Hundreds of infrastructure projects around Australia – including key freight routes – will be reviewed by the Albanese government and could be axed.
Under the Liberals and Nationals, the number of infrastructure projects in the pipeline blew out from nearly 150 to 800. But their appetite for announcing “press release” projects wasn’t matched with a commitment to deliver, said Infrastructure Minister Catherine King.
“We are maintaining our strong commitment to a 10-year $120 billion infrastructure pipeline, whilst ensuring the land transport infrastructure projects we deliver are nationally significant, and nation-shaping projects,” said King.
She said projects were left without adequate funding or resources, projects without real benefits to the public were approved, and the clogged pipeline has caused delays and overruns in important, nation building projects.
“Many projects under the Liberals and Nationals, never even started. Some 160 projects, had a commitment of $5 million dollars, or less.
“Yet again, the previous government were all announcement, no delivery.
“Leaving these fiscal time bombs wasn’t an accident, it was their deliberate budget strategy, covering up their incompetence and hoping Australians wouldn’t find out.”
The government also pointed out that only 19 per cent of smaller projects witih a federal contribution of less than $50 million were located in Labor-held seats before the last election.
State and territory governments agreed to support a 90-day independent review of the projects at National Cabinet, and local governments will be consulted throughout the review.
This process will allow all levels of government time to consider the projects that are actual priorities and assess their cost and deliverability in the current climate, said King.
There is a shortfall of about 95,000 workers on public infrustructure projects across the country.
King, however, said that projects already under construction would still proceed.