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Kernot welcomes Productivity Commission call for inquiry into road pricing.

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Cheryl Kernot MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Development,

Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Services

30 March 1999




Cheryl Kernot, Shadow Minister for Region al Development, Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Services, today welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft recommendation for a federal inquiry into the provision, funding and pricing of roads.


Ms Kernot said the recommendation, made in the Commission’s draft report - Progress in Rail Reform — was an important recognition of the desirability of moving towards competitive neutrality between road and rail transport.


“If we are serious about building a nationally integrated transport system, if we are serious about developing transport options that are environmentally sound, and if we are serious about getting the balance right between road and rail transport, then we must have the knowledge and information from which to make the right investment choices,” Ms Kernot said.


Ms Kernot said other aspects of the Commission’s draft report were disappointing, in particular the failure to fully articulate a clear and leading role for the Commonwealth in national transport planning. “The Commission has recommended the Commonwealth Government play ‘a leadership role in streamlining arrangements relating to safety and access’, but it needs to go much further than that”, Ms Kernot said. “It needs to put forward concrete ways in which the Commonwealth can deliver leadership in the development of a more integrated approach to transport infrastructure.”


“Fairly predictably, the Commission has pushed off down the path of more commercialisation, more privatisation and more deregulation without really coming to grips with how the Commonwealth Government can best manage, evaluate and support rail projects in the long-term national and public interest.”


Ms Kernot urged the Commission to explore more fully in its final report the potential for national leadership and coordination by the Commonwealth Government in the key areas of safety regulation and operating standards; management and maintenance of the interstate mainline track; the making of effective track investment decisions; and the determination of appropriate national community service obligations.


For comment: Jacqui Flitcroft (02) 6277 or o419 395 705