Joint media release
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development
Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson, Senator for Victoria
The Albanese Government must provide certainty on productivity-enhancing and lifesaving projects in Ballarat.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said delivery of projects such as the Western Freeway realignment at Pykes Creek, the Western Highway duplication between Ararat and Stawell and Sunraysia Highway upgrades have been put at risk by the Albanese Labor Government’s decision to have a razor gang review funding for Victorian infrastructure projects.
Visiting Ballarat with Senator Sarah Henderson, Senator McKenzie inspected the site of the Ballarat Intermodal Freight Hub at the Ballarat West Employment Zone where works have finally commenced, making this project exempt from the review.
Senator McKenzie said the Ballarat Intermodal Freight Hub is a great example of the high-quality infrastructure investments that were part of the Coalitions $120 billion 10-year infrastructure pipeline.
“The intermodal freight hub has been strongly supported by the City of Ballarat Council and I am pleased to see this project has commenced and the Minister has been forced to admit this project will not be at risk under the infrastructure review.
“However, the Coalition remains concerned there are other Ballarat region projects that may be at risk as part of Labor’s review,” Senator McKenzie said.
Senator Henderson said Labor is demonstrating it doesn’t have a plan for the sustainable growth of our regional cities or the safety of our roads by threatening to cut local infrastructure projects.
“The Western Highway realignment at Pykes Creek is an important project which has already experienced delays in Labor’s October budget last year, making it particularly at risk of the infrastructure review,” Senator Henderson said.
“This is an incredibly important project for road safety. It makes no sense to cut this and other road and rail projects at a time when the Ballarat region is growing rapidly as people look for a better quality of life in our regions,” Senator Henderson said.
“Labor has delivered nothing for Ballarat in the recent budget, despite raiding the infrastructure budget to build stadiums in Tasmania and Queensland,” Senator Henderson said.
“Labor’s planned cuts to infrastructure as we brace for a further 1.5 million people to migrate to Australia is further proof Labor cannot manage money.
Senator McKenzie said the Albanese Labor Government has threatened almost 100 congestion-busting, productivity-enhancing, and lifesaving projects across Victoria.
“Labor’s infrastructure razor gang has been given the grim task of reviewing at least 90 Victorian projects worth over $20 billion, all of which had been identified as priorities by the former Coalition Government,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The full list of Victorian projects at risk may be even bigger as Labor has failed to guarantee that uncontracted future stages of projects currently under construction will be exempted from the razor gang process.
Senator Henderson said the Andrews Labor Government should not roll over and meekly accept these funding cuts out of Canberra.
“The State Government should stand up for the interests of Ballarat and push back against cuts to local infrastructure projects which have been planned with communities and the former Coalition government.