May 17, 2019

Media Release – Labor statement on nation building infrastructure – Friday, 17 May 2019

Over the next four years, a Shorten Labor Government will invest $5 billion more on nation building infrastructure than a re-elected Morrison Government, as confirmed by Labor’s Fair Go Budget Plan released last Friday.

Over the coming decade our investment will be $10.4 billion greater than the Liberals and Nationals.

Federal Labor’s comprehensive infrastructure plan for Australia will tackle urban congestion, enhance the productivity of our freight and logistics sector, save lives on our roads, unlock the full potential of our regions and drive economic growth in the years ahead.

And unlike the Liberals and Nationals, whose funding is on the never never, Federal Labor will hit the ground running with significant new infrastructure investment set to flow in our very first budget.

We will commission more projects and deliver them sooner.

A list of our major road, rail and public transport commitments can be found here:

Federal Labor can pay for these commitments because we will close unfair loopholes for multinationals and the top end of town.

As well as a greater investment in building new infrastructure, the second element to Federal Labor’s comprehensive plan is a recognition that we need to do better at getting the most out of our existing infrastructure. Technology, in particular, has the greatest potential to unlock significant efficiency gains.

That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will establish a $200 million Smart Infrastructure Fund to assist state and territory governments trial and adopt new and innovative technology that can alleviate traffic congestion.

One such proven technology is managed motorways, which involve entry ramp signalling, variable speed limit signs, CCTVs and digital message signs that provide motorists with live updates on traffic conditions and delays.

For example, the former federal Labor government committed $10 million to install this technology along a 4.1 kilometre section of Melbourne’s Monash Freeway. While this was a relatively small amount of funding, it generated an extraordinary $11.50 of benefits for every $1 invested, according to Infrastructure Australia.

The third element to Federal Labor’s plan will be to restore Infrastructure Australia to its role as a source of independent advice to government and provide it with the resources it needs to perform its core functions, including assessing projects, producing an infrastructure pipeline and recommending financing mechanisms.

The importance of having an effective Infrastructure Australia cannot be overstated.

While the quantity of available investment is important, so too is ensuring that taxpayers get value for money. It is imperative that funding goes to projects that will fix an identified problem; projects where the planning has been done; projects offering the highest economic, social and environmental returns.

During its six years of cuts and chaos, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has sidelined Infrastructure Australia and failed to invest in infrastructure at the level required to keep pace with Australia’s population growth.

Its cuts to public transport investment in particular have resulted in worsening traffic congestion, eroding Australians’ quality of life and reducing productivity by restricting the movement of freight around our cities and towns.

This election will be a choice between a united Shorten Labor Government, which would build the essential road, rail and public transport infrastructure Australia needs, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.

In short, Australians needs to change the government.

Our long term national interest demands nothing less.