are facing on the ground.”</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">The Committee has been specifically asked to consider:</p> <ul> <li class="MsoBodyText">The effectiveness of government policies and programs relating to regional telecommunications;</li> <li class="MsoBodyText">The impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ access to and usage of telecommunications services in regional communities;</li> <li class="MsoBodyText">Issues relating to service reliability in regional areas;</li> <li class="MsoBodyText">The opportunities arising from emerging telecommunications technologies; and</li> <li class="MsoBodyText">Changes that could be made to further expand digital connectivity in the bush.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoBodyText">The Regional Telecommunications Reviews are conducted every three years under Part 9B of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.</p> <p class="MsoBodyText">Further information, including member profiles and the Review’s terms of reference, is available on the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee <a href="http://www.rtirc.gov.au/">website</a>.</p> Coulton Regional Telecommunications Review committee announced More funding for communities to address the impacts of drought https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/more-funding-communities-address-impacts-drought <p>The Australian Government is continuing to support regions doing it tough, with over $1 million being shared among 27 community-based projects under the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s award-winning Tackling Tough Times Together program.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the latest round of funding will help regions meet their current and future needs.</p> <p>“Many regional and rural communities continue to address the devastating impacts of drought and require support to deliver projects which will reduce social isolation, develop leadership skills, address disadvantage and stimulate local economic recovery,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Even though some parts of the country have received significant rainfall, the impacts of the extended dry periods and prolonged rainfall shortages are still prevalent and problematic.</p> <p>“Coupled with the additional stress and challenges caused by COVID-19, and the ongoing effects from last year’s bushfires, it makes our $15 million investment since all the more vital.</p> <p>“We are pleased to be providing funding to several towns such as Roma, Jamestown, Moora and Moulamein during these difficult financial and stressful times.”</p> <p>Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said a number of successful projects will enhance community wellbeing and strengthen the local economy.</p> <p>“This includes providing a piano for the local choir and wider community in Kempsey (NSW), installing children’s play equipment in Texas (QLD) and undertaking building repairs at Milang Museum (SA),” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>“Applications for the next round of the Tackling Tough Times Together program are currently open and I strongly encourage drought-affected areas across remote, rural and regional Australia to apply.”</p> <p>More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at <a href="https://frrr.org.au/TTTT">https://frrr.org.au/TTTT</a> or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/">www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs</a>.</p> <h2>Media Contact:</h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Minister Littleproud – Douglas Ferguson 0455 448 985</p> McCormack More funding for communities to address the impacts of drought More funding for communities to address the impacts of drought https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/littleproud/media-release/more-funding-communities-address-impacts-drought <p>The Australian Government is continuing to support regions doing it tough, with over $1 million being shared among 27 community-based projects under the Foundation for Rural &amp; Regional Renewal’s award-winning Tackling Tough Times Together program.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the latest round of funding will help regions meet their current and future needs.</p> <p>“Many regional and rural communities continue to address the devastating impacts of drought and require support to deliver projects which will reduce social isolation, develop leadership skills, address disadvantage and stimulate local economic recovery,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Even though some parts of the country have received significant rainfall, the impacts of the extended dry periods and prolonged rainfall shortages are still prevalent and problematic.</p> <p>“Coupled with the additional stress and challenges caused by COVID-19, and the ongoing effects from last year’s bushfires, it makes our $15 million investment since all the more vital.</p> <p>“We are pleased to be providing funding to several towns such as Roma, Jamestown, Moora and Moulamein during these difficult financial and stressful times.”</p> <p>Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said a number of successful projects will enhance community wellbeing and strengthen the local economy.</p> <p>“This includes providing a piano for the local choir and wider community in Kempsey (NSW), installing children’s play equipment in Texas (QLD) and undertaking building repairs at Milang Museum (SA),” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>“Applications for the next round of the Tackling Tough Times Together program are currently open and I strongly encourage drought-affected areas across remote, rural and regional Australia to apply.”</p> <p>More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at <a href="https://frrr.org.au/TTTT">https://frrr.org.au/TTTT</a> or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/">www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs</a>.</p> <h2>Media Contact:</h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Minister Littleproud – Douglas Ferguson 0455 448 985</p> Littleproud More funding for communities to address the impacts of drought Roe Street transformation to revitalise Perth CBD https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/roe-street-transformation-revitalise-perth-cbd <p>Work is now underway to revitalise one of Perth's oldest streets, Roe Street in Northbridge, as part of the $1.5 billion Perth City Deal plan.</p> <p>The $22 million Roe Street Enhancement Project will transform Roe Street from a car-dominant corridor to a vibrant city destination, improving connectivity and transport options between Northbridge and the CBD.</p> <p>Stretching from Fitzgerald Street to Stirling Street, the project will deliver separated space and wider footpaths for pedestrians, alfresco dining and protected uni-directional bike lanes increasing safety and encouraging more people to walk and ride throughout the city centre.</p> <p>Other features of the Roe Street Enhancement Project include:</p> <ul> <li>narrower street widths encouraging lower vehicle speeds, making it easier for pedestrians to cross;</li> <li>new street trees to provide shade, urban cooling and greenery;</li> <li>new street lighting and CCTV to improve public safety and support the night-time economy; and</li> <li>new paving, street furniture and free public Wi-Fi to support activity. </li> </ul> <p>Construction works are now underway and will be staged to reduce the impact on the city.</p> <p>The project is part of the $1.5 billion City Deal, a joint agreement between the Commonwealth, Western Australian Government and City of Perth.</p> <p>More than $100 million has been allocated towards cycling and walking connections in the Perth CBD, including the much anticipated Swan River Causeway Bridge.</p> <p>These upgrades will help encourage more people to consider cycling, walking or catching public transport through the Perth CBD. Funding will also be allocated towards programs that encourage more commuters to use active transport options, while helping to reduce vehicle traffic and congestion.</p> <p>An animation of the Roe Street Enhancement Project is available here: <a href="https://engage.perth.wa.gov.au/roe-street-enhancement-2021">https://engage.perth.wa.gov.au/roe-street-enhancement-2021</a></p> <p><strong>Comments attributed to Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher:</strong></p> <p>"The $1.5 billion Perth City Deal sees all levels of government investing in the future of this vibrant city by working together to deliver important projects such as this one, which will benefit the local community and visitors, and encourage more people into the CBD.</p> <p>"The Morrison Government has committed $47.5 million specifically towards the CBD Transport Plan to improve active and public transport safety in Perth, and increase the attractiveness and sustainability of the city."</p> <p><strong>Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:</strong></p> <p>"The Perth CBD has a lot of great and vibrant attractions and we want to encourage more people to walk and ride through the city centre.</p> <p>"The $22 million Roe Street Enhancement Project will revitalise one of the City's oldest streets, making it more welcoming and accessible for cyclists and pedestrians.</p> <p>"This builds on our commitment to upgrade and fill the gaps on our cycling network across the Perth CBD and broader Perth area."</p> <p><strong>Comments attributed to Lord Mayor of the City of Perth Basil Zempilas:</strong></p> <p>"One of our top priorities is to encourage more people back into the CBD to support our local businesses and encourage vibrancy.</p> <p>"The Roe Street Revitalisation project will transform the precinct between the CBD and Northbridge and marks the start of $1.5bn worth of investment in our CBD through the Perth City Deal." </p> Fletcher Roe Street transformation to revitalise Perth CBD Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/three-new-projects-supporting-economy-and-jobs-nsw-central-west <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Australian Government is committing $10 million to deliver three projects in Central West New South Wales, to strengthen economic growth and drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the projects formed part of the Australian Government’s commitment to jobs and economic diversification.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment will deliver Stage 2 of the Parkes Water Security project and Part 1 of Stage 2 of the Central West Industrial Park in Forbes,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Works to be funded include two new pump stations that are critical components of the Parkes Water Security project and construction of significant drainage works for the Central West Industrial Park.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The $4 million Central West Industrial Park and $5 million Parkes Water Security projects contribute to the broader regional development objectives of bringing together planning and investment to drive jobs and economic activity through the Parkes Special Activation Precinct. The projects help deliver infrastructure that supports businesses to establish, expand and diversify.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the projects will support both regional development and the tourism market, with flow-on effects for the community.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The town of Lake Cargelligo will be transformed with a $1 million upgrade for the village centre, with new infrastructure and facilities to service tourists and residents,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“These projects are providing vital infrastructure for both the agricultural industry and community alike, helping improve living standards and the attractiveness of the region as a place to live, work and visit.</p> <p>“Many of our regions are still recovering from drought and the pandemic, which is why it is important now more than ever that all levels of government work together to rapidly deliver jobs, generate economic recovery and drive tourism-related opportunities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Every dollar spent on building regional communities is a dollar well spent, which is why we continue investing in projects that support a more secure and resilient Australia.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Hon Nola Marino MP said she approved the projects as they were excellent examples of investment in the region to further support local business to recover and diversify.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><a>Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said, “these valuable water projects will future proof the Parkes township water supply and support anticipated residential growth as a result of the thousands of new jobs created by developments such as Inland Rail, mining and the Parkes Special Activation Precinct." </a></p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">This funding is part of the Australian Government’s commitment of $100 million over two years to fund the Regional Recovery Partnerships in 10 regions across Australia. The Partnerships reflect the Australian Government’s commitment to working with all levels of government to deliver jobs, economic recovery and economic diversification.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong><strong>Media Contact:</strong></strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Mr Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Nola Marino – Michelle Elson 0427 622 773</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Cr Ken Keith – Katrina Dwyer 0427 462 428</p> Coulton Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West Gatton's Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility opens https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/buchholz/media-release/gattons-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility-opens <p>The Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility is now open after five months of work, giving drivers the option to break down and reconfigure heavy vehicles on either side of Toowoomba Second Range Crossing before continuing their journey.