Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Nov 9, 2017

Coalition too hopeless to meet own promises

Tasmanians have become accustomed to Turnbull Government cuts to railway and road investment, but new figures confirm it is not even delivering the reduced budgets it has promised.

Budget documents show that in the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s first three budgets it promised to invest $415 million on Tasmanian infrastructure.

In fact it invested $323 million – a $92 million cut on its commitments.

If the Government had delivered as promised, rail and road projects could be underway right now across Tasmania, providing jobs and economic activity in the short term while boosting productivity in the long term.

The Government’s cuts include $66.3 million to promised road investment and $28.2 million on promised rail investment.

The Government has also drastically cut investment in the Black Spots Program, which delivers safety upgrades to roads where there have been serious traffic accidents.

While the Government promised to invest $6.1 million on this important road safety program in its first three budgets, it has in fact invested $3.5 million.

Based on the fact that the average Black Spot upgrade costs $157,000, the Government could have upgraded at least 16 more traffic accident Black Spots if only it had spent money that it allocated in its Budgets.

The non-delivery of promised funding indicates the Government is either misleading Tasmanian’s about its actual intentions or is not up to the job of administering infrastructure programs.

And things are set to go from bad to worse.  Over the next four years, Federal investment in Tasmania’s infrastructure is set to fall off a cliff, declining from $175 million this financial year to $62 million in 2020-21.

It comes in sharp contrast to the record of the former Federal Labor Government, which invested $1.9 billion in Tasmania over six years, lifting per capita infrastructure expenditure form $157 per Tasmanian per year to $264.

Nov 8, 2017

Federal Labor consults on Ballarat’s rail needs

Today we met representatives of the Committee for Ballarat to discuss their campaign to cut the travelling time between Ballarat and Melbourne by rail to less than an hour.

It was a productive meeting that highlighted the need for increased rail investment from both the State and Federal Governments to maintain connectivity between the two cities.

A one-hour journey between Ballarat and Melbourne was possible as recently as 2006.

But the strong population growth to the west of Melbourne has increased demand and the trip has now stretched out beyond 80 minutes.

Ballarat is a dynamic regional city. Its ongoing economic development depends upon easy access to the capital city, not just for commuters, but also for people doing business.

The Committee for Ballarat is doing a great job in advancing the city’s rail needs and has proposed a range of projects it believes will deliver a 59-minute journey to Melbourne.

Now is the time for governments to work together carefully consider the next stage of rail investment required to ensure that rail congestion is not allowed to act as a hand brake on Ballarat’s economic growth.

Federal Labor has a strong record of investment in infrastructure in Victoria, having invested $3.225 billion on the successful Regional Rail Link project.

Over six years the former Federal Labor Government more than doubled per capita infrastructure investment from $89 per Victorian per year to $201.

In contrast, the current Federal Coalition Government’s 2016-17 Budget saw Victoria’s share of the national infrastructure spend fall to a record low of 8.2 percent, despite the state being home to a quarter of the national population.

And it gets worse. Commonwealth infrastructure funding for Victoria will fall off a cliff in coming years from $791 million in 2017-18 to $280.7 million by 2020-21.

Nov 2, 2017

Labor welcomes Pacific Highway progress

Labor welcomes the completion of the Kundabung to Kempsey section of the Pacific Highway Upgrade, which was funded by the former Federal Labor Government in 2013.

It’s pleasing to see another of the many Pacific Highway projects funded in budgets of the former Labor Government is now done and is providing real benefits for motorists up and down the NSW coast.

Labor provided $115 million for this project in our 2013 Budget, with the NSW State Government providing a matching contribution.

Indeed, in our six years in office, the former Labor Government invested $7.9 billion on the Pacific Highway Upgrade – nearly six times more than the $1.4 billion provided by the former Howard Government over 12 long years.

While the Turnbull Government has continued to roll out highway projects funded by the former Labor Government, I’m concerned it is now moving the whole duplication project into the slow lane.

Budget documents show that while the Government invested $1.37 billion on Pacific Highway projects in the year to June 30, this financial year’s investment will fall to $710 million.

