Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
May 23, 2017

Coalition cuts Bruce Highway investment

The Turnbull Government cut investment on the Bruce Highway upgrade by $85 million in the year to June 30.

And Senate Budget Estimates hearings have confirmed there was no new money for the Bruce Highway in the 2017 Budget.

In the 2016 Budget, the Government promised it would invest $558 million on Bruce Highway projects in 2016-17.

But the 2017 Budget documents reveal that, in fact, the Government will invest $473 million in that period.

The figures underline the Turnbull Government’s ongoing campaign of adopting Labor’s language when it comes to the need for increased infrastructure investment without backing its rhetoric with actual increased investment.

The Budget papers show that nationally, the Government cut infrastructure investment by $1.6 billion in this financial year alone.

In his Budget speech and accompanying glossy documents, Treasurer Scott Morrison sought to suggest the Government would boost investment on the Bruce over the next ten years.

However, in Senate Budget Estimates committee hearings on Monday, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Secretary Mike Mrdak confirmed there was no new money.

May 23, 2017

Coalition’s plan for Coffs Harbour Bypass: come back next decade

The Turnbull Government has no concrete plans to build the Coffs Harbour Bypass and expects no progress on the project until the next decade, according to evidence before a Senate Budget Estimates committee.

The revelation comes despite ongoing attempts by ineffective Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker to pretend his advocacy is advancing the project.

Officials from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development told a Senate committee late yesterday they had no costings or detailed plans for the bypass project.

The officials also said they had not held formal discussions with the NSW Government over funding.

Asked for a timeline, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Secretary Mike Mrdak said: “We would certainly see this as a project which would be needing to come into the pipeline, certainly by the early 2020s’’.

Confirmation of Mr Hartsuyker’s inability to deliver follows news in the May 9 Budget of a huge cut in funding for the ongoing Pacific Highway duplication next year.

Budget documents show the Turnbull Government is investing $1.37 billion on Pacific Highway projects in the year to June 30. But investment will collapse to $710 million in 2017-18.

The cuts represent a stark contrast to the performance of the former Labor Government, which invested $7.9 billion on the Pacific Highway over six years – six times the amount the former Howard Government invested over 12 years.

May 22, 2017

Estimates confirm Victorian infrastructure rip-off

This morning’s Senate Budget Estimates hearings in Canberra have confirmed that Budget 2017 does not include a single extra dollar for Victorian infrastructure.

In his Budget Speech on May 9, Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed he had made $1 billion available for regional rail and infrastructure projects in Victoria.

But in a Senate Budget Estimates hearing this morning, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development secretary Mike Mrdak said the money was not new.

Labor Senator Glen Sterle: “So there is no new money; this is just a shift?’’

Mr Mrdak responded: “…it does not represent new funding in terms of the Budget Forward Estimates.

The admission highlights the Turnbull Government’s ongoing campaign of deceit over its level of infrastructure investment in Victoria.

Prior to the delivery of the Budget earlier this month, Victoria, home to a quarter of Australians, was receiving less than 8 per cent of the national infrastructure Budget.

Despite Mr Morrison’s attempts to pretend otherwise, nothing has changed since Budget night.

The Turnbull Government is continuing to punish Victorians for having the temerity to elect a Labor Government and continuing to refuse to work with the Andrews Labor Government in a co-operative way in the public interest.

While the Government is presenting a fantasy version of its commitment to infrastructure, Budget 2017 in fact cut infrastructure investment by $1.6 billion nationally in this year alone, including by $150 million in Victoria.

May 22, 2017

Estimates hearing confirms SA infrastructure rip-off

This morning’s Senate Budget Estimates hearings in Canberra have confirmed that Budget 2017 does not include a single extra dollar for South Australian infrastructure.

In his Budget Speech on May 9, Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed he was increasing national infrastructure investment to support economic growth.

But in fact, Budget 2017 cut infrastructure investment by $1.6 billion nationally in this year alone.

In  a Senate Budget Estimates hearing today, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Secretary Mike Mrdak said: “There are no additional new projects in South Australia over and above those that were previously committed.’’

It is time for the Turnbull Government to stop pretending and start investing in rail, roads, ports and other infrastructure right around the country.

