Shadow transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has called upon the Federal Government “to actually take Tasmania seriously,” by funding new infrastructure.
Albanese has been in Tasmania this week to meet with officials over infrastructure and transport in the state. “I think Tasmanians are entitled to be very disappointed at the Abbott Government,” he said on Monday.
“At the last federal election they elected three new Coalition members for the five House of Representatives seats that are here in Tasmania. You would have thought that might have resulted in something positive for Tasmania.
“However what we’ve seen is not a single new road or rail infrastructure project here in Tasmania over both budgets that the Coalition has handed down.”
Instead of infrastructure money, Albanese said Tasmania has been rewarded with cuts to funding.
“$100 million cut from the Midland Highway, $30 million cut from the rail revitalisation program funded by the former government,” Albansese said, “and a series of re-announcements by the Abbott Government … pretending that other projects that have occurred are somehow new.”
Albanese said Sid Sidebottom, former member for Bratton, Tasmania, “was annoying to the point of driving me crazy,” when he was urging Albanese – then the minister for infrastructure – to fund the West Coast Wilderness Railway in western Tasmania.
“What we saw from the previous advocates was people who were prepared to stand up for their electorates,” Albanese said.
“The three Coalition members haven’t basically troubled the scorers in Canberra. Let’s hope the Australian cricket team do a bit better than they are doing when the Third Test begins tomorrow night.”