Greens Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson Senator Janet Rice has condemned the Morrison government for failing to invest in a green recovery that would create new jobs and build the foundations of a fair, clean economy.
Instead, the Morrison government is doubling down on transport infrastructure that locks in pollution, props up fossil fuel corporations and will make the climate crisis even worse.
Senator Rice said:
“Budgets are about choices, and the Morrison government is making the wrong ones.
“We welcome more investment in infrastructure, but cherry picking projects out of the air is not the way to decide which projects should be funded. Projects should not get federal funds until they have been assessed by Infrastructure Australia and are part of an integrated transport plan that has been developed transparently with comprehensive community consultation.
“It’s great to see the government finally allocating long-awaited money to improve rail services to Shepparton and Warrnambool, but there are still many regional areas - like Gippsland in Victoria - that are behind left in the dust.
“But in Morrison’s budget, public transport investment in cities is no better. There is zero new money for public transport projects in Melbourne all the while the Coalition doles out more money for roads that will accelerate our climate crisis.
“Especially in the midst of this pandemic and the need to practice social distancing, we must make the most efficient use of the public transport we have and do what’s needed to stop overcrowding. This means investing in off-peak services, and improving and speeding up bus and tram services in our cities, so that when we do all go back to the office, we can get there quickly and safely.
“Any investment in active transport is also missing from this budget. In Victoria, cycling has tripled since the start of the pandemic, but people will be forced back into their cars when they return to onsite work because the safe bike paths to get them to work just don’t exist.
“We need to make bikes and walking a national priority and commit $250 million per year to build zero carbon walking and cycling infrastructure to make our neighbourhoods more liveable and transport networks less polluting.
“Instead the government’s ‘Local roads and community infrastructure’ fund will be mostly spent on regional roads and will give the same amount of funding to West Wimmera shire with 3800 residents as it does to Wyndham City Council which is fast approaching 300,000 residents.
“The Greens are the only party to have released a credible alternative recovery plan to fight the climate crisis and COVID economic recession together.”