Today I will meet representatives of the Committee for Geelong with my colleague Richard Marles and Labor’s candidate for the seat of Corangamite, Libby Coker.
We will discuss port infrastructure, issues relevant to Geelong arising from the National Ports Strategy and the National Land Freight Strategy as well as the infrastructure needs of this important regional city.
Labor is committed to investing in infrastructure in regional cities like Geelong; not just to boost local economies, but also to take pressure off capital cities.
The former Labor Government had a proud record of infrastructure investment in the Geelong region, including the Geelong Ring Road and the Princes Highway West duplication.
Labor also funded the Regional Rail project, which separates Melbourne suburban passenger train lines from lines serving Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, allowing for quicker services for suburban and regional travellers.
Critically, the former Labor Government also recognised the importance of the Avalon Airport to growth strategies for the region.
I am visiting the city today to ask locals to identify future infrastructure priorities that will boost the city’s productivity growth and create jobs.
This will help Labor plan the next wave of productivity-enhancing investments in the region.
My visit follows Bill Shorten’s promise in his recent Budget Reply speech that a Labor Government would invest in nation-building infrastructure across the nation.
Labor will also return the independent Infrastructure Australia to the centre of government and take seriously its evidence-based advice about which infrastructure proposals have the greatest potential to drive productivity gains.
We will also re-establish the government’s Major Cities Unit, created by Labor to drive policies to increase the productivity, sustainability and liveability of the nation’s cities, including regional cities like Geelong.
Tony Abbott abolished the Major Cities Unit in 2013 and has no policy aimed at Australia’s cities, which are home to four out of five Australians.
Mr Abbott has also slashed infrastructure spending across the country by 11.2 per cent over the next four years.
This includes an $812 million cut to Victorian infrastructure investment over the next two years.
It is extraordinary that Victoria is receiving just 8 per cent of Government’s infrastructure investment despite having 25 per cent of the nation’s population.