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Truss hits back at Albanese over allegations

Chris Ison

Mr Truss has made the following comments about Mr Albanese's press release:

"I have not misled the electorate because the legislation did not pass the Parliament."

"The Roads to Recovery program expired on 30 June 2014 and consequently no further payments can be made to councils until the legislation passes the Senate.

"Labor and The Greens voted against the legislation in the House of Representatives.

"When it became obvious the Labor-Greens alliance would not support the passing of the Bill in the Senate, the Government had no option but to wait until the formation of the new Senate.

"The only way Labor would support the Bill was if new layers of bureaucracy were added to every black spot and heavy vehicle safety project in Australia.

"It's time for Labor and The Greens to get out of the way and allow this vital funding to flow again to local councils."

Albanese: 'Truss misled his electorate'

DEPUTY Prime Minister Warren Truss has been caught out deliberately misleading the voters of Wide Bay with invented claims about imaginary threats to the $1.75 billion Roads to Recovery program, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese claims.

Mr Albanese said yesterday that in late March, Mr Truss said if Labor did not back the Abbott Government's new Land Transport Infrastructure Bill, the Roads to Recovery program and its grants to councils for road works would end on June 30.

Mr Truss said Wide Bay local councils would lose $6 million in grants, Mr Albanese claimed.

"He repeated this fiction in a June 18 speech to the Local Government Association, misleading the nation's mayors by saying: 'I hope we will have the numbers to get the legislation through the Parliament, because the funding for Roads to Recovery legislatively expired on 30 June this year'.

"As Labor said at the time, Mr Truss's claims were false.

"June 30 came and went last week with no end to the Roads to Recovery program, which the previous Labor Government funded fully in our 2013 Budget.

"The Land Transport Infrastructure Bill, designed to strike from the statue books the term nation building, which the Coalition associates with Labor, has no financial effect on funding Roads to Recovery.

"And despite Mr Truss's claim that the Bill had to pass before June 30, the Government did not even list it for debate in the Senate before that date.

"If the Government believed its own rhetoric, then surely it would have listed the Bill for debate in the Senate any time between March, when the legislation passed the House of Representatives, and June 30.

"They did not allocate even one minute for debate, meaning they either knew their claims were false, or didn't care if Roads to Recovery was discontinued.

"Mr Truss was trying to deceive his own electorate and should apologise.

"The only real threat to road funding in rural and regional Australia comes from the Abbott Government's 2014 Budget, which slashed $1 billion cut in Financial Assistance Grants to councils over the next three years.

"In the absence of those grants, which councils also use on roads, the nation's councils will have to either reduce road maintenance or lift council rates."

Topics:  infrastructure warren truss

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