This raises real doubt as to whether the Government will meet its target of completing the full duplication all the way to the Queensland border by the end of the decade.

The Pacific Highway duplication will boost productivity and significantly improve road safety on this important road. It must be completed as soon as possible.


Nov 1, 2017

Western Sydney Airport must look after apprentices

Labor notes the release of the Statement of Expectations for the delivery of the Western Sydney Airport.

Although the statement mentions the need to maximise local employment, it falls short by failing to guarantee opportunities for apprentices during the airport’s construction phase.

The Western Sydney Airport will increase Sydney’s aviation capacity and create thousands of jobs, and apprentices should share in those employment opportunities.

The airport must contribute to building the skills of the future that lead to secure, skilled and well-paid jobs.

Labor has committed to ensuring that at least one in 10 jobs on major Commonwealth-funded projects is done by an apprentice.

We urge the Turnbull Government to follow suit, so vital projects like this not only build much-needed and lasting infrastructure, but help build skills and job opportunities as well.


Oct 26, 2017

Statement on the NSW Liberals’ refusal to heritage list Sirius Building

The NSW Liberal Government’s refusal to heritage list the Sirius Building in The Rocks can only be described as disappointing.

The Sirius Building has a place in Australian history.

Designed by Tao Gofers and built in 1979, it is renowned internationally as a prime example of brutalist architecture.

But of course the significance of Sirius goes beyond the building itself.

For decades, the location of public housing in the heart of our city has been symbolic of the spirit of Sydney.

Having grown up in council housing myself, I know very well the strength of community that exists in these neighbourhoods.

It is a tragedy that the NSW Liberal Government has uprooted the long-established communities of Millers Point and Sirius in a bid to sell-off what they see only as prime real estate.

The fact is successful cities are inclusive cities, not disconnected enclaves of privilege and disadvantage.

What’s more, our society is only as good as the way we treat our most-vulnerable citizens.

The NSW Liberal Government has failed on both these counts.


Oct 26, 2017

Coalition denies Tasmania $92 million in promised infrastructure investment

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to deliver $92 million that it promised to invest in Tasmania’s railways and roads in the past three years.

In its first three Budgets, the Government undertook to invest $415 million on Tasmanian infrastructure.

But Budget documents reveal it actually invested $323 million.

The $92 million shortfall indicates the Government is either misleading Tasmanians about its actual commitment to improving the state’s infrastructure, or is too incompetent to roll out promised projects.

The cuts include $67 million promised for major roads, $28 million for rail and $3.5 million for the Black Spot road safety program, which delivers safety upgrades to sites of serious traffic accidents.

Tasmania needs increased rail and road investment to provide jobs and economic activity in the short and medium term and to lift productivity in the long term.

The Federal Coalition Government has a responsibility to deliver.

Instead, it has promised investment but failed to follow through with actual spending, apparently hoping no-one will notice.

This pattern of deceptive behaviour is not confined to Tasmania.

Across the nation the Government has delivered $3.9 billion less infrastructure investment than promised in its first three Budgets.

Labor has a record of delivery when it comes to infrastructure investment in Tasmania.

Over six years the former Labor Government increased per capita infrastructure investment from $157 per Tasmanian to $264 per Tasmanian.


Oct 24, 2017

Coffs Bypass still in the slow lane

The Federal and State Coalition Governments have still had no formal discussions concerning funding the Coffs Harbour Bypass on the Pacific Highway.

Senate Budget Estimates Committee hearings in Canberra late yesterday heard that there was no chance that the project would commence any time before 2020, if at all.

In further proof that the Federal MP for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, has no clout within the Turnbull Government, the committee heard no detailing planning had been undertaken and that the New South Wales Government was only now beginning to turn its mind to the preparation of a business case for Commonwealth consideration.

Officials from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said that when the NSW Government produced a business case, the Government “might consider’’ a funding contribution.

But nothing would happen until the completion of the ongoing duplication of the Pacific Highway to the Queensland border, which is scheduled for 2020.

The Committee also heard that the Department had no idea how much the bypass would cost.

