9 May 2022

ACT dudded in federal infrastructure spend, says Pocock

| Ian Bushnell
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David Pocock

Independent ACT Senate candidate David Pocock says the ACT is being shortchanged. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

New analysis of Federal Government spending over the past five years shows the ACT is getting a raw deal and that Liberal Senator Zed Seselja is not delivering for Canberrans, according to Independent Senate candidate David Pocock.

Mr Pocock said it revealed a shocking disparity in the amount of Federal Government funding the ACT received when compared with other states and territories.

A review of federal budget documents showed the ACT receiving far less than its per capita share of specific purpose funding for affordable housing (1.14 per cent of the national total, about a third less) and community services (1.22 per cent of the total, about a quarter short), he said.

Mr Pocock said the ACT was being shortchanged the most in transport infrastructure, where the Federal Government has handed out $35 billion to the other states and territories for new transport infrastructure but only $146 million to the Territory, which equates to just under a quarter of its share by population.

He said that this equates to an outlay of $1387 per head on average in the rest of Australia to build or maintain transport infrastructure but only $335 for every Canberran – $1050 less than people in other states and territories.

“It is outrageous that over the past five years Canberrans have received only $1 for every $240 paid to the states and territories for transport infrastructure,” Mr Pocock said.

“The Federal Government has been taking the entire ACT community for granted by shortchanging us in this way.

“There have been all sorts of allegations made about independents not having the capacity to deliver in the same way a minister could, but this analysis shows how very poorly our community is being served by its current government representative.”

Infrastructure spending table

Budget figures supplied by Pocock team. Image: Supplied.

Mr Pocock said the Federal Government had also failed to deliver on its commitments.

He said that in the last two years the Federal Government promised $145 million of grants for transport projects but only delivered $116 million, a 20 per cent shortfall.

Looking ahead, the ACT’s share of federal infrastructure grants from 2021-26 was forecast to rise marginally from 0.4 per cent to 0.7 per cent, still well short of its 1.7 per cent of the population.

“There has been a marginal increase, but we are still well short of getting what we deserve on a per capita basis,” Mr Pocock said.

“Why should the per capita infrastructure spend on someone in Tasmania ($4670) be more than three times higher than someone in the ACT ($1383)?

“It’s time we stopped being taken for granted and started getting our fair share. The people of the ACT deserve better than this.”

Mr Pocock said the ACT was not forecast to receive any funding at all from the Federal Government’s planned $4.5 billion spend on Roads of Strategic Importance and a mere $200,000 from the $3.45 billion budgeted nationally to tackle urban congestion.

“I know from speaking to the community over months that restoring integrity, accountability and transparency in politics is a priority,” he said.

“Being so thoroughly dudded when it comes to infrastructure and other spending just adds to the weight of evidence in support of the reforms I have been calling for.”

While the ACT’s infrastructure needs as a geographically smaller, more compact jurisdiction may be less than those of other states like Tasmania, Mr Pocock said it does not justify allocating the ACT only a quarter of our per capita share of transport spending, especially considering the ACT’s fast-growing population.

“It is no coincidence that cities which are the most marginal electorally also have the highest spends. This is clearly borne out in the analysis which shows a sharp increase in the number of untied grants,” Mr Pocock said.

In the 2021-22 financial year, the Commonwealth has budgeted on paying the states $76.5 billion in tied grants, but $91 billion in untied grants. In previous years the split was roughly 50/50 between tied and untied grants.

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The ALP in Victoria is currently running a TV ad, also claiming that they have been ripped off on per head infrastructure spend.

HiddenDragon6:54 pm 10 May 22

It’s all OK – the corks will pop and there’ll be dancing in the streets when federal funding for (or at least towards) the light rail crossing of the Lake is announced.

More poppycock from Pocock.
It is faulty economic analysis to take an expenditure figure, divide by state/territory population and then conclude that one area is being unfairly treated because it gets less than another. The roads in the ACT are excellent and far better than the roads in other states/territories, which proves the ACT is not being neglected. If this is the standard of analysis from this Climate200 candidate he should see a bit more of regional Australia before using unsourced figures to claim that ACT residents are worse off. Nor should he make that claim in parliament or outside of the ACT because it would subject all of us to howls of justifiable ridicule.

