Tuesday, 14 November 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. How is the Albanese Labor government ensuring the Commonwealth's investment in infrastructure will deliver projects that genuinely deliver for our communities and end the rorts and waste of the Liberals and the Nationals?
Can I particularly thank the member for Lyons for the question and commend him for his ongoing advocacy for infrastructure, particularly his continuous advocacy for the Bridgewater Bridge, which is now finally under construction. Unfortunately, what we saw in the last 10 years was the Liberal and National parties using the infrastructure investment pipeline to invest in media statements and in signs rather than in actually delivering projects that improve our communities. The infrastructure review, which I will be responding to in coming days, found an estimated $33 billion of known cost blowouts in projects in the Infrastructure Investment Program, and they have said that there is a high chance that this will blow out even further. Of projects not yet in construction, where not a—
Opposition members interjecting—
Order! The minister will pause. There is far too much noise coming from the frontbench here—the member for Riverina, the member for Gippsland, the Leader of the Nationals and the member for Page. There's a pattern. I'm just going to say: I want to hear what the minister has to say, and I can't hear what she's saying.
The member for Page will leave the chamber under 94(a).
The member for Page then left the chamber.
When I mention you by name and I'm trying to bring House to order, that is not the time to interject, trust me. I'm just going to take the temperature down so I can hear what the minister has to say.
Of the projects not yet in construction, where not a single sod has been turned, the review found that there are $14.2 billion of known cost blowouts. They found that it would simply not be possible to deliver the current 10-year pipeline of projects within the $120 billion Commonwealth allocation.
Significantly, they found that, without making significant immediate changes to program settings, the Australian government cannot afford to meet cost pressures or, I add, add any new projects to the pipeline for the next 10 years. That is the legacy left by those opposite: under them, no new Commonwealth investment in infrastructure projects until 2033. That is the legacy and the mismanagement of those opposite. That is because, in the words of the reviewers:
There are projects in the IIP that do not demonstrate merit, lack any national strategic rationale and do not meet the Australian Government's national investment priorities.
That is why today I have announced our new infrastructure policy statement that will guide Commonwealth infrastructure investment into the future. It recommits the Commonwealth to delivering nationally significant infrastructure, ensuring that we've got productivity, sustainability, livability and investment in infrastructure that is nationally significant—projects including an involvement of Commonwealth contribution of at least $250 million, freight investment in our key freight routes, and projects that align with our broader national priorities in increasing housing and unlocking critical minerals. We will be investing in projects that enhance that productivity.
Those opposite have left a complete and utter mess when it comes to the infrastructure investment pipeline, and it's no wonder, frankly, that it was the members of the National Party who were protesting so much. We're getting on with cleaning up your mess and delivering the infrastructure the nation needs. (Time expired)