Australia’s longest road tunnel locked in for Blue Mountains

The NSW Government today confirmed the 11-kilometre toll-free tunnel from Blackheath to Little Hartley as the preferred option following an in-depth feasibility analysis and extensive investigation process. 
 
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the proposed central tunnel would be Australia’s longest road tunnel.
 
“This is a history-making legacy project that will deliver safer and more efficient journeys for locals, tourists and freight travelling between the Central West and the East Coast,” Mr Toole said.
 
“The tunnel will reduce congestion and improve safety for local residents, tourists and freight operators.
 
“In May last year, we started investigating plans to join the two to create the longest road tunnel in the entire country – and today, we’re locking that plan in as the preferred option.
 
“This is a complex, ambitious plan but we’re on track for shovels to hit the ground on the east and west stages of the upgrade early next year because we’re getting on with the job of building a safer, stronger road network across all parts of the state.
 
“The Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel design features dual carriageways for both eastbound and westbound motorists in separate twin tunnels and a gentler gradient to cut travel times and improve freight efficiencies.”
 
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the Blue Mountains tunnel would deliver a raft of benefits that would transform the connection between Sydney and western NSW.
 
“This tunnel project, as part of the major upgrade of the Great Western Highway between Lithgow and Katoomba, will help improve the economic development, productivity and accessibility in and through the Blue Mountains, Central West and Orana regions,” Mr Farraway said.
 
“It will improve the resilience of the state’s major road corridor across the Blue Mountains during traffic incidents and natural disasters and will be built to accommodate future population growth west of the Blue Mountains.
 
“The straighter alignment will improve road safety through the mountains and the tunnel will help unlock the potential of western NSW, for the benefit of all residents and businesses in this important part of the state.
 
“Once the full upgrade to the Great Western Highway is complete, it is predicted to save motorists up to 30 minutes between Katoomba and Lithgow during busy periods.
 
It’s time to make the Western Highway Great again and that is exactly what this upgrade will do.”
 
Transport for NSW will continue its program of consultation with Blue Mountains and Central West communities and the Wiradjuri, Dharug and Gundungurra communities through a series of online and face-to-face information sessions about the tunnel project in coming weeks.
 
Face-to-face information sessions for everyone in the community will be held at the Hartley Community Hall (Wednesday 18 May, 6pm-8pm), Katoomba Cultural Centre (Wednesday 25 May, 4:30pm – 8pm) and Blackheath Neighbourhood Centre (Saturday 4 June, 10am – 12pm).
 
Online sessions will be held on Monday 23 May and Thursday 9 June at 6:30pm.
 
Participants can register for all sessions through the online web portal at nswroads.work/gwheastconsult. 
 
These early information sessions precede the formal consultation which will come later in 2022 when the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Blackheath to Little Hartley tunnel goes on exhibition.
 
At that time the community will have further opportunity to explore the design, consider the benefits and impacts of the proposal and make formals submissions which will be responded to in a submissions report.

Polar Explorers invested as Members of Scouts Australia by Governor-General 

Dr Richard Stephenson is a Specialist Emergency Physician and an Adventurer.  He was also a Scout and says that it was his “time in the Scouts that prepared me for a life of adventure.” As he and fellow medical specialist, Dr Gareth Andrews, prepare for the biggest adventure of their life, The Last Great First Expedition, the first fully unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica, the two doctors say that their image003.jpgadventurous spirit began with being involved with their local Scouts group. 

The Last Great First Antarctic Traverse will see a historic Expedition being undertaken by the two doctors.  They are attempting the first fully unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica, skiing 2,600km for 110 days all the while pulling a 200kg sled.  If they succeed, they will break the world record for the longest unsupported polar Expedition. After months of intensive training in Norway, New Zealand and Australia, the Expedition will start in October 2022 through to February 2023. 

“Scouts Australia is proud to be supporting The Last Great First Expedition,” says Phil Harrison, National Chief Commissioner, Scouts Australia. “The Expedition will demonstrate many of the Scouts Australia’s values and attributes including courage, resilience, empowerment, responsibility, and self-confidence fuelled by teamwork, passion and commitment.”  

