INFRASTRUCTURE Australia is set up to assess projects and to prepare and maintain a plan for infrastructure projects for the years ahead. Labor’s bid to make IA a banker creates a hopeless conflict of interest and would destroy public confidence in its independence.
“Labor has been left behind on infrastructure policy and today’s announcement has all the hallmarks of making policy on the run,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said.
“An independent assessor and funding body in one makes no sense and raises issues of propriety.
“There are also legislative impediments in making IA a bank. While legislation can be changed – it has to be passed. Labor’s promises would likely fail before they even start.
“Labor is being true to form on infrastructure… all announcement, no delivery.”
As for Labor’s list of top 10 projects, Mr Truss described it as a hotchpotch of underdeveloped proposals or projects already underway by the Coalition Government.
“Much of what Labor is announcing is simply a re-announcement of projects that are well underway and which are funded in the Coalition’s budget and forward estimates,” he said.
“The Government’s $5.64 billion to complete the Pacific Highway duplication restores the 80% federal funding Labor abandoned and is on track to be completed by the end of this decade.
“The Government is investing $6.7 billion to fix the Bruce Highway – more than $2.5 billion more than Labor was prepared to cough up at the last election.
“Our $400 million investment in the Midlands highway in Tasmania is already well underway.
“While projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane Rail and the rail link to Badgerys Creek and around Western Sydney are to yet to be planned, have no business case and the costs are unknown. They have not been through any Infrastructure Australia or detailed assessment process.
“There are existing sources of funds that could be drawn on for these projects, such as the Coalition’s $4.2 billion asset recycling initiative. For example, if the Victorian Government proceeds in privatising the Port of Melbourne, the proceeds of this could be supplemented with money from the asset recycling initiative to go towards the Melbourne Metro Project.
“The Coalition is rolling out the biggest infrastructure works program in Australian history – and it is fully paid for. Labor is trying to play catch up on infrastructure and falling short.
“There is plenty of money in the world to borrow. The problem is finding projects with sufficient earning potential to give investors the security and the return they want.
“The Coalition’s $50 billion infrastructure package is being delivered now. It is $12 billion more than Labor was promising in 2013 when it was last in Government.”