Tit-for-tat accusations over Medibank sale proceeds

BOTH sides of the political divide have accused the other of not supporting the Roads to Recovery program as debate rages over the sale of Medibank Private.

Billions of dollars from the sale of the government-owned private health insurer will be redirected by the federal government towards roads and related infrastructure ahead of the May federal budget.

Labor and the Greens have called for the cash to be redirected solely into healthcare but the Coalition is keen for the funds raised to go towards major road projects. The federal opposition objected to the Medibank Private sale but has no power to block it in Parliament.

However, Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the opposition’s intransigence would prevent key road projects in the south-west from gaining funding.

He said Moyne Shire would lose nearly $2 million in funding and Corangamite Shire $1.6 million if the national initiative was not extended.

“That’s a lot of bitumen for a lot of much-needed work on our local roads,” Mr Tehan said. 

“Roads are vital to the prosperity of rural and regional communities and we cannot afford to lose this massive investment.

“Labor is playing the basest of political games and it is our local roads users who will pay the price.”

Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said government MPs had misrepresented Labor’s position on Roads to Recovery, with the party calling for a more rigorous approach to infrastructure blueprints.

“Desperate Coalition MPs are resorting to telling fibs about Labor’s commitment to the Roads to Recovery program to conceal Tony Abbott’s inaction on infrastructure investment,” Mr Albanese said.

“Labor not only supports the Roads to Recovery program, but increased funding for it. The Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill 2014 did little more than eliminate the term ‘nation building’ from the statute books as part of Mr Abbott’s agenda of rebadging Labor 

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