Sep 6, 2017

Coalition develops sudden interest in New England infrastructure

The Turnbull Government has suddenly started rolling out long-stalled road projects in Barnaby Joyce’s seat of New England in preparation for a possible by-election.

Mr Joyce’s eligibility to sit in Parliament will be the subject of a High Court case next month after news emerged early in August that he was a citizen of New Zealand.

In recent weeks the Government has called tenders for three road projects on the New England Highway – the Bolivia Hill Upgrade and the Tenterfield and Scone bypasses.

These important projects should have been delivered years ago. Funding was allocated by the former Federal Labor Government in either 2013 or earlier.

But it is only now, under political pressure and facing a possible by-election that the Coalition Government has attempted to create the impression that it is acting.

While any progress will be good news for the people of New England, the Government’s sudden interest highlights the way in which it allocates infrastructure investment according to its political objectives, rather than on the basis of need.