According to Mr Pocock the Hume highway between any of the towns on it should get practically no funding. As there is so few people living on the highway.

No Canberran would ever want to leave and use any such highway.

Luckily he has that tree there, his policies don’t stand up.

The Feds hate Canberra. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s all the testosterone and aggro they develop while they’re here.

The end result is that Canberra is dudded of infrastructure funds as David Pocock says. But, we rarely get detailed analysis and straight information as provided by the Pocock team.

We are so used to being told lies and misinformation. That it is hard to recognise straight shooting when one sees it.

Those below don’t even believe what they are saying. They are just firing blanks because otherwise they think people will recognise that Pocock is right and has the integrity to say so.

Even if the ACTs fair share went to things like the Barton Highway or duplicating Pialligo Ave to Queanbeyan ridgeway in nearby NSW it would be an improvement. $1000 per person is 430m/year, thats Woden tram paid then similar each couple years

Nice to see a politician taking an interest – don’t see Zed calling for local expenditure.

to add …………………couldnt deliver a cup cake if elected

@what why … as opposed to our current crop who hav3 delivered a plethora of cup cakes?

just another Muppet wanting to get elected so he can fill his treasure chest .yawn………….

And create a $10m property portfolio like Albo. Not bad for a low hourly paid job as ‘ol mate further down informs me

Futureproof – you should try entering the property market. I’m sure you could build several timber houses with that huge chip you’ve got on your shoulder.

This just shows that Mr Pocock has no idea what he is talking about and is just as much of a populist as other politicians.

Infrastructure spending has never been based on a per capita spend and nor should it be.

Perhaps he should have a think about why other areas of Australia would receive more funding than a small contained city territory like the ACT.

I mean why would lower density regional areas possibly receive a bigger per capita share……


OK chewy14, I get why the Northern Territory which has the lowest population density per sq km (not to mention a fairly sizeable part of the Aussie real estate – #3 for total area) ranks first for per capita Commonwealth infrstrastructure payments both historically (2016-21) and proposed (2021-26). However, perhaps you can explain why the Tasmania (second only to the ACT as the smallest jurisdiction in size and ranked 4th highest on population density) goes from sixth on the historical infrastructure handouts per capita, to second on the projected recipient list? Could that be due to the fact that the influence of the independent Senator for Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie (or more importantly her vote in the Senate) is starting to resonate with the government and she is achieving gains for her state? Amazing what can happen when the government can’t rely on your vote.

Just Saying,
Perhaps you can tell me why, you seem to know.

What exact projects has Tasmania had funded that Jacqui Lambie advocated that were not viable?

Although if that is truly the case, you seem to be advocating that pork barrelling is a good thing, as long as you are getting the pork.

Either way, it seems you agree with me, that Pocock is no more principled than the other politicians he claims to be better than.

@chewy14 Unlike you I live in the real world and I understand that politics is about the balance of power. If it boosts your ego I’m happy to agree with you, that in order to achieve outcomes for the constituents he/she represents, an independent Senator may negotiate with the government of the day on matters of legislation. You call it unprincipled – I call it the business of politics and actually representing the interests of your constituents. There’s nothing illegal about doing that. Perhaps you prefer Senators who toe the party line and are ineffectual because the score is always one-all. By all means sit on your moral high horse and dream of the perfect representative democracy, but as I said, I live in the real world and I know what is real and what is fantasy.

Just Saying
You misread my points.

Pocock is standing based on a platform of principled and ethical government. He has raised integrity as a major issue.

So to then promote unprincipled pork barrelling makes him a massive hypocrite.

I’m perfectly OK with a politician who comes out and freely admits they want to get more for their own constituents, regardless of evidence or logic.

But that isn’t what Pocock is doing, he is claiming that the ACT is being dudded by Infrastructure spending because of a metric that is easily proven meaningless for the way he is attempting to use it.

I also note that you haven’t answered my questions about Tasmania. Strange that.

