Media Release – Coalition discovers traffic congestion 5 years too late – Wednesday, 6 February 2019
After five years of dudding Victoria with as little as 7.7 per cent of the national infrastructure spend, Scott Morrison’s sudden discovery that traffic congestion is a problem in our cities is case of too little, too late.
While Mr Morrison’s belated plans to widen some of Melbourne’s road bottlenecks are welcome, they follow nearly two parliamentary terms of neglect of the infrastructure needs of Australia’s fastest-growing state.
As soon as the Coalition took office in 2013, it withdrew the $3 billion allocated by the former Federal Labor Government to the Melbourne Metro and reallocated it to the East-West Link, a dud of a project that would have returned only 45 cents in public benefit for every dollar invested.
Since then Mr Morrison has hoarded the unspent $3 billion and refused to invest in Victoria’s rail and road networks.
He has been happy to leave the heavy lifting to the Andrews State Labor Government and instead redirect Federal investment into other states, most notably New South Wales.
Victorians make up a quarter of the national population. They deserve better than Mr Morrison’s cuts and broken promises.
Traffic congestion is eroding Victorians’ quality of life and acting as a hand brake on productivity and economic growth. Mr Morrison’s previous neglect has been a key factor in creating the problem.
Tackling traffic congestion requires the serious, long-term investment and collaboration between the different levels of government that only a Shorten Labor Government will provide.
We have already announced our plans to work with the State Government to deliver the Suburban Rail Loop, including the Airport Rail Link, as well as the Frankston to Baxter Rail Line Upgrade.
Without transformative projects such as these, the annual cost of traffic congestion in Melbourne will increase more than threefold from $2.8 billion to $9 billion by 2031.
We will have much more to say about infrastructure in coming months.