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new facility would mean more efficient deliveries to and from Brisbane.</p> <p>“Heavy vehicle drivers will benefit from using the Toowoomba Bypass and can avoid paying a second toll to reconfigure at Charlton,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This will improve efficiencies for our essential heavy vehicle industry, cutting business costs.”</p> <p>Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new facility would be a boost for the freight industry, which had been vital to the state’s COVID-19 recovery over the past year.</p> <p>“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the hard-working heavy vehicle drivers who have been the unsung heroes over the past year, transporting goods and products across the state to keep our economy going,” Mr Bailey said.</p> <p>“The new facility at Gatton will make it easier and more efficient for drivers to break down and reconfigure their trucks as needed before continuing over the Toowoomba Range or into Brisbane.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport and Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz welcomed the new facility.</p> <p>“The Australian Government proudly funded the Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility in partnership with the Queensland Government, as part of the Toowoomba Bypass project,” Mr Buchholz said.</p> <p>Queensland Assistant Regional Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said the facility was an important project to support the heavy vehicle industry and make the road network around Toowoomba safer and more efficient.</p> <p>“With 30 bays for decoupling and no time limits for trailer parking, drivers will be able to choose either side of Toowoomba to break down and reconfigure,” Mr Saunders said.</p> <p>“The acceleration lanes onto the Warrego Highway have been lengthened to make the highway merge safer.</p> <p>“The roundabouts and overpass between the Gatton facility and Warrego Highway have also been widened and strengthened to accommodate the additional heavy vehicles expected to stop.”</p> <p>The facility will be monitored by CCTV and users are advised to comply with site instructions, with penalties for dumping livestock effluent or waste and any other breaches.</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/gatton-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility">www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/gatton-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Mr Bailey – Toby Walker 0439 347 875</p> <p>Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> <p>Mr Saunders – (07) 4114 1100</p> Buchholz Gatton's Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility opens Ettamogah Rail Hub siding completed https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/ettamogah-rail-hub-siding-completed <p class="MeetingName">A $12.2 million upgrade of a rail siding at the Ettamogah Rail Hub near Albury is now complete, providing significantly increased efficiency for freight and passenger rail services and capacity to meet growing transport demands.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new siding extension will work with Inland Rail to improve regional freight connectivity and reduce the cost for freight operators accessing key markets.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“The Australian Government invested $2.6 million in the 2020–21 Federal Budget to deliver this rail siding and it’s fantastic to see it already complete and operational,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“With trains previously having to stop on the mainline to exchange wagons at the hub. This new siding now allows rail operators to move up to 1,800 metre long freight trains off the Main South Rail Line while they are being loaded, allowing other rail traffic to pass.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“The efficient connection of this intermodal in southern New South Wales will support more productive supply chains for local producers, growers and manufacturers as the Ettamogah Rail Hub is strategically placed to drive value from Inland Rail’s fast, cost competitive freight services.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the NSW Government had invested $7.58 million towards the project from its $400 million Fixing Country Rail program which is boosting capacity, access and reliability across the regional rail network.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The siding expansion project will increase rail freight volume and efficiency with the siding being extended to around five kilometres allowing better access to the purpose-built inter-modal facility at Ettamogah,” Mr Toole said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Projects like these are an absolute game changer, increasing the capacity of the line and ultimately, making the movement of goods more efficient.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the use of longer trains cuts delivery times and allows more goods to be transported by rail. This reduces costs for both producers and consumers and ensures food, produce and raw materials are able to move to market as efficiently as possible.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Extending the siding is also good news for passenger services between Sydney to Albury, with trains no longer delayed by freight waiting to get on to the local intermodal facility,” Ms Ley said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">State Member for Albury Justin Clancy said this siding extension project delivered employment benefits for the local Albury community, with about 22 people employed during construction and four after construction.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The regional freight task is expected to increase 12 percent by 2036 to 286 million tonnes per year so completing this work now sets the region up well to meet increased demand into the future,” Mr Clancy said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Ettamogah Rail Hub delivered the project on behalf of the network owner and operator, ARTC. </p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">For more information about Fixing Country Rail, go to <a href="https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/operations/freight-hub">https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/operations/freight-hub</a></p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Deputy Prime Minister – Jock Rice-Ward 0417 837 565</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Minister Toole – Alex Bernhardt 0448 203 742</p> McCormack Ettamogah Rail Hub siding completed Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/three-new-projects-supporting-economy-and-jobs-nsw-central-west <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Australian Government is committing $10 million to deliver three projects in Central West New South Wales, to strengthen economic growth and drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the projects formed part of the Australian Government’s commitment to jobs and economic diversification.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment will deliver Stage 2 of the Parkes Water Security project and Part 1 of Stage 2 of the Central West Industrial Park in Forbes,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Works to be funded include two new pump stations that are critical components of the Parkes Water Security project and construction of significant drainage works for the Central West Industrial Park.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The $4 million Central West Industrial Park and $5 million Parkes Water Security projects contribute to the broader regional development objectives of bringing together planning and investment to drive jobs and economic activity through the Parkes Special Activation Precinct. The projects help deliver infrastructure that supports businesses to establish, expand and diversify.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the projects will support both regional development and the tourism market, with flow-on effects for the community.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The town of Lake Cargelligo will be transformed with a $1 million upgrade for the village centre, with new infrastructure and facilities to service tourists and residents,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“These projects are providing vital infrastructure for both the agricultural industry and community alike, helping improve living standards and the attractiveness of the region as a place to live, work and visit.</p> <p>“Many of our regions are still recovering from drought and the pandemic, which is why it is important now more than ever that all levels of government work together to rapidly deliver jobs, generate economic recovery and drive tourism-related opportunities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Every dollar spent on building regional communities is a dollar well spent, which is why we continue investing in projects that support a more secure and resilient Australia.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Hon Nola Marino MP said she approved the projects as they were excellent examples of investment in the region to further support local business to recover and diversify.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><a>Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said, “these valuable water projects will future proof the Parkes township water supply and support anticipated residential growth as a result of the thousands of new jobs created by developments such as Inland Rail, mining and the Parkes Special Activation Precinct." </a></p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">This funding is part of the Australian Government’s commitment of $100 million over two years to fund the Regional Recovery Partnerships in 10 regions across Australia. The Partnerships reflect the Australian Government’s commitment to working with all levels of government to deliver jobs, economic recovery and economic diversification.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong><strong>Media Contact:</strong></strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Mr Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Nola Marino – Michelle Elson 0427 622 773</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Cr Ken Keith – Katrina Dwyer 0427 462 428</p> Marino Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/three-new-projects-supporting-economy-and-jobs-nsw-central-west <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Australian Government is committing $10 million to deliver three projects in Central West New South Wales, to strengthen economic growth and drive Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the projects formed part of the Australian Government’s commitment to jobs and economic diversification.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment will deliver Stage 2 of the Parkes Water Security project and Part 1 of Stage 2 of the Central West Industrial Park in Forbes,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Works to be funded include two new pump stations that are critical components of the Parkes Water Security project and construction of significant drainage works for the Central West Industrial Park.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The $4 million Central West Industrial Park and $5 million Parkes Water Security projects contribute to the broader regional development objectives of bringing together planning and investment to drive jobs and economic activity through the Parkes Special Activation Precinct. The projects help deliver infrastructure that supports businesses to establish, expand and diversify.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the projects will support both regional development and the tourism market, with flow-on effects for the community.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The town of Lake Cargelligo will be transformed with a $1 million upgrade for the village centre, with new infrastructure and facilities to service tourists and residents,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“These projects are providing vital infrastructure for both the agricultural industry and community alike, helping improve living standards and the attractiveness of the region as a place to live, work and visit.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Many of our regions are still recovering from drought and the pandemic, which is why it is important now more than ever that all levels of government work together to rapidly deliver jobs, generate economic recovery and drive tourism-related opportunities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Every dollar spent on building regional communities is a dollar well spent, which is why we continue investing in projects that support a more secure and resilient Australia.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Hon Nola Marino MP said she approved the projects as they were excellent examples of investment in the region to further support local business to recover and diversify.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader"><a>Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said, “these valuable water projects will future proof the Parkes township water supply and support anticipated residential growth as a result of the thousands of new jobs created by developments such as Inland Rail, mining and the Parkes Special Activation Precinct."  </a></p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">This funding is part of the Australian Government’s commitment of $100 million over two years to fund the Regional Recovery Partnerships in 10 regions across Australia. The Partnerships reflect the Australian Government’s commitment to working with all levels of government to deliver jobs, economic recovery and economic diversification.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Mr Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Nola Marino – Michelle Elson 0427 622 773</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Cr Ken Keith – Katrina Dwyer 0427 462 428</p> McCormack Three new projects supporting economy and jobs in NSW Central West Transcript - Hoxton Park Press Conference https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-hoxton-park-press-conference <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">It's all about data, it's all about freight. It's about using technology to make sure that we get the best out of our transport systems, to make sure that we increase productivity.</p> <p class="Normal0">Datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au is going to be such an important website. Such an important website for companies such as Woolworths, which on 20 December last year were sending a semi-trailer load of groceries out of one of their freight transport distribution centres, just like this one at Hoxton Park, every 32 seconds. I'm pleased that Ben Newton has enabled us to come here today to talk about this exciting initiative. I'm excited that Woolworths is taking part in this, but Ben Newton also played such a collaborative role in helping my Department, the Infrastructure Department and Transport, to indeed form this important, important announcement and this important website.</p> <p class="Normal0">Making sure that our trucks are able to know where the rest stops are, making sure they know where to avoid the congestion hot spots. That's going to be so important as we look towards improving our freight task. And we know that the freight task in Australia is actually going to increase 35 per cent over the next 20 years, and it will eventually double. What we need to do is to make sure that we get the trucks to where they need to be in the most efficient manner possible.  That's what this network system is going to provide. Whether it's Woolworths, whether it's other supermarket chains, whether it's Linfox, Toll, Ron Finemore Transport which indeed carries the groceries around our nation, carries the freight task and makes sure they get everything from where it needs to go, from where it needs to be. That's so important.</p> <p class="Normal0">I'm really pleased too that this has been a collaborative approach. On Friday, we had the fifteenth meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministers from around the country and they're on board too and so, to make sure that we make best use of data, we make best use of technology is what this freight data hub national network is all about.</p> <p class="Normal0">Well done to Woolworths for coming on board. Well done to the freight companies and you know, this is actually going to help our truck drivers who have been perhaps the unsung heroes of COVID‑19. When everybody thought they needed ten rolls of toilet paper every time they went to the loo, our truck drivers were there to make sure that the shelves were stocked, to make sure that those toilet rolls were on the shelves. They've delivered everything right around our nation during these challenging times. So, to have a more efficient system, to be able to tap into that system, whether they're in their cabins or whether from the resource centres at the various distribution centres such as this one, is going to make such a difference for them. Using technology to increase productivity, to address the freight task, I say well done.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Deputy Prime Minister, will the Federal Government now commit to building purpose‑built quarantine facilities in –</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I'm happy to answer any questions about any other topics but if there's any questions about this $16.5 million investment, which is a significant investment for our freight task, I'd be happy to take them now.</p> <p class="Normal0">It seems I've covered off so well on that that you're all over it, so well done. I might get at this stage, Ben Newton, if he wants to just say a few words about the data hub and then I'm more than happy, if you don't mind, Ben.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>BEN NEWTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">On behalf of Woolworths, we see the investment in the freight data hub as a great step towards both driving productivity and safety. So, the hub itself will start to get a greater adoption of standards, helping all companies like us, like our carriers, like Toll, like Linfox, like Finemore Transport, to be able to interact more efficiently, which is good for us and then also good for the drivers. Elements within the data hub, like the national location registry, which is one of the specific projects, will also start to help us just digitising entire supply chains. So, the location registry should be in many ways for transport what the bar codes have been for supermarkets. We're very excited and very happy to be supporting it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Ben touched on a good point there about safety and that's one of the big things. Only recently in Wagga Wagga I announced the Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds initiative. That is a significant investment and a significant network of support for our truck drivers and for those truck drivers to know where the rest stops are in an aggregated and integrated way is going to be so important for their well‑being and to make sure that they get to where they need to be sooner and safer.  That's why we are rolling out $110 billion of infrastructure. That's why that infrastructure roll‑out is actually supporting 100,000 workers and that's why our recent budget supported initiatives such as this and to make that road safety is paramount of course for our trucking industry.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Will the Government now commitment to purpose‑built quarantine facilities, including Avalon and others in other states?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, we've said all along that we're very committed to making sure that we have the right quarantine facilities and the right system available for returning Australians and to make sure that we have our quarantine systems in place the way they need to be.</p> <p class="Normal0">We're working at the moment with the Victorian Government, indeed with the Fox family about Avalon to make sure that that submission is what it needs to be. We're happy to take submissions from other State Governments, but as I said earlier this morning, these quarantine facilities need to be fit-for-purpose, they need to be close to a capital city. They need to be close to international air destinations and routes. We just can't plonk them all over the place, as Anthony Albanese is now, you know, getting a map and playing pin the tail on the donkey and putting quarantine centres every which way and anywhere he thinks sees fit. But this is a challenging time, I appreciate that and I appreciate also that, you know, our record as far as COVID‑19 has been the envy of the world.  We've case rates to a minimum. We've kept the death toll as low obviously as possible, it would be better if nobody had died at all, but 910 deaths since James Kwan first lost his life on March 1 last year and we mourn for those families who have lost loved ones, but it has been the envy of the world and Australians know that they can rely on the Government to do the right thing, to listen to the best possible medical advice and to act accordingly.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Will the Federal Government reinstate income support for Victorians who are having to endure a fourth lockdown?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">We've already provided $40 billion of support to the Victorian Government. Now the lockdown hopefully is going to come off on Thursday. I've already messaged James Merlino, the Acting Premier, and we'll provide what support is necessary. We're providing of course 160 Defence Force personnel who are helping with door knocking and tracking and tracing. But as far as economic support, well hopefully these lockdowns will end on Thursday and people will get back to work and businesses will re‑open and life will continue as it was before this fourth lockdown.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">What's the plan if it doesn't end?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">We'll listen to what Victoria has to say after that. We've been very responsive as a Commonwealth Government. Prior to the budget we'd already put down $253 billion of support. $253 billion of support to address the health outcomes but also perhaps just as importantly to make sure that we address the economic issues. As I travel around the countryside, and four States I visited just last week, they were very pleased. So many business people came up to me and said, "But for your support we would be closed today. But for your support we would not have a job today.” The support I know has been very well appreciated and it's kept the economy going whilst at the same time addressing the health outcomes from COVID‑19 which, you know, is an absolute global pandemic. It's still raging elsewhere in the world and so Australia's measures have been very good, very quick, very responsive and have done the right thing.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Why has it taken this long though to look at these purpose‑built facilities?  We know that hotel quarantine is a risk, we know it's not safe and we know they're not purpose‑built for that so there are issues, including what we're seeing in Melbourne right now.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">We've got Howard Springs.  We're working on expanding that –</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">That is one quarantine facility that's not large enough –</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">And we are addressing the issues, we are making sure that, of course, we can't just decide, as Anthony Albanese might have us do, to build quarantine facilities all over the countryside, in the Nullarbor. I know he was talking Exmouth today and making sure that the, you know, the proposal for RAAF to take over quarantining. I mean it's a long way from anywhere and RAAF Bases are meant for the protection of the nation, not just for some quick-brain-idea or snap decision to say, "Hey, let's build a quarantine facility there. Let's make the RAAF do the job.” The Defence people are already very much helping out with State public health authorities and when asked to do so, providing that vital assistance to states but we just can't build quarantine facilities everywhere.  What we're doing is we're making sure in a pragmatic and practical and responsive way, we're addressing state submissions, we're looking at those and we're addressing this as you would expect us to do, very responsibly.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Queensland made a submission months ago about mining camps.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">And what we will do and what we have done certainly is also take on board the local community's responses and their feelings towards that. Like I say, we can't just put quarantine facilities in regional areas where there isn't the ready‑made health services and health personnel, front line medical personnel right on hand, right at this time, to provide the assistance that there would need to be if there were outbreaks. We just can't do that. It would not be responsible to those regional areas. I come from a regional area. Regional areas have been the best place in all of the world in which to live during this pandemic. But we can't go plonking quarantining facilities and amenities all over the countryside in regional areas where perhaps the health and medical outcomes are not as great as those that are in capital cities. Also, how are we going to get those people from those capital cities and from those places in which international flights come in to those regional area? You know, we need to think through this. That's why we have thought through it and that's why we have responded to state submissions. That's we have been taking the best possible advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, from the likes of Brendan Murphy, from Paul Kelly, from the medical experts. That's what we've responded. I'm not going to say that we're going to respond to, you know, ideas that Anthony Albanese or anybody else from Labor just dreams up overnight and thinks, “That will get me a media grab on the 6 o'clock bulletin.” We're doing it in a responsible way.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Can those affected by the lockdown in Victoria access Centrelink crisis payments if they don't have COVID, aren't looking after anyone with COVID and aren't in quarantine or self‑isolation?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, at the moment the conditions are – as far as assistance is concerned – the same as what they were prior to this lockdown. But we'll see how long the lockdown goes. Hopefully it will end on Thursday but any assistance that anybody was receiving before the lockdown, they're still eligible to get now but we will continue to work with the Victorian Government. As I say, I've already messaged and had a response back from Acting Premier James Merlino, given the fact that I am in the chair for two days while Scott Morrison is on important bilateral talks in New Zealand with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and we will be acting accordingly, as we've done the whole way through.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">You said this morning that we're not in a race on vaccines. Do you stand by that statement?