Regional infrastructure spend in doubt if mining tax cut

Warren Truss
Warren Truss

BILLIONS of dollars in regional infrastructure funds remain uncertain under the Coalition's legislation to repeal the mining tax, released on Thursday.

But despite Labor promising the funds would be delivered, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has labelled the pledge a "cruel con".

He said the former government knew the money, including a $2 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund that the Coalition has removed, did not exist.

"It is astonishing that, even now, Labor continues to spruik its hollow projects when, in government, it failed to fund them," he said.

"Hundreds of projects were announced that had not even received cursory departmental assessments, yet Labor was promising anyone who would listen that these were somehow a done deal.

"While Labor had originally allocated the funds to come from mining tax revenue, it has guaranteed the money would still be delivered despite the massive shortfall in revenue."

Details of which specific projects could lose out under the new government's decision not to fund mining tax-associated projects have not yet been released.

However, Mr Truss said he would still deliver funds for all contracts that have already been signed, leaving all those without official contracts in place unlikely to be funded.

"Labor was unable to deliver RDAF and RIF projects it already had on its books because those projects depended on a mining tax that, as we all now know, raised virtually no money," he said.

Mr Truss reiterated the new government had set aside $1 billion in secured funds for a new Stronger Regions Fund, but said the government was still working out which RDAF projects would miss out.

The laws to repeal the mining tax will also remove Labor's Schoolkids Bonus and low-income superannuation bonus, and will delay Labor's planned superannuation rise to 12% for at least two years.

Topics:  infrastructure mining tax politics

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