Rudd Deserts Another Principle

7 May

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 6 May 2010:

“The release of the long-awaited NBN study today reveals that Prime Minister Rudd has deserted one more of his once closely-held principles,” Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Infrastructure and Water said today.

In the 2008-09 Budget the Government committed themselves to:

  • “Decision making based on rigorous cost-benefit analysis to ensure the highest economic and social benefits to the nation over the long term.”

But page two of the NBN implementation study explicitly states that it is not a “cost-benefit analysis of the macro-economic and social benefits.”

“The NBN study reveals another Labor broken promise,” Senator Joyce said today. “Two years ago Mr Rudd was talking up the benefits of establishing Infrastructure Australia and subjecting infrastructure investments to rigorous analysis. But on the biggest infrastructure project he has committed to he has deserted these principles, just as he has deserted the ETS.”

“Infrastructure Australia has been effectively gagged on the issue. Their public analysis has amounted to five paragraphs last year in ticking off on an investment of up to $4.7 billion from the Building Australia Fund. At almost $1 billion per paragraph, it wasn’t cheap advice. Minister Albanese, the Minister for Infrastructure, was missing in action.”

As Ken Henry, Secretary of the Treasury, stated last year:

  • “Government spending that does not pass an appropriately defined cost-benefit test necessarily detracts from Australia’s wellbeing. That is, when taxpayer funds are not put to their best use, Australia’s wellbeing is not as high as it otherwise could be.”

“Is it any wonder that this is a Government that has racked up $138 billion in debt and is continuing to borrow up to $2 billion a fortnight? Like much of this borrowing, the Government made its decision to spend $43 billion on the NBN in haste. In Senate Estimates last year it was revealed that NBN Mark II was conceived between Senator Conroy and the Prime Minister during two plane flights on Mr Rudd’s VIP jet” Senator Joyce said.

“The ‘back of the boarding pass’ approach to infrastructure selection must end. A Coalition Government will conduct and release cost-benefit analysis on infrastructure investments.”

More Information- Jenny Swan 07 46 251500

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