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Absolutely. I mean it's not a race, I'd urge and encourage all Australians to, when they're eligible to do so, get that jab. Absolutely, I would. It's not a race. We don't want to see panic. We want people to be alert, not alarmed. We want people to get the jab, of course, but it's not a race. We've been very good and very lucky in Australia that so many Australians – all Australians – have done the right thing as far as COVID‑19 is concerned. So, you know, people have listened to the best possible medical advice and they've followed and complied with that. What we don't want to see though is those people in Melbourne and generally it is a capital city, where they get out and decide that today would be a good day to protest. “Let's defy the police,” they think. “Let's get out and protest.”  That's not responsible. That's not doing the right thing. What they've been asked to do is stay at home. What they've been asked to do is for this short period, seven days and yes, I appreciate it's inconvenient, but to do the right thing, to listen to the authorities and to comply for not just their sake and not just their family's and communities' sake, but for the stranger they've never met. Going out and waving placards and protesting and carrying on like idiots is not the right way to go. Do the right thing for yourself because if you don't do the right thing for yourselves today, six weeks from now you may well be in an ICU bed and we don't want that.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Medical experts disagree with you, including Marylouise McLaws, who says we are in a race. Is this simply just a way of saying you don't have the supply? You haven't guaranteed the supply early enough for Australia to actually get done quickly?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I listen to Paul Kelly, he is the Chief Medical Officer of this nation. I listen to Brendan Murphy, another professor, he is the Secretary of the Health Department Federally. We listen to the AHPPC, we act accordingly.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Are they saying we're not in a race?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">We're not in a race.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Are they saying that?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, we don't want people to be panicking, we don't want people to be alarmed. Australia is the safest place in all of the world in which to live. I want to assure Australians that they are in a country which has a government which is looking after them. We have the vaccinations, we have a system in place. We urge and encourage Australians to do just that. 120,000 yesterday got vaccinated. 120,000 the day before that. 111,000 the day before that. Overall, 4.1 million Australians. We're working very steadily and very responsibly towards getting all Australians, should they so choose to do so, to get vaccinated. That's important but we don't want Australians to throw their hands up in the air, to get all alarmed and excited. We want them to feel assured that the vaccinations are there. We've got a system in place.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Should fully vaccinated foreign visitors and students be allowed to go into home quarantine?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, if the medical experts say as much then we'll follow their advice.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Should food delivery drivers who are constantly involved in these outbreaks, you know, there was an issue in Perth, there was as issue in Melbourne where suddenly we have all these tier one exposure sites. Do you think food delivery drivers should be some of the people that should be able to skip the queue and get vaccinated quickly?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well I have heard that and I know that those sorts of issues will be discussed this week. Of course, there's a National Cabinet meeting at the end of the week and I'm sure those sorts of issues and others will be discussed and decided and I'm sure that health authorities, those that we listen to, those experts who have led us all the way through this global pandemic, who have provided such responsible advice that we are the envy of the world, they'll make determinations on that.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">You say we're not in a race but I'm sure the five new people in Victoria who have gotten diagnosed overnight wish we were in that race. What do you say to them?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, five new people in Victoria and I feel for those five people. But compare five people to what they're getting overseas. Now, Adam Bandt was carrying on the other day in Question Time about how good America is and America is, it's a great country, no doubt. You know, greatest friends and closest allies. But if Adam Bandt feels as though our situation is worse than America, then perhaps Adam should go, the Greens leader should go and live in America. We'd all be better off, quite frankly, because we've done very, very well. We've kept our nation safe and secure. I compare that to any other nation in the world. You mentioned five new cases. Overseas there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands, I think you get the drift, of new cases each and every day. And we've got five new cases. People should not be alarmed. There is going to be outbreaks, as Professor Paul Kelly and Brendan Murphy have said all along. There will be fresh outbreaks and we're doing our very best of course to minimise those and of course to eliminate those. New South Wales has been the absolute gold standard exemplar when it comes to addressing COVID‑19. You know, we wish every state had very much the tracking and tracing operations that New South Wales has. But given all of that, Australia is the best place in all of the world and regional Australia is the best place in which to live during this pandemic.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Isn't the point here though that five can easily become 500, especially when we're looking at variants like the B1617 variant that is currently circulating in Melbourne?  Isn't the point here that without a vaccination roll‑out that is speeding up or is at least what we were promised at the beginning of this, that we are sitting ducks as the AMA, as the College of GPs, as all of those medical professionals have been saying now for weeks?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">And that's why the vaccination rates are speeding up, as you say. That's why more people, a record number of people are getting out and getting their jabs, getting their first jabs, following it up and getting their second jabs and that's a good thing and I urge and encourage Australians to do just that.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">We've just learnt that an aged care worker in Melbourne has also tested positive to coronavirus. I'm sure people with parents in aged care are panicking. What do you have to say to that?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Don't panic. Don't panic. Things are under control. Make sure you get the jabs when you need to do so. Contact tracking and tracing is taking place. The Australian Defence Force are helping the Victorian State authorities, public health authorities, to do just that. I know that having messaged James Merlino, if they need any assistance in any way, shape or form the Federal Government will be there to provide it.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">If that aged care worker turns out to be from one of the facilities, the 29 facilities that were not vaccinated in Victoria when this outbreak happened, should the Health Minister resign?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">The key word in that question was if. I mean, if starts raining in a minute we're all going to get wet.  So, you know, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Hypotheticals are not going to, in any way, shape or form, help people to understand they need to get vaccinated. We're being responsible, we're doing what we can, working with states in cooperative and collaborative fashion and we'll continue to do that.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Those aged care centres were supposed to be done by the end of March, it's now May.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Given the fact that some of them had flu shots and at the time the advice was that they shouldn't get any other vaccinations on top of the flu shot within a certain time –</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>JOURNALIST</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Two weeks.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Some of those aged care centres were making sure that they kept that space in between. Now, they've been told by the medical experts who've looked into it closer and better and they've assured them that they can get the double dose, the vaccination for flu as well as the COVID‑19 vaccination within a matter of a short time. So that's what they're following. But also some of those indeed aged care centres you mentioned were state run too. So, they were taking the vaccination roll‑out as per the State doing it, as per their program. The Federal Government can't have the blame pointed at them all of the time in every situation by media, by Labor. I mean we're all in this together. I mean this is a team Australia moment. What we need is for people to do the right thing, to get vaccinated, to stay at home when asked to do and to stay away from work and work from home when asked to do so and hopefully this Thursday the lockdown will end and everybody can get back to some sort of normal life. Thank you very much.</p> <h2 class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst"><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p class="MsoListParagraph">Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p class="MsoListParagraph">Jock Rice-Ward, 0417 837 565</p> McCormack Transcript - Hoxton Park Press Conference Gatton's Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility opens https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/gattons-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility-opens <p>The Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility is now open after five months of work, giving drivers the option to break down and reconfigure heavy vehicles on either side of Toowoomba Second Range Crossing before continuing their journey.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new facility would mean more efficient deliveries to and from Brisbane.</p> <p>“Heavy vehicle drivers will benefit from using the Toowoomba Bypass and can avoid paying a second toll to reconfigure at Charlton,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This will improve efficiencies for our essential heavy vehicle industry, cutting business costs.”</p> <p>Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new facility would be a boost for the freight industry, which had been vital to the state’s COVID-19 recovery over the past year.</p> <p>“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the hard-working heavy vehicle drivers who have been the unsung heroes over the past year, transporting goods and products across the state to keep our economy going,” Mr Bailey said.</p> <p>“The new facility at Gatton will make it easier and more efficient for drivers to break down and reconfigure their trucks as needed before continuing over the Toowoomba Range or into Brisbane.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport and Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz welcomed the new facility.</p> <p>“The Australian Government proudly funded the Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility in partnership with the Queensland Government, as part of the Toowoomba Bypass project,” Mr Buchholz said.</p> <p>Queensland Assistant Regional Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said the facility was an important project to support the heavy vehicle industry and make the road network around Toowoomba safer and more efficient.</p> <p>“With 30 bays for decoupling and no time limits for trailer parking, drivers will be able to choose either side of Toowoomba to break down and reconfigure,” Mr Saunders said.</p> <p>“The acceleration lanes onto the Warrego Highway have been lengthened to make the highway merge safer.</p> <p>“The roundabouts and overpass between the Gatton facility and Warrego Highway have also been widened and strengthened to accommodate the additional heavy vehicles expected to stop.”</p> <p>The facility will be monitored by CCTV and users are advised to comply with site instructions, with penalties for dumping livestock effluent or waste and any other breaches.</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/gatton-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility">www.tmr.qld.gov.au/projects/gatton-heavy-vehicle-decoupling-facility</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Mr Bailey – Toby Walker 0439 347 875</p> <p>Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> <p>Mr Saunders – (07) 4114 1100</p> McCormack Gatton's Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility opens Australian Government establishes a freight data hub https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/buchholz/media-release/australian-government-establishes-freight-data-hub <p>Improved national freight data has taken a leap forward with the launch of the National Freight Data Hub prototype website. To fully capitalise on the value of enhanced freight data, the Australian Government announced $16.5 million in funding in the 2021-22 Budget over four years to develop the Hub further.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Hub will be a trusted source of freight data for industry, government and others to improve the efficiency, safety and resilience of the freight sector.