The advice confirms that a contingent liability is not included in the budget bottom line.
Importantly, however, as a contingent liability, the amount cannot be recognised in the financial statement of the Commonwealth. […] In simple terms this means that the amount does not affect the finances of the Commonwealth… Moreover, were the Commonwealth to withdraw its offer to Western Australia, it would not ‘gain,’ in budgetary terms, the amount offered.
(Parliamentary Library of Australia, 1 Feb 2018)
In short, the money has not been set aside, it does not exist. This is nothing more than a cynical stunt – a promise designed to be broken – and it continues the Liberals’ tradition of making-up projects they know will not proceed.
By contrast, I have worked with WA Labor colleagues to claw-back Commonwealth funds from the failed Perth Freight Link so that real transport solutions can be delivered in our part of Western Australia, including:
- The North Lake – Armadale Rd bridge and widening of Armadale Rd.
- Widening of the Freeway northbound from Russell Rd.
- The Cockburn-Thornlie rail link as part of Metronet.
- The long-awaited upgrade of High Street, including the Stirling Highway intersection.
There is more to be done and I am glad that Federal Labor has committed a further $1.6 billion in infrastructure funding for projects decided by the people of WA as an immediate and practical means of doubling our current share of GST. That is funding actually budgeted for priorities determined in WA by Western Australians, not some spurious ‘contingent liability’ for a discredited project that was imposed on us from Canberra.
The WA Liberals’ approach of waving around fake money for a fake project is an insult to the many people in the south-metro community who want real solutions to real challenges. Passenger and freight transport, congestion and road safety are serious matters that deserve a serious response.
I call on WA Liberals, including my neighbour in Tangney, Ben Morton, to stop playing games and accounting tricks, and be constructive about supporting priorities determined in WA with real money.