While the federal budget has made record investment in public transport infrastructure, with $4.2 billion awarded to new commuter rail projects in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the Labor government has failed NSW commuters, Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.
Senator Rhiannon has criticised Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese for letting NSW come in last in the infrastructure stakes, attracting only 17% of the $15 billion Nation Building II funding announced last night.
“Sydney got the booby prize with public money being used to prop up two new private motorways that will increase tolls for Sydney motorists and induce more traffic congestion”, said Senator Rhiannon.
“Once again NSW has failed to attract federal infrastructure funding for much needed improvements to public transport.
“NSW received $2.2 billion for upgrades to the privately owned and operated M2, M4, and M5 motorways, with nothing for new public transport and just $40 million for ongoing rail upgrades at Port Botany.
“The federal government is looking to solve its budget woes with Public Private Partnership funding, and NSW has a gaggle of road building companies lining up for public investment in their private toll roads.
“The NSW government should have followed the lead of its state colleagues and proposed public transport projects for Nation Building funding. Melbourne got $3 billion for a new rail line.
“Instead NSW prioritised the doomed WestConnex motorway, which we already know is not a solution to Sydney’s ailing public transport network.
“So far the federal government has announced $15 billion in new in Nation Building II infrastructure projects. $11 billion or 70% of funding goes to roads projects, only 1% to new freight rail projects, and $4.2 billion or 28% was awarded to new commuter rail projects in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
“The Greens welcome new federal funding for public transport, though it is disappointing that so much money is being tied up in public private partnerships, given the terrible track record of failed private motorways in Australia.
“I will be seeking more detail about the Government’s strategy to partner with private developers in the upcoming Budget Estimates hearings,” said Senator Rhiannon.