In particular, it should work with the SA Government to progress the ADELINK light rail project.

May 22, 2017

Another broken promise on Inland Rail project

The Australian Track Rail Corporation has confirmed the Turnbull Government’s much-promoted Inland Rail freight project will stop 38km short of the Port of Brisbane.

This is despite the Coalition’s explicit promise in the 2013 election campaign that the project would go all the way to the port and that construction, which is yet to commence, would begin in 2016.

After four years of inaction, the Turnbull Government’s 2017 Budget included an equity injection for the ARTC to build the Inland Rail between Brisbane and Melbourne to expedite passage of goods to the ports of the two cities.

However, ARTC chief executive John Fullerton told a Senate Budget Estimates hearing in Canberra today that current funding was based on the project ending at Acacia Ridge – 38 km short of the Port of Brisbane.

Labor supports Inland Rail as necessary infrastructure in the national interest. Indeed, the former Labor Government completed the feasibility study and invested $900 million to progress the project to the construction stage.

It is time Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce, who seems to have seized control of this project from Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester, stopped breaking promises and started coming to grips with the design challenges that need to be overcome to make it a reality.

With a project of this scale, it is critical that we get the planning right.

However, the Coalition has form in this area.

In 2014 it invested in the Perth Freight Link proposal – a dud toll road that would not even have delivered on its stated aim of taking freight to the Port of Fremantle.

The project was abandoned by Western Australia’s incoming McGowan Government in March.

The Perth Freight Link proposal was never designed to take freight to the Port of Fremantle and the Westconnex project in Sydney does not go Port Botany.

Good infrastructure requires proper planning.

 

May 19, 2017

Bus privatisation will hit Inner West commuters hard

The NSW Government’s planned privatisation of Inner West bus services will result in worse not better transport for commuters across the region.

As the Member for Grayndler and the Shadow Minister for Transport I will fight alongside the public to prevent this privatisation from proceeding.

The sell-off of services will lead to routes being cut, jobs being lost, fares increasing and service levels dropping.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the Inner West, including workers, students and pensioners depend heavily on public bus services. Any reduction in services will have a real impact on their lives.

Andrew Constance has launched this attack on Inner West passengers without warning.

His actions have caused disruption to services and Premier Berejiklian should step in before the Minister does any more damage.

 

May 18, 2017

Budget cuts WA infrastructure investment

Western Australia faces a $200 million cut in Commonwealth investment in railways, roads and other infrastructure in the year to June 30.

In the 2016-17 Budget, the Turnbull Government promised it would invest $842 million on WA infrastructure this financial year.

However, last week’s 2017-18 Budget Papers show it will in fact invest $616 million.

The cut is part of a $1.6 billion cut across the nation this year, which includes cuts to the Black Spots program, the Bridges Renewal Program and investment in new and improved roadside facilities for truck drivers such as rest stops.

“Malcolm Turnbull is short-changing WA and pretending otherwise,” said Mr Albanese.

“His reckless cuts have come at the very time the Government should have been increasing infrastructure investment to boost productivity and economic growth.

“Yet the Coalition has wasted four years with its promotion of the now-dumped Perth Freight Link – a dud toll road which would not even have achieved its stated aim of taking traffic to the Port at Fremantle.”

The only good news in the Budget was the Government’s decision to reallocate some of the Perth Freight Link funding to a range of projects including an upgrade to Denny Avenue in Kelmscott which has been consistently ranked as the State’s most dangerous road.

The local community has been pushing for this upgrade for the past 30 years.

Federal Member for Burt Matt Keogh said it was only through the concerted efforts of State and Federal Labor MPs that vital road and rail projects have been kept from the scrap heap.

“Denny Avenue is in the heart of my electorate and I understand just how important fixing this dangerous traffic snarl is to our community. That’s why I’ve called for its funding since before the 2015 Canning by-election,” Mr Keogh said.

“Continuous cuts to WA’s infrastructure projects only prove we have a Prime Minister who simply doesn’t care about WA, is out of touch with what is going on in our State and intent on cutting every dollar from job-creating opportunities this side of the Nullarbor.

