The Coalition’s re-announcement of investment for the Mackay Ring Road is evidence it is prepared to delay actual investment in infrastructure to suit his political needs.
The project, which the Government “announced’’ today, was actually funded in the 2018 Budget in May when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister.
But rather than get on with the work when the money was available, Prime Minister Scott Morrison deliberately chose to delay releasing the funding until closer to the upcoming federal election, along with a range of other projects including the Rockhampton Ring Road.
Federal Labor has already committed funding for the Mackay and Rockhampton Ring Road projects.
Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said that while the Coalition had been consumed by its internal brawling, Labor had been leading from Opposition by developing a plan to tackle traffic congestion right across the country.
“By contrast, Mr Morrison has been cutting infrastructure investment,’’ Mr Albanese said.
“The independent Parliamentary Budget Office says that on current planning, Federal infrastructure grants to the states as a percentage of GDP will halve over the next four years to 0.2 per cent.
“That is absurd at a time when our nation is under population pressure, our capital cities are clogged by traffic congestion and our regions need infrastructure investment to boost productivity and drive jobs growth.’’
Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan said the Mackay Ring Road would make a huge difference to her community by opening up more export opportunities for local commerce and industry, getting the trucks off our local roads, and of course, creating more construction jobs for our region.
“I’m proud that Labor understands that we need to just get on with this project. I haven’t needed to resort to silly stunts or spending taxpayer dollars on full-page ads in the paper.’’ Ms Hassan said.
“While the Coalition has been sitting on its hands, one thing is certain – a Shorten Labor Government would work with Queensland Labor Government to get this project off the drawing board as soon as possible.’’
TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER, 2018