Apr 2, 2019

Media Release – Infrastructure Australia Board Must Be Above Cuts – Tuesday, 2 April, 2019

The decision by Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack to stack the Infrastructure Australia board with political appointments just days before the calling of an election is regrettable.

Today, on his first full day as an Infrastructure Australia board member, Rod Hook made political statements critical of Labor.

Making such statements renders Mr Hook unsuitable for this position. In the interests of the organisation, Mr Hook should reconsider his acceptance.

Mr Hook’s appointment on Monday followed two appointments just weeks ago that came in spite of my request as Shadow Minister that they not proceed so close to an election.

Those appointments followed a decision by the Government to have no CEO of Infrastructure Australia for a majority of the period since the change of Government in 2013.

Labor has indicated that in Government, we would consult the Opposition on appointments to the Infrastructure Australia board in order to depoliticise the appointment process.

Infrastructure is too important to be a plaything for the Government of the day.

Indeed, the creation of Infrastructure Australia by the former Labor Government in 2008 was a structural reform to break the nexus between the short-term political cycle and the investment cycle.

The first Infrastructure Australia board that was appointed under Sir Rod Eddington had the respect of the entire infrastructure sector because it was truly independent.

Renewal of the Board in consultation with the Opposition would be a key priority should Labor be successful at the forthcoming Federal election.