The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) has taken aim at the government’s investment in the Future Submarines while calling on the Turnbull government to “rein in spending” in this year’s budget.
In a statement to the media, the ATA, a self-described 50,000+ member non-partisan grassroots advocacy body, said proposed tax cuts will not offer relief to Australians while overspending, waste and "pork-barrelling" continues, offering up the 12 Future Submarines as one example.
"Tax cuts are also unlikely to provide long-term relief unless overspending and waste are cut," the ATA said.
"Corporate handouts to energy companies for expensive, unreliable and intermittent wind and solar power, the abysmal $45 billion National Broadband Network that is unlikely to ever turn a profit, $12 billion+ on South Australian submarines which could be produced at the same quality for a cheaper price elsewhere and a child-care subsidy that goes to high income earners reeling in up to $350,000 a year, including families where one partner stays at home, are just some examples of pork-barrelling that taxpayers should not be footing the bill for."
This is not the first time the $50 billion Future Submarine project has come under fire for political pork-barrelling, with the federal opposition and state governments accusing the government of basing the decision to build the Future Submarines in South Australia to shore up votes and save Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne's marginal seat.
In recent months, the Victorian state government has also accused Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of betraying thousands of Victorian workers and local companies in a bid to secure votes in Queensland, after the state and Rheinmetall won the lucrative $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 contract over BAE Systems, which would have built the vehicles at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.
Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll said the government's decision came down to political pork-barrelling, rather than deciding the best vehicle, laying blame on the National Security Committee for not having a single Victorian politician.
"This is a disgraceful decision that’s based on the political interests of Andrew Broad, Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition’s desperation to cling to marginal seats in Queensland – not the national security interest of our country," the minister said.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne shot down suggestions of political point-scoring on Twitter, labelling Premier Daniel Andrews' government statements as "offensive".
"Daniel Andrews’ statements are offensive and insult the professional men and women of the ADF and @DeptDefence who advised the government that @RheinmetallAG was the clear choice based on capability, lethality and protection," Minister Pyne tweeted.
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"Sadly it seems Daniel Andrews would have us put the safety of our men and women of the ADF second to his own parochial interests."