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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1911

Rail Infrastructure

Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (14:54): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. What discussions has the minister had with the Western Australian government about federal funding for passenger rail projects in Perth? And how does the minister explain to Western Australians stripping $500 million out of Perth's urban rail funding, adding to the congestion crisis in Perth?

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:54): I have had a number of discussions with Western Australian ministers about the infrastructure program in Western Australia over the last few months. It will be a very exciting program. It will offer substantial additional road and rail investment in the state of Western Australia. We believe that it is important to have a strong and effective program that will actually deliver the kind of infrastructure that supports the enormous potential development in that state.

We have indicated quite clearly that our priorities are to ensure that the freight systems of our nation are working well and that our particular responsibility as the federal government is to look after the interstate road and rail networks. We will be investing $35.5 billion in the next program in that network. That is the biggest program in our nation's history.

The fact that we are intending to commit such funds to the road and freight rail network means that the states will have more access to funds to take care of their responsibilities, which are especially related to passenger rail services. The people of Perth can expect their state government to be able to invest more on passenger rail because we will be carrying the heavy load in relation to building the road and freight network that Western Australians need.

What we have is a commitment to infrastructure across Australia. The infrastructure Prime Minister intends to deliver the biggest infrastructure program in our nation's history, and I am looking forward to the privilege of working with him to make sure it all happens.