On 27 May, at Government House, Canberra, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Chief Scout, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), will formally invest explorers Dr Gareth Andrews and Dr Richard Stephenson, along with the Expedition Chairman, Mark Richardson, who was also a Scout, as fully fledged uniformed Members of Scouts Australia.  

“Antarctica is a place that inspires wonder and sparks the imagination. What Gareth and Richard are attempting is one of the great expeditions and, on behalf of all Australians, I wish them well. I will be following their progress closely!” said the Chief Scout.  

“It is an honour to be welcoming them back to Scouts and as a member of the worldwide Scout community,” Mr Harrison added.  “Ceremonies such as this are very rare. This would be the first time in memory that we have had the Governor-General and Chief Scout of Australia invest Ambassadors for Scouts Australia.”

“As former Scouts, Gareth and Richard were provided with foundation skills for life thanks to their time in Scouting. They follow in the footsteps of explorer Sir Douglas Mawson who was awarded the Silver Wolf, the highest Scouting medal of its time (1915). An award which reflected the qualities of a Scout – discipline, obedience, resourcefulness and self-reliance,” said Mr Harrison. 

Dr Stephenson started Scouts at the age of eight and says, “I remember finding Scouts exciting and inspiring, the feeling of a world of adventures and opportunities laid out in front of me by Scouts. That brief association was the beginning of my passion for the outdoors, the personal survival skills that needed to be learned to travel in wild places safely, and the sense of adventure to be had off the beaten track.”

Fellow Explorer, Consultant Anaesthetist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and Expedition Doctor, Dr Gareth Andrews grew up on a wild and remote island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It was here that his parents introduced to him the wonders of the natural world and the enjoyment of being outside. Joining the Beaver Scouts at what is now the Penzance/Madron Scout Group aged seven, he distinctly remembers the pride he felt in his grey Beavers jumper, blue scarf, yellow woggle and purple Scout badge. Gareth graduated to the Cub Scouts and then to Scouts. “It was with this group that I first used a compass, abseiled down a cliff, paddled a canoe and slept in a tent with my friends,” says Dr Andrews. 

As a team, Dr Stephenson and Dr Andrews have been exploring and adventuring together for over 10 years. As school-boys their imagination was captured by tales from over a hundred years ago and has helped the team forge their own paths to the poles.  Working with Scouts of all ages in Australia and internationally, Dr Stephenson and Dr Andrews hope to inspire the next generation of Scouts to reach for their goals and achieve their own remarkable aspirations.

Dr Andrews sums up his love of Scouts as, “My time in the Scouts equipped me with the necessary survival skills to be safe and to push the boundaries in the world’s wild places. It was also in the Scouts that, as a youngster, I was first introduced to the concepts of leadership, camaraderie and teamwork. Scouts also taught me my most valuable lesson, to be inquisitive about the world we live in. I carry these lessons with me now, many years later, and I firmly believe they make me a better Doctor and Adventurer.”

“In the past 10 years, Scouts Australia has had only one Ambassador, Andrew Lock OAM, a world acclaimed adventurer and high alpine mountaineer,” says Mr Harrison. “The World Ambassador for Scouts is Bear Grylls. Ambassadors Dr Stephenson and Dr Andrews are acclaimed individuals who are an inspiration to our young people and who have demonstrated the Scouting spirit, and ethos, in their pursuits.”

Scouts Australia programs around Australia have resumed in full since the removal of most Covid-19 restrictions. Those new to Scouts can express their interest online at scouts.com.au, and be put in contact with their local Scout Group.

Adam Bandt reveals balance of power asks at Greens national campaign launch in QLD

Greens Leader Adam Bandt will address the Greens official national campaign launch in the Brisbane seat of Griffith today, which the party is hoping to win, and outline the Greens ‘balance of power’ shortlist for negotiations in the likely event of a minority Parliament.

The Greens have said they will put on the table a pared-back version of their comprehensive platform – a 7 point balance of power shortlist – comprised of no new coal and gas mines, cost of living measures like dental into Medicare, and action for First Nations’ people. 

