Unsigned contracts a $150m loss to regional infrastructure

Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese Trevor Veale

UP TO $150 million has been removed from regional infrastructure projects, after the Federal Coalition said it would not back unsigned contracts the Labor Party promised, the Opposition has claimed.

Opposition Infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese made the claim while responding to Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss' recent comments the grants would not be delivered.

The funds, which Mr Albanese said were promised in last year's budget, total about $150 million in infrastructure grants to local councils around the country.

Mr Albanese said the Coalition has made no comments about whether the funds would be delivered before the election, before confirming the contracts would not be delivered this week.

But Mr Truss, who said the funds were linked to the failed mining tax, said Labor had failed to complete the contracts with councils before the election, and therefore the Coalition did not have to deliver the grants.

The funds have been in doubt since just after the election, when Mr Truss alluded to potential changes in the Regional Development Fund, but there has been no official confirmation of which grants will not be delivered.

Mr Albanese said he had already met with local council representatives, who had urged him to try and ensure delivery of the grants, and he was seeking a meeting with Mr Truss about it.

However, Mr Truss has previously said the Labor Party had promised "money that does not exist", as the mining tax failed to provide enough revenue to pay for the projects.

Topics:  anthony albanese infrastructure politics warren truss

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