</p> <p>“The Hub will highlight important information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition and rest area usage, to improve road safety for the nation’s freight operators,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This commitment will in turn support the day-to-day operations of the transport industry, provide enhanced freight data across all supply chains and enable a data driven approach for future strategic planning and investment.</p> <p>“Every Australian, everywhere, every day relies on a truck driver, which is why we need high-quality, easily accessible data to make sure the movement of goods and services is as efficient as possible, especially as Australia’s freight task grows.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said industry asked for a congestion metric to assist with their businesses and the Australian Government has delivered this and more with the prototype Hub website.</p> <p>“The prototype website is an important first step that shows the Hub’s potential as a game-changer for the Australian freight and supply chain industry,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p>“The website showcases government and industry cooperation on a number of projects and allows users to search for data relevant to their business. </p> <p>“In new world-leading visualisations, interactive truck telematics maps are publicly available at a national level with insights on congestion in our cities and a national map of truck rest stops.</p> <p>“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown more than ever the critical importance of our freight supply chains and all those involved.</p> <p>“This initiative informed by government, industry and others is a win-win for everyone.”</p> <p>Toll’s Head of Innovation Peter Carney said the congestion data will give the freight industry, and indeed all road users, a keener understanding of where and when congestion occurs.</p> <p>“This will enable road users and governments to develop strategies for managing the effects of congestion,” Mr Carney said.</p> <p>“The maps will assist drivers in planning their routes, because knowing where not to drive is as important as knowing where to drive.</p> <p>“Collaborating with the National Freight Data Hub has been an exciting project and we look forward to implementing changes on the ground using the data.”</p> <p>NSW Ports’ Chief Executive Officer Marika Calfas said the prototype website is an important first step toward a comprehensive National Freight Data Hub.   </p> <p>“A fully developed National Freight Data Hub, with data across all supply chains, will assist with decision-making and evidence led-investments to enhance the efficiency and resilience of Australia’s freight supply chains and to quantify investment outcomes,” Ms Calfas said.</p> <p>iMOVE Managing Director Ian Christensen said Australia’s size and distance from world markets increases the scale of its freight task and it is therefore incumbent on us to work together to be efficient and drive down the cost of freight.</p> <p>“The prototype website has exceeded expectations,” Mr Christensen said.</p> <p>“The National Freight Data Hub is a crucially important initiative and iMOVE is eager to continue working with government and businesses to embrace data and increase information sharing for improved freight productivity.”</p> <p>The Australian Logistics Council’s Chief Executive Officer Kirk Coningham OAM said data is the new oil and having an integrated National Freight Data Hub is critical to the delivery of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. </p> <p>“The ALC commends the Government on the launch of the prototype website and looks forward to working together on this vital project, to ensure it meets the needs of industry now and into the future,” Mr Coningham said.</p> <p>Ben Newton, Head of Transport Development for Woolworths Group said: "The challenges of the past year have put a spotlight on the need for industry and government to work closely together across supply chains to deliver for the community. The Hub is a significant step forward in this collaboration, leveraging real-time data to achieve greater efficiency, safety and productivity outcomes across the transport network."</p> <p>The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is developing the National Freight Data Hub in close consultation with industry, governments and other stakeholders. </p> <p>More information on the Hub is available on the department’s <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/transport/freight/national-freight-data-hub/index.aspx">website</a>. The National Freight Data Hub prototype website can be found at <a href="http://datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au/">datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong><strong>Media Contact:</strong></strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jock Rice-Ward 0417 837 565 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> <p>Toll – Sonja Stockton 0466 923 684<br /> NSW Ports – Vida Cheesman 0410 597 547</p> <p>iMOVE – Jacqueline King 0404 045 293</p> <p>Australian Logistics Council – Rachel Smith 0433 569 301</p> <p>Woolworths – 02 8885 1033.</p> Buchholz Australian Government establishes a freight data hub Australian Government establishes a freight data hub https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/australian-government-establishes-freight-data-hub <p class="MsoNormal">Improved national freight data has taken a leap forward with the launch of the National Freight Data Hub prototype website. To fully capitalise on the value of enhanced freight data, the Australian Government announced $16.5 million in funding in the 2021-22 Budget over four years to develop the Hub further.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Hub will be a trusted source of freight data for industry, government and others to improve the efficiency, safety and resilience of the freight sector.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The Hub will highlight important information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition and rest area usage, to improve road safety for the nation’s freight operators,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“This commitment will in turn support the day-to-day operations of the transport industry, provide enhanced freight data across all supply chains and enable a data driven approach for future strategic planning and investment.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Every Australian, everywhere, every day relies on a truck driver, which is why we need high-quality, easily accessible data to make sure the movement of goods and services is as efficient as possible, especially as Australia’s freight task grows.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said industry asked for a congestion metric to assist with their businesses and the Australian Government has delivered this and more with the prototype Hub website.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The prototype website is an important first step that shows the Hub’s potential as a game-changer for the Australian freight and supply chain industry,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The website showcases government and industry cooperation on a number of projects and allows users to search for data relevant to their business. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">“In new world-leading visualisations, interactive truck telematics maps are publicly available at a national level with insights on congestion in our cities and a national map of truck rest stops.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown more than ever the critical importance of our freight supply chains and all those involved.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“This initiative informed by government, industry and others is a win-win for everyone.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Toll’s Head of Innovation Peter Carney said the congestion data will give the freight industry, and indeed all road users, a keener understanding of where and when congestion occurs.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“This will enable road users and governments to develop strategies for managing the effects of congestion,” Mr Carney said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The maps will assist drivers in planning their routes, because knowing where not to drive is as important as knowing where to drive.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Collaborating with the National Freight Data Hub has been an exciting project and we look forward to implementing changes on the ground using the data.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">NSW Ports’ Chief Executive Officer Marika Calfas said the prototype website is an important first step toward a comprehensive National Freight Data Hub.   </p> <p class="MsoNormal">“A fully developed National Freight Data Hub, with data across all supply chains, will assist with decision-making and evidence led-investments to enhance the efficiency and resilience of Australia’s freight supply chains and to quantify investment outcomes,” Ms Calfas said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">iMOVE Managing Director Ian Christensen said Australia’s size and distance from world markets increases the scale of its freight task and it is therefore incumbent on us to work together to be efficient and drive down the cost of freight.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The prototype website has exceeded expectations,” Mr Christensen said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The National Freight Data Hub is a crucially important initiative and iMOVE is eager to continue working with government and businesses to embrace data and increase information sharing for improved freight productivity.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Australian Logistics Council’s Chief Executive Officer Kirk Coningham OAM said data is the new oil and having an integrated National Freight Data Hub is critical to the delivery of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The ALC commends the Government on the launch of the prototype website and looks forward to working together on this vital project, to ensure it meets the needs of industry now and into the future,” Mr Coningham said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Ben Newton, Head of Transport Development for Woolworths Group said: "The challenges of the past year have put a spotlight on the need for industry and government to work closely together across supply chains to deliver for the community. The Hub is a significant step forward in this collaboration, leveraging real-time data to achieve greater efficiency, safety and productivity outcomes across the transport network."</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is developing the National Freight Data Hub in close consultation with industry, governments and other stakeholders. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">More information on the Hub is available on the department’s <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/transport/freight/national-freight-data-hub/index.aspx">website</a>. The National Freight Data Hub prototype website can be found at <a href="http://datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au/">datahub.freightaustralia.gov.au</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jock Rice-Ward 0417 837 565 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Toll – Sonja Stockton 0466 923 684<br /> NSW Ports – Vida Cheesman 0410 597 547</p> <p class="MsoNormal">iMOVE – Jacqueline King 0404 045 293</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Australian Logistics Council – Rachel Smith 0433 569 301</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Woolworths – 02 8885 1033.</p> McCormack Australian Government establishes a freight data hub Inland Rail to save $170 million annually in transport costs https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/inland-rail-save-170-million-annually-transport-costs <p class="MeetingName">Shifting to Inland Rail could save Australian producers, manufacturers and growers approximately $170 million in transport costs each year according to early results of a CSIRO supply chain analysis.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the early release of findings from the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study as further proof of the benefits Inland Rail will unlock across Australia.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“In regional Australia distances between communities and towns, and towns and cities are measured in more than miles and minutes – they’re measured in the cost of moving essential goods where and when people need them,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“CSIRO has mapped supply chains for 140 commodities and the early results show an average transport cost reduction of 39 per cent can be achieved by shifting freight from road to Inland Rail for at least part of the journey.”</p> <p class="MeetingName">Freight travelling the full length of Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane achieves a higher transport cost reduction of 44 per cent.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham welcomed the initial findings of the CSIRO report that highlighted the significant savings Australia’s supply chains could expect when switching to Inland Rail.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“The report recognises businesses as far as Townsville, Perth and Launceston would have the potential to reap the benefits with suitable road-based supply chains to expect a 44 per cent reduction in their transport costs when switching to Inland Rail,” Minister Birmingham said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“Equally, existing rail-based supply chains are estimated to see an annual cost reduction of around $21 million when shifting at least part of their route to Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“Our Government is delivering the freight network Australia needs to serve future generations - driving greater productivity, supply chain efficiency and job creation across our transport, manufacturing and primary producer industries.”