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 28/10/2007

Doorstop Interview with

The Hon Bruce Billson MP

Member for Dunkley

Frankston, Victoria

Sunday, 28 October 2007

11.15 am

SUBJECTS: Frankston bypass funding announcement, Kyoto, election.

TREASURER:

Let me announce today that a re-elected Coalition Government will contribute $150 million to the Frankston Bypass to take the Frankston Bypass from the area of EastLink around Frankston and to link up with either the Moorooduc Highway or the Mornington Peninsula Highway.

The State Government has currently got an Environmental Effects Statement going in relation to this bypass but has made no commitment to funding it.

So, today the Australian Government announces it will put $150 million into the Frankston Bypass to build a toll free bypass around Frankston, opening up traffic flows from the Mornington Peninsula and the suburbs which are south of Frankston up on to the EastLink which will take them into the city of Melbourne.

Can I say that this is a project that Bruce Billson has made very much his own. He has been a phenomenal advocate for this particular road and even though the bypass is totally a State road, totally a State responsibility, he has lobbied the Federal Government for this contribution and I pay tribute to him for the work that he has done on behalf of the people of Dunkley to get this commitment and to bring this road to finality.

Bruce you are a wonderful Member, this is your project and I now invite Bruce Billson to say a few words.

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

Treasurer. Our community around here has been seeing traffic congestion in part isolating them from opportunities further to the north of our city. The traffic congestion projections indicate that if in a short period of time, the time to get from Mornington to north of Frankston is likely to double and by 25 years it could take as long as 80 minutes, effectively segregating our region from the greater Melbourne area. On top of that the congestion, the health concerns, the frustration of this already clagged intersection is going to be compounded by EastLink dumping potentially a 10, 15, 20 per cent greater increase in traffic on to this already congested area.

This is fantastic news for our community. Frankston City welcomes it, Mornington Peninsula Shire welcomes it, the community welcomes it, the motorists welcome this initiative. I am sure the RACV will be pleased to see that again the Federal leadership that the Coalition offers your support Treasurer leading with you in Victoria, thank you sir, this is terrific news for our community.

TREASURER:

Thank you.

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

I am delighted that we have been able to make that announcement here today in Frankston.

TREASURER:

Thank you. Thank you. Right questions.

JOURNALIST:

I am just wondering...

TREASURER:

Can we take questions on the bypass first and then we'll take questions on other things.

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

Would you like an explanation of the bypass gentlemen?

JOURNALIST:

I would love one. Have you got a pretty good one?

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

Just quickly this shows you the intended route of the bypass. As you can see this is where the Frankston Freeway and EastLink connect bringing all of this traffic onto an already terribly congested Frankston Freeway. The Frankston Bypass will take a lot of that traffic around the suburbs of greater Frankston. There's some issues about an alignment that we have been advocating - needs to be adjusted to protect the conservation values and the flora and fauna reserve in The Pines area, that can be readily accommodated and we have urged the State Government to consider that alignment. And as we move further south, opportunities for connection either here to Moorooduc Road giving you a 15km link ought to head further south down to the Mornington Peninsula.

TREASURER;

All this land is reserved isn't it.

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

In fact Treasurer when I moved to this community with my family in 1970 we were told that the bypass was just a few years away. Anyone who's seen a Melways from that time will see that this easement has been designated for that long period of time, our community has been waiting a long time for this project. It is terrific that the Howard Government, a re-elected Coalition Government, can put some real muscle behind this project and we hope that leadership will be followed by the State Government being equally committed to this project and our community.

TREASURER:

Well done.

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

Thanks very much.

JOURNALIST:

Are you confident of State Government support?

TREASURER:

Well the State Government is doing an EES at the moment and so they are looking at the route at the moment. This is a State road and the State Government is totally responsible for the full construction costs. And so for the Australian Government to come along and offer $150 million makes it $150 million cheaper for the Victorian State Government.

JOURNALIST:

What sort of percentage would that end up being in terms of total costs?

BRUCE BILLSON MP:

Well the commitment today is for a dollar for dollar matching contribution, to match the State Government contribution. This project and the cost estimates are well accommodated within the $150 million upper limit that the Treasurer has outlined. So this project can proceed. All we need to see is the kind of commitment that the Treasurer and the Coalition has provided from a State Government level. They have been making reassuring and encouraging noises to local councils but we're looking for them to turn those reassurances into resources to get on with the project because this is what our community requires.

JOURNALIST:

Do you agree with Malcolm Turnbull that we should ratify Kyoto?

TREASURER:

Can I say the Australian Government will meet our Kyoto targets and we will do that over the Kyoto period. We think that we can do better than Kyoto, however. The weakness of the Kyoto framework is that it doesn't have the world's largest emitters. As a consequence it will not make the global inroads which are required. And the important thing now is to get a agreement which will take place after the Kyoto period from 2012 on which brings the major emitters in - particularly the United States and China. We got an agreement at APEC to do that and Australia wants to go better post-Kyoto.

JOURNALIST:

What was your reaction in Cabinet though when Malcolm Turnbull voiced that thought?

TREASURER:

Well let me say I don't talk about what goes on in Cabinet meetings but I can tell you this: that the Cabinet is absolutely committed to meeting the Kyoto target and we on track to do that and we are committed to doing a post-Kyoto agreement which will actually be meaningful and will work. And to be meaningful and to work it needs to bring in the world's two largest emitters - China and the United States.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned about members of Cabinet having differing opinions on such an important issue?

TREASURER:

No. The important thing is the Government's position and the Cabinet's position. Inside a Cabinet people will always argue different cases but the important thing is the Cabinet's position. That is what determines Government policy and the Government policy is to meet our Kyoto target and to do better, to go better in the post-Kyoto framework.

JOURNALIST:

Are you able to confirm or deny that Mr Turnbull did say that we should ratify Kyoto because (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

No.

JOURNALIST:

No what?

TREASURER:

No, I am unable to confirm or deny.

JOURNALIST:

What do you think of Julia Gillard's opponent in her electorate making comments against homosexuals?

TREASURER:

Oh look he is a Pastor of a Church and he has reflected the views of the Church. They are matters for him and the Church. I think the view of the Coalition is well known. We believe that everybody is entitled to rights and dignity. We do not subscribe to the idea of gay marriage, we believe that's for men and for women, but we do believe that every person has innate dignity and should have their human rights respected.

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of speculation that Malcolm Turnbull himself leaked these Kyoto comments to further his prospects in Wentworth?

TREASURER:

I can't speculate on that and I won't.

JOURNALIST:

The issue of the leadership (inaudible) in the Liberal Party has been much talked about. Just wondering if you might have scored an invite to Kirribilli House for a private chat or dinner with Mr Howard in recent weeks to talk about that?

TREASURER:

Yes, well I have had many. Yes, I think I was last around there three or four weeks ago.

JOURNALIST:

That was for a private dinner?

TREASURER:

Yes.

INTERJECTOR:

Peter, can you see the Opposition matching this (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

You want some independent questions asked?

INTERJECTOR:

Yes.

TREASURER:

No come on. Any other questions? No. All right thank you very much. Thanks.