The party has also suggested revenue proposals to pay for its measures which it believes Labor could adopt, with all measures focused on making big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of tax and none on lifting revenue on everyday people. 

With support for the Greens surging and a minority parliament increasingly likely, Mr Bandt will say that:

  • no new coal and gas;
  • dental and mental health into Medicare;
  • building 1 million affordable homes and better renters rights; 
  • free childcare;
  • wiping student debt; 
  • lifting income support; and 
  • progress on all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart; 

will be priorities for the party. (Details of each element are set out in the table below.)

The Party would still campaign on its comprehensive plan that includes other measures (such as free education) and would seek to progress those during the life of the next Parliament, but that the fully-funded shortlist represented a starting point for discussions in a minority Parliament and also signalled the party’s priorities when exercising Senate balance of power in either a minority or majority parliament. 

Addressing a crowd of Party supporters at the BlackHops Brewery in the electorate of Griffith, Mr Bandt will say it is important that all voters know what the Greens would be pushing for with Labor in a minority parliament after kicking the Liberals out. 

Recent polling shows the Greens vote is surging in Queensland with all three inner Brisbane seats on the cusp of falling to the Greens.

Mr Bandt will be joined at the launch by Greens Senate Leader Larissa Waters, Greens QLD Senate candidate and school teacher Penny Allman-Payne, Greens candidate for the Labor seat of Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, Greens candidate for the Liberal seat of Ryan, Elizabeth Watson-Brown, and Stephen Bates, Greens candidate for Liberal seat of Brisbane, as well as many other lower house and Senate candidates from around the country via videolink.

The launch will be live streamed on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The Greens are on track to be the most powerful third party in the next Parliament, with balance of power in the House and Senate very likely.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:

“In balance of power, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push for urgent action on the climate crisis, the cost of living crisis and justice for First Nations people.

“Voters deserve to know what will be on the negotiating table. Of course we want to see all our policies implemented, but these will be at the top of the list.

“The Greens will kick the Liberals out and tackle the climate crisis by stopping new coal and gas mines, and we’ll address the rising cost of living by getting dental and mental health into Medicare, building affordable housing and making childcare free. 

“The Greens also want action for First Nations people, including a Truth and Justice Commission to begin acknowledging the violence and dispossession of this land’s first peoples, as well as progress towards a Treaty, to complement Labor’s commitment to progress the Voice to Parliament.

“We’ll also tackle inequality and cost of living pressures by pushing to wipe student debt and increase income support above the poverty line.

“By making big corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of tax, we can build a better future for all of us.

“This election has become a narrow contest between a terrible government that’s got to go and a visionless opposition that keeps agreeing with them. The Greens will kick the Liberals out and keep Labor on track.”

Minority government – background

Adam Bandt and the Greens were central to the Gillard minority government securing a major investment of $13 billion into clean energy and dental into Medicare for kids, reforms that continue today and now are supported across the Parliament.

For the last decade Mr Bandt has worked across the Parliament, especially with the crossbench, and is an experienced negotiator. Within the first year of the last minority Parliament, Mr Bandt secured cross-party support for legislation addressing high rates of cancer amongst firefighters because of their work, and worked on several hundreds of pieces of legislation in the minority Parliament. Anthony Albanese was the government Leader of the House during this period.

About the priorities

The following policies have been publicly announced and have been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

No new coal and gas

The Greens will push for no new coal and gas mines to be opened, something climate scientists, the International Energy Agency and the UN have all said is vital to meeting climate goals. 
Research indicates that if the 114 currently proposed coal, oil, and gas projects are allowed to continue, they will emit pollution equivalent to 2.5 times Australia’s annual carbon emissions.

The Beetaloo project alone will increase Australia’s emissions by an estimated 13%, something not accounted for in Government or Labor climate modelling.
The proposal includes the Greens’ ‘Looking After Coal Workers’ plan, including wage subsidies for coal workers as coal is exited. 

