Aug 20, 2014

Abbott’s bulldozer promise turns to bulldust

Tony Abbott is about to celebrate his first year in office with yet another broken election promise – his failure to deliver progress on major road projects in Sydney and Melbourne.

Prior to winning last year’s federal election, Mr Abbott wrote an opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review in which he promised:

There’ll be cranes over our cities and bulldozers working on big infrastructure projects such as WestConnex in Sydney and the East West Link in Melbourne that will be under way within 12 months of a change of government.

Tony Abbott, Australian Financial Review, October 29, 2012

But with just a few weeks to go until the first anniversary of Mr Abbott’s election, there are no cranes at work on either of these projects and little prospect they will appear in the near future.

There are no bulldozers either – just clouds of bulldust from Mr Abbott and bungling Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss as they pretend to be delivering the infrastructure of the 21s century.

In the year since Mr Abbott took office, no work has commenced on the handful of new projects put forward by his government.

The routes of the East-West Link and Westconnex are still unresolved and despite Mr Abbott providing funding for the projects, including extraordinary advance payments of billions of dollars, neither has been the subject of a full cost-benefit analysis.

This represents a breach of another election promise:

We will require all Commonwealth-funded projects worth more than $100 million to undergo a cost-benefit analysis by Infrastructure Australia to ensure the best use of available taxpayer monies.

Coalition policy document,  Mr Abbott’s website

The only infrastructure projects under construction in this nation a year after Mr Abbott’s election are those that were put in place by the previous Labor Government.

That’s why Mr Abbott and Mr Truss have spent months travelling the nation seeking credit for projects planned funded and, in some cases, delivered by the former Labor Government.

They also tried to mislead Australians into believing they were delivering new infrastructure funding in the 2014 Budget when, in fact, the Budget cut billions of dollars in planned spending on urban public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro and Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail project.

Mr Abbott had a plan to win government by telling Australians what he believed they wanted to hear.

But in the year since he was elected he has shown he has neither the capacity nor the drive to actually deliver the infrastructure of the 21st century.