The Federal Coalition Government has ripped off rural and regional Australia to the tune of $80 million by drastically cutting investment in its own Bridges Renewal Program.
In 2013 then Nationals Leader Warren Truss promised a Coalition Government would spend $180 million over its first four years in office upgrading bridges in rural and regional communities.
Four years later it has invested $100 million – $80 million less than promised.
Despite this, the Government shamelessly continues to offer up the Bridges Renewal Program as one of its signature infrastructure achievements.
Australians have become accustomed to the Coalition’s endless cuts to infrastructure programs created by the former Labor Government.
But it is now clear the Coalition has no reservations about cutting its own signature program.
This clear breach of election promises highlights how ineffective the Nationals are when it comes to delivering for rural and regional Australia. Time and again they make big promises, only to capitulate to the Liberals around the Cabinet table.
The Bridges Renewal Program was a good idea. Improving old bridges in rural and regional areas would dramatically improve road safety and boost productivity.
But the Government has failed to back its rhetoric with the necessary investment.