TONY Abbott has launched a fresh attempt to obscure the cuts and broken promises in his 2014 Budget by misleading the community about the scale of his investments in new roads.
Mr Abbott’s focus this week on promoting “new’’ infrastructure projects in Sydney and his promotion of state privatisations in Tasmania ignore the widely accepted fact that the Budget included no new investment in infrastructure.
Most of the projects in the Government’s claimed infrastructure Budget initiatives were actually funded in previous Labor Budgets.
The handful of new projects are being funded by Mr Abbott’s billions of dollars’ worth of cuts to Commonwealth investment in urban public transport.
Since taking office Mr Abbott has trashed Labor plans to invest in urban rail projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail project, Adelaide’s Tonsley Park project and a proposed rail link between the Perth CBD and the city’s airport.
When the Budget was delivered in May, Mr Abbott and his ministers misrepresented the scale of new spending, hoping this would draw attention away from the Budget’s broken promises and cuts to spending on health, education and pensions.
To their credit, media organisations saw through this deception.
But now Mr Abbott, desperate to reframe the Budget debate, is back in the infrastructure fantasy game with a series of media appearances this week seeking credit for Budget announcements.
The Prime Minister’s claims on infrastructure funding have as much credibility as his pre-election promises to not cut spending on health, education and pensions – none.
Instead of misrepresenting his record on infrastructure spending, Mr Abbott should apologise for his budget of broken promises.