</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia would bring extensive opportunities to regional Australia.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“This study is the green light signalling to the industry to start planning now because the potential cost savings for being connected to, or close by, Inland Rail are immense for farmers and regional businesses,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Heavier, faster freight trains will divert non-bulk products from roads and provide the competitive edge regional Australia has been calling for.” </p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Concrete World in Dubbo is just one business reconsidering options to move their freight with rail. </p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Director Troy Paton said Inland Rail will be a welcome freight option, provided it can deliver the cost reductions outlined in CSIRO’s study.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Up to 39 per cent savings on the cost of moving freight is huge in this industry; we will definitely be looking at Inland Rail for our future freight needs,” Mr Paton said.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Additionally, it will assist us with further expansion of the business. The time delays in moving freight over the Blue Mountains are a constant constraint.”</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, was used to analyse existing freight supply chains and the potential cost reductions based on future infrastructure investments or operational changes.</p> <p>“Our computer logistics tool can identify the transport benefits to every supply chain using Inland Rail and analyse potential savings over the long term. It can also be used to test future scenarios and transport technologies,” CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Full results of the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study will detail the potential cost savings for 140 commodities and is expected to be released in coming months.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Find out more about the CSIRO Supply Chain mapping study at <a href="https://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">https://www.InlandRail.gov.au</a></p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Birmingham – Benn Ayre 0428 342 325</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">CSIRO media – <a href="mailto:media@csiro.au">media@csiro.au</a> 1300 555 005</p> McCormack Inland Rail to save $170 million annually in transport costs Transcript - Interview with DCFM Dubbo https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-interview-dcfm-dubbo <p class="Normal0"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">A very good morning to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. Michael, you're in Dubbo today, what's the purpose of the visit?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, we're going around having a look at a few things in the wonderful Parkes electorate, but most importantly the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It plays such a vital role in the health outcomes for rural, regional and perhaps most importantly remote Australia. Well they're going to be assisting with the COVID‑19 vaccine roll‑out.</p> <p class="Normal0">I know Mark Coulton, for him, the Member for Parkes, the Minister for Regional Health, this is so, so important because he understands, we get the vaccine out to rural and regional communities to get it into those remote Aboriginal communities, it's going to make such a difference in the vaccine strategy, in the roll‑out and in the fight against COVID‑19. And so the RFDS is coming on board.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">That's great and that’s where you'll be there this morning. I understand you're also talking with Concrete World Industries. What's all that about?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well they play such an important role in our infrastructure build and we've got $110 billion of infrastructure that we're rolling out at the moment supporting 100,000 workers, it's supporting goodness knows how many small businesses, and they're also taking advantage, of course, of the lowest tax rate that small business has had since 1940. They're no doubt taking advantage of the instant asset write‑off. I hope they're taking advantage of the apprentices hiring incentives we've got in place and, you know, there's lots that we're going to see and do there.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Good.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">And of course Inland Rail, not to mention Inland Rail. They're going to be a big player in the roll‑out, the continued roll‑out of Inland Rail. Up to section two at the moment. Finished section one, Narromine to Parkes. That's Parkes in the Riverina electorate, not Parkes the electorate that Mark Coulton so proudly represents.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look, I'm deeply concerned about WIN Television pulling out of Dubbo, Albury, Wagga, Orange and Griffith and putting in state-wide bulletins. You, the Federal Government, spent a lot of money last year trying to shore up regional television in country areas, also commercial radio and newspapers. We now find we've got a number of newspapers not printing online, we've got WIN pulling out. Are you ever going to ask them for their money back?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look, we've put tens of millions of dollars into the public interest news gathering measures, you know, and being a former newspaper editor and a journalist myself I know how important it is to have local news, local people, local events, how important it is for Mark when he makes announcements to have a camera there so that, you know, it can screen into people's homes at 6 o'clock at night.</p> <p class="Normal0">Look, I'm obviously disappointed with the decision to just have state-wide news services. It just doesn't enable our country communities to have the sort of news service that they expect and most of all deserve. But I appreciate too these are commercial decisions and these are trying and challenging times, whether it's newspapers, whether it's television stations. I get that it is tough, and I get that, you know, costs are high and that's why we put in place JobKeeper, that's why we put in place so many measures to help keep these businesses going.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I understand that but I notice in the budget that community radio right throughout the country only got $20 million, they're asking for an extra five to set up such things as news services which this radio station has done. Are you in a position where you can give community broadcasting another $5 million to help us establish news services where they've been lost by WIN Television and others?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well we can always look at these things as part of the MYEFO process, as part of ongoing budgets, and I hope we're going to have another budget before the next election. We can always look at these things and we can always support these sorts of community endeavours. But we've put a hell of a lot of money on the table to support and protect lives and livelihoods during COVID‑19.</p> <p class="Normal0">There's a big call, there's been a massive call on Commonwealth taxpayers' money from all sectors of the community and society and we've answered most of those calls. We are –</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I've got to say, Michael, $5 million is not all that much.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, $5 million's better than nothing at all and whilst I appreciate that community radio plays a vital part, I thank you for your ongoing support, you know, we can look at these things in the future.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">All right. Getting on to China and trade at the present time. We've got China stockpiling our iron ore like fury and we're doing very well out of it with the budget and things like that. What happens when China says no more iron ore?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well let's think more positively than that. I appreciate that, you know, it's difficult with trade at the moment. That's why the new Trade Minister Dan Tehan has been over to the UK, been over to Europe, been discussing at looking at diversifying our trade so we don't have, you know, too many eggs in too few a baskets and that's why we've opened up trade arrangements with most recently Indonesia. That’s why we took our first ship load of barley to Mexico. These are important diversification measures that we're putting in place in our trade.</p> <p class="Normal0">China, of course, is a massive, massive exporter and importer and trading partner with Australia, $149.6 billion of trade with China. Look, you know, we'll continue to work through these, as people would expect, in a diplomatic and pragmatic fashion.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">It was stated today that the $600 million gas plant for the Muswellbrook area in New South Wales was like kings burying bank notes so that unemployed can dig them up and stay productive. Do you see the gas plant that way?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I see the gas as being a vital part of our energy mix in the future. I know Keith Pitt has been working, whether it's been the Narrabri project, whether it's been working with the Northern Territory Government with the Beetaloo Basin, he's working with the States, he's working with the Territories. Gas is a big part of our future plan. It's a great job creator and we'll go on making sure, whether it's gas or any other energy component, that it's part of our diversified mix going into the future.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">How's Your Future, Your Super going at this stage? It looks as though it's going to have a rough trot through the Senate.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well again it's always a challenge. Politics is never easy. If it was everybody would be doing it. I know Josh, I know the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham, the Finance Minister, you know, are making sure that crossbench and other people who have a big say in these sorts of things know full well the benefits of what we've put in place, what we want to legislate and what the budget entails.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Finally, Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, the Upper Hunter election and the win for the Nationals, what implications do you see federally for the Nationals and federally overall?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">What it shows is that country folk aren't going to be dictated to by city people who come in, blow in, make silly statements on Twitter, support people who shouldn't be supported and make a big fuss and then leave just as quickly. Country people like country champions. They like people who have been in their patch working hard, whether it's in school, constructions, Rotary, all those sorts of things. That's why the Nationals will always support local champions.</p> <p class="Normal0">David Layzell has proven himself to be just that, and he will be a great Member for Upper Hunter, and the Nationals will always go on supporting, you know, like Mark Coulton, what a great representative he was when he first got into politics. Still is, of course. But, you know, Mayor of Gwydir Shire, farmer, well‑respected. His wife Robin, you know, a schoolteacher who was very highly respected in the community in Gravesend and elsewhere, Warialda. And they're the sort of people that we want in politics. They're the sort of people with real life experience that the Nationals bring to the table and when they get positions around the big ministerial table and the Cabinet table, they continue to make the right decisions for and on behalf of regional people.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Michael McCormack, I've got to agree with that last point 100 per cent. Thanks so much for talking with us this morning. Enjoy your short stay in Dubbo. I believe you're only here for a few hours and hopefully we'll catch up with you in this studio one day very, very soon.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">In the not-too-distant future, thanks so much.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Thanks Michael.</p> <p class="Normal0">Federal Member Mark Coulton. Mark, I've got to congratulate you, first of all, you've been pre‑selected again to stand for the next Federal election for the Federal seat of Parkes, how do you feel about that?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look it's a great honour. I never take these things for granted, Richard, and to have the support, you know, this is the sixth time I've gone to the membership of the National Party in the Parkes electorate and asked for them to support me and endorse me as their candidate for the next election. So I'm pleased that they've done that, you know, I believe that I've got more to give and there's a few things that are, you know, not finished that, you know, I talked about 14 years ago when I first turned up that I'd like to see through to, if not completed to a much more final stage.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">One of those few things of course is the Inland Rail. The Narromine to Narrabri section, how much further down the track, no pun intended, are we?