Nov 24, 2016

Infrastructure talkfests designed to mask cuts

Turnbull Government plans for a series of reviews into infrastructure policy represent more talk when what Australia needs is actual infrastructure investment after years of Coalition cuts.

When he delivered his annual Infrastructure Statement to Parliament today, Malcolm Turnbull should have explained why total public sector infrastructure investment fell by 20 per cent during the Government’s first two years in office.

Mr Turnbull should have explained why his Government invested only $5.5 billion on infrastructure in 2015-16, despite having promised $8 billion in its notorious 2014 Budget.

Instead, he offered more inaction – inquiries, strategies and reviews.

Some of this work is totally unnecessary.

For example, Mr Turnbull’s idea to work with states to produce urban transport plans for capital cities ignores the fact that Infrastructure Australia produced a comprehensive urban transport strategy in 2013.

When the Government took office it scrapped major public transport projects including the Melbourne Metro and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project, both of which had been backed by Infrastructure Australia.

Mr Turnbull also ignores the fact that under the previous Labor Government, Infrastructure Australia produced a National Ports Strategy and a National Land Freight Strategy.

Australians don’t want more talkfests.

They want action in the form of genuine investment, particularly in public transport to tackle traffic congestion.

Investment now will sustain economic activity and produce jobs in the short-term, while yielding productivity gains that will drive further economic growth in the future.