Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
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.

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.

 

 

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

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

Important items

Enrol to vote Parliament of Australia Australian Labor Party Clean Energy Future