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Monday, 16 September 2002
Page: 6350

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 25 June 2002:

(1) Has he secured Cabinet approval to underwrite loans by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to undertake maintenance improvements to the track identified in the ARTC audit to the value of at least $507 million.

(2) Is Cabinet approval for these works dependent on the finalisation of access arrangements with the NSW Government.

(3) Is Cabinet approval of the loan underwriting dependent on a business case that includes the NSW Governments ownership transfer of the Hunter Valley coalfields rail tracks to the ARTC.

(4) Has agreement been reached with the NSW Government to transfer ownership of the Hunter Valley coalfields rail tracks and will the Cabinet approval stand if that agreement is not secured.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Federal Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) have submitted a joint proposal to the NSW Government for a lease of the interstate rail network and the Hunter Valley rail network. The proposal includes substantial investment by ARTC in rail infrastructure and is currently under consideration by the NSW Government. It would be inappropriate to comment on the details of the proposal while negotiations are underway.

(2) See answer to Q1.

(3) See answer to Q1.

(4) See answer to Q1.