Question Without Notice – Bruce Highway
Mr PITT (Hinkler) (14:51): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Will the minister update the House on the progress of the government‘s key infrastructure projects, and what is this government doing to ensure they are delivered?
Mr TRUSS (Wide Bay—Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for Hinkler for his question. The member will be well aware that this federal coalition government is making a record $50 billion investment in infrastructure across Australia. That means that there are key projects underway right now which otherwise would not have happened. I guess the member would be particularly interested in one of those significant projects, which is our commitment to upgrade the Bruce Highway, which connects his electorate to the north and to the south. It is one of the most dangerous roads in the country, and we have made a $6.7 billion commitment to reduce congestion, improve flood immunity and deliver safety benefits for both freight and communities. There are at least 60 projects on this program.
Honourable members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The Minister for the Environment and the member for Grayndler will cease interjecting.
Mr TRUSS: Just last week, the Leader of the Opposition announced his 10 projects that he was going to fund around the country. He mentioned the Bruce Highway, but what he must have forgotten was that, when they were in government, they actually tried to slow down the progress of upgrading the Bruce Highway. They demanded that the states, instead of paying 20 per cent of the cost, would have to pay 50 per cent of the cost. As a result, projects simply would not have happened. And, at the last election, their commitment to the Bruce Highway was $2 billion less than what the coalition had promised.
So here is, on the one hand, the Leader of the Opposition saying he is going to speed it up; but, when they were in government, they slowed it down. There are at least 30 projects on our list to build and to undertake on the Bruce Highway that were not on the opposition’s list, and they clearly are not there now, because they did not provide the funds that are necessary to deliver them.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will cease interjecting.
Mr TRUSS: Indeed, we have just called the tenders for Cooroy to Curra stage C, and Labor had provided no money for that project in their 10-year plan.
Honourable members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler and the Leader of the House will cease interjecting.
Mr TRUSS: When you look around at the Leader of the Opposition’s 10 projects that were on the list, it just draws to attention the projects that are not on the list. For instance, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the biggest project in regional Australia, is not on Labor’s list—it is just not there. The north-south corridor in Adelaide, South Australia’s biggest ever project, is not on the list. And what about the WestConnex and NorthConnex projects, let alone the Perth Freight Link? None of those are on Labor’s list. What about the inland rail? The Melbourne to Brisbane railway line is not on Labor’s list.
The clear reality is that, if the Labor were ever elected to office, projects would be stopped right across the country—because they are not about building infrastructure; they are about stopping infrastructure. (Time expired)