Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Feb 20, 2018

Fed’s Victorian infrastructure rip-off to worsen

Commonwealth infrastructure grants to Victoria will collapse to just $46 per Victorian by 2020-21 – down from a yearly average of $201 per head during the period of the former Federal Labor Government.

The figures highlight the way in which the Abbott and Turnbull Governments have dudded Victoria – including the people of Batman – when it comes to infrastructure since taking office in 2013.

We already knew that this financial year (2017-18) Victoria, home to 25 per cent of Australians, will receive only 9.7 per cent of the total Commonwealth infrastructure budget.

But the situation will deteriorate over the next four years, with Commonwealth infrastructure grants to fall from $791 million this year to $280 million in 2020-21.

The Coalition’s infrastructure rip-off began as soon as it took office and cut funding from Victorian projects including the Melbourne Metro and M80 upgrade.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government invested in transformative projects such as the Regional Rail Link, the M80, the Princes Highway Upgrades, Geelong Ring Road and the upgrade of the Western Highway.

The Turnbull Government’s rip-off for Victoria means less money for trams, trains, bike paths and roads in Batman.

Victorians need strong Labor representatives like Ged Kearney who understand that investment in public transport and other infrastructure is the key to dealing with urban congestion.

Feb 20, 2018

Labor backs local jobs with Mackay Port Access Road

A Shorten Labor Government will invest more than $100 million in the second stage of the Mackay Ring Road – the Mackay Port Access Road, creating up to 250 new jobs for locals in the construction phase alone.

Stage 1 of the Ring Road, first announced by the previous Federal Labor Government, and jointly funded with the Queensland Government is already underway – but we don’t want the work to stop. That’s why we are locking in the second stage right now.

The Mackay Port Access Road involves the construction of a new 8.2 kilometre highway from the Bruce Highway North intersection to the Harbour Road intersection – connecting Mackay’s northern suburbs to the Paget Industrial Area and mining locations west of the city.

The Ring Road will establish a connection between the Port of Mackay, Racecourse Mill and the mines – improving the links between where people work and where they live.

Mackay is a growing regional city, with a forecast population of more than 155,000 residents by 2031.

Daily cross river traffic is expected to increase by 50 per cent and the city’s existing bridges will exceed capacity at peak periods.

Imports at the Port of Mackay are also expected to double, which will greatly increase the number of trucks on local roads.

Without better road infrastructure, Mackay’s roads will be heavily congested. This means Mackay residents will spend more time stuck in traffic, and it also puts a handbrake on the local economy.

To make sure Mackay can keep growing as a liveable regional city, it needs more road infrastructure – and that’s exactly what Australian Labor will deliver.

Labor’s investment gives Mackay residents and businesses more certainty that their future infrastructure needs will be met – with better roads and more jobs.

The Mackay Port Access Road project is part of Labor’s Plan for Real Jobs in Regional Queensland.

Labor will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure projects in regional Queensland to grow local economies and create thousands of new jobs for Queenslanders.

Labor’s number one priority for Queenslanders is jobs. It always has been and it always will be.

 Bill Shorten and Labor have spent a lot of time in regional Queensland, holding town hall meetings and listening to locals about what matters to them. Now we are delivering – with new infrastructure and new jobs.

 Labor can fund these job-creating projects because unlike Turnbull and the Conservatives, we aren’t giving new tax handouts to multinationals and millionaires.

A factsheet with more information can be found here.

 

Feb 19, 2018

Labor To Deliver More Jobs With Townsville Port Channel Widening

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $75 million in the Townsville Port Channel Widening project – delivering hundreds of new jobs for Townsville and regional Queensland.

Widening the port in Townsville will boost the local economy, create at least 120 construction jobs and 60 ongoing jobs for locals, and more than 200 additional jobs across the state.

The Port of Townsville is currently too narrow to accommodate larger container vessels, resulting in a lot of cargo bypassing Townsville for southern ports.

This puts more pressure on roads and rail in and out of Townsville, and puts a handbrake on the local economy.

In 2015-16, Townsville Port handled more than nine million tonnes of trade worth around $10 billion – but it has the potential to do more.

Widening the channel will set up the Port of Townsville to attract more shipping traffic – increasing import and export opportunities and delivering a $580 million economic dividend.

It will also deliver substantial growth in cruise ship traffic – boosting tourism for the region.

The Townsville Port Channel Widening project is part of Labor’s Plan for Real Jobs in Regional Queensland.

Labor will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure projects to grow local economies and create thousands of new jobs for Queenslanders.

Labor’s number one priority for Queenslanders is jobs. It always has been and it always will be.

Bill Shorten and Labor have spent a lot of time in regional Queensland, holding town hall meetings and listening to locals about what matters to them. Now we are delivering – with new infrastructure and new jobs.

Labor can fund these job-creating projects because unlike Turnbull and the Conservatives, we aren’t giving new tax handouts to multinationals and millionaires.

