States asked to pay at least 50 per cent of infrastructure projects under major new reforms

States will be pushed to foot half the bill for new road and rail projects with the federal government under major new reforms pitched by Labor.

Transport Minister Catherine King will announce plans to equalise Commonwealth spending on infrastructure projects today, scrapping the default 80/20 split and returning “to a preference of 5/50”.

Ms King said Ms King said that no funding will be cut from the government’s $120bn infrastructure pipeline

“This is not about saving money – it is about shared accountability and maximising our investments.”

Last week, economists from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the federal government to scale back on its record $30bn a year of public infrastructure spending, warning the economy was running far above capacity.

Under Labor’s new plan, funding splits greater than 50/50 will only be considered on a case-by-case basis if a state or territory has less ability to raise revenue.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos - AUGUST 2, 2023: Independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Beach
Camera IconIndependent Member for Warringah Zali Steggall introduced a truth in political advertising bill to parliament on Monday. David Beach/NCA NewsWire. Credit: NCA NewsWire

‘Clean’ it up

Independent MP’s have challenged the Albanese government to legislate stronger political advertising laws to clamp down on corruption and “clean” parliament up.

MP Helen Haines, who spearheaded recent efforts to set up a federal anti-corruption watchdog, said Labor deserved credit for helping legislation for a integrity body to pass in November but said far more needed to be done.

“We’re at a 6 out of 10 when it comes to transparency and accountability,” Ms Haines told RN on Tuesday.

Following widespread concerns of misinformation during the Voice campaign, Teal MP Zali Steggall said Australia needed stronger political advertising laws to hold political parties and third-party actors accountable if they spread deceptive or misleading claims.

“There are simply no standards or no requirements that those ads not be straight out lies,” she said.

“All the indicators are there, now the question is for the government to act on it.”

According to a poll published by the Australia Institute in October, 87 per cent of Australian voters support introducing truth in political advertising laws ahead of the next election.

State Council
Camera IconOpposition leader Peter Dutton has stoked community safety concerns after the release of 80 asylum seekers last week. Steve Pohlner. Credit: News Corp Australia

‘Serious’ issue

It is “unbelievable” Labor was not briefed ahead of a major high court ruling that triggered the release of dozens of asylum seekers into the community, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has claimed.

About 80 asylum seekers being held in immigration detention were released almost immediately following last week’s High Court ruling that they were being kept unlawfully.

The Coalition has flagged safety concerns that most of those being kept in detention had failed character tests, while some had also been deemed a risk to national security.

Speaking to 2GB on Tuesday, Mr Dutton accused Immigration Minister Andrew Giles of being a “left wing advocate” and said incarcerating people was not an infringement on human rights.

“I think the higher priority here is that concern about the next victim and the government has I think a sovereign responsibility here to deal with a very serious issue. They should be taking advice from the Solicitor-General on what the legislative fixing is. They can come to us overnight with a draft bill, which we would support,” he said.

“They haven’t done that and the Australian people will suffer as a result.”

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said the Coalition was “pointing the finger.”

“First of all, this law has been the wrong law for 20 years. So we have found that coming into government, the previous government had no Plan B on this matter, so we are working it through,” Mr Shorten told Today.

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