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Federal Coalition jumps onboard Labor's rail agenda.



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Campaign Media Release

MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT

FEDERAL COALITION JUMPS ONBOARD LABOR’S RAIL AGENDA

The ‘me-too’ rail promises from the Coalition simply confirm that after three years in opposition they haven’t been able to come up with an original policy of their own and have no vision for the nation’s future.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, said the Liberal and National Parties were so bereft of ideas they were resorting to following Federal Labor around the country copying its announcements.

“Be it the Redcliffe Rail Link or the high speed rail feasibility study or the Inland Rail Link, Phoney Tony and his lazy Shadow Transport Minister Warren Truss have simply been plagiarising our policies word for word,” Anthony Albanese said.

“Indeed they are so quick and eager to copy whatever Federal Labor does, that Mr Abbott and Mr Truss are leaving many in their own ranks looking very silly for criticising policies which the Federal Coalition now claims as their own.

“The latest example of this occurred only today when Barnaby Joyce went on radio ridiculing Labor’s pledge to fund a comprehensive feasibility study into high speed rail - a policy which his own leader enthusiastically embraced yesterday, just hours after Federal Labor announced it.

“This follows the Federal Coalition’s now infamous backflip on the Redcliffe Rail Link where five hours before Mr Abbott announced he would match Labor’s pledge to build it, his local candidate was telling ABC radio ‘now was not the time’ to spend any money on this project.

“After having done absolutely nothing on any of these issues during their 12 long years in government, they now think they can con Australians into believing they’ve changed and will do the right thing if given another chance.

“Tony Abbott does not have the judgement to be Prime Minister of Australia.”

During their last period in office (1996-2007), the Coalition refused to invest in urban passenger rail infrastructure and starved the interstate rail network of new funding.

As a result the proportion of freight carried by rail between Sydney and Brisbane, for example, declined from 24 to 19 per cent.

“Now they’re led by a politician in Tony Abbott who just two years ago argued strongly against the Federal government being in the business of building new rail lines,” Anthony Albanese said.

In a newsletter to his constituents, Mr Abbott went even further declaring all ‘transport infrastructure is a state responsibility’ and claiming the provision of Federal funding for such projects would be as silly as ‘…the State Government hav[ing] to buy new tanks for the army’.

“Federal Labor means what it says and does what it promises when it comes to building new rail infrastructure,” Anthony Albanese said.

“In less than three years, this Federal Labor Government has increased annual spending on rail ten-fold to an unprecedented $9 billion.

“Only the Gillard Labor Government has a plan to move our nation’s rail infrastructure forward - one which the Federal Coalition now feels compelled to steal and repackage as its own.”

DUBBO 6 AUGUST 2010

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