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Labor screws up infrastructure reform

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

M e D I A R E L E A S E


Labor's ineptitude is staggering. How can anyone possibly believe that just a few months ago, they did not know there would be "design and logistical delays" in the National Rail Corporation's (NRC) capital program? How can anyone believe that 20,000 new jobs will be created when nine months ago they promised 800,000 and have not delivered?

Today's statement by the Treasurer, ripping $150 million out of rail, is evidence of a Government in crisis. Millions of dollars of taxpayer's money are being put at risk because the Government is running around like a chook with its head cut off. And all the time, unemployment just gets worse, and more and more

Australians are affected by its tragic consequences.

It seems it has been obvious to all but the Government that the NRC could not possibly meet the spending targets imposed on it by the Government. The NRC was supposedly set up as a commercial operation, and so had only banked on a capital spending program based on commercial projects.

Then along comes the Government in February, desperately looking for ways to save its own neck, and forces a spending program on the NRC with no consideration of the lead time and difficulties involved.

It is obvious One Nation was ill thought out in the extreme. Not only did it show a panic reaction from the Government in the face of the massive unemployment it created, but it illustrates the lack of understanding from the Minister on rail funding needs.

The Prime Minister's One Nation plan has collapsed - but that should come as no surprise to most Australians. He seems to be the opposite to Midas - just look at what he has done to the economy!

The Government is in serious decay, but it should not drag Australia down with it.

The Coalition's Fightback! plan, on the other hand, is well thought out, is not a panic reaction, and shows genuine concern for the wellbeing of the nation. Transport costs will be slashed and taxes on business largely removed - meaning more people will be employed. Income tax is massively cut so people can keep more of the money they earn.

If the Government is serious about helping the unemployed and getting this country moving again, it will take on board all components of Fightback!, not just some of it as it has tried to do. Fightback! is an integrated package designed to move us into the 21st century in a strong position - changes at the margin, like the Government is trying to do, just will not work.


Contact: David Hawker (055) 72 1100 Janice Wykes (06) 277 4231 or (06) 288 3946

13 November 1992