Dec 10, 2013

More Coalition disarray over road funding

WEST Australians deserve clarity from the Abbott Government over critical major highway upgrades in their state amid ongoing disarray among its senior ministers over their intentions on road funding.

In Question Time today, Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs described proposed upgrades of the Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal Highway as important projects.

But when he was asked if the Abbott Government would fund the projects to commence next year, as Labor had provided for in the 2013/14 Budget, Mr Briggs said: “Stay tuned’’.

This lack of a firm commitment is at odds with Mr Briggs’ claim on November 6 that the Government was committed to funding the highway projects.

As the Finance Minister said before the election, we are committed to those projects – the Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal – because they are extremely important projects.

Jamie Briggs interview, 6PR, November 6, 2013 

His comments are also at odds with Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss’s advice to Parliament on November 21 that the government had not allocated funding for the projects.

These ministers appear to have no idea what they are doing. They are meant to be working together, but they can’t get on the same page.

People in WA deserve something more concrete than these mixed messages.

The Abbott Government has also cut $500 million to public transport projects in WA.

It is now very clear the Coalition has come to office with no plan to govern beyond trashing anything associated with Labor.

These two highway projects, together worth nearly $500 million, are aimed at lifting safety standards on these roads and boosting WA’s economic productivity.

Efficient roads improve economic productivity and that creates jobs. Safer roads save lives.

Given that funding of these projects is in the existing Budget left by the former Labor Government, Mr Truss and Mr Briggs should just get on with the job.