Dec 16, 2015

Turnbull cuts infrastructure investment in favour of propaganda

The Turnbull Government plans to slash infrastructure investment and use the money to fund a propaganda campaign to claim it is actually increasing investment.

Tuesday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook document also reveals the Government has no money for three new projects it has announced in recent months – the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage II, Adelaide’s Northern Connector and Perth’s Armadale Road upgrade.

To deliver these projects it will cannibalise its existing infrastructure budget, leading to cuts or cancellations of previously announced road and rail projects.

News of the MYEFO cuts follows the recent release of Australian Bureau of Statistics highlighting a 20 per cent fall in public infrastructure investment between the September quarter of 2013 and the June quarter of this year.

The MYEFO says:

The Government will also provide $999.0 million for the construction of new infrastructure to reduce congestion and boost productivity, including the Northern Connector in Adelaide ($788.0 million), the Armadale Road duplication project in Perth ($116.0 million), and Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail ($95.0 million). The cost of these projects will be met from within the Infrastructure Investment Program.

This measure also includes a communications campaign funded within the programme.

The cut to actual investment to fund an advertising campaign misrepresenting the government’s actual record continues two years of infrastructure deceit from the Coalition.

While the Government came to office promising cranes on the skyline and bulldozers on new projects within a year of its election, it has cut investment and attempted to conceal its cuts by re-announcing old projects funded by the former Labor Government and pretending they are new.

Now that the ABS figures have obliterated the Government’s fictional claims of increased investment, Mr Turnbull is bringing in professional spinners to craft an advertising campaign to take the deceit to the next level.

The fact that the advertising campaign will be funded by still more cuts to actual infrastructure spending says it all – this government is more interested in misleading people about infrastructure than actually investing in projects that will boost national productivity and drive economic growth.

Labor calls on Malcolm Turnbull to scrap the proposed advertising campaign.

He should also explain to Australians which existing infrastructure projects he will scrap to fund his promised new projects.

You can’t spend money the same dollar twice.