Coalition called to revamp its Land Transport Policy

Railway Technical Society of Australasia
PO Box E303

31 October 2001 Media Information

Coalition called to revamp its Land Transport Policy

"The Coalition's transport policy released Monday by National Party Leader and Transport Minister John Anderson, should be described either as Moving Backwards or Keep on Trucking, rather than Keeping Australia Moving," said Dr Philip Laird, a spokesman for the Railway Technical Society of Australasia.

"While all other OECD countries, including the USA, are working towards
'sustainable transport' policies to reduce road congestion and vehicle emissions, the Coalition's 13-page transport policy does not even mention the word 'sustainable'," he said. "All economic indicators point to Australia's land freight task being set to double by 2020, and we urgently need an alternative to the endless procession of heavy trucks that are clogging up our roads."

"Rail transport can provide that alternative."
"The worst feature of the Coalition's transport policy must be the abject failure to deny inter-state rail tracks additional investment funds over the minimal funding promised four years ago." Dr Laird continued.

"This is despite the fact that no less than four major reports commissioned
by Prime Minister Howard and his government have recommended additional funding for interstate rail, yet they continue to ignore their own advice!"

"Of these the most recent, prepared by the Government's own Australian Rail
Track Corporation, found that a modest track upgrading program would have a benefit cost ratio of 3.2. This is higher than for most road projects." "The benefits of investing in rail, include faster and heavier freight trains, and diverting the loads of 400 heavy long distance truck movements from road to rail each day."

Dr Laird concluded, "The ALP is at least prepared to make a step forward by
allocating an extra $60 million to the long overdue track upgrade."

"The Coalition, whilst finding extra money for roads and none for rail to
date, has promised extra road statements. It should now make a further statement on rail." "Australia must do better with its land transport policy, otherwise it will face further losses in international competitiveness."

For further information contact:
Dr Philip Laird on 02 4221 3421 or 0412 060 129

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