Since the Coalition government assumed office in September 2013, they have embarked on a campaign of ribbon-cutting, dirt shovelling, and photos that would have one believe they have been hard at it implementing new initiatives and funding new infrastructure – except they are regifting.
On January 17, 2014 they shamelessly re-announced the $210 million Cape York Infrastructure Package, more than six months after Labor first unveiled it.
Disgraced former Minister Jamie Briggs made a flurry of announcements. In January 2014 he spoke about the benefits of the Legacy Way road tunnel project and the new northbound lane of the Gateway Motorway in Brisbane, Ministers visited work on the Princes Highway East in Victoria and the Pacific Highway on the NSW North Coast between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale, in March Briggs was reannouncing the Midland Highway in Tasmania, and in April he re-announced the funding to duplicate the Western Highway from Ballarat to Stawell.
Ex-Nationals leader Warren Truss was busy doing the same thing when visiting the Swan Valley Bypass project in Western Australia and the upgraded Port Lincoln airport in South Australia.
Labor planned, funded and started work on each of these projects.
In December 2015, Mr Truss announced “The Australian Government has committed $9.1 million to the Ballarat Freight Hub.”
Truss said the Freight Hub is part of an economic development strategy by the City of Ballarat which is forecast to provide thousands of jobs and contribute some $5 billion to the economy.
A quick look shows this funding was announced in May 2013 in Swan’s 2013-14 budget.
Ballarat Freight Hub: development of a general freight centre in the Ballarat West Employment Zone.
Federal contribution: $9.1 million.
Senators Zed Seselja, Michael Ronaldson and even Defence minister Marise Payne have each fronted up to smile for the cameras at the opening of their local trade skill centre and Barnaby Joyce posted about visiting his only a couple of days ago. This was a Labor intitiative begun in 2008 from which the Coalition stripped $950 million in funding.
The day after Tony Windsor confirmed he would be running against Barnaby Joyce, Barnaby issued a media release saying “more than 5,700 children will benefit from the Turnbull Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education.” Education Minister Simon Birmingham said that the National Partnership funding was just one aspect of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to early childhood education.
Except the NPA was signed by Julia Gillard in 2013.
And there was Barnaby again at the ribbon-cutting for the opening of the upgraded Tamworth Hospital even though the funding for the redevelopment was secured in May 2011.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has been crowing about the rollout of the NBN, saying it is on target when in fact, it is only the FttP which is on target, largely due to new constructions. The FttN and MTM are woefully behind schedule in every aspect.
Then of course we have Andrew Robb who, given a deadline of a few months, concluded trade deals that had been in negotiation for years. What did those signatures cost us that all previous negotiators had been unwilling to pay?
As Tony Windsor once said, I don’t really care who unveils the plaque as long as it gets done, but these guys are taking plagiarism to a whole new level.