Sep 11, 2015

Inland rail – Time for action, not more words

Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss should stop talking about the long-awaited Inland Rail Link between Brisbane and Melbourne and start building.

Prior to the 2013 election, Mr Truss promised to “fast-track’’ construction of the 1730km the project, which will revolutionise the movement of freight.

But two years into his term of office, the hapless Mr Truss has failed to allocate a single dollar to the project beyond the $300 million in start-up funding allocated by the former Labor Government.

Labor also spent almost $600 million on improvements to existing railway network that will form part of the Inland Rail project.

It is extraordinary that Mr Truss has lacked the clout within the Abbott Cabinet to secure any funds for this important Nation Building project.

Upon taking office Tony Abbott cancelled billions of dollars of investment allocated to urban passenger rail, consigning our nation’s busy cities to worsening traffic congestion, which is a hand brake on economic growth.

But it now appears Mr Abbott’s absurd anti-rail prejudice extends to freight rail, despite the fact the Inland Rail project will benefit vast numbers of agricultural producers along its proposed path and drive productivity gains that will benefit the entire Australian economy.

Inland Rail will also save lives by taking container traffic off highways.

Mr Truss has talked endlessly about Inland Rail but done nothing.

It is time to get on with the job.