Transport Minister Scott Emerson has announced the cabinet will meet today (Wednesday) for the first time since a federal election was called.
Key points:Mr Emerson said it would be “fair” to compare the federal government’s proposed changes with the ones it had proposed in the state-by-state modelThe cabinet meeting will be the first since the election result was announcedEarlier, the ABC revealed a transport minister would be meeting the premier, Mr Morrison, and federal Treasurer Joe Hockey to discuss the transport budget.
“We’re not going to be going to the national capital any time soon,” Mr Emerson told reporters.
“The federal government has had its hand full trying to implement the things they’ve put forward in the last few months.”
I think the people of Victoria and Queensland are very clear that it’s fair to compare what they’ve done in the states with what they’re doing here in the ACT.
“That’s what the budget and the new package is about.”
Mr Emerson also announced a new $2.2 billion transport funding package, which includes a $2 billion boost to train operators, and a $3 billion boost for public transport.
Mr Emerson’s announcement comes as a new study has shown the state has the lowest level of passenger rail patronage in Australia.
“We are at the heart of the national rail network,” he said.
“It’s an enormous investment and the Government’s commitment to that investment is unwavering.”
Our commitment is to build the next generation of rail links.
“The new budget package includes a package of $2bn to fund new train operators.
Mr Morrison told ABC Radio on Tuesday that it would make a difference to the state’s finances.”
For us, it’s a very significant investment, not just in rail but in public transport, and it will be in the national interest, the Victorian Government’s interest, to see that investment continue,” he told the ABC.”
But we’ve got to look at it in context of what’s really important here in Victoria and the need for it to continue.
“Mr Morrison said the government had also promised to spend $400 million on infrastructure and $1.6 billion on infrastructure grants for new schools.”
There’s been some good news in terms of infrastructure funding for school construction in Victoria,” he added.”
So, yes, we’re committed to investing $400m over the next 12 months to build new schools in Victoria.
“But Mr Morrison told the program he was not prepared to commit to funding the rail system for two more years.
Labor’s transport spokesman Andrew Leigh said Mr Emerson’s cabinet announcement was disappointing, and suggested the $2B for new train stations was not enough.”
This is the first cabinet meeting since the Federal Government’s election win,” Mr Leigh said.
Mr Leigh said the Liberals’ $1B for the state would not be enough.
He said $1 billion in funding would not make a significant difference in the long term.”
As I said, it is not enough to provide for the needs of Victoria’s rail network, and I think it’s not even a small amount of money,” he noted.
The ABC has approached Mr Emerson for comment.