“We will continue to fight the exodus of jobs and resources from this State and hold the Turnbull Government accountable for short-changing this State by the billions.”

While the Coalition failed to match the Denny Avenue commitment ahead of the 2016 election – despite what Mr Hastie said in 2015 – it is a good thing that it has finally agreed to release the funding in response to pressure from the new WA McGowan State Government.

May 17, 2017

Coalition hits brakes on Pacific Highway upgrade

The Turnbull Government has slowed work on the Pacific Highway duplication, slashing investment by nearly half next financial year.

According to last week’s Budget documents, the Coalition will invest $1.37 billion on Pacific Highway projects in the year to June 30.

But in the 2017-18 financial year, investment will tumble to $710 million.

Across the national infrastructure program, last week’s Budget cut investment by $1.6 billion this year alone, including cuts to the Blackspots Program, the Bridges Renewal Program and investment to improve roadside facilities for truck drivers.

When promoting Budget 2017, Mr Turnbull has pretended that he has finally embraced Labor’s sensible calls for increased infrastructure investment to boost productivity and drive economic and jobs growth.

But the reality does not match the rhetoric.

Mr Turnbull has pushed the Pacific Highway duplication into the slow lane.

This is despite Coalition MPs talking up their commitment by, for example, promising action on the long-awaited Coffs Harbour Bypass, which also received no funding in the Budget.

The Prime Minister’s cuts represent a stark contrast to the performance of the former Labor Government, which invested $7.9 billion on the Pacific Highway over six years – six times the amount the former Howard Government invested over 12 years.

May 16, 2017

Tassie tourism abandoned by Coalition

Tasmania’s rapidly growing tourism industry has been left behind in this year’s Budget, with the Coalition failing to provide the level of investment the State needs.

The Coalition has now missed every opportunity it’s had to properly invest in critical tourism infrastructure for Tasmania.

What’s more, the 2017 Budget revealed that Tourism Australia will see its funding slashed by $35 million over the next four years.

This is despite the fact that for every dollar invested in tourism promotion the return on investment is 16:1.

At the same time the Coalition Government will also receive a $410 million increase in revenue from increasing visa application charges.

This is precisely the opposite of what the tourism sector asked for to make visa fees competitive with other potential destinations.

It also comes on top of their increase in the Passenger Movement Charge last year, which broke an election commitment they gave just months earlier.

At the time the Coalition Government made a clear commitment to the tourism sector that there would be no further retrograde action against the tourism sector.

Yet the Coalition continues to treat tourism as though it is a cash-cow.

Labor understands the importance of tourism not just to Tasmania’s economy as a whole, but also the communities across the State whose local economies rely on visitors.

Tourism in Tasmania contributes $2.55 billion to Gross State Product, nearly 10%, which is the highest in the country.

Tourism also supports 36,700 Tasmanian jobs, more than 15% of total Tassie employment, which is again, the highest in the country.

Given the important role tourism plays in the Tasmania’s economy, the Coalition Government should be looking to support the sector, rather than brutally slashing its funding.

May 15, 2017

Coalition slashes Victorian infrastructure budget

The 2017 Budget Papers reveal that Commonwealth infrastructure investment for Victoria will be further reduced from its already pathetic levels in coming years, collapsing to as little as $280 million in 2020-21.

These vicious cuts highlight the chasm between the Coalition Government’s rhetoric on infrastructure and its total inability to engage in the planning required to take projects from the drawing board and into construction.

Budget Paper No. 2 says it all in the table below.

budget
        Source: Budget Paper No. 2, page 134. 

Budget figures also reveal that in the current financial year the Coalition Government will cut its already pathetic Victorian infrastructure budget by $150 million in the year to June 30.

The Coalition Government’s cuts include funding that was to be used to fix dangerous blackspots on local roads and improve roadside facilities used by truck drivers.

It is an absolute disgrace that despite making up 25 per cent of Australia’s population, the state of Victoria does not receive its fair share of infrastructure investment.
They have even dudded the Victorian Government on its request for Regional Rail funding from the Asset Recycling Fund that the Coalition said it would deliver.

The Coalition Government continues petty act of punishing Victorians for having the temerity to vote for the Andrews Labor Government at the last state election.

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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