Media Release – Coalition Turns Political Intereference into an Art Form – Monday, 24 September 2018
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government’s politicisation of the independent Infrastructure Australia has reached a new low, with the organisation listing Adelaide’s Gawler Line rail electrification project as a priority project.
While the listing is welcome, Infrastructure Australia first listed this important public transport project as “ready to go’’ in 2009 and the former Federal Labor Government committed nearly $300 million in the 2009 Budget toward its delivery.
In 2013 the incoming Coalition Government stopped the project midstream, returned half the funding that had not been invested to the Budget and it was removed from the Infrastructure Australia National Priority List.
While it is a good thing that the Gawler Line project is finally being advanced, it would have been completed years ago if the Coalition had acted upon the independent advice when it took office.
The former Labor Government created Infrastructure Australia to independently assess infrastructure proposals on the basis of costs and benefits.
The fact that the organisation removed the Gawler Line from the list after the Coalition refused to provide funding, only to replace it now that the Government says it will deliver the project, confirms Infrastructure Australia no longer operates at arms’ length of government.
Cities Minister Alan Tudge today released a statement expressing excitement that the Gawler Electrification project had been listed on the Infrastructure Australia Priority List.
Mr Tudge should be apologising to the people of Adelaide for being part of a Government that has needlessly delayed the project for five years.
A Labor Government will respect Infrastructure Australia’s independence and return it to the centre of an evidence-based infrastructure process.