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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1228

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (10:34 AM) —For the reasons I have outlined, the government will not be supporting the proposed amendments. This bill does not preclude road funding from infrastructure. I know that Senator Milne has some difficulty with supporting road funding but this bill does not preclude it. It acknowledges that roads are an important part of the national infrastructure network. I advise Senator Milne, when she suggests that this infrastructure agency will be dominated by big business, to have another look at it.

Further, when Senator Milne discusses the question of whether the agency will consider more efficient uses of infrastructure, be they public transport versus roads, I advise her to read the functions as outlined in clause (4), which specifically give the new body the capacity to look at:

(c) impediments to the efficient utilisation of national infrastructure networks;

(d) options and reforms, including regulatory reforms, to make the utilisation of national infrastructure networks more efficient;

(e) the needs of users of infrastructure ...

I think that Senator Milne has not read the legislation and I would appreciate it if she could have another look at it. In any event, the government will not be supporting these amendments.