Spending withheld for “priority” regional infrastructure projects
Posted on 21 October 2019
The Morrison government has only spent a small amount from a large pool of infrastructure funds meant for “immediate priorities” in regional infrastructure; $2.2 million of $3.5 billion.
The Roads of Strategic Importance initiative was announced in the last budget by Michael McCormack, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and identified four immediate priority areas to help develop key corridors in regional Australia, for tourism, freight and resource transportation.
As it currently stands, 98% of projects identified under the initiative are yet to begin construction.
A question on notice from the Labor senator Murray Watt has prompted the construction of one project which was not included in the original list of priorities.
Catherine King, the Infrastructure shadow minister, has criticised the pattern of underspending in the sector by the coalition.
“None of the ROSI ‘immediate priorities’ are underway and not a cent was spent on mainland Australian roads in all of 2018-19,” she said in a statement.
“With just $70.8 million allocated from ROSI for all of 2019-20, it just shows Scott Morrison’s infrastructure program is all on the never never.”