Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
May 28, 2018

Media Release – WA Infrastructure Investment about to Enter Freefall – Monday, 28 May, 2018

Federal infrastructure investment in Western Australia will plummet by two thirds over the next four years, according to evidence given by Infrastructure Department bureaucrats during last week’s Senate Estimates.

Since it delivered Budget 2018, the Turnbull Government has attempted to con Australians into believing it has finally stopped cutting investment in nation-building infrastructure.

But under oath at Senate Estimates the Government’s own Infrastructure Department confirmed that annual Federal infrastructure grants to Western Australia are about to enter freefall.

According to their evidence, Federal infrastructure grants for Western Australia will fall from the promised $1.2 billion in 2017-18 to $411 million by 2021-22. That’s a 65 per cent reduction for WA – a state that requires increased infrastructure investment to support its growing population and boost economic growth.
The Budget Papers also show that of the new projects funded in this year’s Budget, only about half of the money allocated to them will be available over the next four years.

The other half is being pushed into the Never-Never beyond the Budget Forward Estimates.

This means voters would have to re-elect Malcolm Turnbull twice more before important projects such as METRONET, Bunbury Outer Ring Road, Tonkin Highway upgrades and construction of an interchange at the Roe Highway / Great Eastern Highway Bypass intersection are delivered.

After years of cuts, Western Australia requires investment in railways and roads now, not years from now.

Only Labor can deliver a Fair Go for WA..

Over six years, the previous Federal Labor Government delivered nearly $7 billion for Western Australia, lifting per capita infrastructure investment from $154 per Western Australian to $261.

MONDAY, 28 MAY, 2018

May 25, 2018

Media Release – Coalition’s Tasmania Infrastructure Con Revealed – Friday, 25 May 2018

Three out of every four dollars allocated to Tasmanian infrastructure projects in this month’s Federal Budget will not be spent until 2022/23 at the earliest.

And the Budget documents show it did not contain a single dollar of new funding for Tasmania, with all the funding allocated to new projects drawn from money already in the Budget.

For the past fortnight the Government has pretended Budget 2018 reversed the damaging succession of infrastructure investment cuts it has imposed on Tasmania since it took office in 2013.

However, the Budget documents show that delivery of most of the funding allocated to new projects has been pushed out on the Never-Never, beyond the four-year Forward Estimates period.

Little of the funding will flow this year, next year, the year after, or during the two years after that.

This means Tasmanians hoping for action on important projects like safety upgrades on the Bass Highway will have to re-elect the Coalition twice before they see the bulk of the funding.

It’s no wonder that at Senate Estimates this week, officials were unable to say when the Government would deliver the Bass Highway works from its new Roads of Strategic Importance Fund.

The officials revealed that the Turnbull Government had not even discussed the Bass Highway upgrades with the Tasmanian Government.

When it comes to infrastructure, Budget 2018 was a con job designed to win votes, not a serious blueprint to address Tasmania’s infrastructure deficit.

After years of cuts, Tasmania needs investment in railways and roads now, not years from now.

Only Labor can deliver. During our last period if office, we delivered record funding for Tasmania, lifting per-capita investment from $157 per Tasmanian to $264.

May 24, 2018

Media Release – Western Sydney Rail a Low Priority for Coalition – Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Turnbull Government places greater priority on tax cuts for big business than building the much needed Western Sydney Rail to give people of the region the public transport services they deserve.

Before the delivery of the recent Federal Budget, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed he would deliver a north-south train line through Western Sydney to the new Western Sydney Airport.

But when the Budget was delivered, it did not include a dollar for the construction of this important public transport project.

Today, amid reports that the Nationals want to abandon the Government’s $80 billion in business tax cuts, I asked Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack whether he would re-allocate some of that money to the Western Sydney Rail project.

Mr McCormack refused.

It is clear that the Prime Minister and his Infrastructure Minister have misled Australians about funding Western Sydney Rail.

