Jan 23, 2017

More Evidence of Collapse in Infrastructure Investment

New figures show that in every quarter since the Coalition was elected in 2013, total public sector investment has been lower than it was in every quarter under the former Labor Government after its first Budget in 2008.

As our nation continues its transition away from the investment stage of the mining boom, it is imperative we lift infrastructure investment to boost productivity and the economy’s ability to generate new jobs.

However, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the Coalition has overseen its 12th consecutive quarter in which public sector infrastructure investment in Australia has been less than that which occurred under the former Labor Government.

The ABS says that in the September quarter of 2016, total public sector infrastructure investment in Australia was $7.3 billion.

In Labor’s final four quarters in office the equivalent figures were $7.5 billion (September quarter, 2013), $7.8 billion (June, 2013), $8.1 billion (March, 2013) and $8.3 billion (December, 2012). Indeed, for 21 quarters going back to June, 2008, public sector investment always exceeded $7.3 billion.

The new figures add weight to the pile of evidence that the Coalition has been serially misleading Australians about infrastructure investment.

Late last year the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development demolished the credibility of the Government’s claim that it has a $50 billion investment program.

The Department revealed to a Senate committee that the Government had actually allocated $34 billion for transport infrastructure investment in its first five years, with another $8 billion proposed to be invested “onwards,’’ meaning the unspecified future. What’s more, last month’s MYEFO cut more than $850 million out of this year’s investment program.

Even worse, as Malcolm Turnbull continues to mislead Australians about his performance, he is punishing Victorians for electing a Labor State Government by allocating the state less than 8 per cent of its infrastructure budget despite it being home to a quarter of the national population.

It’s time Malcolm Turnbull stopped having a lend of his fellow Australians.

He should lift infrastructure investment and he should do it now.