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$580m not enough for Inland Rail: Albo

Anthony Albanese, ASA

Anthony Albanese says the $580 million committed by the Turnbull Government to Inland Rail in the federal budget is not enough to get the project off the “slow track”.

Last week’s federal budget included forward estimates for the funding to be given to the Australian Rail Track Corporation, so it can acquire land to construct an inland rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

But Albanese, the shadow transport and infrastructure minister, says a $580 million commitment to a multi-billion-dollar project is simply not enough to convince voters the Coalition is serious about making Inland Rail a reality.

“Since taking office, the Coalition has failed to invest a single dollar into Inland Rail,” Albanese said.

“While the budget’s allocation is welcome, people should believe it when they see it, given that the Coalition has run dead on Inland Rail during its first term in office, breaching its own election promise.”

Albanese echoed the sentiments of former Nationals leader John Anderson, who conducted the official implementation plan for Inland Rail, and told the ABC in April that in the federal budget, the Government should allocate at least $1 billion to the project, or abandon it altogether.

“If the Government doesn’t think [Inland Rail] ought to be, then it should kill it [and] end any uncertainty,” Anderson was quoted as saying by the ABC on April 7.

“This sort of half pregnant stuff that we get … we’re seeing too much of that from governments.

“I think people think government is losing its ability to make clear-cut decisions, and they want clear-cut decisions.”

Albanese concluded: “Mr Anderson set the bar, and the Government has fallen well below expectations.”

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