Transcript from today's ALP Infrastructure and Shipping Policy Announcement

Today, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten held a press conference with Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and local member Matt Thistlethwaite at Port Botany to unveil one of their 100 Positive Policies - their policy on Shipping and Infrastructure. The policy can be read in full here.

MATT THISTLETHWAITE: Sydney Airport, the busiest airport in the country. Both these important pieces of infrastructure employ thousands of people in the electorate that I represent, are very important to our nation's productivity and economic growth. Now, Labor will invest in these facilities and others throughout the country. We'll also invest in upgrades and new infrastructure. In this electorate, the electorate of Kingsford Smith, we've already announced a $108 million duplication of the freight rail line from Mascot into Port Botany. That will mean that more of the freight from this busy container terminal will come out on a rail line rather than on trucks, taking about 300,000 truck movements off local roads per year. So in the process, we'll create job, we'll make this port more productive, and we'll improve the living standards and lifestyles of people living in the wonderful community that I represent. That project in itself is a great symbol of Labor's investment in infrastructure. And I'm now very pleased to hand over to our leader Bill Shorten who's going to talk a little bit more about this important announcement today and our commitment to infrastructure in Australia. Welcome Bill.

BILL SHORTEN: Thanks Matt. Great to be here. Good morning everybody. We're so close to the finishing line now. Only three more days to go, but it's really great to be leading the only party with a serious infrastructure policy to put out at this election. Labor has led the debate about nation-building infrastructure and today we're pleased to be able to launch our fantastic policies, Labor's infrastructure policy and what's contained in this policy is a blueprint for the growth of Australia. We are most committed to an infrastructure financing facility, a $10 billion concrete bank, which will unlock the opportunities for private sector investment to work with government investment to make sure that we build the infrastructure our country needs to move ahead in leaps and bounds. Only Labor's got a proper policy for cities, only Labor has a policy to have a first-rate rate National Broadband Network, only Labor's got a consistent commitment to public transport. Labor's committed to making sure that Infrastructure Australia becomes turbocharged with extra resources to help depoliticise infrastructure decisions, to make sure that we create a Reserve Bank of infrastructure policy in Infrastructure Australia.

Labor's committed to making sure that we unlock the congestion in our cities, to make sure that we build the roads in our outer suburbs and regions that we desperately need. Labor stands here proudly putting forward its infrastructure propositions because we're committed to jobs, we're committed to infrastructure, we're committed to improving productivity and the competition of Australian enterprise. What I'd like to do now is invite Anthony Albanese to talk further about our policy and then I might just like to say some further remarks on one other matter.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:          Look, thanks very much, Bill and it's great to be back here in Kingsford Smith, the electorate with the fine representative of Matt Thistlethwaite. This electorate delivers, as Matt said, two of the most important pieces of infrastructure that drive our economy. Can I say this, it is somewhat extraordinary that after three years, the Turnbull Government have not yet released an infrastructure policy for this election. They haven't released a cities policy or a shipping policy or an aviation policy. Labor does all of that today and we're able to do that because we have been working on this from day one. And you can trust us because when we were last in government, we doubled the roads budget, we increased the rail budget by more than 10 times, we invested more in urban public transport between 2007 and 2013 than all previous governments combined. We rebuilt, or had new, some 7,500 kilometres of roads and 4,000 kilometres of rail lines, we revolutionised the interstate rail freight network, we took six hours from the journey from Brisbane to Melbourne and nine hours from the East Coast to the West Coast. We created Infrastructure Australia and the Major Cities Unit to drive that change and what we would do is take Infrastructure Australia even a step further, through the $10 billion infrastructure financing facility. We understand that economic growth is driven by investing in infrastructure and by investing in people. And together with our education, apprenticeship and trade policies, and our infrastructure policies, we have a plan for the nation's growth.

During this election campaign, we have committed to important projects such as Perth MetroNet, Brisbane's Cross River Rail, Melbourne Metro, AdeLINK light rail, Western Sydney rail through Badgerys Creek, connecting up the North West with the Campbelltown sector. Our opponents talked about cities but haven't actually committed anything or committed to a structure like the Major Cities Unit and they continue to undermine Infrastructure Australia's approach.

We also have an approach to aviation and shipping that's consistent with Australia's national interest. What we've seen around our coast with the replacement of the Australian flag off the back of ships, with foreign ships being paid- with foreign seafarers being paid foreign wages is a disgrace and is not in our national interest. We'd revitalise Australian shipping in terms of our national security interests and environmental interests as well as our economic interests and we'd to the same in terms of the national interest in aviation. The current Government, during this term, tried to also get rid of cabotage or Australian preferences for Australian aviation in our north. As Qantas and Virgin indicated at the time, that would be the thin end of the wedge and would see Australian Airlines undermined. We have the most open system in the world, but it's one in which Australian jobs and Australian aviation plays a particularly important role. Aviation and shipping are by their nature international industries. They're ones that are competitive. They're ones that Australia competes with if it's allowed to on a level playing field.

But what the current government has wanted to do- and has done in shipping but also wants to do in aviation is open that up so that Australian wages are competing with foreign wages and Australian industry and job's undermined and our policies in these two areas indicate that we wouldn't do that. We have a comprehensive plan for infrastructure. The current government have four ministers for infrastructure. It's not clear who's in charge of any particular project, let alone who's in charge of major projects like the Badgerys Creek airport or major road and rail projects. That's why I'm very proud that the Labor Party remains the party of nation-building, in Bill Shorten we have a leader who understands infrastructure, who's provided every support, to me as the shadow minister, after the last- over the last three years, to back in the commitments that we've made during this election campaign and the comprehensive plan that we're seeing not just today but announced in the Budget replies, announced in our Cities Policy that was announced in 2014. That's why we will be ready to go on day one, if we're successful at the election on Saturday night, in getting this country moving when it comes to job creation through nation-building infrastructure.