Labor Leader Bill Shorten made tackling urban congestion a centrepiece of his Budget Reply on Thursday. Left unaddressed, urban congestion will cost $53 billion by 2031 according to Infrastructure Australia.
Labor will fund public transport, not just ride on public transport. The Coalition Government cut public transport projects in its 2014 Budget and has not restored that investment.
Labor will support funding for Western Sydney Rail through Badgerys Creek in the north-south corridor, the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Perth Metronet, SA’s Gawler line electrification, and the AdeLINK tram network.
Labor will also initiate studies of new projects to develop business cases including the electrification and duplication of the Baxter line in South-East Melbourne.
Given public sector infrastructure investment has fallen by 20 per cent since the change of government, it is vital that a pipeline of projects be created to support jobs in the short term, but economic growth in the long term.
It will also ensure the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.
Malcolm Turnbull’s value capture model which insists that projects must produce a return to private investors and removes public funding is a model whose outcomes will mirror Tony Abbott’s toll roads only policy.
Public transport is the key to dealing with urban congestion. The former Labor Government invested more in urban public transport than all Commonwealth governments combined since federation.
Labor will build public transport as well as roads.