The priority of the Nationals Leader is giving big businesses tax cuts rather than boosting funds in his own portfolio to build the Western Sydney Airport and other critical infrastructure projects.

Its early construction is imperative to ensure that the people of Western Sydney will be able to access new jobs that are expected to be created at the airport and in surrounding industries.

May 24, 2018

Media Release – Coalition Politicising City Deals – Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Turnbull Government is continuing to politicise its City Deals program by prioritising some cities ahead of others based on the electoral cycle.

At Senate Estimates this week the Cities Division was unable to confirm precisely when Darwin, Hobart and Perth would finalise their City Deals, but was explicit that Geelong would receive its City Deal in September or October this year.

Coincidentally, this is just ahead of the Victorian State Election in November.

This follows a string of other remarkable coincidences including the announcement of a Hobart City Deal in the lead up to the Tasmanian State election.

And, of course, we already know that the Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney City Deals were announced during the 2016 Federal Election campaign and largely mirrored commitments already made by Labor.

In the meantime, Darwin has been left to linger, with its MOU signed this time last year, but no finish line in sight for an actual City Deal.

Ideally City Deals would provide an opportunity for genuine collaboration across the three tiers of government, establishing at the same time a long-term strategic vision outside the electoral cycle.

But in practice, the Coalition’s City Deals are a far cry from this model and instead a reflection of political convenience.

Australian cities need real investment and leadership from the Commonwealth so that they are productive, sustainable and liveable places well into the future.

May 23, 2018

Media Release – Turnbull Maintains Funny Money Fantasy on Melbourne Airport Rail – Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today refused to respond to serious concerns about the efficacy of his plan to build a train line from the Melbourne CBD to the city’s airport without actually spending any money.

Prior to the delivery of Budget 2018, Mr Turnbull attracted widespread media attention by vowing he would invest $5 billion in the Melbourne Airport Rail project.

But the Budget included no funding for construction, with Mr Turnbull claiming the rail line could be delivered off-budget via an equity injection.

It is a basic principle of budgeting that for projects to be taken off-budget, they must be able to produce a return to the Budget to cover both the cost of their construction and their operating costs.

While equity funding can deliver some projects, it does not work for public transport. While public transport boosts economic productivity, passenger trains do not produce commercial returns.

This is why a range of experts have questioned Mr Turnbull’s approach. For example, the Grattan Institute has warned: If infrastructure projects are never going to make a commercial return, the government should stop pretending they will.”

Today in Question Time I asked Mr Turnbull to respond to these concerns.

He defended the equity funding proposal.

The Coalition has been cutting infrastructure investment in Australia for nearly five years while pretending otherwise.

But Mr Turnbull’s funny money plan for the Melbourne Rail Link sets a new benchmark in public policy fantasy.

The Prime Minister must explain how he intends to fund his $5 billion Melbourne Rail investment.

If he continues to maintain his sham funding proposal, Australians are entitled to conclude the rail line to the airport will never be built.

May 22, 2018

Media Release – Senate Hearings Demolish Budget Infrastructure Spin – Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Testimony by Government officials at Senate Budget Estimates hearings has shredded Malcolm Turnbull’s deceitful spin concerning infrastructure investment in Budget 2018.

Despite the Prime Minister’s best attempts to deceive people into believing he has increased investment on railways and roads, two days of hearings have established that the Budget did not include a dollar of new money for infrastructure.

Indeed, Commonwealth grant funding for infrastructure will decline from the promised $8 billion in 2017-18 to $4.5 billion by 2021-22.

All new projects announced in the Budget will be funded with money that was already in the Budget.

However, the delivery of these projects has been pushed off into the Never-Never, with only 15 per cent to be invested over the next four years.

That means 85 per cent of the funding won’t be spent before the next election or the election after that.

If Mr Turnbull was serious about nation building, he would be building new railways and roads to boost productivity and drive economic and jobs growth.

Instead, he is attempting to build a case for re-election based on deception and spin because he has no infrastructure record to defend.

