Oct 23, 2017

Bureaucrats confirm massive infrastructure cuts

Senior bureaucrats have highlighted the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s ineptitude on infrastructure spending by confirming that in its first three Budgets, the Coalition invested nearly $3.9 billion less than promised.

Officials appearing before today’s Senate Budget Estimates committee hearing outlined underspending across a range of programs, indicating that the Government is either misleading Australians about its actual spending intentions or is too incompetent to deliver its promises.

In infrastructure, it is not uncommon for money allocated one year to be delayed into the following year because of factors like weather delays or difficulty finalising contractors to complete work.

However, when this happens, the extra spending is delivered in the following year.

The Coalition is drastically underspending its infrastructure Budgets year after year with the figure increasing each year.

The Senate committee heard the annual underspend has increased each year, beginning with $829 million in 2014-15, moving to $1.2 billion in 2015-16 and then $1.7 billion in 2016-17, leading to an accumulated underspend of $3.9 billion.

It appears the tactic here is to promise big on Budget night, when Australians are watching the Treasurer’s Budget speech, but then fail to deliver what was promised in the hope nobody will notice.

This deceptive behaviour lets down Australians.

Investing in the right railways, road and other infrastructure generates economic activity in the short and medium term, and boosts economic productivity in the longer term.