Affordable housing

One million new public homes, to be built over 20 years, will clear public housing waiting lists, make housing more affordable, end homelessness, and ensure everyone has a roof over their head. As part of this plan, people can buy into some of these dwellings for $300,000 or rent them for 25% of their income.

Dental and mental health into Medicare

Under the Greens’ plan, everyone eligible for Medicare will be entitled to access clinically relevant dental services with Medicare rebates, including general dental, orthodontics, and restorative services.

The Greens will also expand the Better Access Initiative to unlimited psychology or psychiatric therapy sessions and raise their Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates for patients with a diagnosed mental illness. The rebates would be offered at two levels to give mental health care providers a real avenue to providing no-gap mental health care.

Free childcare

The Greens will make early childhood education and care free for everyone, including by expanding universal access to preschool for 3 and 4 year olds

Wiping Student Debt

Nearly three million people owed an average of $23,685 in study debt in 2020-21, and the Greens will ensure young people are provided with relief from their debt sentence and money is put back into the pockets of those who need it most. The Greens plan will abolish all student debt.

Lifting income support

The Liveable Income Guarantee would see all government income support payments raised above the poverty line, mutual obligations abolished, and unfair restrictions on who can access the payment removed, to ensure that everyone has the means to cover their basic essential needs.

Progress on all elements of the Uluru statement will be priorities for the party

The Greens will work with the next government to pass major reforms to improve First Nations rights and lives, including the establishment of a Truth and Justice Commission and a Treaty Commission.

PBO costings balance of power

Greens plan to save our Tassie devil

The Greens have outlined a plan to save the Tasmanian devil and called on the Liberals and Labor to adopt the comprehensive measures required to protect this iconic species. 

Federal funding has been critical to the Tasmanian devil’s survival, but this ended in 2017 despite their recovery from the infectious cancer that decimated their population being far from over.

Adding insult to injury, the Morrison government recently proposed changes to conservation planning decisions that would see the Tasmanian devil recovery plan scrapped.

This is despite warnings from conservationists that the species is battling a myriad of pressures, including on our roads where 114 Tasmanian devil deaths were documented on a 25-kilometre stretch of road in the state’s north-west in a 14-month period to March 2022.

The Greens’ plan to Green Australia includes measures critical to the plight of the Tasmanian devil, including: 

  • Stopping the extinction crisis through setting a goal of Zero Extinction by 2030 and investing in a mass greening and restoration program, to ensure we are protecting habitats for our native animals and plants.
  • Greening Australia by investing $24.4 billion over the next decade, including by restoring wildlife habitat, planting 2 billion trees by 2030 and reestablishing green space in our cities, regions and suburbs.
  • Ending native forest logging to help reduce fire risk, and support workers transitioning into sustainable plantation forestry.
  • Protecting our natural environment and wildlife from land clearing, pollution and destruction by strengthening Environment Protection Laws.
  • Establish an Independent Environment Watchdog to enforce stronger environmental laws and hold governments, mining corporations and property developers to account.

Greens spokesperson for lutruwita/Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson said:

“The proposal to scrap the Tasmanian devil’s recovery plan is frighteningly short-sighted, but what we have come to expect from this government. 

“Australia is in an extinction crisis and recovery plans are one of the key instruments that we have to help threatened species recover.

“Abandoning the Tasmanian devil now, after so much time and money and love has been poured into keeping the treasured species alive and healthy, is a cruel death sentence.

“Aside from the facial tumour disease the Tasmanian devil still faces significant threats from land clearing, mining in takayna/Tarkine, forestry and from becoming roadkill. 

“The Greens’ have outlined comprehensive measures required to protect the Tasmanian devil and call on the Liberals and Labor to adopt these measures if the iconic species is to stand any chance of survival. 

Greens spokesperson for the environment, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“Our wildlife is suffering. We need a comprehensive plan to protect our environment and look after our native species.

“The Green Australia plan will restore habitat and save our wildlife from extinction. 

“Here in lutruwita/Tasmania, animals like the Tassie devil need urgent protection and funding before they’re lost forever. 

