Jul 10, 2017

Coalition must back Gawler Electrification project

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must match his rhetorical support for public transport projects with actual investment in the electrification of the Gawler Rail Line through Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The upgrade of this rail line was first approved by the independent Infrastructure Australia in 2009.

The former Federal Labor Government allocated $293.5 million in general works including replacing sleepers on the line and upgrading stations and also put aside $76 million for the electrification.

But the incoming Coalition Government withdrew the funding a few months later.

Since then, the Coalition has failed to provide a dollar of investment for the project, despite Mr Turnbull’s frequent declarations about the need to improve public transport in Australian cities.

The South Australian State Government has now been forced to go it alone on Stage I and has written to the Commonwealth seeking a 50-50 partnership with the Commonwealth for Stage II.

The Prime Minister likes taking selfies as he rides on trains. But he refuses to provide new investment for trains.

He should partner with the SA Government to upgrade the Gawler Line and also work with it to deliver the AdeLINK light rail project.

Instead, the Prime Minister has sought to conceal his inaction on public transport by creating a National Rail Fund which he says could be used for projects like the Gawler Line upgrade.

But the National Rail Fund is a con.

It will not deliver a dollar this year. Not next year. Not even the year after.

It is time for Mr Turnbull to stop talking about public transport and provide real investment in real projects, including the Gawler Electrification and AdeLINK