10 May 2023
Labor put the brakes on the infrastructure build
The Albanese Government is inflicting further cuts to infrastructure despite planning to squeeze 1.5 million more migrants into our cities, suburbs, and regional capitals.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the budget comprehensively fails to address the challenges facing Australia’s increasingly congested cities and suburbs.
“The Albanese Government has flagged bringing in 1.5 million new immigrants without an infrastructure plan to support this larger population.
“This equates to more congestion, less time with family and higher emissions,” Senator McKenzie said.
“We thought Anthony Albanese was going to be a Prime Minister who builds things. But after cutting $9.6 billion from the infrastructure budget last October, his Government is stripping a further $1.7 billion from road transport projects over the forward estimates.
“The full extent of Labor’s plans to cut infrastructure have been withheld from the budget as the Minister undertakes a partisan purge of road and rail projects via a 90-day infrastructure review.
“There was a complete lack of new infrastructure commitments in Labor’s budget, merely rehashing previous funding announcements, including those to support New South Wales Labor ahead of the state election last March.
“While the soaring cost-of-living pressure on families, the Government has imposed a 19 per cent increase in truckie taxes which the National Transport Commission says will cost $1.6 billion over three years,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This inflation-inducing tax will be passed direct to families through higher costs of everything they buy, all of which travels by truck at some stage.”
Senator McKenzie said the Budget had also put the axe through road safety measures established as part of the former Coalition Government’s $3 billion Road Safety Program, including Keys2Drive, the Road Safety Innovation Fund and funding for the Amy Gillet Foundation.
Additional programs cut in the Budget include the Stronger Communities Programme, the Resilient Regional Leaders Program and support for security screening facilities at regional airports.
“The Albanese Budget confirms a two-year funding drought for regional communities with no new community grant programs to support community infrastructure and services in the regions.
“Regional community funding programs announced in last October’s budget are yet to hit the ground as communities are forced to wait until deep into 2024 before a cent of funding from the so-called Growing Regions fund is seen outside of Canberra.
“Unfortunately, the guidelines for this program will put it out of reach of many regional communities, with small grants prohibited and a minimum $500,000 spend required for councils to buy into the scheme.
“The Budget delivers nothing for our regions and fails to make new investments in the infrastructure needed to help grow productivity and economic growth, as well as addressing congestion and improving road safety.