Australian Prime Minister Press Conference – Central Coast

Prime Minister

Good afternoon everybody and thank you all so much for coming. I’ll begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet and pay my respects to all elders past, present and emerging, and recognise that the land upon which we learn, love and play always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Can I thank the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for being here today, and also the Minister for Infrastructure in the federal government, Catherine King, for all the work that they do and the support that they give for the Central Coast. Prior to the 2022 federal election, before the election of the Albanese Labor government, we saw significant disrepair of our local infrastructure and local road networks right across the Central Coast region. And I know that I committed to significant funding with the Federal Labor Party, to upgrading our local roads, to making sure that we upgrade Avoca Drive, and also to, more importantly, upgrading our local sporting facilities, like the one here at Frost Reserve, for the Kincumber Roos and other sporting facilities. We know that by investing in infrastructure like this here at Frost Reserve we’re not only promoting sport in the community, we’re not only promoting that sense of community and that sense of togetherness, but we’re also helping combat the health and mental health challenges right across the Central Coast. And with that, I’ll now hand over to the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thanks very much, Gordon. It’s great to be back on the Coast again, my first visit since I was here for the semi-final, and I do want to take the opportunity to congratulate the Mariners on their grand final win. It was a great victory from a great club representing this local community. And some of the youngsters who we’ve met here today playing for the Kincumber Roos, they have an aspiration, of course, to become the Central Coast Mariners of tomorrow. Team sport is so important, and that’s why this $2.5 million upgrade of these facilities, so that the more than a thousand players who play for this club, both boys and girls, men and women, in playing what is a fantastic team sport of football, learning not just life skills, they’re keeping themselves healthy, they’re making a really positive difference. When young people play in team sport they learn to engage, they learn those social skills. They also learn how to win, how to lose, how to get up and have another crack again and it is a fantastic way in which communities can come together. And I want to pay tribute as well to the volunteers who are here as well. This local sport only exists because people give up their time to be coaches, to provide assistance, score keepers, to be referees, to engage in their local community. To raise sport, raise money through selling the odd raffle ticket and by really pitching in for local communities. And that’s why the federal government providing this $2.5 million will make a substantial difference as well, in upgrading these facilities and making sure that people can enjoy the experience. This comes just a few weeks before every single taxpayer here on the Central Coast will get a tax cut. Now many Central Coast residents would have simply missed out. What these tax cuts will do is to take pressure off the cost of living – that is our number one priority. Secondly, as well every household on the Central Coast will receive $300 off their energy bills, that will make a difference as well. And in addition, many Central Coast residents will benefit from the $3 billion that we’ve taken out of student debt, making a difference for today’s students and tomorrows in terms of the debt by restructuring permanently the way that that is delivered. These cost of living measures which will kick in from July 1, will make an enormous difference. So helping to build infrastructure and create jobs through projects like this, the upgrade of Avoca Drive, but concentrating as well on the cost of living to make a difference to residents here. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Mr Albanese, another major infrastructure that Central Coast locals have been waiting on the Avoca Drive upgrade. Can you tell me what’s the state of that?

PRIME MINISTER: The Minister might want to respond there, but Avoca Drive, one of the times I was here I know that the surveying work has all been done. And I know that this is a real choke point, so it’s very important, and that’s why we’ve provided funding to make sure that it happens. Minister.

CATHERINE KING, MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Thanks very much. So planning work is still being finalised for Avoca Drive, but it’s set to start middle next year. We’re working with the New South Wales government, who are obviously the delivery partners for the project to deliver that. We provided additional money in the last Budget, $130 million is now been allocated for this project, and we’re working closely with the New South Wales Government. I know from Gordon just how important this is. I’ve stood on the corner, I’ve seen how busy this gets as a choke point, and we’re very determined to deliver this project.

JOURNALIST: At this point who handles that funding?

MINISTER KING: The New South Wales Government.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, one of the patrol vessels has run aground in Fiji. Just wondering if you’ve got any details on that? It’s not the first time there’s been a mishap over there.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, the good news is there have been no injuries. From time to time, boats will have mishaps, in this case there’s no injuries. Australia is providing assistance to the Fijian authorities, but I’m sure it will end well. Australia does provide patrol vessels and provides other vessels throughout the Pacific as part of our commitment to helping our Pacific family members.

JOURNALIST: Given that this isn’t the first incident of this nature will you continue to invest?

PRIME MINISTER: Of course we’ll continue to work with our Fijian friends. Fiji is a very important nation in the Pacific. We have a very positive relationship with the Fijian government, and indeed the people of Fiji and Australians benefit from what is a very close relationship between our two nations.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, just on the facility here. Obviously this is a multi-sports facility, the money very much welcomed by the local community. But there are so many other grounds of this kind. We’ve seen wet weather over the last couple of weeks, so much community sport has had to be cancelled because of it. So many of the grounds are on old, various tips, etc. I mean, the money it’s hard to come by, isn’t it, to be able to fund everyone who’s putting their hand up that wants an upgrade of their facility.

PRIME MINISTER: It is, but that’s why we’re determined to fulfil the commitments that we made during the election campaign. And Dr Gordon Reid has been a very strong advocate for this community and for this project. This club has grown enormously. The club officials were talking about that just before, and quite clearly it’s outgrown the facilities here. The facilities will move so they’re between the two main ovals, which will mean that accessibility and the experience of people who come to this oval will be that much better in the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on the AFL. Do you think it’s appropriate for John Setka to threaten the AFL Inaudible.

PRIME MINISTER: I removed John Setka from the Labor Party many years ago as one of my first acts as leader.

/Public Release. View in full here.