It is time for the Turnbull government to end the delay and commit, once and for all, to funding Cross River Rail.
Infrastructure investment can contribute to economic growth and can contribute to job creation.
Yet Labor is worried that next week’s Budget will potentially see a decline rather than an increase in infrastructure investment.
Anthony Albanese said today:
"The nonsense this morning of having a centre piece in the Budget of establishing an Infrastructure Financing Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and telling the states and local government that they can borrow for infrastructure upon the recommendation of this unit for projects is quite frankly a withdrawal of the Commonwealth from its responsibility to nation build. Nation building requires a pipeline of infrastructure projects. It requires a government to have a forward vision plan, not to be picking off project by project.
It is very clear now that this Government has been in office for four years that we’ve seen four years of neglect and that frankly they have no idea when it comes to how to build the railways, the roads and the ports that Australia needs for our future economic growth.
There is not a shortage of available capital in his country. State and local government can borrow themselves at a rate that is only slightly higher in some cases than the Federal Government rate. So this is frankly an excuse to not do what is necessary. It also is very clear that on a range of projects that have been approved by Infrastructure Australia, that are ready to go, such as Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Melbourne Metro, Western Sydney Rail, AdeLINK light rail in Adelaide and Perth METRONET, this Government continues to just find excuses. Take Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, approved by Infrastructure Australia in 2012 and then funded by the Labor Government after consultation with the Queensland Government of Campbell Newman in 2013 and they are still going through this nonsense about there being a need for further planning and pretending that value capture is somehow a new idea.
Now the journalists in the gallery who write these stories mightn’t pay attention, but they should go back and have a look at the Budget papers from 2013 that showed that projects like Cross River Rail in Brisbane and the Melbourne Metro had value capture as part of the projects. There is nothing new in any of this. This Government comes up with platitudes and spin. It’s not coming up with investment and that is what is required.
At the moment the Reserve Bank, economists, the business community are all despairing at this Government’s lack of vision. Malcolm Turnbull thinks he is the smartest person in the room, which is why he is out there establishing a unit in his own department, sidelining Infrastructure Australia, sidelining the Infrastructure Department. Infrastructure Australia faces a 25 percent cut in its funding on July 1. If the Government is to be taken at all seriously those cuts need to be reversed."