Oct 23, 2017

Bureaucrats confirm massive infrastructure cuts

Senior bureaucrats have highlighted the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s ineptitude on infrastructure spending by confirming that in its first three Budgets, the Coalition invested nearly $3.9 billion less than promised.

Officials appearing before today’s Senate Budget Estimates committee hearing outlined underspending across a range of programs, indicating that the Government is either misleading Australians about its actual spending intentions or is too incompetent to deliver its promises.

In infrastructure, it is not uncommon for money allocated one year to be delayed into the following year because of factors like weather delays or difficulty finalising contractors to complete work.

However, when this happens, the extra spending is delivered in the following year.

The Coalition is drastically underspending its infrastructure Budgets year after year with the figure increasing each year.

The Senate committee heard the annual underspend has increased each year, beginning with $829 million in 2014-15, moving to $1.2 billion in 2015-16 and then $1.7 billion in 2016-17, leading to an accumulated underspend of $3.9 billion.

It appears the tactic here is to promise big on Budget night, when Australians are watching the Treasurer’s Budget speech, but then fail to deliver what was promised in the hope nobody will notice.

This deceptive behaviour lets down Australians.

Investing in the right railways, road and other infrastructure generates economic activity in the short and medium term, and boosts economic productivity in the longer term.



Oct 23, 2017

Liberals mislead on Nowra Bridge

The Liberals on the New South Wales South Coast have been caught out misleading the community about their efforts to secure funding for a new bridge on the Princes Highway at Nowra.

Two weeks ago South Coast MP Shelley Hancock told the South Coast Register she was pressing the Commonwealth for a funding contribution for the bridge after Federal Labor committed $50 million to the project.

Ms Hancock told the newspaper that the NSW Government had made “a funding request’’ to Infrastructure Australia to ensure the project could proceed as soon as possible.

However, according to a senior officer of Infrastructure Australia, Jeremy Parkinson, giving evidence before a Senate Budget Estimates committee hearing in Canberra today, this is false.

LABOR SENATOR GLENN STERLE: Has Infrastructure Australia received a business case from the NSW Government, seeking to evaluate the project for this new bridge over the Shoalhaven River at Nowra, as an alternative to the old iron one that gets clogged up regularly?

MR PARKINSON: Senator, we have not received a business case for that proposal as yet.

Ms Hancock should be more honest with her constituents.

The Liberals have failed to commit a single dollar to the construction of the Nowra Bridge, highlighting the lack of clout of Federal MP for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis as well as the inaction of Ms Hancock.

By contrast, Labor has put $50 million on the table.

Labor understands that infrastructure investment is critical when it comes to improving road safety and boosting productivity, particularly in regional Australia.



Oct 19, 2017

Coalition halves infrastructure investment

New Parliamentary Budget Office figures released today show that under the Turnbull Government Federal grants to the states and territories for road and rail projects expressed as a percentage of GDP will halve over the next four years to 0.2 per cent.

The PBO’s National Fiscal Outlook report says (on page 17):

Commonwealth road and rail infrastructure expenditure is also projected to fall by 0.2 per cent of GDP over the forward estimates period to 0.2 per cent of GDP in 2020–21, reflecting the funding profile for road and rail infrastructure projects included in the 2017–18 Budget.

The figures highlight the gap between the Turnbull Government’s rhetoric on infrastructure and the reality of its cuts and inaction, particularly on public transport.

While Malcolm Turnbull enjoys taking selfies as he rides on trains, he has refused to invest in trains by partnering with states to deliver much-needed rail projects like the Melbourne Metro and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project.

His inaction comes as traffic congestion continues to erode quality of life in Australia’s big cities and act as a hand brake on productivity and economic growth.

Indeed, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has reported traffic congestion cost the nation $16.5 billion in lost productivity in 2015.

The PBO report also notes infrastructure investment by states and territories will peak at 0.9 per cent of GDP in 2018-19, before falling to 0.3 per cent by 2020-21.

Mr Turnbull should be lifting infrastructure investment to support jobs and economic activity in the short to medium term and boost productivity in the long-term.

Instead, he is slashing investment and pretending otherwise.


Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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