Shadow minister for transport and infrastructure Anthony Albanese has once again grilled the Federal Government for its refusal to fund public transport projects at the state level.
It’s one of the favourite pastimes of the former deputy prime minister; he’s back on the prime minister’s case for his refusal to fund states’ public transport projects – specifically in the rail sector.
Albanese on March 27 labelled Tony Abbott’s focus on roads “absurd,” and said the prime minister was “short-changing Australian cities and damaging quality of life for Australian families living in the outer suburbs”.
Albanese voiced his support for a recent report from community group National Growth Areas Alliance, which called for better transport links to support the outer suburbs of Australian cities.
“Four million Australians live in outer suburban areas, where population growth is double the national rate,” Albanese said.
“Increasing numbers of Australians are living in drive-in/drive-out suburbs where they can afford housing but where local job opportunities are limited.
“Since taking office in 2013, Mr Abbott has refused to invest a cent in urban public transport and scrapped planned investments in major urban rail projects including the Melbourne Metro and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Link.”
NGAA represents 24 of Australia’s “fastest growing” municipalities. The NGAA release last week said 3.3 million people were living in the NGAA areas in the 2013 census, and this was expected to rise to 4.1 million people by 2021.
“It is imperative that the government act to connect outer suburban communities to public transport at the earliest possible stage of their development,” Albanese said.
“This will not happen under Mr Abbott’s roads only policy.”
Albanese warned the Coalition’s “prejudice against public transport” make traffic congestion worse, and will inhibit national economic and jobs growth.
“It will also consign millions of Australians to life in drive-in/drive-out suburbs where there are few jobs and no public transport,” he added.