Jan 30, 2014

Abbott claims credit for labor projects

TONY Abbott continues to seek credit for major road projects delivered by the previous Labor Government as he seeks cover for his own cuts to infrastructure spending.

Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs was today falling over himself to spruik the benefits of two significant Labor infrastructure projects in Brisbane – the Legacy Way road tunnel project and the new northbound lane of the Gateway Motorway.

Earlier this week Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss did the same when visiting the Swan Valley Bypass project in Western Australia and the upgraded Port Lincoln airport in South Australia.

Labor planned, funded and started work on each of these projects.

Mr Abbott is claiming them as his own because his only agenda on infrastructure is to slash spending.

Since taking office, the Coalition has axed infrastructure spending by billions of dollars, cancelling major projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project and Adelaide’s Tonsley Public Transport Project.

It has also cut funding to community infrastructure grant programs.

Meanwhile, Mr Abbott is legislating to gut Infrastructure Australia, created by Labor to independently assess and prioritise which roads, railway and other infrastructure projects will have the greatest effect in lifting national efficiency and productivity.

Changes before Parliament, widely criticised by planning experts, will allow Mr Truss to control Infrastructure Australia through such means as preventing it from publishing its independent, non-political views on the nation’s real infrastructure priorities.

Tony Abbott and his pork-barrelling colleagues have no genuine program for nation building.

Instead they appropriate Labor’s good work and present it as their own, including the $210 million Cape York Infrastructure Package, which they shamelessly re-announced on January 17, 2014 – more than six months after Labor first unveiled it.

Since the new year Abbott Government ministers have packed their schedules with visits to Labor-funded projects including work on the Princes Highway East in Victoria and the Pacific Highway on the NSW North Coast between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale.