It’s great to be here with ministers, federal and state, mayors, all assembled here and committed to the future of Western Sydney, committed to the future of the livable, sustainable Western Parkland City.
This is a historic moment. Federal, state and local governments coming together with a shared vision, putting huge resources behind the development and the planning of the Western Parkland City, as Stuart Ayres so eloquently described in your closing speech, Stuart, you were choking up there. That’s the passion that is driving this City Deal.
This is all about ensuring that we work together to deliver the opportunities, the jobs, the education that will enable this new growth here in Western Sydney to be managed and developed and planned - planning in advance of development, I know it doesn't happen that often but it's happening right here and now.
It is a historic day and Gladys I believe in many years to come people in Western Sydney and indeed around Australia will look back at this decision today, to this deal we just signed as an example of how governments should work together, how they can work together to deliver the investment, the infrastructure and the opportunities our people deserve and expect us to deliver.
HON. GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN MP, PREMIER OF NEW SOUTH WALES:
Thank you Prime Minister, today is a historic occasion for everybody living in our great state and I also believe, for Australia. Opportunities like this come once in a generation. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the federal, state and local government representatives who have put aside any differences we might have, to put our citizens first.
This is about putting Western Sydney on the map globally. It's about making sure that the next generation of people growing up in this region or anywhere in the nation in fact, can look to Western Sydney for the best jobs, the best livability and the best connectivity.
I want to thank everybody involved for having the vision to put in place a long-term plan as well as getting all of us community representatives on the same page.
People come first in this equation, our citizens come first. I’m so excited by what this means for Western Sydney, but also selfishly, extremely excited about what this means for New South Wales.
We know that the best brains around Australia and the world will want to be part of this. Companies who already have a foot in New South Wales will want to set up shop right here. Organisations which aren’t yet in Australia will want to set up shop right here. What excites me the most is the hundreds of thousands of new jobs, the wonderful green spaces, the livability, the connectivity, which is world class.
So thank you to the Prime Minister, thank you to the eight local government mayors and their constituencies and thank you to my team, especially the Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres, for their passion and vision in making today possible. We've opened a new chapter here moving forward, a new chapter in how things should be done. All our constituents across the state want us to work together for the betterment of the community and today is exactly what it’s about.
COUNCILLOR JUDY HANNAN, MAYOR OF WOLLONDILLY SHIRE:
So on behalf of all the mayors, we do need to thank the Federal and State governments. We have worked really hard together, but this is not about us. This is about our communities. As I said before, there should be one 1.5 million people out there with enormous smiles on their faces. Everybody is going to want to come and live in Western Sydney. It’s going to be the best place to live, to work, to learn, have investment in it. Certainly, we’re also going to play, it’s going to be a great place to play.
So thank you everybody for the City Deal, it’s going to be fantastic, it’s so exciting.
Thank you very much and before we go to questions on the City Deal, can I just say on a broader national note, congratulations to Will Hodgman and the Tassie Liberal Team on being returned to government. It’s vitally important to continue the terrific momentum in Tasmania in terms of economic growth and opportunity there in that state, that Will’s team has delivered. So well done Will and all his Tasmanian Liberal team.
On the North-South Rail Line, your governments have both put up $100 million in total, it’s a $7 billion project, how is it going to be funded? Are further asset sales being considered?
Well the commitment is to build it as partners, to fund it 50-50. We have substantial resources already budgeted for rail, we’re also looking to secure revenue from value capture. As you know, we have to be more smarter about the way we raise money to build public infrastructure, in particular rail. So there's a lot of opportunities, that's why you've got to plan it early, do the business case. Our innovative project finance agency at the federal level will be working closely with Gladys and Andrew's team here at the state level, to make sure that we are able to build the rail line and align it, as creatively as possible to secure the maximum contribution to make the taxpayers dollar go the furthest.
Is it acceptable to you that it’s going to built so far after the Airport at Badgerys Creek actually opens?
Well the objective is to have the rail open, operating when the airport opens. That's the stated objective.
How is that going to happen?
Well it happens by building it in time for the completion of the airport.
You guys are out here trumpeting this significant announcement. Your former Deputy Prime Minister has decided to give an interview saying that he is not sure if this child is his. He is putting these personal issues back on the front pages, is that wise?
I'm sorry the development of Western Sydney has interested you for such a short time. Are there other questions about Western Sydney? We can come back to the other matters.
For a long time we’ve asked about a rail link at Badgerys Creek and it was always said that it would happen after the airport when you could sort the business case for it. What’s changed?
Well it’s a commitment, this is our objective. This is a huge piece of infrastructure, the airport itself is a gigantic piece of infrastructure, $5.5 billion. This is an example of my Government getting on and building the vitally important national infrastructure we need.
Western Sydney Airport is one. Snowy Hydro 2 will be another and of course we've just acquired the shares of New South Wales and Victoria in Snowy Hydro to enable us to do that. The Inland Rail is another, it's a long list.
But you have to make these investments. This is what governments have to do. For too long we've been allowing development to proceed in a relatively unplanned way and then people say: “Oh dear, we don't have the infrastructure we need, we don't have the rail we need, we don't have the opportunities for jobs that we need”. Well, no longer. This is a different approach.
What Premier Berejiklian and I are doing today, supported by our governments and our teams, is ensuring that we put the plans and the infrastructure in first. That's how it should be done. That's why your worship, that's why it will make such a difference to the people of Western Sydney.
Livability, sustainability and all of the economic opportunity that we need.
Prime Minister I do need to ask about Barnaby Joyce.
Do we all want to move on to Barnaby Joyce now?
Can I ask just one more question Prime Minister. The $150 million that will go to the council for livability, what do you foresee that is going to be built with that money?
