Coalition wants changes to needless Infrastructure Australia

By: Jason Whittaker


Labor will use its new Infrastructure Australia body as an excuse for not investing in infrastructure, the Opposition claims. The Coalition

Labor will use its new Infrastructure Australia body as an excuse for not investing in infrastructure, the Opposition claims.

The Coalition has proposed amendments to the legislation to set up the body, including reducing the Minister's power in appointing the coordinator and giving the body extra functions.

Shadow transport and infrastructure minister Warren Truss says body will take years to develop its list of priorities and make any contribution to improving national infrastructure.

And he says as Labor has declared that all of its election funding promises will be honoured there will be no capital funds for Infrastructure Australia to allocate before 2014.

He says it "seems fairly certain" Labor will under-spend the Coalition on road and rail infrastructure, "by many billions of dollars".

"There is a level of needless bureaucracy about Infrastructure Australia that is quite worrying," Truss says. "The Coalition does not believe that it should be a roadblock on new and existing infrastructure projects.

"Labor has a dreadful record at state and territory level on the planning and construction of major road and rail projects, creating huge bottlenecks in and around our capital cities."

The Coalition will move three technical amendments to the Infrastructure Australia Bill 2008. They include the lifting of restrictions to allow it to undertake reviews under its own volition, making the Minister’s power to give it new functions subject to parliamentary scrutiny, and ensure that the Minister seeks advice from Infrastructure Australia before appointing the Infrastructure Coordinator/

Truss says this last condition will reduce the temptation to appoint a "Labor mate".

"The Coalition believes these sensible and well-thought out amendments should be supported by the Government," he says.

ATN has been unable to reach federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese for comment.

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