Oct 23, 2014

Inland Rail Off Track

Tony Abbott has fallen behind schedule in his delivery of the Inland Rail freight link between Brisbane and Melbourne despite pre-election promises to fast-track the project.

Testimony before Senate Budget Estimates committee hearings this week revealed the Government expects to spend $11.3 million on the project in the year to June 30, 2015.

The former Labor Government funded the 1730km 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.

Based on Senate Estimates evidence about Mr Abbott’s expectation that he will spend $11.3 million this financial year, it is clear that if Labor was still in office, Inland Rail would be further advanced than it is now.

Clearly Mr Abbott, who claimed before the election he wanted to dedicate his prime ministership to infrastructure delivery, is struggling to meet his own deadlines.

Despite all the promises, Mr Abbott and his bungling Transport Minister Warren Truss are proving themselves inept when it comes to the job of Nation Building.

The lack of progress on Inland Rail follows Mr Abbott’s decision to pay the Victorian Government an advance payment of $1.5 billion for Melbourne’s East-West Link road project despite the absence of promised cost-benefit analysis.

The Prime Minister has also withdrawn all Commonwealth funding for urban public transport projects, effectively raising the white flag on tackling traffic congestion.