Union unimpressed with Inland Rail progress
Nanva says the Nationals have failed to encourage advancement of the project
The 1,700km Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project is so far just a "farce", the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) says.
The union is not pleased with the speed at which the project is progressing and complains that opening the Toowoomba information centre will not make any significant contribution to the project.
"This government has claimed that Inland Rail is its signature achievement for regional Australia," RTBU national secretary Bob Nanva says.
"But the sad truth is that the Inland Rail project does not exist.
"In fact, work has not started, and the government has not even worked out where it will go."
Referring to federal transport and infrastructure minister Darren Chester’s statement at the ALC Forum last week, Nanva says the government is itself unsure of the future of the project.
"The job of this government is not to make Inland Rail inevitable in the future, it’s to build Inland Rail now.
"We don’t need a citizen's assembly, more community consultation, or so-called 'information centre' to tell people how great it will be – we just want Barnaby Joyce and Darren Chester to get on with the job."
The union says the project will not only make rail freight "more competitive" with road transport, it also holds economic value to regional communities.
Nanva calls for the Nationals to take steps to see Inland Rail become Australia’s "number one" infrastructure priority.
"The National Party has talked a big game on Inland Rail, but talking doesn’t build a railway.
"After four years of government, Barnaby Joyce and The Nationals have failed to get a single sleeper in the ground.
"Opening an office doesn’t change this stark fact, and won’t fool anyone."