Shorten commits $5M investment assault on LNP stronghold
STEPPING straight off the big, red bus and onto the sand of Moffat Beach, leader of the Labor party Bill Shorten had more on is mind than a swim, with a announcement of $5 million funding for the international internet submarine fibre cable link to the Sunshine Coast.
Speaking exclusively with The Daily by the shores of his wife's childhood beach, Mr Shorten lapped up the sunshine and warm weather after promising the multi-million dollar investment to deliver 864 new jobs and stimulate $927 million of new investments.
The submarine cable project, led by the Sunshine Coast Council will allow businesses and internet providers to bypass Sydney and connect directly to the 9,600km Japan-Guam-Australia-South submarine cable, via a 550 kilometre undersea fibre cable that is expected to be built by 2020.
The international cable link will be Australia's fastest telecommunications connection to Asia, improving broadband speeds, reduced latency, and increased productivity.
Mr Shorten had a strong connection with the Sunshine Coast saying his wife Chloe Shorten grew up a few streets from Moffat Beach and "spoke to me forever and a day about her home".
Distractions of the white sand were too much for Mrs Shorten who was used to "Melbourne beaches" and missed her local haunt.
"Sunshine Coast is important for not only Queensland, but for the nation," Mr Shorten said.
"Coastal Australia is the face of new Australia in many ways.
"If we can provide better infrastructure, diversification and better education then people can have the dream Aussie life here."
After meetings with Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson, Mr Shorten said he was confident in the future of the Coast.
"He thinks it's important to improve Federal funding for councils and is passionate about the airport - he's been pushing the case," he said.
"The fact of the matter is I'm prepared to work across the political divide for this and the future of this community."
With a Federal election looming, Mr Shorten said he was in the process of finding a new candidate for Fairfax, an electorate never held by Labor.
Clive Palmer held the seat until 2016 before LNP's first time candidate Ted O'Brien won by a huge margin against Labor's Scott Anderson.
Despite a bumpy history, Mr Shorten said he saw opportunity in the electorates.
"I don't look at it divided by Labour and LNP, I look at the coast and I see people and good opportunities," he said.
Since former prime minister Malcom Turnbull rallied for the sub-sea cable project, Mr Shorten was calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "get on board and support this important investment".
The Shortens, joined by daughters Clementine and Georgette, were planning on enjoying their one day off the campaign trail before heading north to Central Queensland on Sunday.