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Labor backs Coalition on $13 billion WestConnex transport disaster

In a vote in the Senate Labor has failed to stand up for community opposition to the Westconnex and effectively backed the $13 billion discredited motorway.

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "It is disappointing that Labor did not support community concerns and more funding for public transport in this Senate vote.

"Labor lined up with the Coalition to vote down a Greens motion calling for the government to abandon the WestConnex motorway and put the money saved into improving Sydney's public transport.

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Motion: West Connex

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:55): I move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) the Federal Government has provided $1.5 billion in funding for the WestConnex motorway, plus an additional $2 billion in the form a concessional loan; and that this funding was awarded despite the lack of a detailed business case, including the assumptions behind the project's cost-benefit analysis, being made available to Infrastructure Australia or the public,

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Greens support manufacturing workers

Greens MPs from across the country, including Senators Scott Ludlam, Lee Rhiannon, Penny Wright, Sarah Hanson-Young, Janet Rice and Adam Bandt MP, today provided their support to manufacturing workers who came to Parliament seeking a strong shipbuilding and manufacturing base in Australia.

"The Greens will keep fighting to keep Australian manufacturing strong, especially in the south-eastern states," said Mr Bandt, the Greens Deputy Leader and Industry spokesperson.

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Speech: Greens support road transport infrastructure and safety

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (11:52): I congratulate Senator Janet Rice on taking over the transport portfolio, and I look forward to working with her in this area. She has set out the Greens' very clear case on the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill. I reiterate the Greens' support for Roads to Recovery and black spot funding to improve safety and access on our roads. Some of my work in the portfolio of local government crosses over into this area.

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Committee: QANTAS Sale Act

I have been working with Senator Madigan on this aspect of the committee proceedings. We do have concerns with these schedules. We are endeavouring to keep the current foreign ownership requirements contained in the Qantas Sale Act. We need to strengthen the requirements in the Qantas Sale Act in respect of Qantas facilities being located in Australia. I think that is where we, hopefully, have agreement. We have also specified that it is important that any future subsidiaries of Qantas are covered. That is also a point we have included.

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Speech: QANTAS Sale Act

The Greens are firmly committed to keeping Qantas Australian owned. We argue the case because we need a national carrier. It is vital that so many of these jobs remain in Australia. With that comes a very high skill base that we must not lose. Then there are the economic and security benefits. The bill before us does not achieve that. In fact, the bill would undermine it and Qantas could in no way be called Australian if this bill were allowed to pass in its current form.

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Adjournment speech: WestConnex

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (20:44):

On another point, I take up the issue of WestConnex, a proposed motorway development for Sydney. In one of the Prime Minister's books, Battlelines, he states that even the 'humblest person is king in his own car'. We might well ask: what about the Queen's? Managing to be both subtly discriminatory and antiquated at the same time is an interesting attribute of Mr Abbott's. Here he has provided an insight into his vision for transport infrastructure.

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