Last night’s federal Budget did not include a single dollar of extra funding to upgrade the Pacific Highway, in a clear breach of Tony Abbott’s election promise to prioritise the road.
In fact, every project the Coalition Government announced last night was already funded by the former Labor Government in previous Budgets.
During last year’s election campaign, Mr Abbott claimed a Coalition Government would prioritise the Pacific Highway as he criticized the performance of former Labor Government.
But when it comes to the Pacific Highway, Mr Abbott’s Budget is a carbon copy of Labor’s program.
In fact, he might as well have simply photocopied last year’s Budget document to save work for his department.
Not only is the Abbott Budget riddled with broken promises about no cuts to health, education and pensions; it is also peppered with misrepresentations.
Mr Abbott talks big about infrastructure while delivering little for the Pacific Highway and the people who use it.
In 1996, John Howard said he would duplicate 60 per cent of the Pacific Highway within a decade. By 2006, just 38 per cent of the job was complete.
It took a Labor Government to deliver the funding necessary to fix the Pacific Highway, allocating a record $7.9 billion of new investment in just six years.
This compares to just $1.3 billion delivered by the Howard Government, of which Mr Abbott was a senior minister, over its entire 12 years in office.
Like John Howard, Tony Abbott has left the heavy lifting of nation-building infrastructure to Labor Government, adopting its project list in full rather than developing new ideas.
When Labor took office in 2007, Australia was 20th on a list of OECD countries in terms of infrastructure development as a proportion of GDP.
Because of Labor’s record investment in infrastructure, Australia now ranks first.
PACIFIC HIGHWAY: BUDGET 2014-15 BRIEFING NOTE
ONGOING PROJECTS FUNDED BY THE LABOR GOVERNMENT
You can verify these numbers by searching using the Department of Infrastructure’s search tool http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/. Direct links also included.
|Tintenbar to Ewingsdale||$566.1 million||The Tintenbar to Ewingsdale section of the Pacific Highway upgrade is approximately 17km in length starting at the northern end of the Ballina bypass at Ross Lane and extending to the Ewingsdale interchange.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=036515-09NSW-NP|
|Ballina to Woolgoolga||$282.3 million||The Woolgoolga to Ballina project would upgrade about 155 kilometres of highway. The project starts approximately six kilometres north of Woolgoolga (north of Coffs Harbour) and ends approximately six kilometres south of Ballina.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=045722-11NSW-NP|
|Sapphire to Woolgoolga||$705 million||This project will provide a four-lane divided highway extending approximately 25 kilometres from Campbell Close, Sapphire, to Arrawarra Beach Road, Arrawarra.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=035400-09NSW-NP|
|Fredrickton to Eungai||$337.5 million||The Frederickton to Eungai section will involve building 26.5 kilometres of four-lane divided road as well as building a new interchange at Stuarts Point Road and installing safe, modern rest areas on both sides of the highway at Cooks Lane south of Barraganyatti.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=038010-09NSW-NP|
|Oxley Highway to Kempsey||$35 million||The project involves an upgrade of about 37 km of the Pacific Highway to four lane divided highway from north of the Oxley Highway to south of Kempsey. The project is being delivered in two sections – from the Oxley Highway to Kundabung and from Kundabung to Kempsey. Early works are proposed at Sancrox.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=042067-10NSW-NP|
|Nambucca to Urunga||$390 million||Upgrading the Nambucca Heads to Urunga section involves building 22 kilometres of four-lane divided road, including two new interchanges north of Nambucca Heads and Ballards Road and upgrading the existing Waterfall Way interchange at Raleigh. A rest area will also be built on the western side of the highway at the Nambucca Heads interchange.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=048231-12NSW-NP|
|Warrell Creek to Nambucca Heads||$475 million||The proposal is to upgrade the existing highway to a four lane divided carriageway between the Allgomera deviation, south of Warrell Creek and Nambucca Heads||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=048232-12NSW-NP|
|Kundabung and Kempsey||$115 million||The project will upgrade the Pacific Highway to provide a four-lane divided road, built to Class-A (arterial) standard, for 14 kilometres from just south of Kundabung to the Kempsey Bypass. The project includes a new grade separated interchange in the vicinity of Kundabung Road and Rodeo Drive, two new rest areas, and a new heavy vehicle inspection facility.||http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=048639-12NSW-NP|
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.