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Lack of confidence in rail reform



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JirSw D avid H awker : Federal Member for Wannon Shadow Minister for Land Transport

Μ E D I A R E L E A S E

Lack of Confidence in Rail Reform

Doubts abour the Labor Government's ability to deliver on rail reform were strongly reinforced in Federal Parliament yesterday.

In answering a question on the National Rail Freight Corporation, the Minister for Land Transport had to resort to words like "pretty sure" and "I believe". This does not sound like a confident Minister to me.

The Minister also fudged the facts by saying that his Government would get the NRFC up and going in 8 months. What rubbish. The National Freight Initiative started in 1989. Not only has it taken this long to even reach the stage it is up to but it is highly unlikely that the NRFC will be anywhere near operational by 1 July this year.

It will be many more years before it reaches its corporate goal.

Furthermore, interstate rail freight only accounts for 12 per cent of all rail freight. Nothing is being done about the other 88 per cent.

It is imperative that Australia get a more efficient and reliable rail system. I have said before that the NRFC is a small step in the right direction. But it has a long way to go to get anywhere near the National Freight Initiative goals. The Minister still has to get

results.

In addition, there was nothing in yesterday's Industry Statement that gives any indication that this Government is prepared to tackle the really tough area of land transport reform.

What we need is action, not platitudes. When will we see that Minister?

ends 13 March 1991

Contact: David Hawker (06) 277 4231

Janice Wykes (06) 277 4231 or (06) 288 3946 (ah)