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Regional road $$ to Labor city seats.

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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E W

Federal Member for Wannon

2 June 2009


Federal Member for Wannon David Hawker has slammed the Government for its plans to redirect funds intended for regional roads towards Labor city seats.

Rudd Labor plans to turn a respected regional road and rail building program into a giant slush fund for Labor MPs, with 82 percent of the cash going into Labor seats, it was revealed yesterday.

Labor’s attack on the Coalition backfired spectacularly when the Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, yesterday tabled in Parliament a list of projects to be funded under a program the Government wants to call “Nation Building Program Off-Network Projects”.

Mr Hawker said the not previously seen list revealed that of $655.2 million in proposed road and rail funding under the program, $532.9 million is being shovelled into Labor-held seats.

“This just confirms the Coalition’s concerns about Labor’s plan to change what was known as the Regional Strategic Roads program is nothing but the creation of a giant slush fund to look after Labor MPs,” Mr Hawker said.

“This is a major rort. Of 39 projects on the list, 30 are in Labor seats and appear to be nothing more than meeting election commitments of local Labor candidates. Many other projects were in electorates Labor was targeting.”

Federal Labor has been trying to con the public into believing Coalition attempts to amend legislation to return the Regional Strategic Road program and the Black Spots program to their original purposes will lead to every single road and rail project around Australia grinding to a halt. These amendments will not reduce road funding by a single dollar.

“The Regional Strategic Road program has funded initiatives such as the Black Spot Program, which alone has saved many lives locally by providing funding of over $4 Million to improve dangerous spots on local roads and streets in places such as Warrnambool, Portland, Lismore, Heywood, Hamilton, Dunkeld, Camperdown and Ararat,” Mr Hawker said.

“Quite simply, the legislation in question does not allocate money for programs. It involved the renaming of various road and rail programs, redirecting regional funds to the city to support failed State Labor governments and trying to hide the Coalition’s AusLink national transport plan under the catch-all Labor banner of ‘Nation Building’.”

“This is just another example of the city-centric Rudd Government at work.” Mr Hawker said.

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Media contact: Lisa Downs (03) 5572 1100