“In balance of power, we will push the next government to adopt a zero extinction by 2030 target, create thousands of jobs to restore habitat and put in place an environmental watchdog to hold governments and corporations to account.”

Greens pledge an Active Transport Network for nipaluna/Hobart

Nipaluna/Hobart will be at the centre of an exciting national trial to roll out more bicycle infrastructure under an $18m fully-costed plan launched by the Greens today. 

In the last power sharing arrangement with the Gillard Labor Government the Greens negotiated an historic $80m national bike path fund. This included a “Bike Blackspot” app and campaign where cyclists can log blackspot in existing bike paths, which generates an email and report to the Minister for Infrastructure, and contributes to a real time map of all Blackspots in Australia. 

Today’s announcement would build on this legacy and incorporate lessons learnt from that funding program. 

More than one in six Tasmanians ride a bicycle at least once a week yet since the Liberals have been in government virtually no federal funding has been allocated to underwrite the growth in active transport networks.

$18 million in federal funding would also help better enable holistic planning processes and help expand the existing Network into much needed places. This includes building a shared path along the Tasman Highway from Mornington to the Tasman Bridge, a path linking Lutana to Glenorchy, extension of the Intercity Cycleway to Austins Ferry, and further extension of the Whitewater Creek Track.

Greens senator for lutruwita/Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson said:

“The Greens are proud to be working with bicycle communities and have pledged $18 million federal funding to match the ask from Greater Hobart council mayors for an Active Transport Network (ATN).

“This is a positive initiative we can all be proud of and we urge both Tasmanian Labor and Liberal Senate candidates to match this pledge to help make Hobart a national leader in the rollout of active transport networks’.

“We need a reset of cycling policy in lutruwita/Tasmania to promote this climate-safe and healthy form of transport.

“In total, more than 50% of all Greater Hobart employment occurs in the Hobart CBD and traffic congestion has become dire. 

“No matter how good drivers are to cyclists, there are always some roads that are dangerous to ride on, cyclists need their own network of shared paths to ensure a safe commute. 

“The ATN will develop linked and accessible pathways throughout the Great Hobart area, supporting easy connections with active transport choices like bikes, scooters, mobility devices and wheelchairs.

Greens spokesperson for transport, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: 

“We need a cycling revolution across the country and the beautiful Apple Isle is a great place to start.

“Cycling is an important part of protecting our environment from pollution and the green recovery we need in the face of the climate crisis.

“The major parties are backing transport infrastructure that locks in pollution, props up fossil fuel corporations and will make the climate crisis even worse. 

“With this investment we can reap the rewards of a clean transport option while keeping people safe at the same time – it’s a win-win.”

A New Bentley Hospital Surgicentre for Perth

An Albanese Labor Government will partner with the McGowan Government to deliver a new Bentley Hospital Surgicentre, benefiting patients in the Eastern metro area of Perth.

The new Surgicentre will separate non-complex elective surgery from emergency surgery. This means less interruptions and fewer delays for elective surgery, and a safer and more efficient service.

This innovative model will ensure the right care is given to patients at the right time. As well as providing better care for patients in the most modern surgical facilities, it will cut waiting times for elective surgeries.

The investment will deliver:

  • Six new surgical theatres;
  • Two new procedure rooms;
  • A 24-bed surgical ward; and
  • A new central sterilisation services department.

This $150 million project will be a joint effort between the McGowan Government and a Federal Labor Government, with costs shared on a 50/50 basis.

This is yet another demonstration of a Federal Labor Government’s ability to work cooperatively with the States to get things done – compared to Scott Morrison’s approach of division. 

The new Surgicentre is another plank in Labor’s plan to strengthen Medicare, which includes 50 Urgent Care Clinics nationwide to take pressure off emergency departments, reducing the cost of medications listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by $12.50, and establishing a $750 million Strengthening Medicare Fund.

Anthony Albanese said:
“Only Labor can be trusted to protect Medicare, and strengthen it for future generations. I’m proud to announce a new Surgicentre for Perth, which will reduce elective surgery waiting times. Labor’s plan will ensure Australians get the care they need, when they need it.”

