1 May 2023
Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said today the Albanese Labor Government must not strip any more nation-building road, rail, and infrastructure funding in its May Budget for Regional Australia and the New England.
Mr Joyce said that Labor’s October Budget cut $9.6 billion from infrastructure programs, $7 billion from projects to build dams and $10 billion in regional development programs.
“We know from the Senate Estimates that the New England Highway Tenterfield Heavy Vehicle Bypass construction completion has been delayed by 3 years, and as a consequence will blow out cost from $20 to $66 million.
“Every time a project has its funding deferred and its delivery delayed by Labor, the cost of delivering the project goes up, and Australians are left paying the price through higher taxes.
“The Tenterfield to Newcastle (New England Hwy) Future Priorities Funding has also been cut by $30 million and the Port Stephens Cutting upgrade has been delayed by 1 year with the project budget slashed by $3 million. This can only mean less of a project will hit the Cutting.
“Infrastructure projects such as Dungowan Dam must go ahead. The development of the Dam is an absolute priority for the people of New England. We know what it is like to not have water, just as all Regional Australians do, and the cities will feel it too. When we have less water we have less jobs and crops, that means a further increase in the cost of living,” said Mr Joyce.
Senator Bridgette McKenzie said that hundreds of millions has been stripped away from New South Wales over the forward estimates across a range of important infrastructure projects including rail investment and bridge renewal programs.
“The Albanese Government have made the wrong call at a time of high inflation and rising cost of living.
“After discovering these hidden cuts and delays during Senate estimates, the Coalition has been calling on the Albanese Government to bring forward and reinstate funding infrastructure projects local communities are in desperate need of.
“The Albanese Labor Government must provide clarity and reassurance that there will be no further cuts or delays from the infrastructure portfolio in the May Budget.
“Australians deserve better – better roads, better rail, and better infrastructure, not more cuts and delays from Labor,” Senator McKenzie said.
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