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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 100

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (3:33 PM) —Mr Speaker, on 19 June the report of the Australian National Audit Office on the national black spots program of the Department of Transport and Regional Services was tabled. I wish to make a personal explanation concerning that report.

The SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


The SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON —That report identified problems relating to governance, project eligibility, project cost management, project benefits and project delivery—with fault at every level of government—and called on the Department of Transport and Regional Services to exercise more stringent accountability measures. That recommendation was rejected by the department.

On 20 June the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and Deputy Prime Minister issued an unfounded media release suggesting that the ALP in government would abolish the black spots program. That was a deliberate endeavour to mislead the Australian public. A federal Labor government will be totally committed to the black spots program. The black spots program is too important to the community for funds to be wasted. It is about reducing the loss of lives on Australian roads. But what a Labor government will not do is allow black spot funds to disappear into black holes, as the Minister for Transport and Regional Services is deliberately doing. He should come clean to the Australian public and account for taxpayers’ money which has been wasted.