May 28, 2015

Abbott cuts Bruce Highway funding

Tony Abbott has slashed funding for major infrastructure projects in Queensland for the next year by $197 million, according to evidence before Senate Estimates hearings.

The cuts in the 2015-16 Budget include a $93.7 million reduction in investment on the Bruce Highway over the next 12 months, compared to the amount that was announced in the 2014-15 Budget.

Government officials have told the Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee that $197 million allocated to Queensland infrastructure announced in the 2014-15 Budget for expenditure in the 2015-16 year had been moved into future years.

The testimony demolishes the Abbott Government’s phoney claim that it has lifted funding for Queensland infrastructure, particularly the Bruce Highway.

Since coming to office, the Abbott Government has not allocated a single extra dollar to Queensland infrastructure beyond that it inherited from the former Labor Government.

It is now clear from the Estimates Committee hearings that Tony Abbott cannot even deliver the allocations he inherited from Labor to deliver on his own promises.

Mr Abbott talks big about infrastructure, but overall, this year’s Budget cut infrastructure funding by $2 billion across the nation over the next two years.

The Budget documents show that infrastructure funding will plunge 11.2 per cent between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

At a time when the mining boom is moving out of the investment phase into production, private sector infrastructure investment is declining.

Mr Abbott should have used this year’s Budget to lift infrastructure investment to keep the economy moving.

Instead, he has cut funding and tried to pretend otherwise.