Apr 8, 2016

Government must bring forward rail projects

Labor stands ready to assist the Government in identifying rail projects which could be immediately brought forward to help support workers at Whyalla’s steelworks.

On The Today Show this morning, Industry Minister Christopher Pyne agreed with my statement that rail projects could be brought forward to provide certainty for Whyalla’s steel industry.

PYNE: I agree with that Lisa, and if Anthony’s got suggestions about other projects that we could bring forward in rail, I’d be very keen to talk to him about it because it’s beyond politics.

Christopher Pyne, The Today Show, 8 April 2016

If the Government is serious about protecting Australian steel it should immediately restore the $4.5 billion cut from public transport projects and bring forward the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Link, Adelaide’s Tonsley Park rail project and Gawler line electrification, as well as the $500 million that had been allocated by the former Labor Government for heavy and light rail projects in Perth.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that public infrastructure investment crashed 20 per cent between September 2013 and September 2015.

Investment in urban rail is critical to easing the traffic congestion that is acting as a hand brake on growth of Australian cities and reducing the quality of life of millions of Australians.

Carefully targeted investment in infrastructure will not only help support Whyalla’s steel workers in the short term, but also lift productivity and ease congestion, driving growth over the medium to long term.