Infrastructure fast-track to beat economic woes

The Rudd Government will refer infrastructure legislation to a senate committee to fast-track vital transport projects

The Rudd Government will this week refer legislation for its infrastructure fund to a senate committee to fast-track vital transport projects
The decision is in response to the financial downturn in world markets, and is designed to reduce the impact this will have on economic growth and jobs.

By speeding up the implementation of the $20 billion Building Australia Fund, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Albanese says key infrastructure projects can be funded as early as possible.

"Fast-tracking the nation-building agenda can secure economic activity in the short term and expand growth potential in the medium to long term," he says.

In announcing the decision, Albanese warned the Opposition against stalling the Government’s plans.

"The Government calls on the Opposition to make sure that there are no obstacles to the implementation of this commitment," Albanese says.

"The Rudd Government is taking decisive action to sustain growth and protect Australians from the fall-out from the global financial crisis."

Opposition spokesman on infrastructure Andrew Robb has indicated the Opposition will oppose the Building Australia Fund, saying the Government will use it as a slush fund to support state Labor governments.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Albanese have denied the allegations, citing the independence of Infrastructure Australia as justification why the fund will not be used as pork barrelling.

The move to send the legislation before a committee follows the decision to request Infrastructure Australia to submit its infrastructure audit by the end of the year.

More than $12 billion has already been committed to the Building Australia Fund.

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