Jun 1, 2017

Public transport con unravelling

The Turnbull Government’s alleged $10 billion National Rail Fund has emerged as a political fix that will do nothing to actually deliver new railways.

Evidence before Senate Budget Estimates hearings has confirmed that the fund will not yield a dollar in actual investment until well after the next Federal election.

In his Budget speech on May 9, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the fund could be used to provide Commonwealth contributions to much needed public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, and the ADELink project.

However, the Budget fine print reveals the fund will yield nothing this year, next year or the year after.

After four years of neglect, Australia’s big cities need rail investment now, not years from now.

Traffic congestion is a hand brake on economic and jobs growth. Analysis by Infrastructure Australia has found it will cost the nation $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031 without action now.

It is clear that the Government created this alleged rail fund because it has realised that Australians are sick of its refusal to invest in public transport.

However, the lack of any actual investment this entire term confirms the fund is a con. It is not a legitimate funding mechanism, but a political fix designed to give the illusion of action.

Mr Turnbull enjoys taking selfies as he rides on trains, trams and buses. It is time he invested in trains, trams and buses.