Jun 14, 2010

Mr Cobb fails to tell the “gospel truth”… again

Mr Cobb fails to tell the “gospel truth”… again

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

June 14 2010

Calare MP John Cobb seems to believe that if he repeats the same falsehood enough times then it must be true, a belief shared by his leader Tony “Gospel Truth" Abbott.

Last week Mr Cobb again appeared on regional television (WIN Orange, 9/6/10) casting misplaced doubt over the Rudd Labor Government’s commitment to the new North Orange Bypass.

Let me be absolutely clear: we will fully honour our pledge to provide $10 million towards the construction of the Bypass and have already signed the necessary funding agreement with Orange City Council.

But before this money can be released, the Council must first be accredited under Federal occupational health and safety laws – something it has known about for more than two years and is on track to obtain by August.

As a strong supporter of WorkChoices, I suppose Mr Cobb’s cavalier approach to the safety of workers is to be expected. But I can assure him the OH&S requirements being imposed on this road project are the very same as those which applied under the former government’s AusLink program.

In the meantime, the Council has started work on that part of the bypass which they are funding themselves.

On the issue of road funding more broadly, the Rudd Labor Government has more than doubled spending to almost $28 billion, with three quarters of this money earmarked for projects in rural and regional communities.

In the case of Mr Cobb’s electorate of Calare, we’re providing almost $100 million in road funding and a further $133 million as part of our efforts to rebuild the nation’s interstate rail network.

On any fair assessment that’s not a bad start for a government that’s only been in office for two and half years – and yet another example of how we’re building a stronger economy which delivers a fairer share to all Australians.

By contrast, the former Howard Government in which Mr Cobb served slashed $2 billion from the roads budget during their first eight years in office, money that could have been used to upgrade the Newell Highway.