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yeah so at the moment the EIS, the environmental impact statement, has been released. There were about 150 submissions that came in in response to that. So at the moment the Inland Rail are going through all those responses and there's questions in there about the flow of water.</p> <p class="Normal0">There's questions in there about access, all of those things. They all need to be responded to and taken into account and acted on if that's the case. But we will see, you know, it's narrowed down now to the 40 to 60 metres wide.</p> <p class="Normal0">Those discussions are happening now with landholders, with the Inland Rail people, talking about things that really have been on their minds for some time. What's the compensation? How can I access the line? You know, will it be fenced? Can I have an underpass for my stock? All those sorts of things.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">How much longer are these consultations going to take?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I believe that we'll probably see, you know, yellow machines pushing up dirt probably about the second half of 2022 on the Narromine to Narrabri section.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Shortly after that we might have a railway line travelling all the way from Brisbane to Melbourne, which would be wonderful.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well we've got a few issues up in Queensland we've got to overcome, but that's one of the reasons that I'm staying around because, you know, these sort of projects, as beneficial as they will be, they are very difficult. They do cause a lot of upset and grief and heartache for the people that are impacted by it and I just want to make sure that, you know, I can keep an eye on that process as we get to the final stages of construction.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Are you pleased with the COVID roll‑out in your electorate?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yeah, look I think our electorate, Richard, is probably batting above the rest of the country with what we are seeing and, you know, I've been speaking to GPs in Dubbo and Gunnedah, Moree and up at the Aboriginal Medical Service at Walgett and Moree and those places. So country people realise that as safe as it's been we are still very vulnerable, so they are fronting up because they know that if we do get an outbreak of COVID in Walgett or Wilcannia or Trangie it's going to be difficult to get the level of intensive care that we need. So they understand that and when they get the opportunity to have the vaccine that's what they're doing.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Mark, I've got to say though that the respiratory clinic in Dubbo, I made an appointment to get a shot and basically, I have to wait until 15 June and they're only operating Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and doing 40 a day. I understand the hospital has taken over a little bit of that but most of the GPs in Dubbo are only vaccinating their particular patients on their books and it seems to me in Dubbo it's a bit hard to get a shot if you want one quickly.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well those numbers, Richard, are ramping up as more product comes available and we'll start to see a change in behaviour. I know some of the clinics will start to, I'm not sure about Dubbo, I haven't spoken to them individually, but I know some of the clinics in my electorate are starting to do, you know, Saturday clinics, evening clinics, understanding that they need to actually extend the hours to get the people covered.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">The cost of the injection though to these clinics, say the respiratory clinic, is it a full GP consultation or every time someone gets an injection?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">A GP clinic should not be a cost to the person at all. There's an arrangement that we have with the Commonwealth paying GPs and we'll start to see, I think probably within the next few weeks, pharmacy coming on board as well in New South Wales. They've already signed up to start that in Queensland. So as more product, more vaccine becomes available, whether it's AstraZeneca or Pfizer or towards the end of the year Moderna, there'll be more opportunities to have it.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Let’s hope so because I remember at school when we had to have injections, they sort of line you all up on a year basis and bang through 150 kids between lunchtime and go home time. It seems to me with the COVID, certainly in Dubbo with the respiratory clinic, 40 a day, they could do a hell of a lot more.               </p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">They might. I can't comment personally but what we have found, why it's taking a bit longer is because there has been a degree of uncertainty in the population and the GPs are telling me that rather than people just coming and rolling up their sleeves, many people actually want to have a discussion with the doctor, they want to know what the risks are and that's an issue. But the other thing is rather than you and I would be of an age where we had the polio vaccine, Richard, which is much more straightforward, but they also have to observe people for 15 minutes after, so that sort of slows the process down as well.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yes, I suppose so. All right, look, Mark, good talking with you. Again, congratulations on standing yet again for us as your Federal Member. As far as I'm concerned, you've done a terrific job and I hope you continue with it.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I look forward to it. Thanks Richard, thanks for your time.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Mark Coulton.</p> <h2 class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Jock Rice-Ward, 0417 837 565</p> McCormack Transcript - Interview with DCFM Dubbo Inland Rail to save $170 million annually in transport costs https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/inland-rail-save-170-million-annually-transport-costs <p class="MeetingName">Shifting to Inland Rail could save Australian producers, manufacturers and growers approximately $170 million in transport costs each year according to early results of a CSIRO supply chain analysis.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the early release of findings from the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study as further proof of the benefits Inland Rail will unlock across Australia.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“In regional Australia distances between communities and towns, and towns and cities are measured in more than miles and minutes – they’re measured in the cost of moving essential goods where and when people need them,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“CSIRO has mapped supply chains for 140 commodities and the early results show an average transport cost reduction of 39 per cent can be achieved by shifting freight from road to Inland Rail for at least part of the journey.”</p> <p class="MeetingName">Freight travelling the full length of Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane achieves a higher transport cost reduction of 44 per cent.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham welcomed the initial findings of the CSIRO report that highlighted the significant savings Australia’s supply chains could expect when switching to Inland Rail.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“The report recognises businesses as far as Townsville, Perth and Launceston would have the potential to reap the benefits with suitable road-based supply chains to expect a 44 per cent reduction in their transport costs when switching to Inland Rail,” Minister Birmingham said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“Equally, existing rail-based supply chains are estimated to see an annual cost reduction of around $21 million when shifting at least part of their route to Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane.</p> <p class="MeetingName">“Our Government is delivering the freight network Australia needs to serve future generations - driving greater productivity, supply chain efficiency and job creation across our transport, manufacturing and primary producer industries.”</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia would bring extensive opportunities to regional Australia.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“This study is the green light signalling to the industry to start planning now because the potential cost savings for being connected to, or close by, Inland Rail are immense for farmers and regional businesses,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Heavier, faster freight trains will divert non-bulk products from roads and provide the competitive edge regional Australia has been calling for.” </p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Concrete World in Dubbo is just one business reconsidering options to move their freight with rail. </p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Director Troy Paton said Inland Rail will be a welcome freight option, provided it can deliver the cost reductions outlined in CSIRO’s study.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Up to 39 per cent savings on the cost of moving freight is huge in this industry; we will definitely be looking at Inland Rail for our future freight needs,” Mr Paton said.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">“Additionally, it will assist us with further expansion of the business. The time delays in moving freight over the Blue Mountains are a constant constraint.”</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, was used to analyse existing freight supply chains and the potential cost reductions based on future infrastructure investments or operational changes.</p> <p>“Our computer logistics tool can identify the transport benefits to every supply chain using Inland Rail and analyse potential savings over the long term. It can also be used to test future scenarios and transport technologies,” CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Full results of the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study will detail the potential cost savings for 140 commodities and is expected to be released in coming months.</p> <p class="MeetingName">Find out more about the CSIRO Supply Chain mapping study at <a href="https://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">https://www.InlandRail.gov.au</a></p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Birmingham – Benn Ayre 0428 342 325</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">CSIRO media – <a href="mailto:media@csiro.au">media@csiro.au</a> 1300 555 005</p> Coulton Inland Rail to save $170 million annually in transport costs Transcript - Interview with DCFM Dubbo https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/interview/transcript-interview-dcfm-dubbo <p class="Normal0"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">A very good morning to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. Michael, you're in Dubbo today, what's the purpose of the visit?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, we're going around having a look at a few things in the wonderful Parkes electorate, but most importantly the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It plays such a vital role in the health outcomes for rural, regional and perhaps most importantly remote Australia. Well they're going to be assisting with the COVID‑19 vaccine roll‑out.</p> <p class="Normal0">I know Mark Coulton, for him, the Member for Parkes, the Minister for Regional Health, this is so, so important because he understands, we get the vaccine out to rural and regional communities to get it into those remote Aboriginal communities, it's going to make such a difference in the vaccine strategy, in the roll‑out and in the fight against COVID‑19. And so the RFDS is coming on board.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">That's great and that’s where you'll be there this morning. I understand you're also talking with Concrete World Industries. What's all that about?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well they play such an important role in our infrastructure build and we've got $110 billion of infrastructure that we're rolling out at the moment supporting 100,000 workers, it's supporting goodness knows how many small businesses, and they're also taking advantage, of course, of the lowest tax rate that small business has had since 1940. They're no doubt taking advantage of the instant asset write‑off. I hope they're taking advantage of the apprentices hiring incentives we've got in place and, you know, there's lots that we're going to see and do there.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Good.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">And of course Inland Rail, not to mention Inland Rail. They're going to be a big player in the roll‑out, the continued roll‑out of Inland Rail. Up to section two at the moment. Finished section one, Narromine to Parkes. That's Parkes in the Riverina electorate, not Parkes the electorate that Mark Coulton so proudly represents.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look, I'm deeply concerned about WIN Television pulling out of Dubbo, Albury, Wagga, Orange and Griffith and putting in state-wide bulletins. You, the Federal Government, spent a lot of money last year trying to shore up regional television in country areas, also commercial radio and newspapers. We now find we've got a number of newspapers not printing online, we've got WIN pulling out. Are you ever going to ask them for their money back?