Investment in urban public transport is yet to progress beyond tokenism, and the lack of progress on Inland Rail is a constant source of frustration for rural and regional Australians.
The Federal Government has made much political capital out of its so-called commitment to rail and public transport. In reality, however, this Government has failed to live up to its own rhetoric on rail and public transport. While the language may have changed, the substance of Federal Government policy is still mired in the 1950s mindset of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who famously claimed the Federal Government’s should “stick to its knitting” by ignoring public transport altogether. Investment in urban public transport is yet to progress beyond tokenism, and the lack of progress on Inland Rail is a constant source of frustration for rural and regional Australians.
Nevertheless, commuters and public transport workers remain hopeful that the Federal Government will make a genuine effort tackle Australia’s rail and public transport infrastructure needs. Recent media statements from the Prime Minister and Treasurer have given commuters hope that a change in policy is imminent. The Prime Minister’s enthusiastic support of alternative funding models such as value capture, and the Treasurer’s recent acknowledge that investment in infrastructure is a prudent use of debt, have raised expectations that this Federal Budget will be di erent.
This Budget represents the Federal Government’s last chance to obtain any credibility on transport issues. The time for tokenism is over, and the time for delivery has well and truly arrived.
This Budget simply must make genuine and substantial investments in rail and public.
Read the full RTBU submission here.