With Federal Labor’s $75 million investment, the Queensland Labor Government’s $75 million commitment and the Port’s $43 million commitment – this important infrastructure project will be delivered.

A factsheet with more information can be found here.

 

Feb 19, 2018

Labor to deliver more jobs with Townsville Port Channel Widening

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $75 million in the Townsville Port Channel Widening project – delivering hundreds of new jobs for Townsville and regional Queensland.

Widening the port in Townsville will boost the local economy, create at least 120 construction jobs and 60 ongoing jobs for locals, and more than 200 additional jobs across the state.

The Port of Townsville is currently too narrow to accommodate larger container vessels, resulting in a lot of cargo bypassing Townsville for southern ports.

This puts more pressure on roads and rail in and out of Townsville, and puts a handbrake on the local economy.

In 2015-16, Townsville Port handled more than nine million tonnes of trade worth around $10 billion – but it has the potential to do more.

Widening the channel will set up the Port of Townsville to attract more shipping traffic – increasing import and export opportunities and delivering a $580 million economic dividend.

It will also deliver substantial growth in cruise ship traffic – boosting tourism for the region.

The Townsville Port Channel Widening project is part of Labor’s Plan for Real Jobs in Regional Queensland.

Labor will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure projects to grow local economies and create thousands of new jobs for Queenslanders.

Labor’s number one priority for Queenslanders is jobs. It always has been and it always will be.

 Bill Shorten and Labor have spent a lot of time in regional Queensland, holding town hall meetings and listening to locals about what matters to them. Now we are delivering – with new infrastructure and new jobs.

 Labor can fund these job-creating projects because unlike Turnbull and the Conservatives, we aren’t giving new tax handouts to multinationals and millionaires.

With Federal Labor’s $75 million investment, the Queensland Labor Government’s $75 million commitment and the Port’s $43 million commitment – this important infrastructure project will be delivered.

A factsheet with more information can be found here.

 

Feb 19, 2018

Feds rip off South Australia on infrastructure investment

The Turnbull Government will slash South Australia’s share of its infrastructure grants to a paltry 2 per cent in coming years, despite the state being home to 7 per cent of the national population.

Budget forward estimates show Commonwealth infrastructure grants to South Australia will fall off a cliff in coming years from $921 million in 2017-18 to $474 million in 2018-19, $349.5 million in 2019-20 and $95 million in 2020-21.

This represents a 90 per cent decline over four years as the Turnbull Government shifts its funding focus to other states at South Australia’s expense.

South Australians have a right to expect the Federal Government will deliver their state a fair share of its investment programs.

Instead, the Government’s own figures confirm it will rip off South Australia, ignoring its need for investment in rail, roads and other infrastructure to lift productivity and underpin jobs and economic growth.

The Commonwealth should be investing in South Australia, particularly on public transport to tackle the traffic congestion in Adelaide that is acting as a hand brake on growth and eroding the city’s quality of life.

In spite of Malcolm Turnbull’s rhetoric on public transport, the Government has confirmed the cut to the electrification of the Gawler Line and failed to put a single dollar into AdeLINK light rail.

Infrastructure Minister Barnaby Joyce, who last week in Parliament displayed a lamentable ignorance of his own portfolio, needs to rethink his South Australian infrastructure rip-off and deliver the state the funding levels it requires and deserves.

Feb 15, 2018

Barnaby must tackle Government’s infrastructure delivery crisis

The Turnbull Government has short-changed Australians by $4.8 billion over the past four years because it has been too incompetent to deliver its own Budget commitments.

Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, the Government has announced $29.6 billion in infrastructure investment.

But its own Budget papers reveal that by the end of the current financial year, it will have delivered $24.8 billion. This means it has failed to actually invest one in every five dollars it has promised.

Investment in Major Road Projects will be $2.8 billion, or 17 per cent short of what was promised.

But the shortfalls affect all major infrastructure programs, including the Black Spot program, which directly targets road safety. (see table).

Infrastructure Minister Barnaby Joyce, who has this week demonstrated he has no grasp of the detail of his portfolio, must act now to confront this crisis in program delivery.

Since taking office, the Coalition has dramatically cut infrastructure investment, with infrastructure grants to the states set to fall off a cliff over the next four years.

However, these figures demonstrate that the Government has not only cut investment, but can’t even deliver its dramatically reduced Budgets.

Either it is wilfully misleading Australians every Budget night or is simply not up to the job of delivering on its commitments.

Feb 13, 2018

Joyce clueless on Queensland’s missing $1 billion

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has refused to explain why the Federal Coalition Government has invested more than $1 billion less on Queensland infrastructure than it promised in its first four Budgets.

Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, the Government announced $7.2 billion worth of funding commitments for roads and other infrastructure in Queensland.

But Budget Outcome documents show the Government actually invested $6.1 billion.

Today in Question Time I asked Mr Joyce to account for the real cut of $1 billion and explain how many jobs would have been created in Queensland if his Government had spent that money as promised.

