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King given shadow infrastructure and transport role

Albanese puts his former portfolio responsibilities into experienced hands


Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has used his front bench reshuffle to place the national transport portfolio with a known quantity.

Catherine King is the shadow infrastructure, transport and regional development minister, six years after she last held junior portfolio roles in the last Labor government under then federal transport minister Albanese.

“This is an area in which I have previous experience, having previously served as minister for regional Australia, minister for road safety, and parliamentary secretary for infrastructure and transport,” Kings says on her first day.

“I look forward to getting down to work in my new portfolio!”

In support, she has Andrew Giles as shadow minister for cities and urban infrastructure and senator Glenn Sterle, who remains in the positon he held before the election. 

“I congratulate Ms King and Mr Giles on their appointments and look forward to working with them in their new roles,” Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch says.

He notes that King had ministerial responsibility for the development of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 – “a significant achievement backed by sensible consultation with industry. 

“Mr Giles has highlighted the importance of the provision of infrastructure to the productivity and liveability of cities, speaking in parliament of the need for transparency and a strong evidence base for infrastructure decisions.” 

Read how King tackled a major trucking issue whebn last in government, here

Crouch also extended congratulations to Sterle as shadow assistant minister for road safety. 

“Prior to the election, senator Sterle appeared on our Trucking Q&A panel in Perth before joining me in Cabover Cabinet to discuss key industry issues, like 30-day payment terms, heavy vehicle rest areas and advanced safety technologies such as advanced braking,” Crouch says. 

“Senator Sterle highlighted his commitment to working closely with the trucking industry to ensure our voice is heard.”

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has welcomed the transport appointments along with Tony Burke as shadow industrial relations minister.

“Catherine King has proved during her time as shadow minister for health that she understands what it takes to reform an industry, with the proposal for cancer care and the pledge to increase funding for public hospitals,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine says.

“Transport requires a similar approach with new ideas needed on how to tackle the threats to jobs in transport from the gig economy and with tough regulation needed to make road transport safer.

“As a member of parliament from a regional area like Ballarat, Catherine will know all too well about the need for safety in trucking and better infrastructure, including rest stops and good quality roads.

“The aviation industry is also crying out for an advocate who can address the disparity between the obscene profits being made by airports at the top and the low rates and poor conditions for airport workers.

“This issue affects safety and security at our airports and needs urgent attention.

“Tony Burke has always been a friend and supporter of transport workers. He has stood with us over the years pushing for a system of Safe Rates to make road transport safer and fairer.

“He understands the threat that Australian workers face, whether from the downgrading of jobs through the gig economy or because of wealthy employers gaming the broken industrial relations system. We look forward to working with him to address these issues.

“Senator Glenn Sterle’s reappointment as shadow assistant minister for road safety indicates how seriously the Labor Party and its leader, Anthony Albanese, takes this issue.

“Glenn has been instrumental in bringing the road transport industry together to discuss a plan to tackle the disproportionately high number of fatalities and injuries in trucking. The forum he organised in March this year was an excellent meeting on the need to lift standards in our industry ahead of further development of the gig economy in Australia, through new freight models by the likes of Amazon and Uber.

“Glenn has already made a major difference to transport by investigating the problems of licensing fraud and exploitation of overseas workers. We have no doubt he will continue on this trajectory to shine a spotlight on our industry and to improve it.”


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