Oct 24, 2013

Jamie Briggs’ train to nowhere

Thousands of people will be stranded and up to 250 jobs will be lost after the Federal Government confirmed it would cut funding to Tonsley Park Public Transport Project.

Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs made the announcement on Adelaide radio this morning.

When asked whether he was formally advising that federal funding to the project would be cut, Mr Briggs said:

Briggs:  That’s right, well, we said that prior to the election.

                                                               ABC 891, 24 October 2013

In fact, the Prime Minister had already confirmed to the South Australian Government that the money for the project would still be available.

Mr Briggs must urgently clarify whether the Federal Government will meet its commitment to fund this crucial rail project for South Australians.

More than 1000 people use the train service every weekday.

The failure to fund this project is consistent with the Prime Minister’s previously stated view that that public transport is not the Commonwealth’s ‘knitting’.

Abbott: The Commonwealth should stick to its knitting, and its knitting is roads”

Doorstop (Frankston), 4 April 2013

During the interview Mr Briggs also admitted he had no idea that the Tonsley rail line was in fact a passenger service rather than a freight line.

“I live in New South Wales and even I know that Tonsley is a passenger service. The Minister, who is from South Australia, appears to think otherwise” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Briggs needs to get across his brief and get it right.

Whether a project is funded or not, and whether a rail line is a passenger line or a freight line is pretty basic.

Cutting vital transport projects across the board is not the way to build a stronger, smarter nation.