Victoria is being short-changed when it comes to federal infrastructure funding because most of the Turnbull government's pledged $7.8 billion won't flow through for at least four years, federal Labor says.
Opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said more than 90 per cent of the collective funds for road and rail projects, including the airport rail and North East links, will not be available 2022/23.
“That would require an election or re-election of the Turnbull government, then another re-election of the Turnbull government, then some time in the future, beyond 2023, before actual real funding of any significance flows,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
The May budget included $5 billion previously promised for heavy rail to Melbourne Airport, $1.75 billion for the North East Link road, and $475 million for a rail link between Monash University’s Caulfield and Clayton campuses.
But Mr Albanese said just $200 million for the North East Link and $23 million for the Monash Rail project would be available before 2023, and had similar complaints about other projects.
While the business case for the preferred airport rail line route is due in September, Mr Albanese is also unhappy about a lack of construction funding for it.
“What they’ve done here is make big announcements, not for the current term, not even for next term but for the term after and surely Victorians deserve much better than that,” he said.
The Turnbull government has previously copped criticism from federal Labor and the state Liberal-National opposition over Victoria’s level of infrastructure funding relative to its rapid population growth.
In a statement, Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher labelled Mr Albanese’s comments “inaccurate and misleading” and said Victoria would receive nearly $4.1 billion over the next four years.
“Most observers have recognised the wisdom of developing a long-term pipeline of infrastructure projects to be funded by the Commonwealth – it offers greater certainty for state governments and industry,” he added.
When questioned by reporters, state Opposition Leader Matthew Guy was sceptical about Mr Albanese’s figures.
“Who’s to know if it’s fact or not … I don’t know what he’s quoting,” he said.