1. I call it achieving outcomes for your constituents once you have been elected – you seem to think that’s porkbarelling. Porkbarelling = “the utilisation of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes”. It’s a difference of opinion.
2. Integrity is about doing what you say you are going to do – i.e. represent the interests of Canberrans and hold decision makers to account for dodgy (illegal deals). It is not illegal to want to get more for your constituents, which I rate as very ethical.
3. He believes Canberra has been dudded and wants to correct that – you don’t. So what? You’re not running for the Senate so I don’t give a damn what you think.
4. Senator Lambie’s achievements – https://lambienetwork.com.au/pages/myrecord … I think securing over $200 million in housing debt relief for Tasmanians was a huge win for them. Additionally, she negotiated a deal in 2019 to send asylum seekers to New Zealand in return for her vote to repeal refugee medical transfer laws. (Many, including myself, would not call that an achievement but, importantly, it was her independent vote that resulted in the resettlement deal).

So Chewy14 by all means jump up and down about Pocock and do / don’t vote for him. In my opinion, and you will disagree but I don’t care, he will represent the interests of Canberrans better than either of the current incumbents – who have a ministry / potential ministry to protect and are beholden unto their parties. I am happy to take him at his word on what he hopes to achieve if elected. If he is elected and he doesn’t deliver, then in 3 years the electors of the ACT will show him the door.

Ideally I would like to see ACT have two independent Senators, but it seems at the moment that the entrenched Labor vote is a bridge too far for Kim Rubenstein to prevail. I suspect that even as the purported ‘front runner’ independent, Pocock’s chances of success are slim to none.

JustSaying – yeah, a bloke who could pass a Rugby ball and run like Forest Gump – becomes a pollie. Yes, fantasy all right

Yes Futureproof – isn’t democracy a wonderful thing.

Just Saying,

1.Except he hasn’t promoted any projects, he’s simply said we deserve more money because of a false narrative around per capita spend. It’s the literal definition of pork barrelling.

2.Nice spin but promoting integrity and principled government is the antithesis of his messaging here. You can’t whinge about other politicians spending money in unnecessary areas and then promote the message he has here. They are 100% incompatible.

3.And yet you felt the need to reply again. Strange for someone who “doesn’t care”. And nowhere have I said the ACT has or has not been “dudded”. Once again, read what I’ve actually written.

4. I asked why any infrastructure project Lambie has promoted was not viable. You provide a link to housing debt relief and talk about Asylum Seekers going to NZ. Were you trying to make my point?

So well done, you don’t care but have gone on a massive illogical diatribe that hasn’t responded to the points raised.

I do care about who represents us however and would love independent politicians that actually weren’t either illogical or massive hypocrites.

Pocock ain’t it.

So you can vote for him if you want but don’t try and tell me he’s good.

No, if he gets elected, the first thing he will say after getting his first pay is, ‘I wonder what the poor people are doing?’ From there, he’ll sit back working on how to make more money from parliamentary allowances. In other words, he will be a typical pollie, doing little for max pay

The problem with Mr Pocock’s argument is that spending isn’t based on “head of the population”. If it was every State and Territory would have the same per person allocation.

The spend per head equality theory, doesn’t allow for the geographic land area of the jurisdiction, doesn’t allow for existing infrastructure etc.

I guess the big question is, if elected to the Senate, will Mr Pocock be able to deliver an increase in spending to the ACT?

No, if he gets elected, the first thing he will say after getting his first pay is, ‘I wonder what the poor people are doing?’ From there, he’ll sit back working on how to make more money from parliamentary allowances. In other words, he will be a typical pollie, doing little for max pay

@Futureproof Wow – you really do suffer from the green-eyed monster when it comes to pollies. Why don’t you actually GOYA and find out what pollies actually do – particularly when in Canberra, and you will find that their hourly rate is well below that of the average worker. Many arrive at ph arounf 7:00/7:30am and often leave well after 8:00pm. My knowledge is based on having worked in Dept of Parliamentary Services in IT support roles, for several years and actually seen these people at work. So, by all means knock their politics, but don’t use your pathetic cynicism to knock their work ethic.

JustSaying – Cry me a river

Future Proof – ouch that really hurts ?

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