The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 07/07/01

Transcript No. 2001/089

FULL
TRANSCRIPT
of
HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Treasurer

Doorstop Interview

Wantirna South, Victoria

Saturday, 7 July 2001

12 noon

SUBJECTS: Scoresby Freeway, Aston by-election, Bob Katter, Peter Reith


TREASURER:

Well, today we launch a billboard which, as you can see, makes it clear that the only candidate which is totally committed to building the Scoresby Freeway is Chris Pearce, the Liberal Candidate here for Aston. And as evidence of that in the most recent Budget, the Federal Government announced $220 million which is being appropriated for the construction of the Scoresby Freeway, dollars for spades, dollars for asphalt, dollars for real transport on the ground. Now, let me say the Labor Party, which has been caught absolutely flatfooted on this issue, has had plenty of chances to make it clear that it had a policy of supporting the Scoresby Freeway, and it doesnt. When he had his State Budget, Mr Bracks didnt put any money down, he didnt announce any funding. What he did was he said there would be a $2 million study. As if we havent had enough studies into the Scoresby Freeway already. A $2 million Scoresby study, is not the same as building the Scoresby Freeway. If you want to see the Scoresby Freeway built, vote for Chris Pearce. Chris Pearce is the only candidate in this election who is for the Scoresby Freeway.

Thank you very much. And if you dont want the Scoresby Freeway built you can vote Labor or you can vote Green or you can vote for anybody else, but if you want the Scoresby Freeway, vote for Chris Pearce. Thank you very much.

JOURNALIST:

Paul Heinrichs from the Sunday Age. Mr Costello, can you explain to me what the state of the funding issue on this freeway is (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Yes, the Government, the Federal Government as allocated $220 million for this project. It was announced in the last Budget. We have actually appropriated that money, and we are ready to begin construction. What we needed, was we needed a State Government appropriation, the State Government did not announce that in its State Budget. What it said was, and here is the press release here, that it would set aside a $2 million for a study. That is not good enough, what Mr Bracks has to do, he has to return to the Parliament and he has to appropriate matching funds to match the $220 million, if he wants to be taken seriously in relation to Scoresby Freeway.

JOURNALIST:

They do say that they will be doing that......

TREASURER:

Well the point of the matter is, we brought down a Budget which actually appropriated it, they brought down a Budget which has no money.

JOURNALIST:

Right, okay ......

TREASURER:

Now what they did say is they would appropriate $2 million for a study. What I say is, if they want to catch up, if they wanted to be serious, what they would actually do, is they would return to the Parliament and they would appropriate $220 million. I call on Premier Bracks, if he wants to say that the Labor Party is in favour of the Scoresby Freeway, he should return from Venice, he should recall the Victorian Parliament, he should appropriate $220 million, this week, and then he could be taken seriously before next Saturday. But as you can see a $2 million study is not the same as a $220 million appropriation.

JOURNALIST:

What do you say about the rest of the funding? The second half?

TREASURER:

What we say is we can get on and we can construct that now and in relation to the finishing of the project we are prepared to keep continuing discussions with the Victorian Government.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, Bob Katters decision, are you concerned about the seat of Kennedy?

TREASURER:

Well Mr Katter has left the National Party, I presume he will leave the National Party, I read in the paper that he is going to leave the National Party and he is going to make his announcement tomorrow. Hes entitled to do that. Bobs not really been seeing eye to eye with the National Party for a long period of time, he has not been a good attender in the Parliament. His record of attendance has been pretty low, so we are not surprised that he would be seeking his political career elsewhere.

JOURNALIST:

Are you sorry to see him go?

TREASURER:

Oh look, people follow their own dreams and ambitions in Federal politics. Bobs one of those characters, but he couldnt really, I think, bring himself to work with his colleagues, so I dont think it would be any great surprise to his colleagues to see that he has decided to go his own way.

JOURNALIST:

How much support do you think he would get as an Independent?

TREASURER:

Well he would try and keep the seat, but I am sure the National Party will have the opportunity to preselect another candidate. I dont know who it will be, its a matter for the National Party, but Im sure they will have the opportunity to preselect a good one and I am sure that candidate will do well. And I wish them every success in the seat of Kennedy.

JOURNALIST:

Would Peter Reith be a good replacement for Dennis Napthine?

TREASURER:

Well Peters made a statement this morning, saying that he is not seeking to enter State politics and obviously that story was not right in the Herald Sun, and he has made it apparently clear that thats certainly not his intention. And I think he said this morning if he had the chance between State politics or boating and writing books he would probably take the boating and the writing of the books.

JOURNALIST:

How much did this sign cost Mr Costello?

TREASURER:

I cant tell you, but I wouldnt say it was a particularly expensive one. I am sure someone can tell you if you need to know.