Australian Prime Minister Doorstop Interview – Sydney

Prime Minister

I’d like to welcome you all to Southwest Sydney but most importantly, the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese. As the Federal Infrastructure Minister some 10 years ago, he was the one that had the vision for this part of the world. And it’s going to make so much of difference to the residents and my constituents who are going to be able to find work. And it’s just so exciting that this is finally opening. I introduce you to the Prime Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well thanks very much, Anne. And it is indeed fantastic to be here at the opening of the Moorebank Intermodal Interstate Rail Terminal. This is a great day for Western Sydney, but also a great day for nation building. I’ve been involved with this project since 2008. More than a decade ago, we set up the big government-owned corporation to work with the private sector to drive investment at this site. And that’s about improving productivity. It’s about taking trucks off road. It’s about building our economy and, of course, creating jobs. Almost 7,000 jobs created on this site, but many tens of thousands of jobs to benefit throughout Australia as a result of this world’s best facility. The Southern Sydney Freight Line accessing Port Botany to the Interstate Terminal here, working to take trucks off the roads, working to build productivity, working to create jobs and create efficiency. This has been a momentous project. And it’s an example of what the national Government can do to create nation building projects that are long lasting. And it’s a great privilege and honour for me, as the person who was the Minister when this project began, to be back here as Prime Minister at the opening, a great day for Western Sydney. When you look at the Moorebank Intermodal Project together with the Western Sydney International Airport, what it will do is transform the way that Sydney functions. So, instead of everything looking towards the Harbour and towards the CBD of Sydney, Sydney is now looking outwards, as it needs to do, creating local jobs for local communities, making an enormous difference. I’m very proud to be here today. And happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, can you tell us what kind of game changer the Interstate Terminal will be for connecting Sydney to the national logistic framework?

PRIME MINISTER: What it will do is be able to access, through Parkes across to the west but also, of course, down to Melbourne. There’s a vision as well that Catherine King is working on for an intermodal to operate similarly, which will work in partnership with the intermodal here in Sydney. What this will do, to give some idea, this is more than ten times the size of other intermodals. This is a game changing facility. This will take some 3,000 truck journeys each and every day off Sydney’s roads. And with the facilities and the other investment that we’re seeing being driven by this investment, with the Woolworths distribution centre here and other centres here around the Moorebank Project, what you’ll see is that investment making an incredible difference to the efficiency of the rail network. And in the 21st century, what we need to do is to move more freight by rail, it’s more efficient, it’s better for emissions, it’s better for productivity, and it’s cheaper. So, it’s the best way to move large amounts of freight around our nation, is through the rail network. And this facility here is an absolute game changer that will drive that economic activity, drive jobs and logistics in Southwest Sydney. And it’s a very exciting day.

JOURNALIST: And what does it mean for the security of the national supply chain especially given the last few years pandemic?

PRIME MINISTER: One of the things that we learned from the pandemic was that we need an economy that is more resilient. That is future proofed from events like a pandemic or a national security issue, or other issues that can disrupt supply chains. And Australia can’t continue to be just at the end of supply chains, given the island continent that we are. We need to make more things here in Australia, and we need an economy that’s more resilient. And here we see examples of both. We see as well, this entire site being powered by renewable energy, showing as well, that the emission reduction isn’t just from taking trucks off the road and putting freight onto rail, it’s also in the very functioning of the centre. So, this ticks all of the boxes. Good for the economy, good for jobs, good for Western Sydney, good for emissions reduction.

JOURNALIST: On to the death of the Australian aid worker, Zomi Frankcom’s family say they support an investigation into whether those responsible for her death should be charged with war crimes. Will you back this?

PRIME MINISTER: What I’ve said is that there needs to be full accountability and transparency for this tragic event. Zomi Frankcom should have been safe. Zomi Frankcom was doing work in the interests of humanity. Selfless work, as an Australian hero, who all Australians can be proud of. Someone who had worked not just in Gaza, assisting Palestinians who are suffering from such deprivation, but also had worked in Bangladesh, in Pakistan and indeed, here in New South Wales, during the bushfires. Zomi Frankcom was going about her business, helping humanity. And her being killed in this way is a catastrophic event that is devastating for her family, but is also felt keenly by our nation. I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday morning, I have demanded full accountability for what has occurred. They have committed to a full and proper investigation. I want that to be transparent and I want those findings to be made public, so that we find out how exactly this can occur. What we know is that there have been too many innocent lives lost in Gaza. What we know is that the impact of this war is such that it shouldn’t be the case that innocent Palestinians, or people assisting them, are made to pay the price for the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. I feel very strongly about this. Australia has called for a humanitarian ceasefire, we have voted that way at the United Nations. I’ve issued multiple statements with the Prime Minister of Canada and New Zealand as well as with ASEAN leaders. From the very beginning, we have said that every innocent life matters, whether it’s Palestinian or Israeli. And now, we’re seeing an innocent Australian, assisting her fellow humanity, lose her life in this tragedy.

JOURNALIST: You’ve said that you’ve asked for full accountability. But what does accountability actually look like?

PRIME MINISTER: Accountability looks like finding exactly how this could have occurred. Zomi Frankcom was travelling in a vehicle that was clearly identified as an aid vehicle. It should not have been at risk. And we need accountability for how this occurred. And for people to be held for to account for this.

JOURNALIST: The founder of World Central Kitchen has said that each country whose citizens were killed in the airstrikes should conduct their own investigation into the incident. Is this something that you will consider?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I note the comments that have been made. And certainly, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will work in whatever way possible to ensure there is transparency here. But the Israeli Defense Force have accepted their responsibility for this tragic event. We need to have accountability for how it’s occurred. And what isn’t good enough is the statements that have been made, including that this is ‘just a product of war’. This is against humanitarian law. International humanitarian law makes it very clear that aid workers should be able to provide that aid and that assistance free of the threat of losing their life. Thank you.

/Public Release. View in full here.