Doorstop - Parliament House Canberra

Release Date: 
11 November 2015
Transcript
E&OE

ALAN TUDGE:

It’s been revealed that the costs of scrapping the East-West Link project has blown out to $861 million --

$221 million more than originally estimated.

That is $861 million that taxpayers will never see again. That has literally been put on the scrapheap, put on the bonfire and we will never get back.

This is an absolute scandal and one of the biggest wastes of public funds since Kevin Rudd’s pink batts scheme.

Not only has Daniel Andrews wasted $861 million but he’s also scrapped 7000 jobs in the process and put the State Government Budget into deficit and meanwhile people are still stuck in traffic.

This is a road which is desperately needed. It is needed today: to have a second cross-city link. It will be needed in the future even more so because Melbourne is the fastest growing city in Australia, growing by 100,000 people each and every year. So in five years’ time there will be half a million more people in Melbourne. In ten years’ time there will be a million people more in Melbourne.

This project is needed today but it is even more so in the future. Not only is that project needed to be built but we need other projects in Victoria. We do need an upgrade to the Monash Freeway, we need our rail network upgraded and the Federal Government is there with money, ready to support good constructive projects, but the Victorian Government has to come forward with it.

Of course our commitment to the East-West Link projects remains absolutely strong. We always have money there ready to support that project should a state government come forward and put that project on the table.

I think out of this there is one thing that is absolutely clear- if you’re stuck in traffic you can blame Labor.

JOURNALIST:

A quick question on the Family Tax Benefit, are you confident…

ALAN TUDGE:

Any questions on the East-West Link? The biggest waste of public funds since Kevin Rudd’s pink batts scheme. This is an absolute scandal: $861 million not to build a road.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned that Daniel Andrews isn’t working constructively with the Federal Government on other infrastructure projects (inaudible)?

ALAN TUDGE:

We haven’t seen a single proposal from Daniel Andrews. In every other state we’ve got good constructive projects which are underway which are partially funded by the Federal Government- big major infrastructure projects. Yet, we haven’t got a single major infrastructure project underway in

Victoria. We’ve got money there wanting to be put into those projects. We want to see the jobs created as a result. This is the fastest growing city in Australia- in Melbourne. So we need these things to get underway. Daniel Andrews has to put these things forward.

JOURNALIST:

Why should families with children under one years old be given $1000 taxpayers cash?

ALAN TUDGE:

This is part of our overall package, as you know, which is designed to give greater support for individual families who are in need but also make some savings in the process and encourage families to go back to work where they have the capacity to do so.

All the money which is saved from there is being placed also into our childcare package. It’s a very significant childcare package.

We’re doing three things really in this process. We’re making some savings on the Family Tax Benefit side, we’re investing in childcare, and we’re creating greater incentives for people to go back to work.

JOURNALIST:

Sorry Mr Tudge I just missed the beginning of your spiel. Can I just ask you about the $1.5 billion set aside for the East-West Link? Is it being made clear from the Government to Daniel Andrews that the $1.5 billion is there to build any proposal, any project that he wants puts forward, and then down the track if there’s a government that does want to build the East-West Link, you’d find another $1.5 billion?

ALAN TUDGE:

Our commitment to the East-West Link project remains absolutely solid. We will have money there to put toward the East-West Link project when a state government puts it forward.

In relation to the $1.5 billion which the State Government already has: We have said that we would be prepared to put that towards good, constructive projects. They have to put that to us though. At the moment we have not seen any such projects.

JOURNALIST:

But surely you have some in mind. What would you be (inaudible)?

We’ve put some ideas on the table. For example we know that the Monash Freeway is at a standstill and needs further expansion. We’ve indicated our preparedness to put money into the rail network because we know that’s desperately required as well.

This is the fastest growing city in Australia. We’re growing by 100,000 people each and every year. We need to build those projects now. Not in five years’ time, not in 10 or 20 years’ time, but right now. The traffic is already bad today and the traffic will be a nightmare in 10 years’ time with a million people more in this city if we haven’t put in place some of these basic infrastructure projects.

JOURNALIST:

Are you confident that legislation to strip citizenship from dual-citizens engaged in terrorist activities will be constitutionally sound?

ALAN TUDGE:

We are. We’ve put these forward because we believe they are constitutionally sound and we hope the Parliament will support them.

JOURALIST:

Do you think that women should be allowed to breastfeed in the House of Representatives?

ALAN TUDGE:

I think there's a good constructive discussion which is going on and underway and we’ve got a standing committee which is looking into this question and I’ll wait for the standing committee’s advice.

JOURNALIST:

What’s your personal view?

ALAN TUDGE:

I think that there’s plusses and minuses to that. I can see arguments both ways. I’d be prepared to take advice from the standing committee to what our position is.

JOURNALIST:

What are some of the minuses there?

ALAN TUDGE:

I won’t go into details on that. Let’s just wait for the process to go through. We’ve got a standing committee underway, it’s going to look into this. To date there hasn’t been that ability to do that, but times have changed, we’ve got women today who have got young babies. Let's wait for that process to go through.

JOURNALIST:

Could it be a distraction do you think?

ALAN TUDGE:

Let’s just wait for the process to go through.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think some politicians are a bit pervy?

A bit…

JOURNALIST:

Pervy?

ALAN TUDGE:

I’m not going to dignify that question.

JOURNALIST:

Would you personally feel comfortable with (inaudible)?

ALAN TUDGE:

I’m going to be a father again myself in a few months’ time. I know what this is about. I wouldn’t have any personal problem myself, but let’s just wait for the process to go through.

JOURNALIST:

I’ve got a question about the GST. Is it a fair characterisation, the party room discussion yesterday that there are some concerns from backbenchers where the debate about tax reform is going?

ALAN TUDGE:

We had a good discussion in our party room Laura about how to strengthen the economy, how to create new jobs. And that’s our overall objective. We’re not having a tax debate, we’re having a debate about how we can strengthen the economy, how we can grow the economy and create more jobs. That’s our ultimate objective and clearly the tax settings have an important impact on that.

We’re having a good discussion in relation to this. We’ve got some ideas on the table, there will be further ideas which are placed on the table in the weeks and the months ahead.

We haven’t ruled anything out because we want to have a frank discussion with the Australian people and the Australian people are up to that kind of discussion. In the months ahead those options will be fine- tuned and we’ll be placing further options for the Australian public to consider.