Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Albo asks Abbott not to ‘look the other way’ on urban funding

Anthony Albanese, ASA

Shadow transport minister Anthony Albanese has again criticised the Abbott Government’s infrastructure plan, ahead of Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

Last week Albanese described cuts in last year’s Budget, and on Monday the shadow transport minister was again on his soapbox, criticising Abbott’s roads over rail infrastructure plan.

“Tony Abbott must deliver genuine new investment in productive infrastructure,” the former deputy prime minister demanded.

“In last year’s Budget, Mr Abbott slashed billions of dollars of planned investment in urban public transport. Despite this he has attempted to mislead Australians by claiming he has lifted infrastructure investment.”

Albanese last week said the prime minister has so far in his term “cut funding to projects approved by Infrastructure Australia such as the Melbourne Metro and the M80, in order to fund the now discredited East-West Link told road without seeing a cost-benefit analysis.”

On Monday, Albanese took the time to address urban congestion in major cities, pleading with the prime minister to reverse his decision and fund rail projects, instead of leaving the states to do it.

“Since taking office, Mr Abbott has completely withdrawn from urban policy, leaving cities around Australia in the lurch,” Albanese said.

“The Coalition has also withdrawn billions of dollars of investment in urban rail, which had been allocated by the previous Labor Government,” he continued.

“If Mr Abbott continues this way, his prejudice against public transport will seriously impact urban congestion and inhibit national economic productivity 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.”

Albanese said the Labor Party’s approach was more “commonsense”.

“Labor believes the Commonwealth should work with the states to develop a fully integrated transport system that includes roads and passenger rail,” he reiterated.

“Labor knows we can’t afford to look the other way when 80% of Australians live in our cities.”