New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics today have confirmed that infrastructure investment under the Coalition is in freefall.
The figures show engineering work completed for the public sector fell by 20.1 per cent in the June quarter compared with the last quarter of the Labor Government in 2013.
The Coalition has presided over a collapse in investment.
With construction activity declining in the resources sector as it moves from the construction to the production stage of its cycle, Australia needs increased government investment in roads, railways and ports to drive economic activity, create jobs and lift economic productivity.
Today’s figures expose the absurdity of dumped prime minister Tony Abbott’s claim to have been the “Infrastructure PM’’ and provide a clear signal to his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, about the urgent need to stop talking about infrastructure and get on with the job.
Mr Turnbull could start by immediately restoring the $4.5 billion cut from public transport projects including the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Link, Adelaide’s Tonsley Park rail project and Gawler line electrification and the $500 million that had been allocated by the former Labor Government for heavy and light rail projects in Perth.
Mr Turnbull enjoys tweeting pictures of himself riding trains and buses to win public admiration.
He should stop playing with his mobile telephone and use his high office to actually invest in public transport.
Infrastructure investment is critical to driving the national economy and easing traffic congestion that is a hand brake on productivity growth and reduces quality of life for millions of Australians.
Despite its outlandish claims, the former Abbott Government barely broke ground on new infrastructure projects, with the 2015 Budget not including a single new project.
Carefully targeted investment in public transport and better roads in our nation’s cities will ease congestion and assist those Australians living in drive-in, drive-out suburbs in outer metropolitan areas.