Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Coalition spends up big in its marginal seats and small in Labor electorates

Extract from The Guardian

The Turnbull government has pledged to spend $859m on 73 infrastructure projects in Coalition-held seats and only four Labor-held seats benefit

The deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, has plenty to smile about: his seat of New England is a major beneficiary of Coalition grants.
The deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, has plenty to smile about: his seat of New England is a major beneficiary of Coalition grants. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Most of the new infrastructure projects on which the Turnbull government is spending $859m are in Coalition-held seats, especially marginals.
The projects have all been announced since the 3 May budget and are detailed in the Coalition’s costing document released on Tuesday by the treasurer, Scott Morrison, and the finance minister, Mathias Cormann.
An analysis by Guardian Australia of the projects reveals that 73 are in Coalition seats and just four are in Labor seats, although several others serve multiple electorates including Labor seats.
The seat held by the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, New England, is a major beneficiary, receiving grants for the Armidale airport roundabout, Inverell shire traffic flow improvements, the Jewry Street bridge, the Munsie bridge upgrade, Scone bypass, Tenterfield heavy vehicle bypass and an upgrade of Tamworth regional airport.
Joyce is locked in a tight contest with the former independent MP Tony Windsor.
One of the biggest commitments was $105m for the Gateway and Pacific motorways, to benefit the Liberal National party seats of Bonner and Flynn and the Labor seat of Moreton in Queensland.
The other biggest commitments were all in Coalition-held electorates: $110m for the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes upgrade in McPherson; $65m for the Bowen basin service link and Walkerston bypass in Capricornia; $60m for Outback Way in O’Connor; $50m for the Murrumbateman bypass in Eden Monaro, and $50m for Appin Road in Hume and Macarthur.
Liberal-held marginals benefited from a large number of projects including Lyons, in Tasmania, with seven projects, and Dobell and Robertson on the New South Wales central coast, with four and three respectively.
The only projects in Labor electorates were Ryans Road in Port Adelaide, the Hobart airport roundabout upgrade in Franklin, and the Monaro highway widening and Pialligo Road duplication, both of which are in Canberra but also benefit the marginal seat of Eden-Monaro.
Asked at a doorstop on Wednesday why most of the new infrastructure money was to be spent in Coalition seats, Cormann said: “In the course of this election we’ve made commitments right around Australia.”
He said he would leave “commentary” on the appropriateness of the spending to others: “It will be a matter for the Australian people to decide whether they support ... the commitments that we’ve made, which are fully funded in the budget.”

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