According to Treasurer Peter Costello, Labor’s plan to invest $2.7 billion of the vast Future Fund to usher in a new era of high-speed broadband for 98% of Australians is “financially reckless”. It would “steal money from the Future Fund, from the future of all Australians,” says Costello.
Bunkum. What Labor is proposing is a) good policy, b) prudent economics, c) crying out to happen and — the real reason Costello is spewing — d) smart politics.
What the Opposition is proposing is something that Australia desperately needs to stay competitive and relevant in the modern communications age. The government should have done it years ago, doesn’t seem to comprehend its importance, and is still prevaricating.
$2.7 billion is a tiny portion of the Future Fund. As long as Kevin Rudd reassures everyone that this isn’t the start of a wholesale raid on the fund, the policy is a preemptive, timely, nerve-touching vote winner, especially among business constituents.
Which, of course, is the real reason the Treasurer hates it so much.