Jul 16, 2010

Tony Abbott’s billion-dollar black hole

Tony Abbott’s billion-dollar black hole

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

July 16 2010

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott’s re-announcement of $700 million for the Toowoomba Bypass today leaves one important question unanswered:

Where will the remaining $1 billion-plus needed to complete the bypass come from?

The Toowoomba Bypass feasibility study conducted by the former Howard Government in 2006 found that the project would cost at least $1.75 billion.

The study’s other key finding was that the project’s direct economic costs outweighed its direct economic benefits – resulting in a negative economic value that made it unlikely to attract sufficient private sector interest in funding.

Mr Abbott is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Toowoomba residents by promising money that he knows he will never have to stump up.

This billion-dollar black hole proves that Mr Abbott cannot be trusted to manage the economy.

The Coalition has been promising the Toowoomba Bypass since 1998.

During his very first speech to the Parliament, the local Member and former Infrastructure spokesperson, Ian Macfarlane made this pledge:

“…the antiquated, treacherous and slow road descent from Toowoomba to Brisbane must be upgraded. A new range crossing is on the drawing board, but its completion date must be brought forward to 2005 if our region is going to be given a fair chance to develop.” (Hansard, 26 November 1998)

Put simply the Coalition failed to deliver on its promise.

Why should the same people be trusted again?

A full copy of the previous government’s feasibility study can be downloaded from: http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/publications/reports/