Sep 7, 2015

Infrastructure reannouncements descend to farce

The Abbott Government’s Magical Infrastructure Reannouncement Tour reached farcical levels today with the Government listing as “achievements’’ a range of road and rail projects planned and funded by the former Labor Government.

Two years since Tony Abbott vowed he would lift infrastructure spending, public investment has in fact plunged by 19 per cent.

But despite its failure, the Government today published a booklet of so-called achievements including a long list of re-announced projects inherited from the former Labor Government.

Since their election, Mr Abbott and hapless Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss have travelled the nation reannouncing old projects, a deception they continued today in their second anniversary booklet.

In the document they take credit for the rebuilding of the Pacific and Bruce Highways, Sydney’s Northconnex project, Perth’s Gateway WA and NorthLink, Brisbane’s Gateway North, SA’s North-South Corridor, Darwin’s Tiger Brennan Drive upgrade and Tasmania’s Midland Highway upgrade, which they have cut back.

In perhaps the most absurd claim, the Government’s list includes the Victoria’s Regional Rail Link, which opened this year and which the Coalition voted against the project when Labor funded it way back in 2009.

At the same time as the Government has been reannouncing old Labor projects to create the illusion of new activity, it has cancelled all Commonwealth investment in public transport, including the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project, Adelaide’s Tonsley Park project and a $500 million allocation for public transport in Perth.

With economic growth well below trend and private infrastructure investment declining as the mining boom shifts from the construction phase to production phase, our nation needs government investment in infrastructure to generate jobs and economic activity.

Instead, it has a government that is cutting funding and pretending otherwise.