Distortion Theory Debunked: Truss
27 May 2014
Theoretical claims that the Australian Government's record $50 billion infrastructure investment will distort state spending decisions have already been debunked by the facts.
Fairfax Media yesterday repeated claims that ‘were the Australian government to fund only certain types of infrastructure projects’ that state governments would not invest in other infrastructure, namely rail.
“The Australian Government is not ‘only' funding roads,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said today.
“Our $50 billion infrastructure program includes road, rail, airport and port works. In fact, our Government has increased infrastructure spending by 55% over the period to 2018–19 compared to Labor.
“We are funding major road projects in every state. Our unprecedented investment frees up state and territory governments to spend their money on areas of infrastructure where they have particular expertise and responsibility.
“Moreover, the evidence is now in to back that up.
“Since the Coalition was elected the states have committed $25 billion to major public transport projects.
“Victoria is going ahead with the Melbourne Metro and Queensland is planning the Cross River Bus and Train Tunnel. NSW has the North-West Rail link and in WA the Forrestfield Airport link. In addition, the states are free to spend their payments from the Australian Government's $5 billion Asset Recycling initiative on whatever economic infrastructure they deem necessary.
“Is it seriously being suggested that the states won't build hospitals or schools because we are contributing to road and rail infrastructure?
“The Australian Government, through its 2014 Budget, has invested $3.6 billion in rail projects. This investment includes $1.6 billion in freight rail and intermodal projects, including the Advanced Train Management System trial, as well as intermodal projects at Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, rail revitalisation in Tasmania, and work on improving lines in Adelaide and port rail connections in Sydney and Perth.
“Our freight rail investment includes $300 million to resuscitate the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland rail route, left in limbo by six years of Labor neglect. The government has established a high level “Implementation Group, chaired by the former Deputy Prime Minister the Hon John Anderson AO to bring the project to commencement.
“The Australian Government is also talking with the states about preserving the corridor for the Melbourne-Sydney high speed rail line.
“Another $2 billion is being invested in urban passenger rail over a six-year programme to 2018–19, including the Moreton Bay rail link in Brisbane, completing the Regional Rail Link in Melbourne and the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project.
“The Australian Government's immediate priorities are to support the movement of freight onto rail through targeted investments in major rail freight corridors and the development of critical road transport links to drive strong economic benefits for our major cities and regional areas.
“The state governments support our infrastructure spend.”
This response was provided to Fairfax Media yesterday as an opinion editorial. Fairfax Media refused to run it.