Nov 25, 2009

Howard Government slashed road funding in its final budgets

Howard Government slashed road funding in its final budgets

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 25 2009

In its last two budgets the Howard Government slashed road spending by almost 40 per cent, according to new figures compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

At the very time record tax revenues were rolling into the Treasury and pressure on the road network was growing significantly, the previous government cut the annual Federal roads budget from $4.3 billion (2005/06) to $2.7 billion (2007/08).

I also informed Parliament today that the new figures reveal that while the Howard Government was slashing its roads budget, state and territory governments were thankfully adopting a very different approach.

Total spending by the states and territories increased 200 per cent to $7.3 billion; spending by councils and shires also rose, up 55 per cent.

What’s more, consolidated longer term BITRE data reveals that the average annual road spend of $2.66 billion under the Howard Government was less than the $2.72 billion under the Labor Government it replaced.

These latest revelations about the Howard Government should surprise no one. Their record was one of too little investment in the nation’s vital infrastructure.

Facts such as these must be particularly unpleasant for the National Party. After all they held the transport portfolio for the entire duration of the Howard Government.

By contrast, the Rudd Labor Government is rolling out the biggest ever Federal roads program, with construction currently underway on projects worth almost $9 billion.

All up, our roads budget for the period between 2008/09 and 2013/14 totals $28 billion – more than double what the previous government spent over a similar period of time.

A full copy of the latest road expenditure data can be found at: www.bitre.gov.au.