Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has published official advice from the independent Parliamentary Budget Office showing the funding to upgrade the McKoy Street and Hume Freeway intersection in Wodonga which was promised in the 2019 election campaign has not been delivered.
Just 2% of the $168 million promised in the lead up to the last election and in the October 2020 budget has been spent. At the time of the announcement, the Government also promised more than 500 new jobs would be created for the border region, but those jobs have also failed to materialise.
“This shows the Government will talk big in the lead up to an election, but they don’t follow through,” Dr Haines said.
“The intersection of the Hume Freeway and McKoy Street is a dangerous problem that has been around for years and it needs to be fixed.”
After consultation work on the intersection in 2021, it is unclear when work will even start, let alone when the upgrades will be complete. The Federal Government has already blamed the Victorian Government for the delays.
“The complete lack of progress on this project over the past three years is an indictment on both the Federal Government and the Victorian Labor Government and shows the toxic impact of party politics.
“At the end of the day, this is Federal Government money that’s not delivered. The Federal Government was very happy to make a lot of fanfare when they announced this funding commitment. Both the Federal and Victorian Governments should own up to their failures when they don’t deliver on them.”
Dr Haines has been a strong advocate for a robust federal integrity commission which would create more transparency around the way federal governments announce funding commitments ahead of elections.
“Public funds should be committed and spent in the public interest. If Ministers are flying around making promises they cannot keep, or making false announcements to win votes, the public has the right to know. That’s no way to treat taxpayer funds.”