Feb 5, 2015

Abbott falling behind on inland rail

Labor welcomes news that the Nationals have recommitted to the delivery of the Inland Rail project linking Brisbane and Melbourne.

But it’s time Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss stopped talking about this critical piece of infrastructure and started delivering the project.

Despite promising to fast-track the 1730km Inland Rail during the 2013 election campaign, this bungling minister has allowed the project to get off track.

In Senate Budget Estimates hearings last October, it was revealed that the Government expected to spend only $11.3 million on the project in the year to June 30, 2015.

The former Labor Government funded the Inland Rail project in its 2011 Budget, recognising its potential to provide quick freight movements and reduce pressure on the busy road system.

Labor allocated $30 million to be spent in the 2014-15 financial year.

It is clear that if Labor was still in office, Inland Rail would be further advanced than it is now.

Inland Rail will be a boon for businesses across eastern Australia and will take large amounts of freight traffic off the roads, thereby increasing road safety, particularly on the Pacific Highway.

It appears the Nationals have re-announced this project again today to seek to reconnect with their electoral heartland amid the chaos and disunity surrounding the Abbott Government’s ongoing leadership crisis.

Voters, businesses and motorists would be better served if Mr Truss stopped trying to get his name in newspapers with never ending re-announcements and did what taxpayers are paying him to do – get on with the job.