Jul 5, 2017

Parliamentary Budget Office confirms coalition to slash infrastructure investment by half

The independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) says the Coalition will slash rail and road infrastructure investment by half over the next decade, from 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 to 0.2 per cent of GDP in 2027-28.

A PBO report released today says Commonwealth investment in railways and roads will fall off a cliff under the Coalition, declining by 4.5 per cent a year.

The Coalition’s infrastructure cuts could not come at a worse time for the Australian economy.

As our nation’s mining industry moves from its investment stage to production, it is critical that we increase investment in railways, roads, ports and other infrastructure to encourage growth in other industries and underpin economic and jobs growth.

Yet the Coalition is doing the opposite – cutting investment while pretending otherwise and banking on the private sector to pick up the slack.

The PBO figures vindicate criticism of the 2017 Budget by Labor and the private sector, including the post-Budget commentary of peak infrastructure sector group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia.

An IPA statement released just after Budget said:

… the Budget confirms the cut to real budgeted capital funding to its lowest level in more than a decade using a mix of underspend, re-profiling and narrative to cover this substantial drop in real capital expenditure.

The PBO report once again highlights the yawning gap between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s rhetoric on infrastructure and the unfortunate reality of his cuts and inaction.

Only a Labor Government will deliver the infrastructure that Australia needs to keep pace with population growth and deliver the productivity gains needed to boost economic and jobs growth.