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The next Federal Election will be about Passenger and Freight Rail across Australia and specifically in regional and rural electorates. The Liberal/National and the Labor party have not registered that this is a major issue across Australia. The issue has been magnified by the incompetence of State Government's in selling off rail transport to private rail operators, who have closed lines, sold off rolling stock and scrapped rolling stock causing a shortage of these important infrastructure components.
Railways play a significant and important role in economic development, a fact that is ignored and has been lost by Liberal/National and Labor parties but has been embraced by our trade competitors.
The fact that the Abbott government wants to sell the ARTC is a prime example of the ignorance and incompetence of politicians and their obsession with selling off sovereign and state assets to corporations, who scuttle and run down these indefatigably important logistical and economic assets.
If local councils can unite to pursue policies that incorporate passenger and freight rail strategies in their economic development, why then are the Federal Politicians so lacking in this fundamental acknowledgement and realisation. I would hazard to guess that they are prisoners of the road transport industry and the private operators of rail.
It will be interesting to observe which political party comes out of the election starting blocks with a coherent, practical and visionary policy on the future of investment in rail infrastructure and then commits to it after the election. Don't hold your breath, as what we have seen in recent times of the politician's performances in Canberra has been nothing short of a lacking in cognitive capacity and intellectual ability let alone moral and ethical judgement.
Gough Whitlam wanted the states to hand over their railways to the Federal Government, because he realised the significant and important role the railways played in the economic development of the country, a policy completely lost on today's myopic thinking politicians.
An ARTC manager in a private conversation informed me, that since privatisation of the railways there are now 11 layers of bureaucracy to work through now to effect change. This does not make the country competitive or increase productivity, which are the catch cries of our insular looking politicians and cannot be really taken seriously. The politicians focus and legislatively put pressure on the work force with imbecilic policies like WORK CHOICES, rather than concentrating on the veins and arteries of the country, which are the railways for moving people and freight.
The next time you hear a politician state that we have as country to lift our productivity and competitiveness, have a good laugh at their shear incompetence and ignorance.
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