ABC FAR NORTH BREAKFAST WITH KIER SHOREY
WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH 2022
SUBJECTS: Labor’s $40m investment in Torres Strait marine infrastructure.
KIER SHOREY, HOST: Catherine King is the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, welcome on.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Thanks, lovely to be with you and up here.
SHOREY: What would be the difference?
KING: Well, we’re committing today to $40 million to partner with the Torres Strait Island Regional Council to deliver this marine infrastructure across the Torres Strait. We’ve seen from talking the regional council across almost a year now, that much of the marine infrastructure is aging, it’s in neglect, frankly, and there’s some communities that have got wharfs that are completely unstable and unusable. And then you’ve obviously got communities, including Mer for example, that’s actually got no jetties at all. So, this is in partnership with the regional council that come to us to say this is a really important priority in terms of connectivity to the communities that live in the Torres Strait. We’re obviously hoping also to partner with the Queensland State Government. They’ve indicated that they think this is a really important piece of infrastructure for this part of the world and so we’re really pleased to be making that announcement in Torres Strait this morning.
SHOREY: What will the $40 million get?
KING: Well, it’s still to be worked through with the regional council, but largely, we understand from them that for a start there will be at least five to six jetties. It is also important in terms of wards and barges, that they’ll also be at some critical infrastructure there but we will still work that through with the regional council. Their asK of us was a bit bigger than this, but we’re committing $40 million and hoping that the Queensland Government will come in partnership with us at some stage.
SHOREY: How much bigger was the ask? What do they actually need?
KING: Well, over a course of 10 years, so this money will be in our first Budget, $40 million in our first Budget. So that’s in the first years. So, over the course of 10 years, they’re looking for about $120 million to look at infrastructure. This is for our first Budget, so the first three years of Albanese Labor Government is committing $40 million. So, it’s a really substantial start to actually getting this infrastructure fixed. These are things that many people take for granted, being able to access supplies and food, water and medical care very simply, and obviously in the Torres Strait, the only connectivity that you’ve got in many of these islands is through water taxis and through barges and that’s why that critical infrastructure is so important.
SHOREY: Catherine King with us, Shadow Minister for infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. You are going to actually be in the Torres Strait today talking about this?
KING: Yeah, that’s right. This will be my first time actually, I’m really looking forward to it.
SHOREY: Catherine King, thank you so much for your time.
CATHERINE KING – TRANSCRIPT – RADIO INTERVIEW – ABC FAR NORTH – WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH 2022