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Coalition attacks Tasrail report

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D A V ID H a w k e r : Federal Member for Wannon Shadow Minister for Land Transport

M e d i a R e l e a s e



The Bureau of Transport and Communication Economics' (BTCE) report into the future of the Tasmanian Railways is a real disappointment. That it fails to discuss one of the major options for the future of Tasrail - commercialisation - leaves one with the suspicion that Labor ideology has interfered with rational analysis.

Labor has tried to ignore the commercial possibility.

The report, while commendable for its depth of analysis on the issues it covers, completely ignores one of the most commonsense options for the loss-making railway - selling it to its customers.

Tasrail is unique in that nearly all its freight (it only carries freight) is supplied by just 7 to 8 companies.

The report goes into great depth discussing whether or not the railway should continue to be subsidised or closed, but why has it failed to explore the possibility of sale to the customers? -

The terms of reference for the inquiry could not have been clearer: "Identify options for future Tasrail operations...". Given the BTCE's good reputation it is surprising that the possibility of commercialisation failed to get a mention. One can only conclude that the Government had a hand in this inattention to detail.

The Government's progress on rail reform has been painfully slow and is further hindered when the full range of options is not examined.

Given the fact that the current arrangements for Tasrail run out in less than 2 years, it is vital that the Government examines the option of commercialising Tasrail. Otherwise, the Government will stand condemned for yet again proving that it is not serious about structural reform.

ends 5 September 1991

Contact: David Hawker (06) 277 4231

Janice Wykes (06) 277 4231 or (06) 288 3946 CO M M O NW EALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M ICAH