Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
May 11, 2017

Cities neglected in 2017 Budget

For all its rhetoric, the Coalition Government has continued to neglect Australian cities in its 2017 Budget, with no real investment for policies or programs.

The Prime Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary for Cities have spoken a great deal about expanding the City Deals program; however there is not one extra dollar in the 2017 Budget to make this a reality.

This comes on top of the Coalition’s failure to allocate a dollar of new investment for public transport, despite expert warnings that traffic congestion is acting as a hand brake against economic and jobs growth in our cities.

Infrastructure Australia has warned urban congestion will cost the nation $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031 without investment now.

The Coalition Government is leaving Australian cities behind at a time when they require leadership and investment from the Commonwealth to ensure their ongoing productivity, sustainability and liveability.

The fact is four out of every five Australians live in cities.

What’s more, Australian cities produce 80 per cent of our GDP.

The Prime Minister should provide real investment instead of more rhetoric so our cities can continue to grow and be great places to live and work.

May 10, 2017

Pyne hypocritical on SA road funding

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has reached absurd levels of hypocrisy by congratulating himself for the restoration of $40 million in local road grants which he himself voted to cut in 2014.

In Question Time today Mr Pyne said he and other South Australian Liberal MPs had fought hard for $40 million in supplementary roads funding for South Australia in Tuesday’s Budget.

Mr Pyne boasted that the decision was “a big win’’ for South Australia.

What Mr Pyne failed to mention was that the funding boost simply reversed cuts that he and his colleagues voted for in the disastrous 2014 Budget.

The brutal truth about Budget 2017 is that it did not provide a dollar of funding for any new infrastructure projects in SA.

In particular, the Government ignored the much-needed AdeLINK light rail project, which would ease the traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on SA’s economic growth.

The people of Adelaide deserve new tram lines, not lines a speech.

No wonder the Civil Contractors Federation of SA today attacked the Turnbull Government for offering SA “ a pittance’’ on infrastructure and warned the Liberal Party to expect a backlash in next year’s State election.


May 10, 2017

Turnbull avoids the truth about his big cuts to infrastructure investment

Malcolm Turnbull has flatly denied the figures that are outlined in his own Budget papers that reveal that infrastructure funding this year has been slashed by $1.6 billion from a promised $9.2 billion to $7.6 billion.

In Question Time today I asked the Prime Minister to confirm these figures.

He simply ignored my question.

Despite his spin, Mr Turnbull has cut infrastructure investment.

Worse still, Budget Paper No. 3 shows that in coming years, total Federal infrastructure investment will fall further off a cliff, dropping to $4.2 billion by 2020-21 – see graph below.

That’s why peak infrastructure industry group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia last night said: “Real budgeted capital funding to its lowest level in more than a decade’’ and noted that the Government had attempted to use a combination of underspending, re-profiling and spin to conceal cuts.

May 10, 2017

New rail lines not built by lines in a speech

Millions of Australians will remain stuck in traffic jams because Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to invest in public transport in our major cities.

Budget 2017 failed to allocate a dollar of new investment for public transport, despite expert warnings that traffic congestion is acting as a hand brake against economic and jobs growth in our cities.

There was no funding for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Adelaide’s AdeLINK, the Western Sydney Rail project or the Melbourne Metro.

There was investment for the Perth METRONET, although the Budget papers were so sloppy they mentioned three different figures on the amount. This money is not new, having been re-allocated from the Coalition’s failed Perth Freight Link toll road.

Of the total $10 billion national rail program outlined last night, not a dollar of extra funding will be invested before the next election.

The Budget included actual funding for only one new infrastructure project anywhere in the nation – the upgrading of the Far North Collector Road near the NSW country town of Collector.

In his Budget speech Treasurer Scott Morrison sought to conceal his inaction by announcing investment for the new Infrastructure Project Financing Agency.

A financing facility is not how important urban rail projects will become reality.

The new facility sounds a lot like the Coalition’s failed Northern Australia Infrastructure facility, which it created two years ago amid fanfare but which has not funded a single project.

Mr Morrison’s speech was packed with tricky lines to pretend he had increased infrastructure investment.

But you can’t ride to work on a tricky line in a speech.

Australians needs actual investment in actual train lines to address traffic congestion, which Infrastructure Australia has warned will cost the nation $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031 without investment now.



May 10, 2017

Tourism sector hit again

Tourism Australia has had its funding slashed by $35 million over the next four years which further shows the Coalition Government’s contempt of the sector.

What’s more, 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.

Tourism has been identified by Deloitte as one of five super growth sectors.

It also employs more than one million Australians directly and indirectly.

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


May 8, 2017

Budget must fund Glendale Interchange

The Federal Government should use tomorrow’s Budget to unlock productivity gains for the Hunter region by investing in the Glendale Interchange.

This important project, linking Glendale and Cardiff, would capitalize on the economic potential of the Cardiff Industrial Estate and Glendale shopping precinct, clearing the way for major new development and job creation.

Since the Coalition took office the business community, strongly backed in recent months by the Reserve Bank, has called for infrastructure investment that will drive productivity gains that boost economic and jobs growth.

Commonwealth support for the Pennant Street Bridge section of the Glendale Interchange project fits this requirement perfectly.

Independent economic analysis into the project has found every dollar invested in Stage I would leverage $94 of private sector investment, leading to the creation of more than 10,000 jobs.

