May 19, 2010

Coalition to gut infrastructure funding

Coalition to gut infrastructure funding

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 19 2010

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has today confirmed a Coalition government would cut spending on the nation’s road, rail and port infrastructure by $5.6 billion – a decision which would be particularly detrimental to the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia.

The abolition of the Rudd Labor Government’s $5.6 billion State Infrastructure Fund would be nothing short of economic vandalism, hurting both the resources sector and the wider economy.

The purpose of the Fund is to build the infrastructure our resources sector needs to move products to overseas markets quickly and efficiently.

Put simply, if the Coalition were to scrap this $5.6 billion investment fund, Australia would be repeating the mistakes of the past.

Without this investment the bottlenecks which constrained our export performance, drove up prices and became a drag on economic growth during the last resources boom would quickly re-emerge.

Today’s announcement from Mr Hockey should surprise no one. After all, he and Mr Abbott were senior members of a government that never had an infrastructure minister, presided over a 20 per cent decline in public infrastructure spending as a share of national income, and ripped $2 billion out of the Federal roads budget.

In Opposition they opposed the formation Infrastructure Australia and seem unaware that it completed an audit of nationally significant infrastructure in 2008 – almost 18 months ago.

Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey are a risk to the nation’s future economic prosperity and the living standards of working families.