Funding for public transport infrastructure ‘half the picture’
The State Budget contained funding for a number of important rail infrastructure projects, but this investment will be wasted if there are not enough workers to run services.
350 jobs are being cut to ‘back office’ staff in transport agencies, but the State Government had not announced any new front-line service positions.
The State Budget delivers on new rail infrastructure and provides essential funding for new trains and buses.
But to deliver high-quality services you need to have enough staff to drive the trains and buses, to sell tickets and protect passengers.
There also needs to be enough people behind the scenes running operations, making sure the public transport system works smoothly and effectively.
Budget announcements for rail included:
• $262 million to develop the 23-kilomtere North West Rail Link, including $172 for land purchases;
• $292 million to continue the $2.1 billion South West Rail Link;
• $159 million for the Country Regional Network, including $57.5 million to re-sleeper tracks, $10.3 million to renew bridges, and $3.7 million to convert jopinted rail to continuous welded track;
• $198 million for the Rail Clearways program to continue construction works for the Liverpool turnback, the Kingsgrove to Revesby quadruplicaton, the Richmond line duplicaton and a new line for Macarthur;
• $15.8 to improve infrastructure to meet the needs of new Waratah trains;
• $15 million to continue a new stabling facility at Emu Plains and $10.5 million to continue Wollongong stabling works;
• $152 million to buy and upgrade rolling stock, including $130 million toward 99 new carriages for outer suburban services;
• $102 million over four years to provide more express rail services; and
• $2 million for a study into re-opening services on the Casino to Murwillumbah line.