Dec 12, 2016

Time to invest in Townsville’s future

The Coalition needs to invest in economic growth in Northern Queensland by ending its go slow approach to infrastructure investment.

It should expedite and finalise building the much needed Townsville Stadium to support economic growth and jobs in the short term.

Completion of this project will also boost the region’s tourism.

Labor has a strong track record when it comes to supporting the Townsville region. Today I attended the opening of the Townsville Ring Road funded by the former Federal Labor Government.

We also funded a number of other projects in North Queensland including the Cardwell Range Crossing, the Vantassel upgrade and the Townsville Port Access Road.

In contrast, the Coalition is yet to deliver on a number of its commitments, including upgrades to the Bruce Highway.

Last year, the Coalition spent $114 million less on upgrading the highway than it promised in its own 2014 Budget.

More than half of currently schedule investment in the Bruce Highway will not be made until the next decade.

This failure to actually invest is part of a national pattern of underinvestment across the nation.

Last week the National Accounts stated that, ‘public capital expenditure detracted 0.5 percentage points from growth…’

This warning followed earlier ABS figures showing that total public sector infrastructure investment fell by 20 per cent in the Coalition’s first two years in office.

The experts also agree.

Two Reserve Bank Governors, both the incumbent Philip Lowe and his predecessor Glenn Stevens, have stressed that the Government should consider borrowing to fund good infrastructure projects that provide a solid public benefit in return for the investment.

By investing in infrastructure in Northern Queensland we not only provide an economic return to the local community, but also increase the capacity of the nation’s economy to grow.

It’s time to get on with investing in Townsville’s future.