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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Page: 9396

Road Infrastructure

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (14:37): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister in his capacity as the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. I feel under a bit of pressure with Wilson Tuckey and Harry Jenkins sitting above me watching me ask this question! Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline how the government will ensure the roads of the 21st century will be delivered in a strategic and timely manner?

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:37): May I thank the honourable member for the colourful way in which he asked the question! Certainly, this government promised that we would build the roads of the 21st century and one year on we are delivering on the job.

We have projects underway in every state. We are funding the road projects that Labor had promised to fund with revenue from the mining tax, which never arrived. We have made sure that we have the biggest program in Australian history but one that is fully funded and which will be delivered right across the nation.

We also wanted to deliver a higher standard of governance of our infrastructure projects. At the core of our election commitment was reform to Infrastructure Australia. We wanted Infrastructure Australia to be genuinely independent. We wanted it to have a CEO who was answerable to its own board rather than just simply having a relationship with the minister. We promised better infrastructure planning, we promised rigorous and transparent assessments of taxpayer funded projects and an assurance that what we were doing was going to make a real difference to the people of Australia.

I am pleased to report to the House that yesterday the new Infrastructure Australia officially commenced, with a new board under Mark Birrell—a board that will set about independently examining the infrastructure tasks before our country and prioritising those projects that are important. For us, the key priorities for the new Infrastructure Australia include an audit of nationally significant infrastructure. That project is already underway, developing a 15-year plan for infrastructure priorities and assessing projects receiving government funding of $100 million or more so that the public can be assured that value for money is the priority.

The 15-year plan will, for the first time, put Infrastructure Australia ahead of the government decision-making process. Under the previous government, the reality was that all Infrastructure Australia had to do was to tick and flick projects that the government had already announced and committed to. This new plan will have Infrastructure Australia developing the priorities—a 15-year plan in advance—

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler is warned!

Mr TRUSS: and genuinely provide guidance, leadership and support to governments, and oppositions for that matter, ensuring that we choose the very best projects for the available money.