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Transparency and cooperation needed in infrastructure policy.

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Martin Ferguson - Transparency And Cooperation Needed In Infrastructure Policy Friday, 15 June 2001

Transparency And Cooperation Needed In Infrastructure Policy Martin Ferguson - Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development

Media Statement - 14 June 2001

The Federal Government is failing the test of transparency in its approach to infrastructure development, Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development, Martin Ferguson, said today.

"The responsibility of Government is to work with project partners to bring projects forward and to get them under way, not use them for political grandstanding," Mr Ferguson told the Australian Utilities, Renewable Energy and Transport Infrastructure Conference in Sydney.

Mr Ferguson said the Howard Government's recent record speaks for itself:

The Roads to Recovery program, with $1.2 billion allocated between States and Territories on the basis of an arbitrary formula that includes road length and population - that has still not been disclosed to this day.


The Prime Minister's announcement of $220m for the Scoresby Freeway in Melbourne before negotiations with the Victorian Government had actually been completed. ●

The botching of the Speedrail Sydney-Canberra Very Fast Train tender process that saw the 'no net cost' to Government blow out to $300m, and then to $2 billion, before eventually leading to the collapse of the project.


It is time for our infrastructure investments to be driven by a considered long-term strategy, rather than short-term politics," Mr Ferguson said.

"A long-term framework is important not only to the infrastructure sector, but also the public at large.

"People have had enough of pork barrelling, and transparency is the community's best protection against governments throwing taxpayers' money around as if it is their own.

"A strategic policy framework is needed to address stronger planning and coordination of infrastructure development - so that our investments produce the greatest gain for our regions and communities.

"The Howard Government has repeatedly failed to work in cooperation with the private sector and with State and Territory Governments.

"Labor will establish a National Infrastructure Advisory Council that will reflect a partnerships approach to infrastructure policy, and help us plan for and deliver our infrastructure in a transparent way.

"Labor's Infrastructure Council will involve a range of stakeholders, and will advise the Government on strategic planning needs, data deficiencies, strategies to coordinate within and between governments, and how we develop more effective partnerships for infrastructure development. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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