'Irresponsible' Opposition puts road-rail investment at risk: Albanese

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese slams Opposition's decision to block Budget measures, claiming it risks infrastructure investment

By Brad Gardner

The Rudd Government may be forced to reduce the amount it spends on critical road and rail infrastructure if it cannot pass its Budget measures in the Senate.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese says the Coalition’s decision to use its majority in the senate earlier this year to block increased taxes may force the Government to reconsider its $20 billion investment in the Building Australia Fund.

In an interview with Channel 9’s Laurie Oakes, Albanese accused the Opposition of acting irresponsibly in its opposition to measures such as the ‘alcopops’ tax, an increase in the fuel excise and the luxury car tax.

He claims the Opposition’s decision to jeopardise more than $6 billion in revenue will reduce the surplus, in turn reducing the amount of money the Government can invest in infrastructure.

"The irresponsible position of the Opposition in blocking more than $6 billion in Budget measures will take money from those funds and will mean that that money is not available for long-term infrastructure spending," Albanese says.

"It would appear that we have an Opposition that's determined to wreck the budget."

The Rudd Government established the Building Australia Fund earlier this year.

Infrastructure Australia, set up by the Government and chaired by Sir Rod Eddington, is to guide investment in key projects by way of its priority list which will be developed following an infrastructure audit.

The advisory body this week released a discussion paper calling for input from individuals and businesses about how best to spend the $20 billion.

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