The coalition has denied Labor claims it has axed a raft of WA road projects - but Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann says any infrastructure spending beyond the Budget forward estimates will have to be worked out between a future Abbott government and States.
After the coalition released its policy costings yesterday, Labor insisted Federal money for upgrades to Great Northern Highway, North West Coastal Highway, Leach Highway and three interchanges on Tonkin Highway were on the chopping block.
Senator Cormann, the shadow assistant treasurer, denied this last night. "Wherever a project is in the Budget estimates, it continues to be there, unless we have explicitly said we're discontinuing it," he said. "They are the only things we're cutting."
The costings document reveals cuts to $100 million of public transport funding for WA to June 2017, but $200 million extra for the Perth-Darwin Highway over and above the $418 million Labor pledged for that project.
The document only covers the four years of the current Budget cycle. Much of the funding Labor promised for WA road projects falls after June 2017.
Liberal candidates Ken Wyatt in Hasluck and Darryl Moore in Perth have issued campaign material saying the coalition will promise $140 million for interchanges to be built over Tonkin Highway at Benara Road, Morley Drive and Collier Road.
That promise matches the existing commitment from the Commonwealth, but most of the money will be spent beyond this Budget cycle.
According to WA Budget papers, just $66 million of the project's $281 million cost will be spent within the forward estimates.
"Anything that is beyond the forward estimates is obviously a matter for another day that's got to be worked out between the Commonwealth and the States, should we be successful on September 7," Senator Cormann said.
If the money does not come, it will either delay the road projects or add to the State Government's ballooning debt.
Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Troy Buswell refused to comment on the coalition's infrastructure plans yesterday.At a Budget estimates hearing last month, Mr Buswell said talks with the Federal Liberal Party had extended only to extra cash for the Perth-Darwin Highway and a cut to rail funding.