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Rail reform vital particularly freight save the Indian Pacific (STIP) campaign launched



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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY IvilCAH .

T im Fischer mp Federal Member for Farrer

Leader of the National Party of Australia

Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources

RAIL REFORM VITAL PARTICULARLY FREIGHT

SAVE THE INDIAN PACIFIC (STIP^ CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

Revamping Australian railways involves more than forming a successful National Rail Freight Corporation agreed to at the Premiers Conference.

Federal Leader of the National Party Tim Fischer said this today when addressing the South Australian Conference of the National Party.

"There is an expanded role for rail in freight but only if 'best international practice' so far as staffing levels are concerned are obtained along with 'best international operational practice'.

"As things stand, only the Alice Springs terminal type operation at the end of the Adelaide-Alice Springs standard gauge

Australian National Line approaches 'best international practice'.

"In addition to obtaining the right agreement with the Unions there must be track upgrading and standardisation with priorities being determined on commercial criteria laid down by the new National Rail Freight Corporation.

INDIAN PACIFIC

"As rail freight comes up to speed the scope exists to also revamp and revitalise interstate passenger rail on a viable basis.

"In the meantime every effort must be made to save the Indian Pacific.

"In launching a STIP campaign I call for support of this

internationally famous service, equally I call for changes to be made to enhance viability as followsi

* Promotion of the Indian Pacific should be on the basis that it is the world's greatest rail adventure.

* There must be one controlling organisation of the train and an efficient staffing arrangement.

* A world first should be pursued with the development of a health train concept. A gymnasium rail carriage and related sauna facility can be cheaply incorporate using surplus rolling stock.

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* If as part of the Indian Pacific health fare it was

guaranteed that a passenger could travel under the promise of the opportunity for weight reduction and could loose at least one kilogram, its reputation would rapidly match that of highly expensive 'bogged down in one place' health

farms.

* In the interim, to help reduce costs and losses I have no problem with fast, properly engineered rail freight cars being attached to the Indian Pacific for both the Parkes to Perth section and Adelaide to Perth section, running over relatively level terrain. This will generate a revenue earning freight bonus for the Indian Pacific.

Hr Fischer said he would be pursuing the STIP campaign at every opportunity, particularly as part of attracting the growing international rail tourism market. He urged all those who support the Indian Pacific to do all they can to promote it by word of mouth as well as write to Members and Senators and Australian National.

Mr Fischer added the Indian Pacific can be revamped on a low cost basis and he supported the comments of NSW Premier Nick Greiner and Transport Minister Bruce Baird advocating a National Rail Passenger arrangement or AUSTRACK, not dissimilar to AMTRAK.

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ENDS 3 August 1991

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