Traffic program poured billions into Coalition seats before election
Analysis has revealed 83 per cent of cash doled out under an Urban Congestion Fund went to Coalition-held seats and those targeted by the Government in the lead up to the May election.
Annika Smethurst, National political editor, The Sunday TelegraphSubscriber only|February 23, 2020 12:00amClosePauseLoaded: 64.42%Current Time 0:06/Duration 1:17FullscreenNOW PLAYINGResumePopulation growth poses infrastructure challenge1:17UP NEXT
Infrastructure Australia has warned a new wave of investment is needed to ensure roads and public transport, schools, water, electricity and health services support people’s
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‘The $4 billion Urban Congestion Fund was designed to reduce traffic gridlock and remove bottlenecks that slow down commuters.
But an analysis of more than 160 projects funded under the scheme reveals 144 projects — 83 per cent — were located on roads in Coalition or marginal Labor seats that the government thought it could win.
In NSW, more than 76 per cent of the $541 million allocated went to projects in Liberal-held seats or marginal Labor electorates.’
In Western Sydney, the Coalition couldn’t find any traffic bottlenecks to fix in the safe Labor electorates of:
-Blaxland, Chifley, Fowler, Greenway, Parramatta, Werriwa and Watson.
But more serious problems in the battleground of:
-Lindsay — which it won
-with the Penrith area picking up four projects worth $118.5 million
-6 projects totalling more than $80M funded in Liberal marginal seat of Banks and $50M in Warringah
‘In an echo of the so-called “Sports Rorts” scandal that saw Bridget McKenzie forced to step down as a minister, while more than 20 urban seats held by Labor missed out entirely, not one Liberal-held marginal city seat missed out.
Construction has started on just four projects, with 70 to start this year.’
-applications are not subject to a competitive grants process unlike sporting grants
‘Instead state governments, local councils and federal MPs can make representations to the government for funding. It is not known how many local and state governments requested funding in Labor seats but the government said only one Labor MP — Graham Perrett from the marginal seat of Moreton — asked for cash.’
-the government submitted two-thirds of the projects were election commitments
-Catherine King accused the government of using billions for its “own political purposes”.
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