Jan 31, 2011

Truss and Joyce playing politics

Truss and Joyce playing politics

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

January 31 2011

The Liberal National Party has yet again shown that it’s more interested in playing grubby politics than supporting the rebuilding of Queensland in the aftermath of the Australia’s worst natural disaster in economic terms.

Barnaby Joyce and his sidekick Warren Truss have in recent days asserted that the small number of projects deferred in order to free up skilled workers for the task of rebuilding where chosen because they were in electorates held by their side of politics.

Such claims are shameful and dishonest. Indeed Mr Truss and Mr Joyce are simply playing politics with a human tragedy.

Here’s the truth: Queensland will receive substantially more infrastructure funding not less, including an immediate upfront payment of $2 billion. What’s more, the projects deferred for a short period of time are those which were still in their early stages of planning and not under contract.

The floods have hit Queensland harder than any other natural disaster in our nation’s history. This extraordinary natural event has required an extraordinary response from all levels of government.

While construction on a small number of projects will be delayed in order to free up funds and skilled workers for the massive rebuilding task that now faces us, planning on each of them will continue and they will be delivered.

All up, the Gillard Labor Government has more than doubled Federal spending on Queensland’s road and rail infrastructure to $8.6 billion. As well as rebuilding flood-affected communities, we will continue rolling out the new infrastructure vital to the State’s longer term prosperity, including major upgrades to the Bruce Highway.

By contrast, as part of their opposition to the temporary levy, the Liberal National Party has been calling for deeper cuts to government spending and the deferral of even more infrastructure projects.