PUP reneges on $2.1B for council R2R funding

Media Release

WT156/2014

27 August 2014

Senator Jacqui Lambie's claim that she was offered $200 million in additional Tasmanian road funding by the Deputy Prime Minister's office is mistaken.

Senator Lambie, two PUP staff and an advisor from another parliamentary office met with my Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor last night. A senior public servant was also present.

At the meeting, PUP Senators agreed to support the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2014 unamended, on the basis that:

  • The Government is committed to introduce amendments to the Infrastructure Australia Act to introduce a threshold over which infrastructure projects must be considered by Infrastructure Australia, and that Infrastructure Australia would be required to publish justification for its recommendations;
  • A Departmental briefing would be provided to Senator Lambie on the program of works for Victoria and Tasmania;
  • The Government would consider a proposal from Senator Lambie for a shovel ready Council project on the Tasmanian West Coast, further details to be provided by Senator Lambie's office; and
  • The Government would consult the Independents on future guidelines for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme.

Senator Lambie did request $200 million in additional road funding for Tasmania. She was advised that the government was not in a position to make such a commitment.

Today, an adviser to Senator Lambie phoned my office to advise that PUP Senators would now oppose the Bill and that Senator Lambie would introduce her own Bill to authorise Roads to Recovery payments to councils.

They also asked for $200 million in extra road funding to be provided to each of Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland.

No justification was provided for this unusual demand.

The $2.1 billion that should have flowed from today's passage of the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2014 would have made a real difference to the ability of councils to deliver the better, safer local roads and streets their communities need.