Apr 30, 2014

Abbott’s infrastructure claims a sham

Tony Abbott’s claimed interest in infrastructure has been exposed as a sham with the admission that almost all of his government’s spending plans were put in place by the previous Labor Government.

With the exception of Mr Abbott’s bizarre refusal to invest in public transport, the Government’s list of infrastructure investments, outlined today at the National Press Club today by Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss, involved no new announcements.

Almost all of the investments outlined by Mr Truss were already planned and funded by the previous Government, which delivered record investment on roads, railways and other infrastructure. Some of Mr Truss’s claimed projects were already under construction before the election.

In claiming that many Labor funded projects were not endorsed by Infrastructure Australia, Mr Truss must have been asleep when Infrastructure Australia assessed and endorsed major projects including Victoria’s Regional Rail, Canberra’s Majura Parkway, the Pacific Highway, the Goodwood-to-Torrens rail project, the M80, Gateway WA, Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail, the Melbourne Metro and the managed motorways projects.

Mr Truss even had the audacity to claim he was pressing ahead with Tasmania’s Midland Highway Upgrade when he has in fact slashed $100 million off Labor’s $500 million investment.

And while declaring himself an enthusiast for greater use of freight rail, he forgot to mention that he voted against Labor’s economic stimulus package that included a massive boost to rail freight infrastructure.

That investment has sliced six hours off the trip from Brisbane to Melbourne and nine hours off the trip from the nation’s east cost to the west coast.

An infrastructure agenda must consist of more than re-announcements of road projects and stripping money out of public transport projects.

When Labor took office in 2007, Australia was ranked 20th in the OECD in terms of infrastructure development as a proportion of GDP.

Because of Labor’s record investment in infrastructure, Australia now ranks 1st.