Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Boost for rail across Australia.



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

 

Media Release

 

The Hon Mark Vaile MP

Minister for Transport and Regional Development

 

BOOST FOR RAIL ACROSS AUSTRALIA

 

The push by the Federal Coalition to reform Australia’s rail system has received a significant boost, with State Transport Ministers agreeing to commit the resources necessary to implement uniformity in rail regulation across the country, the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Mark Vaile, today said.

 

The action taken by the Federal Government, to bring about a ‘ rebirth of rail’ in Australia, is rectifying years of neglect by the previous Labor Keating / Beazley Government. Labor’s inaction saw seven thousand jobs cut from rail, and thousands of kilometres of track left to buckle and decay rendering some lines unsafe to this day.

 

“Only the Coalition can fix rail because, unlike Labor who racked up massive debt for all Australians on unworkable band-aid solutions, we are clearing the way to make rail sufficiently efficient to virtually pay its own way,” the Minister said. “Not only is this Government paying off Labor’s debt — we’re rebuilding the wreckage they left behind,’ Mr. Vaile said.

 

Transport Ministers representing all Australia’s States and Territories met in the Blue Mountains with Mr. Vaile on Friday as the Australian Transport Council (ATC)

 

“At the ATC meeting Ministers agreed to commit the resources necessary to ensure rail standards and regulation are improved by further streamlining,” Mr Vaile said.

 

"Rail efficiency has been held back from reaching its potential by State based regulations and standards and a lack of coordination at a national level.”

 

'The Howard / Fisher Government has been vigorously pushing forward rail reform over the past two years and is pleased by the further acceleration of the process with the joining of forces by States and Territories with the Federal Coalition Government,” the Minister said.

 

“This commitment will deliver uniform rail standards across our vast nation and as such represents another big step forward under Federal Government leadership.”

 

'The imminent commencement of the Australian Rail Track Corporation - another Federal Coalition initiative providing a straightforward ‘one stop shop’ for rail operators in Australia will herald a new era for rail in Australia,” Mr. Vaile said.

 

“Quite simply, sending freight or travelling by rail will become increasingly desirable as costs are lowered an efficiency increases and the returns will go hack in to fix up Labour's decayed track.”

 

The State and Territory Ministers gave their full support to ARTC initiatives taken. The Howard / Fisher Government has committed a $250 million dollar funding boost for track maintenance and upgrade.

 

"The recently released Maunsell Report into railway standards and operational requirements makes graphically clear the need for continued reform in the rail industry and that is why continued cooperation by State, Territory and the Federal Governments is essential to the accelerating reform process,” the Minister said.

 

Ends

 

27.4.98

 

T-57-98

 

Media Inquiries: Peter Cassuben Ph: 0417 980 009