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look, we've put tens of millions of dollars into the public interest news gathering measures, you know, and being a former newspaper editor and a journalist myself I know how important it is to have local news, local people, local events, how important it is for Mark when he makes announcements to have a camera there so that, you know, it can screen into people's homes at 6 o'clock at night.</p> <p class="Normal0">Look, I'm obviously disappointed with the decision to just have state-wide news services. It just doesn't enable our country communities to have the sort of news service that they expect and most of all deserve. But I appreciate too these are commercial decisions and these are trying and challenging times, whether it's newspapers, whether it's television stations. I get that it is tough, and I get that, you know, costs are high and that's why we put in place JobKeeper, that's why we put in place so many measures to help keep these businesses going.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I understand that but I notice in the budget that community radio right throughout the country only got $20 million, they're asking for an extra five to set up such things as news services which this radio station has done. Are you in a position where you can give community broadcasting another $5 million to help us establish news services where they've been lost by WIN Television and others?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well we can always look at these things as part of the MYEFO process, as part of ongoing budgets, and I hope we're going to have another budget before the next election. We can always look at these things and we can always support these sorts of community endeavours. But we've put a hell of a lot of money on the table to support and protect lives and livelihoods during COVID‑19.</p> <p class="Normal0">There's a big call, there's been a massive call on Commonwealth taxpayers' money from all sectors of the community and society and we've answered most of those calls. We are –</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I've got to say, Michael, $5 million is not all that much.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well, $5 million's better than nothing at all and whilst I appreciate that community radio plays a vital part, I thank you for your ongoing support, you know, we can look at these things in the future.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">All right. Getting on to China and trade at the present time. We've got China stockpiling our iron ore like fury and we're doing very well out of it with the budget and things like that. What happens when China says no more iron ore?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well let's think more positively than that. I appreciate that, you know, it's difficult with trade at the moment. That's why the new Trade Minister Dan Tehan has been over to the UK, been over to Europe, been discussing at looking at diversifying our trade so we don't have, you know, too many eggs in too few a baskets and that's why we've opened up trade arrangements with most recently Indonesia. That’s why we took our first ship load of barley to Mexico. These are important diversification measures that we're putting in place in our trade.</p> <p class="Normal0">China, of course, is a massive, massive exporter and importer and trading partner with Australia, $149.6 billion of trade with China. Look, you know, we'll continue to work through these, as people would expect, in a diplomatic and pragmatic fashion.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">It was stated today that the $600 million gas plant for the Muswellbrook area in New South Wales was like kings burying bank notes so that unemployed can dig them up and stay productive. Do you see the gas plant that way?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I see the gas as being a vital part of our energy mix in the future. I know Keith Pitt has been working, whether it's been the Narrabri project, whether it's been working with the Northern Territory Government with the Beetaloo Basin, he's working with the States, he's working with the Territories. Gas is a big part of our future plan. It's a great job creator and we'll go on making sure, whether it's gas or any other energy component, that it's part of our diversified mix going into the future.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">How's Your Future, Your Super going at this stage? It looks as though it's going to have a rough trot through the Senate.</p> <p class="Normal0"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well again it's always a challenge. Politics is never easy. If it was everybody would be doing it. I know Josh, I know the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham, the Finance Minister, you know, are making sure that crossbench and other people who have a big say in these sorts of things know full well the benefits of what we've put in place, what we want to legislate and what the budget entails.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Finally, Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, the Upper Hunter election and the win for the Nationals, what implications do you see federally for the Nationals and federally overall?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">What it shows is that country folk aren't going to be dictated to by city people who come in, blow in, make silly statements on Twitter, support people who shouldn't be supported and make a big fuss and then leave just as quickly. Country people like country champions. They like people who have been in their patch working hard, whether it's in school, constructions, Rotary, all those sorts of things. That's why the Nationals will always support local champions.</p> <p class="Normal0">David Layzell has proven himself to be just that, and he will be a great Member for Upper Hunter, and the Nationals will always go on supporting, you know, like Mark Coulton, what a great representative he was when he first got into politics. Still is, of course. But, you know, Mayor of Gwydir Shire, farmer, well‑respected. His wife Robin, you know, a schoolteacher who was very highly respected in the community in Gravesend and elsewhere, Warialda. And they're the sort of people that we want in politics. They're the sort of people with real life experience that the Nationals bring to the table and when they get positions around the big ministerial table and the Cabinet table, they continue to make the right decisions for and on behalf of regional people.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Michael McCormack, I've got to agree with that last point 100 per cent. Thanks so much for talking with us this morning. Enjoy your short stay in Dubbo. I believe you're only here for a few hours and hopefully we'll catch up with you in this studio one day very, very soon.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">In the not-too-distant future, thanks so much.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Thanks Michael.</p> <p class="Normal0">Federal Member Mark Coulton. Mark, I've got to congratulate you, first of all, you've been pre‑selected again to stand for the next Federal election for the Federal seat of Parkes, how do you feel about that?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Look it's a great honour. I never take these things for granted, Richard, and to have the support, you know, this is the sixth time I've gone to the membership of the National Party in the Parkes electorate and asked for them to support me and endorse me as their candidate for the next election. So I'm pleased that they've done that, you know, I believe that I've got more to give and there's a few things that are, you know, not finished that, you know, I talked about 14 years ago when I first turned up that I'd like to see through to, if not completed to a much more final stage.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">One of those few things of course is the Inland Rail. The Narromine to Narrabri section, how much further down the track, no pun intended, are we?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yeah so at the moment the EIS, the environmental impact statement, has been released. There were about 150 submissions that came in in response to that. So at the moment the Inland Rail are going through all those responses and there's questions in there about the flow of water.</p> <p class="Normal0">There's questions in there about access, all of those things. They all need to be responded to and taken into account and acted on if that's the case. But we will see, you know, it's narrowed down now to the 40 to 60 metres wide.</p> <p class="Normal0">Those discussions are happening now with landholders, with the Inland Rail people, talking about things that really have been on their minds for some time. What's the compensation? How can I access the line? You know, will it be fenced? Can I have an underpass for my stock? All those sorts of things.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">How much longer are these consultations going to take?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I believe that we'll probably see, you know, yellow machines pushing up dirt probably about the second half of 2022 on the Narromine to Narrabri section.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Shortly after that we might have a railway line travelling all the way from Brisbane to Melbourne, which would be wonderful.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well we've got a few issues up in Queensland we've got to overcome, but that's one of the reasons that I'm staying around because, you know, these sort of projects, as beneficial as they will be, they are very difficult. They do cause a lot of upset and grief and heartache for the people that are impacted by it and I just want to make sure that, you know, I can keep an eye on that process as we get to the final stages of construction.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Are you pleased with the COVID roll‑out in your electorate?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yeah, look I think our electorate, Richard, is probably batting above the rest of the country with what we are seeing and, you know, I've been speaking to GPs in Dubbo and Gunnedah, Moree and up at the Aboriginal Medical Service at Walgett and Moree and those places. So country people realise that as safe as it's been we are still very vulnerable, so they are fronting up because they know that if we do get an outbreak of COVID in Walgett or Wilcannia or Trangie it's going to be difficult to get the level of intensive care that we need. So they understand that and when they get the opportunity to have the vaccine that's what they're doing.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Mark, I've got to say though that the respiratory clinic in Dubbo, I made an appointment to get a shot and basically, I have to wait until 15 June and they're only operating Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and doing 40 a day. I understand the hospital has taken over a little bit of that but most of the GPs in Dubbo are only vaccinating their particular patients on their books and it seems to me in Dubbo it's a bit hard to get a shot if you want one quickly.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Well those numbers, Richard, are ramping up as more product comes available and we'll start to see a change in behaviour. I know some of the clinics will start to, I'm not sure about Dubbo, I haven't spoken to them individually, but I know some of the clinics in my electorate are starting to do, you know, Saturday clinics, evening clinics, understanding that they need to actually extend the hours to get the people covered.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">The cost of the injection though to these clinics, say the respiratory clinic, is it a full GP consultation or every time someone gets an injection?</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">A GP clinic should not be a cost to the person at all. There's an arrangement that we have with the Commonwealth paying GPs and we'll start to see, I think probably within the next few weeks, pharmacy coming on board as well in New South Wales. They've already signed up to start that in Queensland. So as more product, more vaccine becomes available, whether it's AstraZeneca or Pfizer or towards the end of the year Moderna, there'll be more opportunities to have it.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Let’s hope so because I remember at school when we had to have injections, they sort of line you all up on a year basis and bang through 150 kids between lunchtime and go home time. It seems to me with the COVID, certainly in Dubbo with the respiratory clinic, 40 a day, they could do a hell of a lot more.               </p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">They might. I can't comment personally but what we have found, why it's taking a bit longer is because there has been a degree of uncertainty in the population and the GPs are telling me that rather than people just coming and rolling up their sleeves, many people actually want to have a discussion with the doctor, they want to know what the risks are and that's an issue. But the other thing is rather than you and I would be of an age where we had the polio vaccine, Richard, which is much more straightforward, but they also have to observe people for 15 minutes after, so that sort of slows the process down as well.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Yes, I suppose so. All right, look, Mark, good talking with you. Again, congratulations on standing yet again for us as your Federal Member. As far as I'm concerned, you've done a terrific job and I hope you continue with it.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>MARK COULTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">I look forward to it. Thanks Richard, thanks for your time.</p> <p class="Colloquy1"><strong>RICHARD MUTTON</strong></p> <p class="Normal0">Mark Coulton.</p> Coulton Transcript - Interview with DCFM Dubbo