Mark McGowan said:
“Labor’s new Bentley Hospital Surgicentre will be a significant boost for communities in our eastern suburbs. 

“The innovative model will also provide relief to our health system which, like other States, is under pressure due to ongoing challenges from the pandemic.

“My Government is proud to join forces with an Albanese Government, if elected, to fund this $150 million dollar project, which will further improve the rollout of elective surgery in Western Australia.”

Mark Butler said:
“Labor has a comprehensive plan to strengthen Medicare and take pressure off emergency departments. The new Bentley Surgicentre will do just that for the east metro area of Perth, and ensure elective surgery happens on time. This is just another example of how an Albanese Labor government would work with State Governments to get things done.”

Amber-Jade Sanderson said:
“The surgicentre model has proved successful in other jurisdictions and would be a welcome addition to Western Australia’s world-class public health system.

“Understandably, elective surgeries sometimes have to be rescheduled, but this new facility would create two streams of elective surgery in our eastern suburbs, greatly reducing the need to postpone non-complex surgeries when emergencies occur.”

Building a Better Bruce Highway

An Albanese Labor Government will take further steps to build a better Bruce Highway, getting locals home sooner and safer by expanding the highway from six to eight lanes between Anzac Avenue and Uhlmann Road.

Taken together with our already announced $200 million commitment to widen the Highway from Dohles Rocks Road to Anzac Avenue, this announcement will deliver significant improvements to freight operators and commuters.

The Bruce Highway is both Queensland’s key freight arterial and the one of the most important commuter corridors, but locals know that this 12.9 kilometre stretch between Mango Hill and South Caboolture is one of the key pinch points slowing traffic and causing delays.

With Brisbane’s north continuing to grow and with the Olympics on the horizon, easing congestion will be so important to protect and enhance the lifestyle Queenslanders enjoy.

That’s why an Albanese Labor Government will partner with the Palaszczuk Government, investing a further $586.4 million to deliver this $733 million upgrade and get trucks and cars moving again.

During construction, this project will support 535 direct jobs and when complete it will deliver time savings, improved safety, greater freight reliability and flood immunity improvements.

Despite the significance of the Bruce Highway, the Morrison Government failed to announce any new construction money in the recent budget, sitting silent as Labor commits to upgrade the road in Brisbane’s north as well as the stretch between Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Only an Albanese Labor Government will partner with the state to deliver the Bruce Highway upgrades that locals really need.

Anthony Albanese said:

“I want to be a Prime Minister who builds things.  

“Building better roads means jobs for Queenslanders, increased productivity as people and freight are moved around quicker, and a safer journey for people returning home from work.” 

Annastacia Palaszczuk said: 

“Queensland isn’t getting its fair share from the Morrison Government.

“The Bruce Highway is the economic artery of Queensland. 

“Despite that, the Morrison Government failed to commit any new construction money for the Bruce in their last budget.

“We welcome this boost to the Bruce, which will mean quicker, safer trips between Caboolture and Brisbane, and up to the Sunshine Coast, as we build towards the Olympics. 

It’s clear Anthony Albanese gets Queensland and will work together with us to deliver the infrastructure our growing state needs for the future.”

Catherine King said:

“The Bruce Highway is the backbone of Queensland, but under the Morrison Government funding has stalled.

“The Bruce Highway needs more investment and only an Albanese Labor Government can be trusted to deliver it.”

Labor’s $1 Billion Investment in Advanced Manufacturing

An Albanese Labor Government will invest $1 billion in advanced manufacturing, as part of our commitment to create secure well-paid jobs and build a future made in Australia.
 
Labor’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund will be part of Labor’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.
 
The Morrison-Joyce Government have overseen the loss of 85,000 manufacturing jobs since they came to office. Australia ranks dead last on manufacturing self-sufficiency compared to other OECD countries. Unless we act, Australia will be in the bottom half of all countries when it comes to economic growth over the next decade.
 
