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 16/06/2006

Point Nepean

Friday, 16 June 2006
12:30 pm

SUBJECTS: Point Nepean funding and National Heritage listing, Labor Party dirt files, petrol prices, border protection

TREASURER:

Today is a great day, Point Nepean has been entered on the National Heritage list, which makes it one of Australia’s premier heritage venues. In Victoria, other venues are the Eureka Stockade, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Royal Exhibition Buildings and now Point Nepean. That recognises its natural heritage, its indigenous heritage and the European heritage, the quarantine station, the military barracks and so on. In addition to that the Australian Government is today adding another $27 million dollars to bring its investment to $48 million to redo the buildings that you see here, so that we will have properly renovated buildings, we will have a wonderful museum with natural and indigenous heritage, we will have a Maritime College teaching nature conservation and maritime courses and also a centre which will give respite to needy families. This brings together an integrated plan for a wonderful precinct down here, I thank the Point Nepean Community Trust, I thank Greg Hunt, the Member for Flinders for the work that he has done and all of the community groups that have been part of this historic announcement.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, is there anyway that this decision can be changed over the next five years, is it set in concrete?

TREASURER:

Absolutely set in concrete. The money will be paid within the next 15 days before the 30th of June. As far as I know it is now on the list and - short of getting World Heritage protection - this is the highest heritage protection that you can get. It is the highest heritage protection you can get in Australia and it just puts it on a par with the MCG and the Royal Exhibition Building. The day you see the MCG torn down would be the day you would start to worry about Point Nepean, I don’t think it is ever going to happen.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) scope for additional buildings or anything…

TREASURER:

No, you see the buildings here, you have got to do something with these building you can’t just bulldoze them. This has always been the point. Well some you can I suppose because they don’t have protection but those that have protection can not be bulldozed, you can not bulldoze a building that has heritage protection. You have got to renovate it and that is what the $48 million is for, otherwise you will just have dilapidated buildings, squatters, you will destroy this precinct, so this is $48 million to renovate heritage buildings, all from the Commonwealth Government, plus the free gifting of land which is worth hundreds of millions if not billions to the people of Victoria, forever.

JOURNALIST:

Is there scope for additional buildings or anything new to be built?

TREASURER:

No the plans that we have put down are the Maritime College and the use of the centre for respite, I can tell you this: there will no private development, if that is your question, no private development at all.

JOURNALIST:

Does this clean up the issue of the ordinance that is in the (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Yes. The money has to be expended on any ordinance if any is left. Now we have already done a lot of rectification works and we think that has been sufficient but one of the terms of this funding is that it be applied to any unexploded ordinance, now I make this point; it will still require a bit of care in some areas particularly over the back, the land that has already been gifted to the State, but down here where the Barracks are I can tell you with great surety I don’t think there is any ordinance. I am pretty sure that the military never put any ordinance near their own Barracks.

JOURNALIST:

Although they do sometimes find them in suburbs.

TREASURER:

Well that is right.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer does this money cover all the facilities that you are talking about, the marine centre and…

TREASURER:

Absolutely. This is a another $27 million bringing the Commonwealth Government’s investment to $48 million and there maybe some other heritage site that has received $48 million but there would not be many, it is just hard to think of. This is an extraordinary sum, this is $48 million plus the gifting of land which is worth hundreds of millions if not billions. This would, well it is hard to think of a greater heritage conservation gift to the people of Victoria.

JOURNALIST:

Are you sorry you didn’t do this three years ago?

TREASURER:

Well I didn’t have a proposal that could have made this work three years ago. What has made this possible is the good work of Greg Hunt, the Point Nepean Community Trust and the financial wherewithal of the Commonwealth Government. That is what makes this possible and it is has just all come together on a great day, a great day for all Victorians.

JOURNALIST:

It is pretty amazing turnaround though, seeking to sell the place to now preserving it?

TREASURER:

Well as far as I am concerned preserving it has always been the object of the Government and not only preserving it, not only gifting it, but $48 million. It is hard to think of an area in Victoria which would have been gifted to the people of Victoria with the same value.

JOURNALIST:

Is it going to be Costello Maritime college maybe?

TREASURER

I will have to think about naming rights here.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, on another subject do any of your advisers have dirt files on your political opponents?

TREASURER:

No they don’t. The Liberal Party doesn’t investigate people’s wives and children and it is an utterly shameful thing that the Labor Party runs investigations on MP’s wives and their children. I just can’t understand why Mr Bracks doesn’t apologise. He is ultimately responsible for this, he should apologise and he should instruct Mr Hulls to cease his grubby activity.

JOURNALIST:

Does it set a dangerous precedent perhaps for down the line?

TREASURER:

It is a shocking precedent. I had this happen to me. Federal Labor ran an attack on my wife. Gareth Evans in the House of Representatives. You take on the Labor Party you take on its dirt machine. It happened to my wife, it was a thoroughly despicable act. Now we find that Rob Hulls is running political attacks on Ted Baillieu’s wife and children. Now we know what Mr Hulls is like, he is a person who has made a career out of grubbiness, so we don’t expect anything from him but we expect something from Mr Bracks. What we expect from Mr Bracks is we expect Mr Bracks to haul this man into line and tell him to stop doing it and I say to Mr Bracks, look if you are going to stand by a grub like this you will be tainted.

JOURNALIST:

Just in regards to petrol what can the Federal Government do with petrol after what happened on the weekend where petrol seemed to go up in all States except Perth and Western Australia which didn’t have the long weekend?

TREASURER:

Well look petrol prices are very, very difficult for consumers. It does consumers no good, it does the Government no good it does the economy no good. Unfortunately it is driven principally by the world oil price over which we have no control. Where we find evidence of any collusion we prosecute people involved. There has been a prosecution, it is going through the courts at the moment, I don’t want to say anything about that. But if any member of the public can find any evidence of collusion, if the Australian Competition Consumer Commission can find any evidence of collusion prosecutions will be brought.

JOURNALIST:

What happened on the weekend wasn’t set by the world oil price, Western Australian petrol was 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else in the country and the only difference is that they didn’t have a long weekend?

TREASURER:

Well as I said if it is done by collusion that will be investigated.

JOURNALIST:

Are you looking at the ACCC’s powers maybe in regards to that?

TREASURER:

Well I have already said that the ACCC has power to prosecute and it has a prosecution on foot in relation to this very issue so it has powers to do it, it is a question of collecting evidence.

JOURNALIST:

Just on the asylum seeker legislation, are you confident the Government will be able to convince the backbenchers to get on side?

TREASURER:

The Government is fixed on this principle, that in relation to claims for asylum whether somebody is on an offshore island or the Australian mainland that processing will be done offshore. In relation to the rest of the Bill where there are weaknesses in the Bill the Government of course will talk to all interested parties including members of our own party and see if we can iron those out and if we can iron them out well and good. The text of the legislation is not fixed in stone but the principle is the important thing, so there won’t a compromise on the principle but in relation to the legislation, yes, if we can improve the legislation we will and we should. Ok thank you all very much.