Abbott's funds not enough: Mrdak

Infrastructure department head says $400 million the Coalition has pledged to Midland Highway upgrade won’t be enough

February 12, 2013

The head of the federal Infrastructure Department has dismissed as insufficient the $400 million the Coalition has pledged to duplicate Tasmania’s Midland Highway.

During a Senate estimates hearing today Infrastructure Department Secretary Mike Mrdak told senators the figure would not be enough to fund Abbott's promise to duplicate the highway between Hobart and Launceston.

He says the necessary amount has been costed at $2.7 billion, but Abbott earlier this month told ABC Radio he believed $400 million would be "enough to do the job".

According to Mrdak, $400 million will "certainly not provide for the duplication of the full highway".

"I am aware that the Tasmanian Government has, I think in the past, costed it at around $2.7 billion," Mrdak says.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has used the comments to accuse Abbott of promising an "uncosted and unfounded con job".

"It is time for him to stop the charade and begin listening to those who actually design, build and operate our nation’s infrastructure," Albanese says.

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