AusRAIL, Market Sectors

AusLink debate must not be diverted from main aims

<p>The debate on the Federal Government’s AusLink green paper must not be allowed to divert attention from the immediate action required on rail infrastructure, Pacific National urged today (Tuesday, November 11).</p> <p>"AusLink is not a substitute for taking the urgent action required for the next 12 months to two years," the company’s commercial general manager, Robert Jeremy, said.</p> <p>Significant improvements on the North&#47South corridor could be made through "minor surgery" &#8211 a black spot program similar to that used on roads, he said</p> <p>"These are the sort of gains that shouldn’t have to wait on AusLink," Mr Jeremy said.</p> <p>"It doesn’t need inter-governmental agreement it just needs some sensible planning."</p> <p>Pacific National is broadly supportive of the principles behind AusLink, in particular the need for a national plan and the references to regional strategy.</p> <p>"It is impossible to disagree with the underlying assumption that infrastructure is not up to the future transport requirements," Mr Jeremy said.</p> <p>However he said the Commonwealth Government is "ducking a policy issue" in refusing to deal with access pricing through AusLink.</p> <p>The strategy will not be balanced unless the government has a policy on infrastructure pricing that enables it to assess the relativity of projects, Mr Jeremy said.</p> <p>The government either needs to place road and rail on an equal footing or accept that if rail continues to pay more it should be looked on more favourably, he said.</p> <p>Mr Jeremy said that Commonwealth funding on rail has been placed in "a holding pattern" for the last five years and this meant a lot is riding on AusLink.</p> <p>"If AusLink doesn’t get up we run the risk that we go back to where we started and that would be a very bad outcome for rail," he said. </p> <br />