The deep divisions within the Morrison-Turnbull-Abbott Government are now derailing its attempts to play catch-up on rail and road investment following years of cuts and neglect.
The leak to the Herald Sun of a list of the Government’s infrastructure project Budget decisions taken but not announced is a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his rabble of a Government, which has an abysmal record when it comes to nation building.
Federal infrastructure grants to the states will fall off a cliff over the next four years, from $8 billion in 2017-18 to $4.5 billion in 2021-22.
And research by the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office shows that under the Coalition, Federal grants will halve over the next decade from 0.4 per cent of the national GDP, to 0.2 per cent.
In this year’s Budget, the Government tried to hide its cuts behind promises of new projects in major cities.
But none of the money was new and 85 per cent of it won’t be spent for at least four years.
Given this record, Australians should be skeptical about the Government’s new list of promised projects, which represent a case of too little, too late.
Indeed, Labor has already committed to most of the projects on the Coalition’s list, including the Western Sydney Rail, Mackay Ring Road Stage II, Rockhampton Ring Road, Brisbane’s Linkfield Road Overpass, Adelaide’s South Road upgrades and the AdeLINK Light Rail project.
Labor has also committed to advancing High Speed Rail, including by moving Private Member’s Bills which are currently before the Parliament.
In recent weeks I have visited both Geelong and Darwin and called for the finalisation of the City Deals for these cities.
While years of division have paralysed the Government on infrastructure, Labor has been leading from Opposition.
Only a Shorten Labor Government will deliver the rail and roads our nation needs to underpin economic growth and tackle the traffic congestion that is eroding our quality of life.
MONDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER, 2018