Tasmanians will be rightly sceptical of the Liberals’ latest attempt to ‘fast track’ infrastructure projects after years of delays, false starts and growing congestion for our state’s motorists.
Our state has been stuck in the slow lane on infrastructure while the Liberals have made a growing list of announcements and re-announcements.
Few projects highlight the State and Federal Liberal Governments’ infrastructure incompetency as much as the Hobart Airport roundabout upgrade.
It has been more than four years since the Liberals first committed funding to the upgrade and it has been more than six months since Scott Morrison promised to ‘fast track’ it.
Despite announcement after announcement there is still no publicly available design for the project. The project was meant to be finished in 2020 - this year - but construction has not even started. It will be years more before Tasmanian motorists see any benefits.
If it takes the Liberals more than four years to even start a roundabout how can Tasmanians trust them to deliver the major infrastructure our state needs?
Documents tabled in Senate Estimates in the first week of March showed that $8 million was meant to be spent by the Morrison Liberal Government to bust congestion in Hobart by the middle of 2020. Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Senator Carol Brown questioned what the money was being spent on.
“Given projects to bust urban congestion have yet to even be identified it seems difficult to see where this $8 million has gone,” Senator Brown said.
“It is for Scott Morrison’s Government to detail what this money has been spent on. Is it going to yet more consultants for yet more reports?
“Scott Morrison is a salesman. He’s great at making promises but when it comes to actually delivering results we repeatedly see cost blow-outs and delays with projects off on the never-never,” Senator Brown said.
“The Liberals talk big but deliver small on infrastructure in Tasmania,” said Federal Lyons MP Brian Mitchell. “Their failure to build is costing Tasmania jobs and investment, which are both falling off a cliff.”
“Remember the four-lane Midland Highway they promised. It didn’t happen. Bridgewater Bridge…? Has not started. Four-lane Sorell causeway…? No sign of it. The Liberals go to elections promising the world but after the election their promises get stuck in the bottom drawer.
“Labor knows that infrastructure is the engine room of economic activity. And we know that you can’t just talk about it, you have to build it,” Mr Mitchell said.
SUNDAY 31 MAY 2020