May 13, 2015

Abbott cuts $2 billion from infrastructure and punishes Victorians

Last night’s Budget confirmed Tony Abbott has no interest in the future of Australia and is only interested in his political future.

So short sighted is this Budget that it cut a further $2 billion from infrastructure funding over the next two years, while at the same time confirming Tony Abbott’s ideological opposition to public transport by failing to invest a single dollar in urban rail in last night’s Budget.

Proving this Budget is focused entirely on him, Mr Abbott has callously punished the people of Victoria for voting for Labor in last year’s state election, slashing the state’s infrastructure grants by $3 billion.

Last year, Mr Abbott scrapped billions of dollars of investment in urban rail projects across the nation.

He reallocated those funds to untested road projects including the East-West Link in Melbourne, which would have returned a paltry 45 cents in public benefit for every dollar invested.

Last night Mr Abbott stuck with those cuts and made further ones, meaning the traffic congestion that is crippling productivity growth in Australian cities will only get worse.

His failure to act will damage productivity and jobs growth.

Only through properly targeted investment in both roads and urban rail, informed by proper cost-benefit analysis, will our nation make a genuine impact on the traffic congestion.

The Budget documents also confirm Mr Abbott has cut funding for Infrastructure Australia from $15 million in 2014-15 to $11.7 million next year and to $8.8 million by 2018-19.

Infrastructure Australia is an independent organisation tasked with providing the government with independent, evidence based advice over which infrastructure projects competing for Commonwealth funding deliver the best productivity outcomes.

The former Labor Government created Infrastructure Australia to take the politics out of infrastructure decisions and maximise value for money for taxpayers.

Despite feigning support for Infrastructure Australia before the 2013 election, Mr Abbott has ignored the organisation by funding toll roads like the East-West Link and the Perth Freight Link without any cost-benefit analysis.

These decisions represent direct breaches of his election promise to subject all major infrastructure projects worth more than $100 million to cost-benefit analysis checked and approved by Infrastructure Australia.

This Budget is short sighted, unfair and fails to deliver the infrastructure Australia needs for the future.