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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Federal ALP Agrees With Abbott: Roads, Roads and More Roads

The Federal ALP has changed its position to support fuel excise indexation but only on the condition that $1.1 billion of the $3 billion over four years is spent on rural roads.

The ALP says nothing about the remaining $1.9 billion, which presumably, given Tony Abbott's stated view that the Federal Government should 'stick to its knitting'( which he sees as roads, roads and more roads), will be spent on urban roads. 

Rural roads, where there are no alternatives to road transport, might well be a sensible use of funds, but in urban areas there should at least be the option of spending on alternatives to roads. Even in rural areas, funds could usefully be dedicated to retaining or upgrading rail access (eg for grain in WA).

The STCWA has previously supported fuel excise indexation, but on the condition that the additional revenues be hypothecated to 'walking, cycling and public transport as well as for roads in general' ( We continue to hold that view.

No one, especially Tony Abbott who can ill-afford another billion-dollar budget hole, wants the money from the 2014 fuel excise increase to go back to the oil companies, but Labor has missed a huge opportunity to help safeguard a sustainable future and to differentiate itself from the Government here.

At the same time, Federal MP for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan is sending out a flier rightly criticising the Barnett Government for reneging on its promise to build the MAX light rail and committing to build a non-promise in the Perth Freight Link.

There seems to be an obvious disconnect here.

Written and Posted by Ian Ker, Convenor, STCWA

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