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Rail funding claim rejected.

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Rail funding claim rejected

Friday, 4 August 2006

The Federal Member for Braddon, Mark Baker MP, has categorically rejected a claim today that the North-West may miss out on Australian Government funding for Tasmania’s rail freight service.

“In December last year, we announced that the Howard Government had offered to invest $78 million to ‘help save the Hobart-Launceston-Burnie rail line’,” Mr Baker said.

“The Australian Government is willing to invest this funding under a tripartite deal with the Tasmanian Government and the rail operator, Pacific National.

“The Howard Government made its $78 million offer on the basis that we wish to help secure the long-term viability of a Burnie-Launceston-Hobart rail freight service.

“I have never seen any suggestion that the funding only be allocated to the Launceston-Hobart line.

“In fact, we have spoken to the Office of the Minister for Transport, the Hon. Warren Truss, on this issue today, and we can say categorically that as far as the Australian Government is concerned the funding offered is for the Burnie-Launceston-Hobart line.

“There is no truth to the claim today that the North-West might miss out on this funding.”

Mr Baker said the only concern was that Pacific National had still not signed off on the deal.

“However, I understand Minister Truss wrote to the company on Monday asking that it sign the memorandum of understanding so that the rescue package can be implemented,” he said.