The Government’s admission that it is only just starting to think about shovel-ready projects is another damning indictment of its record on infrastructure and economic growth.
Today’s Australian Financial Review reports that after almost six years in power, the third term Liberal Government will finally consider bringing forward funding for small-to-medium infrastructure projects, like roads and railways.
This comes in response to the Reserve Bank Governor’s call for the Government to invest in infrastructure to lift employment and wages and drive economic growth.
It also follows the release of the latest National Accounts, which show that the economy is floundering and middle Australia is struggling.
Under the third term Liberals, growth is just 1.8 per cent for the year – the lowest annual figure since the Global Financial Crisis – and Australia is still in a GDP per capita recession.
It shouldn’t take an intervention by the RBA Governor for the Liberals to start thinking about infrastructure. Good governments invest in infrastructure to improve the lives of all Australians and boost our economy – as Labor did in response to the GFC.
But the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has made deep cuts to infrastructure investment, particularly public transport, and consistently failed to deliver on its promises. Over their first five budgets, the Liberals delivered $5.1 billion less for infrastructure than they promised.
The 2019 Budget continued this shocking record, with big promises on the never never, but just a fraction of the needed investment booked over the next four years.
In contrast, Labor went to the election with a commitment to invest $5 billion more on infrastructure than the Liberals over the next four years. Over 10 years, Labor’s additional investment would have grown to be $10.4 billion greater than the Liberals and Nationals.
Labor’s nation-building infrastructure plan included dozens of shovel-ready projects that would boost our economy and improve the lives of Australians, particularly in the regions.
Labor calls on the Government to match these commitments, and we stand ready to work with them on infrastructure investment.
But first, the third term Liberal Government must change course and start taking infrastructure investment seriously.
TUESDAY, 11 JUNE 2019