Sep 24, 2014

Consideration in Detail – Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Cost Benefit Analysis and Other Measures) Bill 2014

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:48): Labor will be pursuing these amendments. These are absolutely critical to ensure that the circumstances that have occurred, whereby, for example, $1½ billion has already been paid for the East West project—which has not had a published cost-benefit analysis, which has not had a contract signed, and which has not had proper scrutiny—cannot occur again. The fact is that this government’s rhetoric in terms of Infrastructure Australia was one thing prior to the election and has been another since. We have seen projects funded without a cost-benefit analysis—such as the Perth Freight Link project, WestConnex and the East West project—which is one thing. But what is worse is the fact that advanced payments have actually been made. This will ensure that you have to have the cost-benefit analysis in place prior to funding occurring—that is, nothing more and nothing less than what the coalition said it would do prior to the election. And it was not just prior to the election. Since the election they are saying that that would be the case. They also say that they will only make milestone payments upon construction. Well, how is it that last financial year billions of dollars had already been allocated for projects that are not even under contract, let alone under construction? We heard a lot of rhetoric from those opposite about cranes in the sky and bulldozers on projects. The bulldozers are not there—just the bulldust from those opposite in terms of their rhetoric. That is why we are moving these amendments—in order to hold the government to account. I commend the amendments to the House.