May 10, 2017

New rail lines not built by lines in a speech

Millions of Australians will remain stuck in traffic jams because Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to invest in public transport in our major cities.

Budget 2017 failed to allocate a dollar of new investment for public transport, despite expert warnings that traffic congestion is acting as a hand brake against economic and jobs growth in our cities.

There was no funding for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Adelaide’s AdeLINK, the Western Sydney Rail project or the Melbourne Metro.

There was investment for the Perth METRONET, although the Budget papers were so sloppy they mentioned three different figures on the amount. This money is not new, having been re-allocated from the Coalition’s failed Perth Freight Link toll road.

Of the total $10 billion national rail program outlined last night, not a dollar of extra funding will be invested before the next election.

The Budget included actual funding for only one new infrastructure project anywhere in the nation – the upgrading of the Far North Collector Road near the NSW country town of Collector.

In his Budget speech Treasurer Scott Morrison sought to conceal his inaction by announcing investment for the new Infrastructure Project Financing Agency.

A financing facility is not how important urban rail projects will become reality.

The new facility sounds a lot like the Coalition’s failed Northern Australia Infrastructure facility, which it created two years ago amid fanfare but which has not funded a single project.

Mr Morrison’s speech was packed with tricky lines to pretend he had increased infrastructure investment.

But you can’t ride to work on a tricky line in a speech.

Australians needs actual investment in actual train lines to address traffic congestion, which Infrastructure Australia has warned will cost the nation $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031 without investment now.