AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Give Tasmanian rail services fair go on investment: PN

<p>Tasmanian rail deserves the same level of government investment as that afforded in mainland Australia and overseas, Pacific National said.</p> <p>Pacific National Tasmania chief executive officer Neil MacKinnon said the company was "providing the opportunity" for the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to maintain rail freight services as a key part of the state’s transport infrastructure.</p> <p>"We are not asking for anything more than what is provided around Australia and overseas," Mr MacKinnon said.</p> <p>"It is a gross misrepresentation to describe our requests for investment in rail infrastructure as a handout to private enterprise.</p> <p>"We have simply determined that, at current and projected levels of business, Pacific National Tasmania cannot afford to maintain the main line rail track if it is to offer road competitive prices and services."</p> <p>Pacific National’s position mirrored that of all rail infrastructure owners in Australia and most of the world.</p> <p>If the decision were left solely to Pacific National, the main line would not be maintained and it would eventually close, he said.</p> <p>"Rather than see the track disappear forever, we have offered the governments the opportunity to invest in order to retain the main line as part of Tasmania’s essential transport infrastructure," Mr MacKinnon said.</p> <p>The company is concerned that it has taken the governments 20 days to finalise terms of reference and consultants to complete a review of the rail service.</p> <p>This left just more than three weeks to complete the review by November 18 and hand a report to the ministers by November 30, he said.</p> <p>"In the meantime, we will continue to work on contingency plans with all customers in case adequate levels of government investment do not eventuate," Mr MacKinnon said.</p> <br />