Government’s solution to fix infrastructure blowout… has blown out: KAP 

Nov 6, 2023

A 90-day review into federal infrastructure projects which aimed to claw back issues regarding blowouts, has, ironically blown out itself bringing nation-building works to a standstill, Katter’s Australian Party says.  

The current Federal Labor Government accused its predecessors of a “blowout” of works under the $120bn Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP) increasing from 150, to 800 projects, ordering a 90-day review to “assess projects funded under the IIP and make recommendations on the merits of projects continuing.”  

This 90-day review was announced in early May by the Federal Infrastructure Minister, however it has now been more than 180 days with no answers, and no progress on many projects, some of which idly await commencement.  

Federal KAP MP for Kennedy Bob Katter questioned what the current Federal Government had built or achieved in its 18 months in power to date.  

“The minute you have a review or anything of that nature it’s really a decision to make no decision; it’s a guarantee that nothing will happen,” Mr Katter said.  

“We’ve got bridge being built for cassowaries to cross the highway near Tully which blew out from $12m to $30m, and leads them down an unwalkable steep slope, onto a railway line; why aren’t there questions being asked here, where’s the review into this.  

“Yet in the wettest part of the country, I’m told we’ve got flood resistance projects on hold and being reviewed – for parts of the Bruce Hwy between Tully and Ingham.  

“Once again the Federal Government is proving to be very ineffective on all fronts, it’s incapable of doing all things, except postponing and having inquiries.”  

KAP deputy leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said while the government had been focussing on how to spend $450m to convince everyone to vote yes, it had forgotten the rest of Australia.  

“The whole country is on pause right now while the Federal Government twiddles their thumbs,” Mr Dametto said.  

“They promised a 90-day review, they’ve blown that out, they’ve broken a promise to the Australian people and every state is suffering right now, including Queensland.  

“This makes me furious, we’ve got projects in Hinchinbrook that have been in the pipeline for 10 years and about to start, and then they pull the rug out from underneath us.” 

Mr Dametto said two examples of critical projects awaiting commencement in his region were improvements to the Bruce Hwy just south of Tully, and just north of Ingham, for flood mitigation.  

He said concrete culverts had been left rotting on the side of the road at the Tully site, caught up in the government’s bureaucracy.   

“Another concern is when they decide which projects are going forward and which aren’t after this review – are they just going to open the floodgates?  

“There’s only a certain amount of road crews out there to start these projects, there’s only a certain amount of material – so what happens again – price of labour, price of materials goes through the roof again – the exact reason they pulled the pin and started the review in the first place to wind back those cost blowouts.” 

Major North Queensland transport operator Les Blennerhassett said his Bruce Hwy Tully truck depot had suffered significant and continuous flood water damage for about 10 years, and upgrade works were had finally been slated in about four years ago.  

Mr Blennerhassett said he had been advised those works for flood mitigation were due to be completed earlier this year. However no progress has been made as more than 100 concrete culverts sit rotting at the corner of Bruce Hwy and Lentini Rd.