• Infrastructure contingency fund emptied at election
• Minister Ignores his own advice on Mowbray interconnector
• How will Rockliff fund his Bruny Island Ferry mess?
Infrastructure Minister Jeremy Rockliff’s chaotic and reactionary approach to infrastructure planning has been exposed in his handling projects right across the state.
Labor Shadow Infrastructure Minister, David O’Byrne said the Bruny Island Ferry, the Mowbray interconnector and Hobart’s worsening traffic congestion have all caught the new Minister flat footed.
“Long term planning is what is needed to build the infrastructure of the future but the Liberals seem to be making it up as they go along,” Mr O’Byrne said.
Sealink told the Bruny Island community that its booking system would require additional waiting bays or lanes to be built at both Kettering and Roberts Point, in order to effectively implement its online booking system, but there is no money in the budget to build them.
“Jeremy Rockliff appears hell bent on implementing an online booking system, despite the Bruny Island community warning him against it,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“If an online booking system is to be implemented, then it will require infrastructure at both terminals and that will cost millions of dollars to build. That is money that is not in the budget and Mr Rockliff has no money in his contingency fund to pay for it.”
It is a similar story with the Mowbray interconnector and the Liberals’ belated decision to abandon plans for traffic lights in favour of a roundabout.
“While it is positive that the Government has finally listened to the community, there is absolutely no detail about how much the new plan will cost, when it will be completed and where the money will come from,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Just two weeks ago in Estimates, Mr Rockliff’s Department told Estimates a roundabout would increase the number of accidents and would not work effectively. (see attachment 1)
“Now he’s going to build one.”
During estimates, Mr Rockliff and his Department were unaware that the Liberals had spent the entirety of its unallocated infrastructure provision at the election (see attachment 2).
“Not only was the Minister unable to explain key details of the Liberals’ infrastructure plan, he was unaware the Liberals had spent the entire $335 million unallocated infrastructure provision on their massive election spending spree,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Mr Rockliff was not aware he had spent $335 million and nor was his Department.
“The risk of operating a budget without any form on contingency is exactly what we are seeing here. Immediate infrastructure needs have emerged but the Minister simply does not have any money to deal with them.
Meanwhile, Hobart’s traffic congestion is getting worse and the Government is nowhere to be seen.
“The Liberals have missed their own targets to take over Macquarie and Davey Streets from the Hobart City Council and they have failed to detail a broader traffic management plan. As a result we have the Hobart City Council taking matter into their own hands. The concern is that Government involvement there will be a lack of coordination across councils.
“The hands-off approach of Mr Rockliff just isn’t working and he refuses to even accept there is a growing problem.”