I welcome the Queensland Government’s list of infrastructure priorities and we will certainly consider it as we work to finalise the details of our next Nation Building Program due to begin in mid-2014.
But any discussion about infrastructure funding going forward should be based on facts and not political spin. We need to have a mature debate about priorities for the future.
Here are the basic facts.
Firstly, there are significant pressures on the budgets of all governments – State and Federal – as a result of the lingering effects of the Global Financial Crisis and the biggest international downturn since the Great Depression.
Secondly, despite that pressure and a massive write-down in our revenues, we are continuing to make an unprecedented investment in Queensland’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure.
Indeed, since being elected in late 2007, this Labor Government has more than doubled annual infrastructure spending from $143 to $314 per Queenslander. That’s a total of some $8.7 billion over the six year life of our current Nation Building Program.
This includes funding for the Moreton Bay Rail Link ($742 million) and the Gold Coast Rapid Transit ($365 million). In contrast, the former Howard Government did not fund a single public transport project in Queensland during their twelve years in office.
In short, if the LNP honestly believe Queensland is currently “missing out” on Federal infrastructure dollars then they must have been beside themselves with rage every time the former Howard Government brought down a budget.
For my part, I will continue to work cooperatively with whoever is in power in Queensland to build the modern, well-planned infrastructure which will make working people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the national economy stronger, not just for the next five years but for the next five decades.