Leader of the Liberal Party
Leader of the Opposition

Portfolio Speeches

Roads: federal funding

Mr McINTOSH (Kew) -- My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer advise the house whether the federal budget of 14 May provided a fair share of road funding for Victoria?

Mr O'BRIEN (Treasurer) -- I thank the member for Kew for his very important question as to whether or not Victoria is getting a fair share from the federal government in relation to road funding. Victoria has a population share of around 25 per cent in Australia, but in the recent federal budget Victoria received a share of Nation Building program funding in 2013-14 of only 11.6 per cent. This compares to a 24 per cent share of funding for Queensland and a 45 per cent share for New South Wales. We have a New South Wales bias in the funding coming from a Victorian Prime Minister, and it is appalling.

It is a matter of record that we have sought $1.5 billion worth of funding from the federal government for the east-west link project. This will be a major infrastructure project that will create 3200 jobs in Victoria. We want to get on with it. We want to create those jobs, create that economic activity, boost our productivity and boost our livability. The last federal budget had precisely zero dollars in funding for the east-west link -- not a single dollar. As the Premier has indicated, the federal opposition has committed $1.5 billion -- nothing from the federal Labor government. We have a New South Wales Liberal leader who is more committed to supporting a Victorian infrastructure project than a supposedly Victorian Labor Prime Minister. What we want to see is fairness.

There was some significant funding for road projects in the federal budget.

Mr Foley interjected.

The SPEAKER -- Order! The member for Albert Park!

Mr O'BRIEN -- The federal government committed $1.8 billion to a major road project in western Sydney. The federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, was quizzed by journalists about why he was not supporting the

east-west link. I quote from an article in the Australian:

  • 'We don't say that we won't fund it or we will fund it, we say give us the business case', Mr Albanese told reporters on Sunday.

That is what makes the support for WestConnex in western Sydney so interesting, because, and I quote from the Telegraph of 15 May:

  • Mr Albanese put three conditions on the funding of the WestConnex -- the state government must 'finalise a detailed business case for assessment by Infrastructure Australia ...

Apparently you do not need a business case if it is a western Sydney marginal seat, because they get $1.8 billion without a business case but Victoria gets nothing. We get absolutely dudded. You might ask, 'How does Infrastructure Australia rate WestConnex versus the east-west link?'.

Mr Ryan interjected.

Mr O'BRIEN -- Excellent interjection, Deputy Premier. Infrastructure Australia (IA) has ranked WestConnex as being early stage -- the lowest of the four priority categories IA has and a category below that of the east-west link. So you have $1.8 billion going from Labor to a western Sydney project with no business case and the lowest IA ranking possible and there is not one dollar for the east-west link. This is a government in Canberra which does not care about Victoria, does not care about jobs and does not care about infrastructure. It is wrong, and it needs to change.

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Michael O'Brien MP

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