Feb 28, 2017

Victoria ripped off on infrastructure

A senior bureaucrat has confirmed the Turnbull Government is ripping off Victorians, with the state receiving a paltry 7.7 per cent of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure budget despite being home to 25 per cent of the Australian population.

At a Senate Budget Estimates committee last night Mark Thomann, from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, said the Commonwealth would invest $2.045 billion on Victorian infrastructure between 2016-17 and 2019-20 out of a national program worth $26.5 billion.

Asked for a percentage breakdown, Mr Thomann said: “Do the mental arithmetic? I can take out my phone and get out the calculator and do that … the answer is 7.7 per cent.’’

The Secretary of the Department, Mike Mrdak, then agreed that Victoria had a high rate of population growth and was “facing significant infrastructure pressures’’.

Confirmation of the Victorian rip-off underscores the pettiness of the Turnbull Government, which is punishing the people of Victoria for having the temerity to elect the Andrews Labor Government.

When the Coalition took office in 2013 it inherited an infrastructure budget that included Commonwealth support for the Melbourne Metro public transport project.

It cancelled that allocation and transferred it to the dud East-West Link toll road, which would have returned only 45 cents in economic benefit for every dollar invested and had to be cancelled.

Since then the Coalition has continued to play petty politics, leaving Victoria’s Andrews Labor Government to fund the Metro and reducing Victoria’s share of investment.

Victorians pay their fair share of taxes. They deserve a return from the Commonwealth.

Instead, Malcolm Turnbull is ripping them off, even as experts including Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe call for increased infrastructure investment to drive economic activity and jobs growth.

Mr Turnbull needs to stop taking selfies on trains and actually invest in trains.