Aug 29, 2013

The day the Nationals turned their back on Regional Australia

Nationals Leader Warren Truss has today confirmed he and his Liberal Party masters will rip more than $8 billion out of the Federal infrastructure budget, including $2 billion earmarked for projects in Regional Australia, to help pay for Tony Abbott’s promises, including his extravagant, unfair and unaffordable paid parental leave scheme.

A full list of regional projects facing the axe is attached below.

And consistent with the words of Mr Abbott and the record of the former Howard Government, Mr Truss also reaffirmed that the Liberal and National Parties won’t agree to provide any funding to help fix the nation’s urban public transport infrastructure.

Moreover, they will deny regional communities access to superfast broadband – unless they were prepared to pay as much as $5,000 out of their own pockets to have their homes or businesses connected.

During his extraordinary performance at the National Press Club today, Mr Truss made a mockery of the National Party’s ‘guarantee’ of a ‘fair share’ for rural and regional communities.  It also explained why for six years he has refused to debate me about our respective infrastructure records and competing plans for the future.

Let’s not forget, Mr Truss and the Nationals have form when it comes to failing to deliver for Regional Australia.

The last time they were in government, they abolished the entire Department of Regional Development and eliminated all the funding programs associated with it.  On top of that they slashed the Federal roads budget by $2 billion, with most OF the cuts falling on regional projects.

For our part, the Rudd Labor Government has made sure that regional communities get their fair share, with almost two thirds of our infrastructure funding going to projects outside our cities.  In fact, Federal Labor has doubled spending in regional Australia to around $40 billion.

In addition, Federal Labor has injected $260 million into building new and upgrading existing regional airport facilities – five times what our predecessors spent.  We’ve also made sure regional communities are amongst the first to benefit from the rollout of our National Broadband Network.

Since 2007 Federal Labor has delivered the better deal regional communities have long deserved, and if you want good infrastructure for the future, then you’ve got to vote Labor on 7 September.

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TONY ABBOTT AND WARREN TRUSS’S REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE ‘HIT LIST’

QUEENSLAND

  • Peak Downs Highway: Straighten and upgrade the Eton Ranges section of the road.  Federal contribution: $120 million.
  • Gladstone Port Access Road: Complete this new road link.  Federal contribution: $50 million.
  • Cape York Roads Package: Upgrade the road between Mapoon and Weipa, the road connecting Aurukun to the Peninsula Development Road and the Jardine River Bridge as well as redevelop the Seisia Wharf and improve the raw water pipeline from Bamaga to Seisia.  Federal contribution: $210 million

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • Regional Roads Productivity Package: Upgrade six regional roads:
    Strengthen and widen sections of Roper Highway as well as improving its flood immunity;
    Seal sections of Port Keats Road as well as improving its flood immunity;
    Replace gravel on poor sections of the Santa Teresa Way;
    Construct a new bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek on Central Arnhem Road;
    Strengthen, widen and seal sections of the Buntine Highway; and
    Replace gravel on poor sections of Arnhem Link Road.

    Federal contribution: $90 million.

NSW

  • Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road Upgrade: Duplicate the bridge and the approaches to it.  Federal contribution: $52 million.
  • New England Highway: Realign the three kilometre Bolivia Hill section.  Federal contribution: $80 million.
  • New England Highway: Fix congestion and safety issues around the level crossing in Scone.  Federal contribution: $45 million.
  • Mt Ousley upgrades: Construct two new northbound and two new southbound climbing lanes on Mt Ousley Road between Bulli Tops and Picton Road interchange.  Federal contribution: $42 million.
  • Olympic Highway: Replace the existing Kapooka Bridge and the approaches to it.  Federal contribution: $19.5 million.
  • Newell Highway: Install additional overtaking lanes.  Federal contribution: $5 million.

VICTORIA

  • Ballarat Freight Hub: Develop a general freight centre in the Ballarat West Employment Zone. Federal contribution: $9.1 million.
  • Princes Highway West: Duplicate the Winchelsea to Colac section. Federal contribution: $257.5 million.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • Anangu Pitjanjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands: Upgrade sections of the main access road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja, as well as 21 kilometres of community roads.  Federal contribution: $85 million.

TASMANIA

  • Midland Highway Upgrade: Package of works, which includes duplication of the section between Perth and Breadalbane; dedicated upgrades at Mona Vale, St Peters Pass and between Mangalore and Bagdad; and planning for a future Launceston Bypass.  Federal contribution: $500 million over ten years, with the Coalition having committed only $400 million.
  • Freight Rail Revitalisation: Continuing upgrade of the network including replacing approximately 290 kilometres of old track.  Federal contribution: $119.6 million.
  • Huon Highway: Upgrade the intersection with Summerleas Road.  Federal contribution: $17.5 million.
  • Channel Highway: Upgrade and widen road near Huonville, as well as build new link roads and erect a new bridge over Skinners Creek.  Federal contribution: $7.5 million.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • Great Northern Highway: Package of works along the Muchea to Wubin section, including realignment work, intersection upgrades, road widening and additional overtaking lanes.  Federal contribution: $307.8 million.
  •  North West Coastal Highway: Package of works between Minilya and Barradale, include widening and strengthening the road as well as erecting two new bridges.   Federal contribution: $174 million.

Funding for all these projects are already included in the Budget.