22 May 2023
INFRASTRUCTURE REVIEW NO LONGER ‘INDEPENDENT’
The ability of the Independent Review into the Commonwealth Infrastructure Investment Program to conduct its deliberations independently has been fundamentally undermined by revelations in Senate Estimates today that Labor MPs have excluded their own local projects.
“Labor premiers and Labor MPs, including the Minister Catherine King herself, have lined up to rule their own local projects outside the scope of thesnap 90-day ‘independent’ review,” Senator McKenzie said.
“With no disrespect to the professionals appointed to undertake this unenviable task, there is no longer any way you could consider this review into infrastructure projects independent.
“No one knows what projects are in and what projects are out.”
The Review into the Infrastructure Investment Pipeline was to look at all projects that are in the planning stage – excluding election commitments and those where work was already underway, according to the Minister for Infrastructure, Catherine King.
However, several MPs have told their local media their own pet projects are not subject to the review process, including Minister King who told local Ballarat media on May 5, that the Ballarat Intermodal Freight Hub would not be subject to the review.
Yet during Senate Estimates today, Department officials confirmed the Ballarat Intermodal Freight Hub was part of the review.
“Either Minister King “mis-spoke” again or her own Department is telling her via estimates that she is wrong,” Senator McKenzie said.
Other projects have been ruled out of the review in the media by Labor State Premiers, Western Australia’s Mark McGowan and Victoria’s Dan Andrews.
On May 1 the Albanese Government announced a 90-day review into the Commonwealth’s 10-year Infrastructure Pipeline which is being undertaken by Mr Reece Waldock AM, Ms Clare Gardiner-Barnes and Mr Mike Mrdak AO.
“It must be increasingly difficult for the Review committee to decide on the merits of a project when Labor MPs are publicly taking their own pet projects off the review list,” Senator McKenzie said.