Monday, 7 July 2014

Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan misled his own electorate

The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, has asserted that this statement by Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan on Page One of The Daily Examiner on 28 March 2014 was deliberately misleading:

Mr Hogan said the government's $1.75 billion five-year funding extension of the Roads to Recovery program was at risk of being blocked in the Senate.
"If Labor and the Greens vote against the legislation in the Senate, the program will terminate," he said.
"Given Labor and the Greens' position on this bill our local councils of Ballina, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley stand to lose a total of more than $17.8 million this financial year.
"Across New South Wales, local roads will lose more than a staggering $480 million if Labor doesn't get out of the way."

What Kevin Hogan neglected to say was that, although the Road to Recovery Program funding was not scheduled to extend beyond 30 June 2014, the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2014 passed by the House of Representatives on 24 March 2014 will put in place new funding conditions for the Program and that funding allocations to councils for the 2014-15 financial year will be determined after that.

Nor did Mr.Hogan apparently bother to inform local journalists that the bill had been in the Senate since 25 March when consideration was adjourned until 13 May 2014.

At which time it apparently fell off the Abbott Government agenda.

The bill was scheduled for Senate debate on 23 June 2014, however this did not occur.

One could suspect that Prime Minister Abbott decided to defer the matter until after the new minor party senators took their seats in the Upper House on the 7th of this month.

UPDATE: The Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill was scheduled as government business (second reading—adjourned debate) in the Senate on 8 July 2014 – except that didn’t occur either according to Hansard.

Kevin Hogan was dog whistling in his statement quoted by The Daily Examiner. The Abbott Government clearly does not regard the Roads to Recovery funding to be in jeopardy.

Although, under Abbott’s cost-cutting regimen I’m not sure that regional councils will be pleased with the level of funding they are offered next financial year, as I suspect that the government of which Kevin Hogan is a part may seek to reduce future regional roads funding.


What the Federal Dept. of Infrastructure and Regional Development stated about this bill and future funding on 3 June 2014:

The objective of Roads to Recovery is to contribute to the Infrastructure Investment Programme through supporting maintenance of the nation’s local road infrastructure asset, which facilitates greater access for Australians and improved safety, economic and social outcomes.
From 2014-15 to 2018-19 the Government will provide $2.1 billion ($350 million in 2014-15) under the Roads to Recovery programme, to be distributed to Australia's local councils, state and territory Governments responsible for local roads in the unincorporated areas (where there are no councils) and the Indian Ocean Territories.
The Bill to amend the Nation Building Program (National Land Transport) Act 2009 (the Act) to provide for this extension is currently before Parliament. Following the amendment of the Act, the Government will determine new council allocations and new funding conditions for the Programme.

Excerpt from the 6 July 2014 media release from Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese:

Nationals’ MP for Page Kevin Hogan has been caught out deliberately misleading his own community with invented claims about imaginary threats to the $1.75 billion Roads to Recovery program.

Late in March Mr Hogan told the Clarence Valley Daily Examiner that if Labor did not back the Abbott Government’s new Land Transport Infrastructure Bill, the Roads to Recovery program and its grants to councils for road works, would end on June 30. 

“The program will terminate,’’ Mr Hogan said, claiming this could cost councils in his electorate more than $17 million.

As Labor said at the time, Mr Hogan’s claims were wrong. June 30 came and went last week with no end to the Roads to Recovery program, which the previous Labor Government funded fully in our 2013 Budget…..

1 comment:

Paul r said...

It's also funny how it's " labor and greens" not... Labor, greens, and minor party senators.....