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Minister for Transport has no credibility on rail stats.



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18 June 2002

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT HAS NO CREDIBILITY ON RAIL STATS

Question Time today has seen another raft of poor excuses from the Minister for Transport on why he has not delivered on rail infrastructure spending.

The rail efficiency improvements referred to by the Minister happened in spite of his poor transport policies, not because of them.

Time and time again the Minister for Transport works the portfolio rhetoric, yet he can’t even trust his own team to keep the line going.

Recent Senate Estimates hearings saw the Minister for Transport’s Senate representative, Senator Macdonald, confirm more than we thought they would ever admit about the motive of their shipping policy.

Senator Macdonald let the cat out of the bag when he said:

“I do seriously point out to the committee that coastal voyages from Melbourne to Perth, to use a recent example, can get goods from Melbourne to Perth 30 per cent cheaper than rail. That is why we have these exemptions to our normal cabotage policy.”

Why is the Minister allowing subsidised, foreign shipping companies bypass Australian laws, wages and conditions to undercut this rail, particularly if rail is such a success story?

Why is the Minister trying to kill off the Australian road, rail and shipping industries with such unfair assistance to foreign ship operators?

The Minister also failed to put one cent of the $220 million from the sale of the National Rail Corporation into long overdue national track works.

The nation’s transport infrastructure cannot withstand the arms-length approach of the Howard-Anderson Government to future investment and development.

Minister, stop the rhetoric, stop taking credit where credit is not due, stop passing the buck, and get serious about investing in the future of Australia.

Contact: Blythe Hamilton 02 6277 4753 or 0407 099 104

Federal Membe r for Batman

Shadow M inister for Regional and Urban Developm ent, Transport and Infrastructure

Martin Ferguson MP

MEDIA RELEASE