Transport Minister Chris Bowen has confirmed the Government is spending $1 billion a year to pay for the “busy” work needed to keep Australia’s buses running.
Mr Bowen has defended the spending and said it will be used to “make sure our buses are in the best shape for the future”.
He said he will not use the money to spend on “busier work” like installing new road infrastructure.
Mr Bennett has defended his decision, saying he is prioritising the “big bang” new projects that will “change the face of the Australian economy”.
“Our bus fleet is the envy of the world,” he said in a statement.
“There’s no other country in the world where we have a network of so many buses that can be delivered to a single location.”
He said the government would continue to fund the $1bn for infrastructure projects.
“We will continue to spend the money we have on this infrastructure, which will make the roads, bridges, roads, and bridges that are essential to our economy, safer, more secure, and allow us to keep moving on with our day-to-day lives,” Mr Bowen said.
“That will include maintaining and upgrading our bus fleet so that they will work better in the future and will enable us to take more people and goods into our communities.”
The Opposition’s transport spokesman, Richard Di Natale, has welcomed the investment but said the Government has been “over-burdened” in the past by its “unprecedented spending”.
“We’ve been asking for this for the past six years and it’s time we paid up,” he told ABC Radio.
Mr Di Natal said Mr Bowen’s spending announcement could not have come at a better time.
He warned the Government that its spending could only last for so long and that “it needs to cut back on spending”.
“That’s what we need to do,” he added.
But Mr Bowen insisted the Government’s decision to spend $1billion for infrastructure was “justifiable”.
He told ABC radio the Government had a “unique” opportunity to spend money on new roads and bridges and had taken the right decision to do so.
The Minister said the spending would only be used on projects that were “critical to delivering our plan for economic recovery and to support our national transport strategy”.
Mr Bowen said the budget would be published in the coming weeks and that he hoped the announcement would “help make sure we can deliver on our promises”.