Freight Rail, Passenger Rail

Albanese labels Budget ‘con job’

Shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has slammed the Coalition’s Budget released on Tuesday night, saying most of the Government’s big infrastructure promises aren’t accounted for over the four-year forward estimates.

Albanese on Thursday warned voters not to fall for a “pre-election con job,” noting they would actually have to re-elect the Coalition at least twice before the bulk of the promised spending on big infrastructure projects would actually happen.

Despite making $6.1 billion in new infrastructure promises in New South Wales, Albanese says the Coalition’s Budget only includes $241 million of that over the next four years – or just four per cent.

He said $2.6 billion of promised extra funding in Queensland translated to nothing in the next financial year, and just $313 million, or 12 per cent, over the four-year forward estimates.

And in Victoria, just two per cent of a $2 billion promise to connect fast rail to Geelong is included in the next four years of planned spending.

Albanese accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of “reluctantly” acknowledging the need to invest in infrastructure, but “deferring any action to reverse his previous cuts and neglect”.

“Overwhelmingly the Budget announcements won’t commence in the next term or maybe even the term after that,” Albanese said. “These are grand promises on the Never Never.”

On Wednesday, the former deputy PM also accused the Coalition of copying Labor in its infrastructure promises, suggesting Labor was “leading from Opposition” on infrastructure.

“Projects including Adelaide’s South Road, the Perth Metronet, the Rockhampton and Mackay Ring Roads, Melbourne’s South-East Suburban Road Package and the Western Sydney Rail are all existing Labor commitments,” Albanese said.

“Projects like Tasmania’s Freight Rail Revitalisation Program and the Gladstone Port Access Road were funded by the former Labor Government, cut by the Coalition and have now been reinstated on the pretence that they are new.”

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