Opposition spokesperson for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Anthony Albanese during his recent vist to Coffs Harbour.
Opposition spokesperson for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Anthony Albanese during his recent vist to Coffs Harbour. Trevor Veale

Popeye hamburger economics for bypass

THE question from Labor regarding funding for the Coffs Harbour bypass is how can the Federal Government promise money that it hasn't budgeted for?

In a speech he made at an Infrastructure Partnerships Australia lunch in Sydney, the opposition spokesperson for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese likened the Federal Government's pledge of $971million for the Coffs Harbour bypass but only allocating funding of $235million until 2021/22 in last week's budget to the old Popeye comic strip.

"It is commitments on the never-never," Mr Albanese said.

"It's a bit like Mr Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons who used to wander around saying: 'I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today'."

When the Coffs Coast Advocate asked Mr Albanese about the promise of funds for the long awaited bypass and the amount to be spent according to the budget, he didn't mince his words regarding the $736million that hasn't been allocated.

"Only about a quarter of the funding for the Coffs Harbour bypass will appear in the next four years," he said.

"They've finally committed to this long-promised project but, like a lot of its projects, its actual delivery is off in the never never."

Mr Albanese said it's not just an issue for the Coffs bypass but other infrastructure projects around the country.

"Four out of five dollars announced for railways and roads in last week's Federal Budget won't be delivered for at least four years," he said.

"The Budget documents shows that of $19.3 billion worth of new infrastructure projects announced last week, only one per cent of the funding will be spent in 2018-19.

"Only about 20% will be invested over the next four years."

Labor made a commitment to the Coffs Harbour bypass if voted into power at the next election during a post-budget interview opposition spokesperson for Regional Services Stephen Jones had on ABC Coffs Coast.

"If there's a change of government, which clearly we are working towards, we will back the Coffs Harbour bypass," Mr Jones said in the radio appearance.

"If we are in government, that will proceed. If the money has been put in the budget, that project will proceed on our watch."



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