While in town trying to take credit for the Mackay Ring Road project today, Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss should explain to residents why he is cutting local roads and community infrastructure funding.
When the former Labor Government took office in 2007, no route had been identified, no detailed planning had been done and no funding had been secured for the Mackay Ring Road project.
Years of inaction by the Howard Government and serious underinvestment in the Bruce Highway meant the heavy lifting of fixing the road was left to the former Labor Government which invested $5.7 billion rebuilding the road.
As Infrastructure Minister I committed funding for both the planning and construction of the Mackay Ring Road under the historic, job-creating Nation Building 1 and Nation Building 2 programs.
In addition to the $10 million provided for planning, funds for construction were included in the Labor Government’s 2013-14 Budget.
These facts have not stopped Mr Truss from trying to claim credit for funding the Mackay Ring Road project.
In fact, he has been travelling the nation for months announcing he is confirming, re-committing and locking-in funding for various projects he had no role in delivering.
But whatever synonym he uses for re-announcement, Mr Truss is simply seeking credit for Labor projects to distract people from his Government’s Budget funding cuts and broken promises.
In Mackay today, he should explain why he is freezing road funding to councils by ending indexation of Financial Assistance Grants, a decision that will affect road safety and economic productivity in every community in the nation, including Mackay and its surrounding districts.
Mr Truss has also cut $411,484 allocated to Mackay Regional Council under Round 5 of the Regional Development Australia fund to upgrade Jubilee Park and the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.
Instead of trying to claim credit for Labor’s good work, Mr Truss should explain his cuts.