19 February 2015
Tony Abbott has abandoned the people of Newcastle, holding up job-creating infrastructure projects funded by the former Labor Government for over 9 months while systematically attacking healthcare, education and pensions.
Latest government figures show unemployment in Newcastle is now over 8%.
The former federal Labor Government committed $52 million of federal funding to upgrade Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road in Newcastle in August 2013, after the project was identified as a regional priority by Infrastructure Australia.
Funding was included in the 2013 Labor Government Budget. Yet upon being elected Mr Abbott delayed the project. Labor welcomed news that the design contract had finally been awarded in December last year.
The duplication of the Tourle St Bridge will ease congestion along the corridor connecting the City with the Kooragang Island industrial precinct as well as RAAF Williamtown and the residential areas of Stockton, Fern Bay, Medowie and Port Stephens.
Newcastle has a right to be disappointed by the combined efforts of the State and Federal Liberal governments. Tony Abbott’s cuts to infrastructure, education, health and pensions are impacting on Newcastle’s residents.
In the 2014 Budget, Tony Abbott ripped out more than $50 million that had been allocated to establish the High Speed Rail Authority to progress this transformative project for Newcastle.
Meanwhile, his best mate Mike Baird’s only plan for the future is to flog public assets which once lost, can never be regained.
The former federal Labor Government also:
- Funded and built the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway, cutting travel time between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley by 25 minutes
- Provided $405 million for the missing F3-M2 link, funded in the 2013 Budget, later reannounced as ‘Northconnex’ by the Abbott Government
- $205 million for upgrades to the F3
- Complete the Bulahdelah Bypass and other upgrades on the Pacific Highway
- Undertook the most extensive upgrade of the Hunter region’s freight rail network in generations ($580 million)
- Improve safety at dozens of dangerous black spots on local roads.
- Install boom gates and other safety measures at high-risk level crossings.
- Provided over $20 million local community infrastructure funding in Newcastle including the Bar Beach Skate Park, Dixon Beach Park and Museum redevelopments.
Regional cities such as Newcastle have a critical role to play in our national economy.
The abandonment of the Major Cities Unit and any involvement of the national government in urban planning shows how out of touch the Abbott Government is with the needs of modern Australia.