Jun 5, 2015

Abbott ignores Perth’s public transport needs

Tony Abbott must reverse his $500 million cut to Perth public transport projects amid warnings that the city’s traffic congestion will worsen in coming decades.

After taking office in 2013, Mr Abbott scrapped the former Labor Government’s $500 million allocation to Perth public transport projects like light rail and a rail link from the CBD to the Airport.

But the recent update of Infrastructure Australia’s National Infrastructure Audit found seven of the top 10 roads projected to have the biggest congestion cost in 2031 are in Perth.

The report also found that Perth currently has only 5.5 per cent of its passenger kilometres on rail each day, compared with 15.5 per cent in Melbourne and 12.3 per cent in Sydney.

The projections highlight the absurdity of Mr Abbott’s refusal to invest in public transport in Perth or anywhere else in Australia.

Many Perth residents live in drive-in, drive-out suburbs where housing is affordable but where job opportunities are limited.

This means they need to make long journeys to and from work in the inner city.

It is a tragedy that many Western Australians spend more time in their cars travelling to and from work than they spend playing with their children.

Labor understands that any serious assault on this worsening social and economic problem must include investment in both roads and urban passenger rail.

Mr Abbott’s roads-only approach is denying WA significant productivity gains and doing nothing to improve commuters’ quality of life.