Jun 13, 2017

Turnbull’s rail fund a sham

Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed his National Rail Fund is a sham that will not produce a dollar of new investment for public transport until well after the next Federal election.

The Prime Minister’s admission came today after the Queensland Government was forced to go it alone in funding the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane in its 2017 Budget because Mr Turnbull has refused to support the project.

Malcolm Turnbull likes taking selfies on trains, tram and buses.

But he refuses to invest in trains, trams or buses despite repeated warnings that traffic congestion is acting as a hand brake on the nation’s economic development.

Cross River Rail is urgently needed to provide a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD because the existing Merivale Bridge is reaching full capacity.

Continued delay in commencing the project will inhibit economic growth in Brisbane and right across south-east Queensland.

In last month’s Budget Mr Turnbull created a $10 billion National Rail Fund which he says could be used to invest in Cross River Rail as well as other public transport projects like the Melbourne Metro and the ADELink light rail project.

In Question Time today I asked: Is the Prime Minister aware that under the so-called National Rail Program, not a single dollar is available for building rail in this entire term of Parliament? Nothing this year, nothing next year and nothing the year after that? Isn’t the National Rail Program the new NAIF – the No Actual Infrastructure Fund?
Mr Turnbull ignored the specifics of the question.

Cross River Rail was approved by Infrastructure Australia in 2012 and was ready to commence in 2013 under a deal between the former Labor Government and the former Coalition Queensland Government.

But it was cancelled by the incoming Federal Coalition Government, which has subsequently not provided a single dollar of new investment for public transport.