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Rail Association adds to criticism of Abbott’s infrastructure focus

Oct 3, 2013National News

The Australian Rail Association has added its voice to the criticism of the Abbott Government’s focus on roads over rail.

The Association’s chief executive, Bryan Nye told the Australian Financial Review today that the Federal Government’s focus on highways rather than cheaper, more efficient rail projects is flawed.

“The statement that we are just going to fund more roads is counterintuitive to what’s happening around the rest of the world,” he told the AFR.

The comments come after the ARA released the Australian Rail Industry Report, which shows that passenger journeys on rail have increased by 84 million over the past four years and that freight haulage has increased by over eight per cent.

RTBU National Secretary Bob Nanva said the Prime Minister’s view on transport infrastructure looks likely to result in the scaling back, and even withdrawal, of key rail projects.

“Already we’ve seen the Abbott Government put a question mark over the head of a number of rail projects, including the Melbourne Metro line and the Perth Airport Link.

“The Prime Minister’s focus on roads over rail is antiquated and frankly very concerning. He says he wants to be known as an infrastructure PM, but at the moment he’s on track to be known as the man who set Australia’s freight and passenger rail services back decades.”

Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden said the Prime Minister’s focus is very concerning.

“Rail is becoming increasingly important for both passenger and freight in Australia. That we have a Prime Minister that seems more interested in building more roads than the infrastructure of the future is a real worry and something we’ll be watching very closely.”