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Infrastructure and transport on the skids under Labor

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Infrastructure & transport on the skids under Labor

9th May, 2012

“WAYNE Swan’s myopic fifth budget has slammed road spending into reverse, with absolutely no new spending on roads or rail in 2012-13,” Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss said today.

“Overall expenditure on roads plummets from $6.2 billion in 2011-12 to just $2.6 billion in 2012-13, with at least $2.3 billion brought forward or deferred from 2012-13,” he said. “This year’s road budget is lower than the road budget in the last year of the Howard government.

“This is a Labor budget alright - hollow, shifty and not to be believed. A fudged surplus, another broken promise on company tax and nothing to spur productivity growth, repay debt or secure jobs.

“Quite simply, it’s a sham.

Pacific Highway (NSW)

“Today, Anthony Albanese has been caught telling porkies, saying on ABC Radio in Sydney: ‘There was never an agreement for a 80/20 split between the Federal Government and NSW’, referring to the duplication of the Pacific Highway between Sydney and the Queensland border.

“In fact, the MoU between the Commonwealth and NSW, which is current to 30 June 2014, stipulates $2,451 million in funding from the Commonwealth and $500 million from NSW, specifically for the Pacific Highway.

“Labor is applying a double-standard, now demanding a 50/50 funding split with the O’Farrell Coalition Government. But when Labor was in government in NSW, the Mr Albanese agreed to pay up to 100% of the cost of some Pacific Highway projects, such as the Kempsey Bypass, and agreed in February 2009 to pay more than 80% of Pacific Highway funding under the National Partnership Agreement.

“Minister Albanese is reneging on those arrangements now because there has been a change in the state government. It’s that simple and that petty.

“The $3.5 billion announced last night towards duplicating the Pacific Highway is a stunt - well short of the over $7 billion needed to do the job.

“Further, there is no new funding for the Pacific Highway at all in this year’s federal budget. The money only kicks in from 2014-15, 2015-16 and, staggeringly, 2016-17, well beyond the term of the current Nation Building program.

“It’s an admission that Labor’s promise to complete the Pacific Highway by 2016 will not be met.

Bruce Highway (Qld)

“Motorists who risk Queensland’s deadliest road - the Cooroy to Curra section of the Bruce Highway - will be disappointed and angry that the Gillard government has, again, failed to hear their pleas.

“The government has acknowledged the priority of this project but there is no money to start the next section of the upgrade at any stage over the next four years.

Western Highway (Vic)

“The government has committed $559 million over four years to the relocation of defence facilities at Moorebank. However, this funding will come from the redirection of Nation Building funding and the

deferral of $158 million of upgrading from the Western Highway in Victoria.

“This deferral makes no sense. The Moorebank facility is a project the private sector is happy to fund itself, instead the government will foot the bill and, in doing so, put the Western Highway upgrade on the backburner indefinitely.

Heavy Vehicle User Charge

“The Gillard government has budgeted to increase the heavy vehicle user charge by $166 million next year - $700 million over four years.

“On top of higher fuel costs associated with the carbon tax, families will bear the brunt of this increase at the checkout and Australian exporters will take yet another hit to their global competitiveness.

Passenger Movement Charge

“Australia’s departure tax just skyrocketed by $8 a ticket, taking it to a $55 per passenger slug effective from 1 July 2012, with the added baggage of the charge being indexed annually to CPI thereafter.

“This will further depress Australia’s struggling tourism sector. It means Australia becomes less attractive as a tourist destination and, on top of the impost of the carbon tax, makes us less competitive.

“Given the departure tax is designed as a cost recovery charge for border services, this hike is an unabashed cash grab. The costs associated with border services are already fully recovered by the existing charge. Topping up the tax is a revenue gouge our tourism sector can ill-afford.

Policing costs at airports

“In addition, the government will now apply a $40 million a year charge on airports to partly recover airport policing costs. Again, this will be passed on to passengers who are being forced to pay a multitude of new charges, fees and taxes under Labor… all to the detriment of Australian tourism.”