Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents futurebuilding 61
Federal election: Australia's infrastructure opportunities must not be squandered
The Coalition will
always support quality
no matter who puts them
forward. But our concern
is that infrastructure
projects currently being
sponsored by the Gillard
Government will be subject
to uncertainty because
of the inability of the
federal and many state
governments to deliver
projects on time and
The Coalition's perspective
Warren Truss claims lack of business-case analysis and
delivery skills are major faws.
Future Building asked Federal Nationals Leader
Warren Truss, also Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and
Transport, about the Coalition's view on the government's
How diffcult will it be for the federal government to develop
signifcant new infrastructure projects, given its slim majority in
the Lower House, and the Greens controlling the Senate?
The Coalition will always support quality infrastructure
projects, no matter who puts them forward. But our concern is that
infrastructure projects currently being sponsored by the Gillard
Government will be subject to uncertainty because of the inability
of the federal and many state governments to deliver projects on
time and on budget.
We will be waiting a long time, for example, to see construction
of the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link in Sydney or the Moreton
Bay Rail Link in Brisbane.
Is there a risk that much-needed infrastructure development in
Australia could stall?
Yes, because the future health of the federal Budget is
questionable. The Labor-Greens-Independents alliance will make it
very diffcult for the government to run a disciplined and balanced
Budget, and the ability to fund infrastructure projects could be
compromised by the Greens' social and environmental agenda.
Many of the infrastructure projects promised by Labor are to
be funded by the proposed mining tax -- such as the Perth Airport
Gateway project, the Townsville Ring Road, and the upgrade of
the Peak Downs Highway in Queensland. The fate of this tax is
unclear, and the government's modelling about how much money
it would raise has been disputed by the mining sector. Revenue
from the tax will not fow for several years.
Funds needed for nationally required infrastructure may be
diverted into further sweetheart deals with the Independents.
Where does the Opposition see major faws in the government’s
The government's policy is based on perilous assumptions
about the project delivery skills of state governments, as well as
its own, which we witnessed in the home insulation scandal. This
calls into question the government's capacity to deliver projects for
which it is directly responsible, such as the National Broadband
Network (NBN), or the inland rail link.
The government has failed to be transparent in its infrastructure
decisions. Many projects endorsed by Infrastructure Australia,
such as the Regional Rail Link in Melbourne, the Gawler Rail Line
Modernisation, and the Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension in
Adelaide, have not been accompanied by the economic analysis
and modelling undertaken by Infrastructure Australia. This lack of
transparency applies to the NBN as well.
National Party Leader and Shadow Infrastructure
and Transport Minister
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