Saturday, November 8, 2008

Canberra raps Brumby over funding - The Age

Katharine Murphy, Canberra, and Marc Moncrief

PREMIER John Brumby and Treasurer John Lenders have received a swift rebuke for their lobbying over Canberra's dwindling infrastructure dollars, with the federal minister declaring their comments irrelevant.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has dismissed as a "speculative bid" recent suggestions from Victoria that the state is expecting $10 billion worth of federal funds for transport upgrades.

"Public comments by state and territory leaders will have absolutely no impact on the outcome," Mr Albanese told The Age in an interview yesterday.


Mr Albanese's warning to Victoria follows a three-day meeting in Sydney this week where federal policy advisers and a team of economic consultants, lead by Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington, have been working to finalise the national priority list. Sources involved in the process say several governments have been asked to supply officials with better quality information about their wish-lists, and revise some of their proposals.

Infrastructure Australia will meet again early next week. Mr Albanese is yet to be briefed on the emerging priorities.

Sir Rod was "taking additional responsibility", Mr Albanese said, for driving the accelerated timetable set by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

"We maintain our commitment to investing in the productive side of the economy," he said. "We will monitor these issues but we maintain our strong commitment to our infrastructure program."

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