Other key facts established by the Senate Estimates hearings:

  • Annual Federal infrastructure investment in New South Wales will decline by 70 per cent over the next four years.
  • Annual Federal infrastructure investment in Western Australia will decline by two-thirds over the next four years.
  • Annual Federal infrastructure investment in South Australia will decline by 80 per cent over the next three years.
  • Annual Federal infrastructure investment in the Northern Territory will decline by 80 per cent over the next four years.of media release
May 15, 2018

Media Release – Budget Infrastructure Investment is Years Away – Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Four out of five dollars announced for railways and roads in last week’s Federal Budget won’t be delivered for at least four years.

The Budget documents shows that of $19.3 billion worth of new infrastructure projects announced last week, only 1 per cent of the funding will be spent in 2018-19.

Only about 20 per cent will be invested over the next four years.

In the meantime, actual Federal infrastructure investment will fall off a cliff, from $8 billion in 2017-18 to about $4.5 billion by 2021-22.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used the pre-Budget period to mislead the electorate that he supported a range of infrastructure projects, including a rail line to the Melbourne Airport and Western Sydney Rail.

But the Budget included no money for the construction of any project over the Forward Estimates.

And in the case of the Melbourne Airport Rail, Mr Turnbull claims he will fund the project “off-budget’’, despite the fact that such accounting treatment requires that the project makes a financial return to the Budget.

The fact is public transport projects do not generate enough revenue to cover either their operational or their capital cost.

May 11, 2018

Opinion Piece – South Australia dudded again on infrastructure – The Advertiser – Friday, 11 May 2018

On Tuesday night, Scott Morrison tried to con South Australians.

Attempting to gloss over his Government’s woeful record on investing in the state’s railways and roads, the Treasurer said he would provide funding for Adelaide’s Gawler Line Electrification project.

Mr Morrison presented this investment as though it was new and that South Australians should be grateful for his generosity.

What Mr Morrison didn’t mention is this important public transport project was funded five years ago by the former Federal Labor Government.

But in 2013, the incoming Coalition Government scrapped it.

Mr Morrison’s apparent view that no-one would notice his attempt to rewrite history tells you everything you need to know about the Coalition’s treatment of infrastructure in the 2018-19 Budget.

The Budget was about spin, not substance.

Proof can be found on page 141 of Budget Paper Number 2.

It reveals that this year’s allocation for South Australian infrastructure projects is zero.

Next year is also zero, just like the subsequent three years — zero, zero and zero.

The Budget did not include a single new dollar of rail and road funding for South Australia, despite the Government producing a glossy brochure to suggest it was providing $1.8 billion in new funding.

The truth is that all of that money comes from unallocated funds set aside previously.

But the real rub is that there is no indication of when this funding will be delivered for projects like the Gawler Electrification project, the next stage of the ongoing North-South Corridor or the upgrade of the Joy Baluch Bridge at Port Augusta.

There is no funding for them over the next 12 months. And the Budget documents indicate that of this promised $1.8 billion, less than one out of ten dollars will be available over the next four years.

Of course, any infrastructure investment is welcome, given that since the Coalition was elected, it has slashed investment in everything from major rail and road projects down to small Financial Assistance Grants for local government for road maintenance.

Based on this week’s Budget papers, the Commonwealth will invest $832 million in South Australian infrastructure in 2017-18.

But that will fall off a cliff in coming years to $504 million in 2018-19 and $311 million in 2019-20.

By 2021, the South Australia will receive just $135 million in Commonwealth infrastructure investment. That is three per cent of the Budget for a state which has seven per cent of the national population.

The business community was not taken in by the spin.

In a joint statement the State’s leading industry lobby groups — the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, South Australian Freight Council, Royal Automobile Association and Civil Contractors Federation South Australia described the Budget as “a misleading, untimely and inauspicious deal for South Australia”.

The other big infrastructure news out of the Budget was confirmation of the Coalition’s inability to deliver whatever it promises to spend each year on infrastructure.

