Labor accused of policy theft over inland rail study

By: Jason Whittaker


Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese is being labelled a policy thief by his shadow counterpart after last week commissioning a

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese is being labelled a policy thief by his shadow counterpart after last week commissioning a study into the viability of an inland rail system.

Warren Truss has accused Albanese of stealing the Coalition’s $15 million study into the proposed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane which he says was announced by then-Minister for Transport Mark Vaile on June 15 last year.

Truss says he was "close to speechless" upon hearing Albanese announce the study, who he labelled as infamous train robber Ronald Biggs after he "brazenly photocopied" the Coalition’s policy.

The argument over who did what first is descending into a tit for tat, with Albanese saying the previous government is guilty of inaction over the study.

According to Albanese, the Howard Government spent 11 year doing nothing but talking, promising and sending out press releases while the Rudd Government has taken less than a year to progress the proposal to the next stage.

In the latest round over the argument, Truss says if the Rudd Government is in the business of stealing ideas, then it should adopt a number of policies the Coalition took to the last election and has advocated for while in Opposition.

"I have to admit I was initially shocked by the minister’s bare-faced check and plagiarism and I likened him to infamous great train robber Ronald Biggs," Truss says.

"But I now sense that a Labor Party, bereft of original thought, wants and needs to adopt many more Coalition infrastructure policies."

Among the list the Government should adopt, according to Truss, is the decision to scrap the increased heavy vehicle registration and indexed fuel excise charges, commit more to road, rail and ports over the next five years under AusLink2 and build the F3 to Branxton road link.

"After all, if it is ok for Mr Albanese and Mr Rudd to nick on Coalition policy, surely he’ll want to rip off a whole lot more that will benefit Australians across the country," Truss says.

"Just give credit where credit is due."

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