The Commonwealth government has axed funding for 50 road and rail projects across the country.
The announcement follows an independent review, published by Infrastructure Minister Catherine King on Thursday, which found the Commonwealth's $120 billion infrastructure 10-year pipeline - which she says it inherited from the Coalition - was facing a $32.8 billion cost blowout.
The scathing review found the number of projects in the pipeline had tripled between 2015 and 2022. She said the projects couldn't be delivered with the $120 billion allocated even with state and territory contributions.
"There are projects in the [pipeline] that do not demonstrate merit, lack any national strategic rationale and do not meet the Australian government's national investment priorities," the review said.
"Too many large-scale projects are receiving funding commitments without adequate planning, costings and programming to sufficiently manage the significant increase in delivery costs within a volatile market."
The federal government announced that commonwealth funding will be cut for 50 projects across the country, which Ms King said she believed would representing around $7 billion in savings. The full list is below.
Ms King accused the Coalition government of deliberately "announcing projects that did not have enough funding and they knew could not be delivered", labelling their actions economic vandalism.
In a statement, the minister's office said this included projects that couldn't be delivered with the allocated funding, had made little to no progress, and did not align with government priorities.
But the Coalition refuted these claims, with Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie accusing Ms King of cutting projects for political reasons.
"I completely reject the claims from Minister King, who is hyper-partisan in her response to this review and it is evidenced in the projects she cut and the projects she committed to," Senator McKenzie told reporters in Parliament.
Senator McKenzie said it was the responsibility for state and territory governments to deliver the infrastructure pipeline, and blamed the construction union and COVID-19 for driving up costs.
"There's a whole raft of reasons why the delay in delivery occurred, and they sit at the state government's feet," she said.
The Labor government insisted that while projects have been axed, there is no cut to its overall $120 billion infrastructure investment.
The minister said 31 projects across the country that were recommended for cancellation or descoping will be rolled into road and rail corridors. Another 11 projects will retain their commonwealth funding allocation for now, but will be put through a planning and detailed costing process.
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