Labor believes Australia can become a country that makes things again with national reconstruction focused on advanced manufacturing and creating local job opportunities for the next generation. 
 
The Liberals and Nationals goaded the car industry to leave Australia. When the car industry went offshore around 11,350 people were employed directly by Holden, Ford and Toyota and approximately 50,000 people were also employed in other areas of manufacturing that supply parts and services to the supply chain. We need to be investing in the jobs of the future to make up for this blow. 
 
Australia ranks 15th in the world for innovation inputs. But on innovation outputs we rank 33rd. Labor’s plan to invest in advanced manufacturing will aim to close this gap and capitalise on the ingenuity for which Australia is known.
 
The Advanced Manufacturing Fund is part of Labor’s commitment to ensuring we build on our national strengths and diversify Australia’s industrial base in key areas.
 
Labor’s $1 billion investment will rebuild our industrial base creating new capabilities and opportunities to innovate in transport, defence, resources, agricultural and food processing, medical science, renewables and low emission technologies manufacturing.
 
Labor’s plan will give businesses access to capital to diversify operations, industrial processes, and use research and development to climb the technological ladder. 
 
Labor will undertake wide-ranging consultation with local communities, businesses, unions, regional development authorities, states and local governments to identify projects that support innovation, grow advanced manufacturing jobs and repair the damage of the past nine years.
 
Under Labor’s plan for A Future Made in Australia, we will rebuild our proud manufacturing industry, and build a future made right here in Australia.
 
Today’s announcement is part of Labor’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund which will rebuild Australia’s industrial base.
 

Anthony Albanese said:
 
“I want to be the Prime Minister who helps Australia stand on our own two feet again. This is about sovereign capability.
 
“Serious countries should make things. Serious countries can stand on their own two feet when it comes to manufacturing essentials.” 
 

Richard Marles said:
 
“There are hundreds of thousands of skilled and well-paid jobs up for grabs – but if manufacturing all goes overseas, we will miss out.
 
“Only Labor will ensure we come out of the pandemic stronger through bringing manufacturing home.” 
 

Ed Husic said:
 
“The Coalition has run down manufacturing capability in this country and jobs have been lost as a result.  

“Labor wants to back the local know-how that is keen to not just rebuild manufacturing but use our smarts and technology to put our advanced manufacturing potential at the front of the global pack.” 

Home-grown technology lowering emissions in cement industry

Australia’s largest construction materials and building products supplier Boral is being supported by the Morrison Government to explore the feasibility of developing a carbon capture plant in the NSW Southern Highlands to lower emissions across the cement industry.

In collaboration with environmental technology company Calix, Boral has been awarded $30 million to develop a commercial scale plant that captures and compresses up to 100 kilo-tonnes per annum of unavoidable CO2 emissions resulting from the decomposition of limestone in cement manufacturing.

Through the Technologies Stream of the Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) Hubs and Technologies Program, the Morrison Government is backing businesses which are developing projects to help achieve long-term emissions reductions.

Boral’s proposed FutureCem plant will use Calix’s world-leading Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement (LEILAC) technology to re-engineer the existing process flows of a traditional calciner, indirectly heating the limestone via a special steel vessel. The unique process enables CO2 to be captured as it is released from the limestone, as the furnace exhaust gases are kept separate.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Tayor said cement manufacturing accounts for around seven per cent of all global emissions and projects such as FutureCem will help lead the way in bringing them down.

“This is game-changing, home-grown technology being tried and tested right here in regional NSW,” Minister Taylor said.

“Not only will this investment help to deliver long-term emissions reductions in a hard-to-abate sector, it’ll also generate new jobs across the Southern Highlands region with 140 new roles expected to be created during construction.”

The Morrison Government is also backing manufacturers in New South Wales with four innovative New South Wales business sharing in almost $23 million of funding under Round 2 of the Integration and Translation Streams of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

Successful recipients include Sydney-based medical device company EmVision which has been awarded $5 million to help develop a portable brain scanner to help transform stroke care for patients.

This significant investment will allow EmVision to manufacturer this Australian innovation at commercial scale and export it across the globe and here at home helping the company to grow and be recognised as a global leader in medical imaging.

