Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack’s credibility on infrastructure and the economy is in tatters after Labor uncovered a $50 million shortfall in the MYEFO Budget Update.
Following mounting calls to bring forward infrastructure investment from the RBA Governor, senior economists, industry leaders and state governments, last month Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack finally admitted they had got it wrong and the economy needed support. At the time, Scott Morrison unconventionally announced movements of funding over the next 18 months as well as the next three or four years.
The Federal Government is claiming in its recent MYEFO Budget Update additional spending in the Infrastructure Investment Program of $750 million this year:
“funding for a package of measures for the Infrastructure Investment Program to accelerate critical infrastructure projects across Australia to drive jobs, strengthen the economy and get people home sooner and safer, which is expected to increase payments by $750 million in 2019-20 ($4.2 billion over four years to 2022-23). The Government’s significant additional investment will accelerate existing transport infrastructure projects and provide additional funding for priority regional and urban transport across all states and territories”
MYEFO 2019-20, Page 49
But the money is not all there – Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack are almost $50 million short this year.
Millions of dollars that the Federal Government claims will be spent on infrastructure are missing from the detailed summaries included at Appendix A of MYEFO.
Producing a budget update that is out by tens of millions of dollars speaks volumes about Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack’s credibility on infrastructure and the economy
To make matters worse, when faced with questions from a journalist, officials from Michael McCormack’s Department claimed that there was no shortfall and said funding for government advertising, freight subsidies, management of drones, community projects, and external territories forms a part of the Infrastructure Investment Program.
With an economy that is floundering on his watch, Scott Morrison has again shown he’s an ad man without an economic plan.
It’s well past time for Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack to develop a real plan for infrastructure to support jobs, boost productivity and improve road safety.
Instead, the Federal Government is playing catch up on infrastructure and its budget update doesn’t even add up.
The total additional funding in the Infrastructure Investment Program is just $702.2 million in 2019-20:
MYEFO 2019-20, Appendix A: Pages 188-189 & Pages 259 – 268