Oct 18, 2016

Infrastructure funding slashed by 35 per cent

The Turnbull Government cut its own infrastructure investment Budget by $3 billion in the year to June 30, according to Treasury figures tabled in Parliament.

In its notorious slash-and-burn Budget of 2014, the Government promised to invest $8 billion on transport infrastructure in the 2015-16 financial year.

But Treasury figures show actual Government investment on infrastructure was $5.5 billion in 2015-16.

This included a one-off payment to Western Australia of $490 million that was not included in the Government’s proposed $8 billion figure.

This means a cut of $3 billion or over 35 per cent – more than a third – over what was originally promised.

It follows a $900 million underspend in actual investment in 2014-15 compared with the 2014 Budget figures.

The cuts have been made to projects including the Pacific Highway, Bruce Highway, Adelaide’s South Road upgrade and Brisbane’s Gateway North project.

Forward projections form this year’s Budget show that in 2019-20 investment on rail will fall to zero (2016-17 Budget Paper Number 1, page 5-38).

As Australia deals with the decline in the investment stage of the mining boom, the Government should lift infrastructure investment to maintain economic activity and support construction jobs.

Instead, the Coalition has cut investment, scrapping public transport projects and then failing to deliver its preferred toll roads.

To add insult to injury, Malcolm Turnbull wasted $18 million of public money prior to the election on propaganda advertisements which falsely claimed the Government had delivered record investment.

Only a Labor Government will deliver the rail, roads and other infrastructure our nation needs to sustain economic and jobs growth.