Minister Taylor said the Morrison Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy will accelerate job creation and support a strong, modern and resilient economy which is better able to respond to a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape.

“Backing businesses to grow our manufacturing sector and securing our sovereign capability is critical to our plan for a strong economy and a stronger future for Australia,” Minister Taylor said.

Other projects funded under the latest round of MMI in New South Wales include:

  • $13.9 million for Wetherill Park-based packaging company Pro-Pac Group to create Australia’s first fully circular supply chain to divert plastic from landfill into high-value packaging products.
  • $1.7 million for radiopharmaceutical manufacturer Cyclotek which will use the funding to support a streamlined supply chain of next generation nuclear therapeutics at Lucas Heights. The medical technology will help diagnose and treat cancer.
  • $2.1 million for Thomas Global Systems in Newington to create onshore capability to develop and manufacture military avionics equipment for export into the global defence market.

$100 million boost to Queensland R&D economy

The Coalition Government will invest $100 million to create two new business and research partnerships with leading Queensland universities, creating 2,400 new jobs in Queensland.

The $100 million investment will support two new Trailblazer partnerships:

  • $50 million to establish a space sector Trailblazer led by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), which will work with 23 industry partners, including 17 SMEs, and two universities – the University of South Australia and the Australian National University
  • $50 million to establish a food and beverage Trailblazer led by the University of Queensland (UQ), which will work with 14 industry partners and two universities – the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland

Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said the UQ and USQ partnerships are the final two Trailblazers to receive funding through the Trailblazer program which is designed to focus Australia’s considerable research power on Australia’s National Manufacturing Priorities.

“Our economic plan is supercharging Australia’s research and development, creating more jobs and helping to build a stronger economy and a stronger future, Minister Robert said.

“We are investing in new technology in our growing space industry and our booming agri-tech sector to create jobs around Australia, particularly in Queensland.”

“The Trailblazers program has brought together universities and businesses exactly as we intended, with $362 million in taxpayer funding attracting more than $1 billion in co-investments from industry and university partners.”

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Bridget McKenzie said the project will have a significant impact for regions across Australia.

“The UQ and USQ partnerships and their industry collaborators have promised more than $230 million in co-investment, matching public funding by more than 2 to 1.

“The co-investment of the 37 industry partners to these two Trailblazers shows that Australian industry is hungry to collaborate with universities to unleash a new wave of technology that will drive economic growth and jobs in regional Australia,” Senator McKenzie said.

“The new USQ Trailblazer will turbocharge our growing space industry, helping us to achieve our goal of having 20,000 space sector jobs by 2030, and the new UQ Trailblazer, will accelerate our world-leading agri-tech industry to capitalise on new opportunities for Australian products in food and beverage supply chains

“This Trailblazer funding is part of our plan for a stronger, sustainable and more prosperous regional Australia and means more jobs right here in Queensland, a stronger research and development sector and a stronger economy.”

The UQ and USQ Trailblazers are the final two of six total Trailblazers to be announced. The six successful Trailblazers were selected through a two-stage competitive assessment process where universities were required to submit expressions and interest and then more detailed business cases.

Together, the 6 selected Trailblazers:

  • Have established 170 industry partnerships, with small businesses representing more than 60 per cent of the industry partners
  • Have attracted more than $1 billion in co-investment, matching the Government’s funding by 3:1
  • Are expected to create more than 7,400 jobs in Australia’s cities and regions
  • Will catalyse significant new innovations and economic opportunities in national priority areas, including defence, clean energy and recycling, resources technology and critical minerals, food and beverage, and space.

The Coalition Government has invested $362 million in the Trailblazer Universities program – an initial $243 million announced in November last year and an additional $119 million through our Regional Accelerator Program announced on Budget night. This is part of the Government’s $2.2 billion University Research Commercialisation Action Plan, which will focus the considerable research power of our universities on Australia’s National Manufacturing Priorities.

Only the Morrison Government has a plan to deliver a strong economy and a stronger future for Queenslanders.