Nov 23, 2012

Tony Abbott and Infrastructure: No plans, more deceit

Tony Abbott is at it again: trying to distort Federal Labor’s record and deceive people into believing black is white, this time with respect to infrastructure. 

The Coalition’s latest campaign of deceit began at the recent Tourism and Transport Forum Leadership Summit, with Mr Abbott claiming: 

“Now we’ve had basically an infrastructure strike in this country over the last five years.  Very little major infrastructure has opened in the last five years.”

 SPEECH – 31 OCTOBER 2012

That’s just untrue.

After a decade of neglect and inaction, total public and private investment in the nation’s road, rail, energy, and water infrastructure has surged 42 per cent over the last five years, hitting a record of more than $51 billion a year.

This rise is a direct result of the actions taken by Federal Labor.  As well as establishing Infrastructure Australia, we’ve doubled the roads budget, lifted spending on rail tenfold, and committed more to urban public transport than all previous governments since Federation combined.

All up, we’ve increased the annual infrastructure budget from $141 to $269 per person.

What’s more, this infrastructure boom looks set to continue, with investment expected to rise by a further 7.6 per cent this year and 7.8 per cent next year.

So on top more jobs, higher wages, lower taxes, falling interest rates, and a triple-A credit rating, Federal Labor is also delivered an unprecedented investment in the nation’s vital infrastructure.

In contrast Mr Abbott was a senior minister in a government (1996-2007) which slashed road funding by $2 billion, starved rail of much-needed investment and refused to commit even one dollar to urban public transport.  In fact under the former Howard Government infrastructure spending hit a record low.

Tony Abbott ignores the facts, thumbs his nose at reality and unlike Federal Labor, has no plan for our nation’s infrastructure.  All Mr Abbott’s got is more deceit and relentless negativity, proving yet again he’s not fit to be Prime Minister.

 

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WHAT HAS FEDERAL LABOR DONE SINCE LATE 2007?

 A transparent, competitive and national infrastructure market

 We have: 

  • Restored national leadership through the appointment of Australia’s first ever Federal Infrastructure Minister and the creation of a Federal Infrastructure Department
  • Established Infrastructure Australia to overhaul and drive lasting improvements to the way our nation plans, assesses, finances, builds and uses the infrastructure it needs to compete in the 21st century.  Already it has:
      • Completed the first ever infrastructure audit;
      • Put in place a National Priority List to guide investment into nationally-significant projects which offer the highest economic and social returns – and following this year’s budget we’ve now committed funding to every ‘ready-to-proceed’ project listed on the original 2009 List;
      • Developed national Public Private Partnership (PPP) guidelines to make it easier and cheaper for private investors to partner with governments to build new infrastructure;
      • Finalised long term blueprints for a truly national, integrated and multimodal transport system capable of moving goods around as well as into and out of Australia quickly, reliably and efficiently: the National Port Strategy and the National Freight Strategy.
  • Created a national prequalification scheme under which the qualifications of a private contractor registered in one state or territory are automatically recognised nationwide, a reform that’s cut red tape, promoted greater competition within the construction sector and created a seamless national economy. 
  • Launched the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule, an Australian-first web-based tool detailing all major economic and social projects ‘in-planning’ or being delivered by governments around the country, creating
    a more transparent and competitive infrastructure market.

Right now, the site lists 70 projects worth over $50 billion, from a new hospital for Palmerston in the Northern Territory to the Midlands Irrigation Scheme in Tasmania.

 

NATION BUILDING PROGRAM: Rebuilding the nation’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure

Federal Labor’s $36 billion, six year Nation Building Program (2008/09 to 2013/14) is building the modern, well-planned transport infrastructure which makes working people’s lives easier, our businesses more competitive and the Australian economy more productive.

All up, we have increased Federal spending on the nation’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure from $141 to $269 per Australian.

Almost two thirds of the funding is earmarked for projects in regional Australia.

Better, safer and less congested roads:

Federal Labor has doubled the roads budget and initiated the biggest road construction program since the creation of the national network almost forty years ago.

One of the key aims of this $28 billion program is to complete by 2016 the full duplication of the Hume and Pacific highways connecting the nation’s three biggest cities – Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Already we have:

  • Commissioned 222 major roads projects, with 110 completed and a further 78 currently under construction.
  • Fixed 1,425 notorious black spots, on local suburban streets and country roads safer.
  • Installed 95 new and refurbished rest stops as well as 45 new and upgraded parking/decoupling bays, providing truck drivers with even more places along the nation’s highway where they can pull over to take a break, catch up on sleep or check and re-configure their vehicles.
  • Assisted councils around the country maintain and upgrade their local roads, with almost 14,000 projects funded.

Faster, more reliable freight rail:

Federal Labor is rolling out the largest investment in the Interstate Rail Freight Network since the Fisher Labor Government built the transcontinental railway almost a century ago: $3.4 billion over the life of our current six year Nation Building Program.

Compared to the former Howard government, we’re investing more than twice as much as in about half the time.

Right now, we’re rebuilding more than a third of the network – 3,800 kilometres of existing track – and laying 235 kilometres of new track.  Of the 45 major upgrades commissioned, 25 have been completed and 15 are currently
underway.

More productive, sustainable and liveable cities:

Federal Labor has ended the Commonwealth’s decade long, self-imposed exile from our major cities and is engaging with the states and territories as well as local councils to bring about a much needed urban renaissance.

We have already committed $7.3 billion to modernise and extend the urban passenger rail infrastructure in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and on the Gold Coast.

That’s more than all our predecessors since Federation combined.

 In addition, we have: 

  • Created of the Major Cities Unit;
  • Established of the National Planning Taskforce;
  • Required state and territory governments to have strategic plans
    for their capital cities as a condition of future Federal infrastructure funding;
  • Published the first ever State of the Cities Report.

We want productive, sustainable and liveable cities where communities can grow and prosper.  Indeed as one of the most urbanised nations on the planet, Australia’s continuing prosperity in the globalised world of the 21st century will largely depend on how successful we are at making our cities work better.