Over the Coalition’s first four budgets, the difference between infrastructure funding allocated to SA in the budget papers and the amount actually delivered is $425 million.

That includes $225 million for railways, $74 million for roads and nearly $13 million for rebuilding bridges.

The Government can’t even get it right on road safety. In its first four budgets the Coalition undertook to invest $21 million on the Black Spot Program, which delivers safety upgrades to sections of road where there have been serious accidents involving injuries or deaths. But it ended up spending $2.6 million less than promised.

Had the investment been delivered as per the undertaking, it could have funded literally dozens of extra projects, creating economic activity in regional areas but, more importantly, improving safety.

SA needs a Labor Government to deliver the railways, roads and other infrastructure it needs to boost productivity and promote jobs and growth.

This piece was published in The Adelaide Advertiser on Friday, 11 May 2018.

May 9, 2018

Media Release – Coalition Undervalues Tourism Again – Wednesday, 9 May 2018

The 2018 Budget is a missed opportunity for tourism, with the Coalition Government failing to restore the $35 million in funding it cut from Tourism Australia last year.

Investing in Tourism Australia is a no-brainer.

The fact is that every dollar spent on tourism advertising and marketing generates a return on investment of $16.

What’s more, tourism has been identified by Deloitte as one of five super growth sectors and it employs more than one million Australians.

Tourism plays a critical role in the nation’s economy and its success is underpinned by the hard work of many organisations and businesses.

The sector and the many communities whose local economies rely on tourism, deserve proper support and investment from the Government.

While the announcement of funding for regional tourism is welcome, this comes far too late.

Upon coming to office, the Coalition Government cut two of Federal Labor’s successful programs – the T-Qual Grants Programme and the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund.

These programs supported industry development by providing grants for projects that would attract both interstate and international visitors and encourage them to lengthen their stays.

Communities across the nation benefited immensely from these programs.

While the tourism sector is performing well in Australia, the fact is that a number of challenges remain including around regional dispersal and extending the average stay.

The continued success of tourism relies on a Government that supports it and the Coalition should prove it does by restoring funding to Tourism Australia.

 

May 9, 2018

Media Release – Infrastructure Con Job Laid Bare in Budget Fine Print – Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Last night’s Budget includes no new money for infrastructure, despite the Turnbull Government’s overblown rhetoric in the days leading up to its release.

Every project announced in the Budget will be funded from previous allocations, putting the lie to weeks of pre-budget hyperbole in which the Government pretended it planned to lift investment after years of cuts.

The infrastructure Budget is a triumph of spin over substance.

It does not include one extra dollar of new investment over the Forward Estimates, a fact made clear between pages 137 and 144 in Budget Paper Number 2.

Indeed, Commonwealth infrastructure grants to the states will fall in each of the next four years from the promised $8 billion in 2017-18 to $4.5 billion in 2021-22.

This confirms research by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, which has warned that Commonwealth infrastructure investment over the next decade will fall from 0.4 per cent of GDP to 0.2 per cent.

The Budget documents also highlight Malcolm Turnbull’s extraordinary level of deceit in recent weeks as he attempted to fool Australians about his actual investment intentions.

For example, last month Malcolm Turnbull promised he would invest $5 billion building a train line from Melbourne to the Tullamarine Airport.

In fact, the Budget allocated no money to this project.

Instead, the Government confirmed it wants to fund the project off-budget – a funding method it knows will not work for an urban rail project because it will not provide the required financial return to the Budget.

Similarly, in March Mr Turnbull said he would invest in a Western Sydney Rail line to Badgerys Creeks as part of his Western Sydney City Deal.

But last night’s Budget included no money to build the railway line, just $50 million to prepare a business case.

The Budget documents also showed that in 2017-18, the Government failed to deliver the infrastructure funding it promised in last year’s Budget, continuing its ongoing record of non-delivery.

Over the Coalition’s first four budgets, the difference between the amount the Government promised to invest and what it has actually delivered is $4.7 billion.

 

 

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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