Sep 6, 2015

2 years of inaction increases infrastructure deficit

Tony Abbott’s promises to lift infrastructure funding lie in rubble two years after his election.

Mr Abbott, who declared he would be the ‘Infrastructure Prime Minister’ has in fact presided over a 19 per cent decline in spending.

This year’s Budget included a $2 billion cut in infrastructure spending over the next two years over the allocation in the previous Budget.

This is Tony Abbott’s big infrastructure con – two years of broken promises, dodgy process and the magical infrastructure re-announcement tour. He has also ignored his own promise to use Infrastructure Australia to check on the value for money of projects before committing funding.

Prior to the 2013 election Mr Abbott told the National Press Club:

“I have given a commitment that we won’t spend more than $100 million on any single infrastructure project without a published cost-benefit analysis.”

But over the past two years, Mr Abbott has committed billions of dollars to projects without cost benefit analysis.

This includes the $3 billion commitment to the discredited East West Link in Melbourne, which would have returned a paltry 45 cents in public benefit for every dollar invested.

Australia needs a government prepared to invest in nation building in a way that maximises value for taxpayer dollars.

This requires adherence to proper process, including cost benefit analysis by the independent experts at Infrastructure Australia – not cutting its funding by nearly half over the forward estimates.

On top of this, the Liberals have shown no interest in improving our cities – dismantling the Major Cities Unit on literally its first day, abandoning the Urban Policy Forum and withdrawing from all public transport funding.

A Labor Government will get nation building back on track and return Infrastructure Australia to the centre of government, where it belongs.

After two years of Tony, Australians are paying the price for government inaction on infrastructure.