PREMIER OF NEW SOUTH WALES:
The Councils have their wish lists already.
MAYOR OF WOLLONDILLY SHIRE:
So the Councils have a wish list. We have a lot of projects, but this livability fund is about making regional projects happen. There is a criteria that’s going to be met, but these projects, you’re going to see them happen in this 12 months. Not 2019, you’re going to see these projects start to happen in 2018. This City Deal – and I’m sorry you’re asking about other things, because this City Deal is really important to the people in Western Sydney. This is going to make this region an amazing place.
There are projects and that money is being split between every Council, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a small council or you’re on the periphery, or whether you’re in the middle. The livability fund is about all of the eight councils being together. We know where those train lines and we know we're all that information is. We’re going to work with our state and federal partners to get the best outcome for our community. This is about Western Sydney
And you are the closest to the community, I mean Gladys and I – Premier of New South Wales and Prime Minister of Australia – understand that local government is the closest to every community. So that’s why it’s so important that we all come together, despite some political differences in terms of party affiliation, come together in a common purpose to support the sustainable, the livable development, greater development of the Western Parkland City.
I want to thank the Mayors in particular for being here today, providing that unity of purpose. After all your ratepayers and voters are our voters and our taxpayers, we’re all serving the same community, so thank you.
Just one more on that issue, how much can you guarantee the people of Western Sydney that it will be delivered on time and they’ll be able to see the benefits you guys are promising of.
HON. STUART AYRES MP, NEW SOUTH WALES MINISTER FOR WESTERN SYDNEY:
The livability fund is $150 million fund. It's co-contributed by the federal and the state governments to the tune of $60 million and the councils themselves are putting in $30 million. Once again, it's an example of all three tiers of government working together, not just in a planning sense, but also financially. Each of the councils want to make sure that they invest in the livability of their local communities.
So think of projects that expand the use of parklands, which make sporting facilities more accessible, open up river and waterfront areas across Western Sydney, where we've got incredibly important river networks. We don’t have a harbour in Western Sydney but we've got fantastic mountains, fantastic creek ways and river ways. We want to make those more accessible, they’re important to all of the cities. They’re the types of projects and all the councils have put forward to make sure that they can show directly to their communities, beyond the infrastructure and the jobs and the education opportunities, that are being generated by the City Deal that we're also investing in the day-to-day livability of Greater Western Sydney.
Just one more, will the M12 be toll free?
PREMIER OF NEW SOUTH WALES:
We’re still in the planning stages of all those roadways. What's really exciting here, is we’ve provided certainty to all our Western Sydney councils. They know what’s intended over the next two decades. They can go ahead and plan for their communities to grow around those corridors. So we are in the process of corridor reservation and also planning for the next generation of projects, some of which have been outlined today.
What I'm extremely thrilled about is that all of us are on the same page. When you’re dealing with different levels of government, the worst thing is not to have certainty about the future. Because I know, often councils say to us: “What are your plans? Let us know so that we can work with you.” We don't have those questions now, because we’ve been working together for such a long period of time to deliver this deal and also provide certainty for our communities.
So this is about putting Western Sydney citizens first and making sure that all of us - irrespective of the role we have as elected representatives - are serving that common purpose. That's what's exciting. We're doing the work involving corridor preservations, looking at the next generation of projects. That's what good governments do. What I'm thrilled about, is that in 2012 when we first outlined our 20 year plan for transport and roads, we’ve ticked off all the things said we would do. Now we're looking at the next generation and that's the work we’re undertaking at the moment.
So toll or no toll?
PREMIER OF NEW SOUTH WALES:
Well it's too early to say.
Prime Minister just on Barnaby Joyce. He is again got on the front pages, this time of his own making. Have you counseled him about his public statements and is he derailing your agenda again?
The matters that are in the papers today relating to Barnaby and Ms Campion are matters for them to resolve. I don't have any comments to make on it all.
He keeps making it public, it’s derailing your agenda. What do you have to say?
The only rail that we’re focused on today is the North South Rail Link, I can assure you. That’s the rail we’re focused on and believe me that’s the one that the people of Western Sydney are focused on, as you just said. They’re the people with the smile on their faces, because they know they’re getting that commitment. Now we’ll just have one more question.
On trade Prime Minister, I’m sure people in Western Sydney, some people in Western Sydney are worried about the prospect of a global trade war. You know, President Donald Trump is now threatening Europe with retaliatory tariffs. Your government is not certain about whether these steel tariffs apply to us. Are you concerned about this escalating rhetoric? Are you concerned about where this is headed?
I have been a very outspoken advocate for free trade and open markets. Protectionism is a dead end. Protectionism is not a shovel to get you out of the low growth trap, it's a shovel to dig it a lot deeper. It's not a ladder to get you out of the low growth trap, I should say, it’s a shovel to dig it much deeper.
So that's why when President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership we soldiered on. You may remember there are a few people - notably Mr Shorten - who said that was a waste of time, it was a vanity project. You could see how important it is for the Australian government to pursue Australia's interest in free trade and open markets.
We make that case around the world. I was making that case, as you heard, in Washington only a week or so ago.
So we'll continue to make that case. I have absolutely no doubt that trade is providing the opportunities for more jobs in Australia and you can see that right around the country. Whether you're in Western Sydney with so many great exporting firms here or indeed in Tasmania where Will Hodgman has just been re-elected in no small measure because of the stronger economic growth there that has been supported by the markets that we've opened up.
So I can assure you from the Australian Government's point of view, we are absolutely clear; we want to see more trade, more open markets. Because we know that the bigger and wider the playing field Australians can run onto in terms of export opportunities, the more successful they will be.
Okay thank you all very much.