That is why Hunter Councils, the organisation representing 11 local authorities across the Hunter, has described the Glendale Interchange as the region’s most-significant infrastructure project.

Tomorrow’s Budget represents an opportunity for the Coalition Government to invest in this project and work with the Lake Macquarie City Council and State Government to make it a reality.

May 7, 2017

Budget must fund Port Botany freight rail duplication

Malcolm Turnbull should use Tuesday’s Budget to deliver major productivity gains for Sydney by investing funds to finish the duplication of the freight rail line to Port Botany.

This funding was cut by the Coalition Government in its 2014 Budget. The final section of the Southern Sydney Freight Rail Line from Mascot to Port Botany remains a single line.

This means that if one train is coming in or out of the port, trains travelling in the other direction must wait.

Completing the duplication of the line would reduce delays and boost productivity.

For any Government interested in infrastructure investment as a driver of economic productivity, the Port Botany Freight Line duplication is a no brainer.

That is why the former Labor Government allocated money for planning for the project in its 2013 Budget and also committed funding in the 2016 election campaign.

But the Coalition has failed to back the Port Botany project.

It should also deliver a crossing loop at Warwick Farm near the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, which would also deliver major productivity benefits.

On Tuesday Mr Turnbull, who talks a lot about connectivity and economic productivity, must match his rhetoric with action.

May 6, 2017

Turnbull sidelines Infrastructure Australia with 25 per cent funding cut

Malcolm Turnbull risks wasting public money on dud infrastructure projects if he does not use Tuesday’s Budget to reverse his planned 25 per cent cut to the annual budget of Infrastructure Australia.

Infrastructure Australia was created by the former Labor Government to independently assess proposals for railways, roads and other infrastructure to ensure they deliver value for public money.

But in last year’s Budget, Mr Turnbull slashed its funding from $11.6 million this year to $8.8 million next year, taking effect from July 1.

This savage cut builds on Mr Turnbull’s ill-advised move to sideline Infrastructure Australia by creating a new Infrastructure Financing Unit within his own Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Making recommendations on financing options for projects is a core part of Infrastructure Australia’s task.

Mr Turnbull should be supporting Infrastructure Australia in the name of evidence-based policy-making and sensible financial stewardship.

Instead, he is usurping its role and slashing its resources.

When it comes to nation building, there is no substitute for sober decision-making based upon independent expert advice about costs and benefits. That is why the former Labor Government created Infrastructure Australia in 2008.

After four years of infrastructure neglect, next Tuesday the Government must invest in projects that enhance productivity and boost economic growth.

However, choosing the right projects is critical, as is Infrastructure Australia’s determination of its priority list based upon productivity benefits to the national economy.

May 5, 2017

Coalition must invest in Victorian infrastructure

Malcolm Turnbull must use next Tuesday’s Budget to invest in the infrastructure Victoria needs to support its rapidly growing population and future economic development.

Victoria currently receives just 7.7 per cent of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure budget, despite being home to 25 per cent of the Australia population.

A good way to begin addressing this inequity is to fund the Melbourne Metro, which the Coalition cut $3 billion from in the 2014 Budget to help fund the dud East-West Link toll road.

The Melbourne Metro was identified by Infrastructure Australia as a project of national significance.

In contrast the East-West Link toll road would have only returned 45 cents for every dollar invested.

Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city and requires Commonwealth investment.

Malcolm Turnbull should also provide Victoria with the money they are entitled to under the Commonwealth’s asset recycling scheme, which was created with funds taken from the former Labor Government’s Building Australia Fund.

This would enable the Victorian Government to fund vital upgrades to the state’s regional rail network.

Since its election the Coalition has sidelined Infrastructure Australia and refused to fund important projects to punish Victorians for having the temerity to vote Labor at the previous state election.

Mr Turnbull needs to stop taking selfies on trains and trams and use next Tuesday’s Budget to actually invest in the infrastructure Victoria needs.

May 5, 2017

Another Labor Government funded Bruce Highway upgrade completed: Cooroy to Curra Section A

I welcome today’s news that the upgrade of the Bruce Highway between the Cooroy Southern Interchange and Sankeys Road – also known as Cooroy to Curra, Section A – has been completed and is now open to traffic.

This was yet another project funded by the former Federal Labor Government. Indeed, as the Infrastructure and Transport Minister in that Government, I had the honour of turning the first sod back in June 2013.

This was a big project which put almost 1600 Queenslanders to work, both directly and indirectly. Now that it’s completed, the 16,000 motorists that use this section of highway every day will benefit from smoother, safer driving conditions.

When it comes to Queensland there is no more important road than the Bruce Highway. That’s why when we were in government we increased to record levels the amount of Federal funding being invested in the project. In fact, when compared to the former Howard Government, we invested more than four times as much in half the time.

Today, every project underway along the entire length of this road was originally identified and funded by the former Labor Government.

Next week’s Federal Budget will be real test for Malcolm Turnbull.

Will he do what Labor did in government and provide real money for real projects that will make a real difference? Or will he continue to reduce investment in the Bruce and delay the rollout of upgrades that will improve safety, cut travel times, ease congestion and improve the highway’s flood immunity?

Since taking office in 2013, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut Bruce Highway funding by $143 million.


Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office


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