ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
Media reports this morning suggest that the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge, will acknowledge in a speech today that Melbourne is Australia’s city most in need of congestion-busting.
What’s taken him, and his government, so long?
Under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government Victoria has not received its fair share of Commonwealth infrastructure funding and this has had a particular impact on Melbourne, our fastest-growing city.
The Liberals now talk about busting congestion, but it’s their decisions that have compounded the problem over their time in government. Every day people in Melbourne feel the effects of Tony Abbott’s ideological refusal to fund urban public transport, which has delayed the vital Melbourne Metro project, as well as the scrapping of the Major Cities Unit and the Liberals’ refusal to separate the infrastructure cycle from the political cycle.
Even now, the great majority of the funding promised is beyond the forward estimates.
In Victoria, the promise: $2 billion for Geelong Fast Rail. The reality: 2 percent available over the next four years.
In New South Wales, the promise: $6.1 billion in extra funding. The reality: $241 million, or 4 percent, to flow over the next four years.
In Queensland, the promise: extra funding: $2.6 billion in extra funding. The reality: Nothing next year; $313 million, or 12 per cent, to flow over the next four years.
The story is the same for all the other States and Territories.
It’s fine for Mr Tudge to talk about the challenges Melbourne faces, but he must also take responsibility and stop playing politics with his portfolio.