Feb 21, 2023 | Federal News

The Prime Minister’s announcement in Port Hedland today is simply a re-hash of an announcement originally made by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on March 2022 under the Coalition’s $7.1 billion Energy security and Regional Development Plan. 

Bereft of his own ideas in WA, the Prime Minister Albanese has resorted to re-cycling a Coalition Budget announcement that is almost 12 months old. 

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said previously Albanese had labelled the Plan as ‘waste and rorts’ but is now using the same funding envelopes to bolster his visits to the regions. 

“In seeming desperation for something positive to say in WA, Mr Albanese has recommitted $565 million to expand WA’s Pilbara ports to help producers get product to market,” Senator McKenzie said. 

“In the last Coalition Budget of March 2022, the Coalition promised $1.5 billion for the Pilbara region as part of the Government’s $7.1 billion Energy and Security Regional Development Plan. 

“This $1.5 billion was allocated to build new port infrastructure, an offloading facility and dredging of the shipping channel to boost the region’s importing and exporting capability. 

“It is disappointing that the Albanese Government is resorting to re-announcing Coalition initiatives to boost their own credibility in the region.” 

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and Senator for Western Australia Michaelia Cash said Mr Albanese is again trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Western Australians. 

“He’s claiming credit for something that he had nothing to do with initiating. But the great thing is that Western Australians are too smart to fall for this sort of thing. They know that on the issues that really matter Mr Albanese isn’t listening,’’ Senator Cash said. 

“Look at the outcry from WA regional towns like Laverton and Leonora who just want Mr Albanese to listen to them about the problems they have had since the Cashless Debit Card was abolished,’’ she said. 

Senator Cash said the former Coalition Government had committed $280 million for additional infrastructure at Lumsden Point and $285 million for upgrades to port infrastructure in Dampier. 

Senator McKenzie said Western Australians had been short-changed by the Federal Government on multiple other infrastructure projects and this re-heated announcement was a weak effort at covering for other projects that had either been cut or delayed. 

“While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Labor’s déjà vu media event takes WA voters for mugs,” Senator McKenzie said. 

Federal Member for Durack the Hon Melissa Price said Western Australia has seen this time and again from this Albanese Labor Government. 

“For the 9 months since they came to power the best they have offered the Australian people are rebranded, stripped back Coalition policies which we implemented while in Government. 

“Today’s announcement is another example of rural, regional and remote Western Australia suffering at the hands of this city elite Labor Government.” Ms Price said.