Mr Joyce refused to address the question. He is clearly not across the detail of Queensland infrastructure projects other than the proposed Inland Rail Link between Brisbane and Melbourne, which would pass through his NSW electorate but not connect to the Port of Brisbane.

The Government has either been misleading Queenslanders about its actual plans, or is incapable of rolling out projects as promised.

Mr Joyce needs to confront this under-spending problem to ensure Queensland gets its fair share of federal infrastructure grants.

Feb 12, 2018

Joyce’s Inland Rail line to Tasmania

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce today nominated his Government’s investment in the Inland Rail Link between Brisbane and Melbourne as evidence of his Government’s commitment to Tasmanian infrastructure.

In Question Time today I cited Budget papers to ask why the Turnbull-Joyce Government plans to cut Federal infrastructure investment in Tasmania from $175 million this financial year to $52.6 million in 2019-20.

Mr Joyce struggled to answer.

He began by claiming the Coalition was responsible for the Midland Highway upgrade. In fact, the project was funded by the former Federal Labor Government and subject to a $100 million cut by the incoming Coalition Government in 2013.

As Labor MPs pointed out the error to Mr Joyce, he began to promote the benefits of Inland Rail, a project that will be of no benefit to Tasmania.

The Coalition has dudded Tasmania on investment in rail, roads and other infrastructure.

Indeed, since taking office, it has not commenced a single new federal funded major infrastructure project in the state.

With such a record of cuts and neglect, it is no wonder Mr Joyce struggled to address the facts today.

By contrast, the former Federal Labor Government invested heavily in Tasmania over six years in office, lifting investment from $157 per Tasmanian per year to $264.

Feb 12, 2018

Joyce a shambles on Infrastructure portfolio

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce today proved that he is not up to the job of Infrastructure Minister with a shambolic Question Time performance in response to clear evidence of a collapse in nation building investment under his Government.

In Question Time Labor MPs used the Government’s own Budget papers to ask Mr Joyce about cuts to rail and road funding.

But Mr Joyce did not have a clue. He refused to address our questions, which referred to:

  • Evidence that Victoria is receiving only 9.7 per cent of Commonwealth infrastructure grants despite being home to one in four Australians.
  • The looming collapse in Commonwealth infrastructure grants to Tasmania from $174 million this year to $53 million by 2019-20 and the Government’s failure to commence a single new major project in Tasmania since it took office in 2013.
  • The significant cut to Commonwealth infrastructure investment in South Australia from $921.4 million this year to just $95 million by 2019-20. This represents just 2 per cent of federal infrastructure investment.
  • Evidence in the Budget papers that while the Government allocated $100 million last financial year to the important Northern Australia Roads Program, it actually invested only $12 million, an 88 per cent underspend.

Since taking office the Coalition has cut infrastructure investment.

Things are about to get worse, with total Commonwealth infrastructure grants to the states set to fall off a cliff from a promised $9.2 billion in 2016-17 to $4.2 billion by 2020-21.

Mr Joyce, appointed Infrastructure Minister in December, faces a huge challenge to convince his Cabinet colleagues to increase investment as a way to drive productivity and economic growth.

But judging from his performance in Question Time today, his knowledge of his portfolio goes no further than the proposed Inland Rail Link between Brisbane and Melbourne, which goes through his own electorate and does not go to a port anywhere.

When answering any question about infrastructure, Mr Joyce boasts about Inland Rail. At one point today Mr Joyce appeared confused, offering Inland Rail as evidence of his commitment to infrastructure investment in Tasmania.

In fact, Inland Rail was commenced by the former Federal Labor Government, which conducted the early planning and invested $600 million upgrading parts of the existing rail system that will form part of the project.

We also provided a further $300 million in the 2013 Budget to progress the project.

Feb 12, 2018

Joyce clueless on SA cuts

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has refused to explain why he intends to cut Commonwealth infrastructure grants to South Australia to just 2 per cent of its national infrastructure budget in 2020-21.

In Question Time today Mr Joyce boasted of his Government’s generosity to infrastructure projects in SA, despite the fact that Commonwealth infrastructure grants to the state will fall from $921.4 million in 2017-18 to $95.2 million in 2020-21.

The absurd claim came as Mr Joyce struggled to answer a series of detailed questions about the Infrastructure ministry, which he has held since December.

Specifically asked about the SA infrastructure budget, Mr Joyce began talking about Commonwealth investment in the defence industry, which has nothing to do with his portfolio.

It is clear Mr Joyce doesn’t have a clue about infrastructure in SA, which requires increased investment to drive productivity gains and boost economic growth and job creation.

In particular, SA needs a Commonwealth contribution to the AdeLINK project, which will tackle Adelaide’s worsening traffic congestion, which acts as a hand brake on growth.

Labor has a strong record of investing in SA infrastructure.

Over six years in office, the former Federal Labor Government increased per capita annual investment in SA from $109 per person to $272 per person.

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