Labor transport leader Anthony Albanese spent the New Year’s break turning the screws on the Coalition’s newly-appointed transport minister, Barnaby Joyce, over funding levels to states, and the Cross River Rail project.
Albo’s press briefings in recent days have called for Joyce to address transport funding issues in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.
“Queenslanders voted at the end of last year and they voted overwhelmingly in South-East Queensland to re-elect the Palaszczuk Government,” Albanese recounted at a Brisbane press conference on December 29. “Funding for the Cross River Rail project and whether it should proceed was a major election issue.”
Albanese, who was the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments’ transport and infrastructure minister, and served as deputy PM, says the Coalition’s transport and infrastructure policies have led to less jobs and less economic growth.
“Barnaby Joyce must step up,” the shadow minister said.
“He says he cares about Queensland; what he’s got to do is invest in Queensland and the test for him over coming months is to show that investment is there in the 2018 Budget.”
In South Australia, Albanese spoke with FiveAA Radio’s Tony Pilkington, saying the Coalition was responsible for “savage cuts” in the forward estimates, suggesting the state’s share of federal infrastructure investment will drop to just $95 million in FY21, down from $921 million in FY18.
“It’s very clear that Barnaby Joyce has a challenge as the Deputy Prime Minister and as Infrastructure Minister to deliver for South Australia and he needs to do that,” Albo said.
“We have something like 45% of this year’s Federal infrastructure budget going to New South Wales,” he continued.
“We have South Australia missing out on those funds and over the coming years up to 2020-21, the Federal Government currently has no money whatsoever for that section of the North South corridor even though they themselves have said that they’re committed to its full duplication.
“Malcolm Turnbull says he is committed to public transport funding but he won’t put a dollar into Adelaide’s light rail extension.”