Coalition won't fund WA rail project

 

News article: Coalition won't fund WA rail project

A coalition government wouldn't fund urban rail projects in Western Australia and would instead back roads, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has confirmed.

  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
A coalition government wouldn't fund urban rail projects in Western Australia and would instead back roads, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has confirmed.



The WA Liberals revealed during their state election campaign earlier this year that they hoped the Commonwealth would pay 80 per cent of the $1.89 billion airport rail link project and 50 per cent of the $1.8 billion MAX light rail project.



In April, Mr Abbott appeared to dash Mr Barnett's hopes by saying his party had "no history" of funding urban rail.
Coalition won't fund WA rail project


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Abbot did say later:

* would not reneg on any urban rail schemes already started.

* by paying for other non-urban-rail transport projects, this would help the states pay for any urban rail projects that they did desire.

* would fund improvements to freight rail.

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  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

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Abbot did say later:

* would not reneg on any urban rail schemes already started.

* by paying for other non-urban-rail transport projects, this would help the states pay for any urban rail projects that they did desire.

* would fund improvements to freight rail.
awsgc24
Abbott must really want Rudd to win. Just because the Coalition had a history of funding road only (is that correct?), it doesn't mean it has to set in stone for the future. That is what is frightening a lot of people off Abbott, his inflexible attitude to a number of issues.
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
Abbott must really want Rudd to win. Just because the Coalition had a history of funding road only (is that correct?), it doesn't mean it has to set in stone for the future. That is what is frightening a lot of people off Abbott, his inflexible attitude to a number of issues.
nswtrains
Voting any government in that complains constantly about some things being too expensive, while at the same time pushing hard on other projects that are are best described as uncosted, is always going to end badly. Given his claims of excessive government borrowing, some of his road projects are not only too expensive and possibly not needed, but also not well planned or costed and hence prone to cost blowouts.

Good government spends it's money wisely, chooses the best value projects, invests in long term projects instead of short term pork barrel projects.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Abbott must really want Rudd to win. Just because the Coalition had a history of funding road only (is that correct?), it doesn't mean it has to set in stone for the future. That is what is frightening a lot of people off Abbott, his inflexible attitude to a number of issues.
nswtrains

The important Wentworth Plan, which standardised rail gauge between mainland capital cities, was a Coalition Plan, carried out by the Coalition.

This after 80-100 years of mostly spineless dilly-dallying.

The unaffordable Clapp plan under the ALP (Curtin-Chiffley-Ward), which standardised everything, came to nothing.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Abbot is ruling out Urban rail schemes, which are a state responsibility, not national rail schemes. And it does not automatically mean the money gets spent on roads. A state government that dreams up unaffordable local transport schemes then asks the Feds to fund them is not doing a responsible job.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Abbot is ruling out Urban rail schemes, which are a state responsibility, not national rail schemes. And it does not automatically mean the money gets spent on roads. A state government that dreams up unaffordable local transport schemes then asks the Feds to fund them is not doing a responsible job.
TheBlacksmith
Definitely written by an apologist for the now embattled Abbott coalition...Smile
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Definitely written by an apologist for the now embattled Abbott coalition...Smile
The Vinelander

It seems really strange to me that he would be as up-front about this as he was in April.

The Victorian Liberals at least had the sense to make a whole lot of noise about how green they were pretending to be before the election before systematically dumping all their promises under the 'feasibility study' cloak.  Abbott broke out with a rare case of the truth on that occasion but they might change their minds now that Rudd is presenting a more serious challenge.

This topic really confuses me, why do pollies on both sides (at least here in Victoria) keep promising big public transport improvements with no intention to deliver?  The success of Regional Fast Rail proves that there's actually votes in it - when Labor got chucked out in 2010 the regions stuck with them while the bay side seats, suffering on the overcrowded Frankston and Dandy lines, were the ones who decisively threw them out.

The Libs have been contemplating that lesson recently - the Frankston line was the only big ticket P/T improvement in the last budget with $100 million spent on getting network-wide compatibility on there.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
The important Wentworth Plan, which standardised rail gauge between mainland capital cities, was a Coalition Plan, carried out by the Coalition.

This after 80-100 years of mostly spineless dilly-dallying.

The unaffordable Clapp plan under the ALP (Curtin-Chiffley-Ward), which standardised everything, came to nothing.
awsgc24

Did the coalition standardise all lines linking capital cities? Surprised

Must have overlooked Melbourne-Adelaide !
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Did the coalition standardise all lines linking capital cities? Surprised

Must have overlooked Melbourne-Adelaide !
cootanee

You forget that the Wentworth plan did include Bogie Exchanges at Wodonga, Dynon, Peterborough and Port Pirie, which served Adelaide well for 40 years.

The Coalition also did the SG line to the Leigh Creek coalfields and Maree.

Not sure about the SG line to Whyalla.

Started the SG line to Alice Springs, and the survey on to Darwin.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Definitely written by an apologist for the now embattled Abbott coalition...Smile
The Vinelander
How good of you to polarise the discussion into which side or the other, is it not possible to have a discussion without politicising the debate, or have you nothing to add other than to try and inflame the other people on here?

What I said is out there for all to see, and was alluded to by the OP in his opening post.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
You forget that the Wentworth plan did include Bogie Exchanges at Wodonga, Dynon, Peterborough and Port Pirie, which served Adelaide well for 40 years.

The Coalition also did the SG line to the Leigh Creek coalfields and Maree.

Not sure about the SG line to Whyalla.

Started the SG line to Alice Springs, and the survey on to Darwin.
awsgc24

In relation to the non-standardisation of the Mel-Adel line as part of the original Wentworth Plan of 1960-70:

* There was an alternate route Mel-Perth via Cootamundra-Forbes-Parkes
* There were still several branch lines off the Mel-Adelaide line such as Wolseley-Mount Gambier which would have been rendered useless by conversion of Mel-Adel BG to SG.
* Bogie exchange at the most efficient plant ever in Adelaide was satisfactory.
* The Wentworth Plan tried to be lean and mean, and didn't go in for unnecessary spends on say Mel-Adel.
* Perhaps traffic between Mel-Perth had not yet grown to current levels?

When Keating's One Nation finally converted Mel-Adel to SG around 1990s circumstances had changed, and several branch lines such as Mount Gambier were closed/abandonned.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
The Libs have been contemplating that lesson recently - the Frankston line was the only big ticket P/T improvement in the last budget with $100 million spent on getting network-wide compatibility on there.
don_dunstan

What improvements have there been on the Frankston line?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Definitely written by an apologist for the now embattled Abbott coalition...Smile
The Vinelander
Hardly Mike

The state dreams up a multi billion project suburban rail project, then says the feds need to pay 80% and we blame Abbott for being anti-rail when he says no. Qld govt dreams up a $6B suburban rail project and state says the feds will pay $5B and we blame Abbott because he says no. Seriously what planet do we think these state govts are on when they put together these huge cost projects than expect the feds to pay the vast majority of the funding?

I don't agree with the feds providing majority funding on any road or rail project. The feds have their accountabilities and the states have their own. If I want suburban rail improvements in my state, I should vote for my local state member to do so, if Perth wants rail imrpovements, the people of Perth need to vote accordinly, if I want to vote for a fed govt to invade another country, I'll vote for them on tht. But having to choose the leader of our country based on catching a train to work is phucked up!

The Co-funding projects are often difficult to get approved, easily suspectable to politics over what is right and can be delayed for years over arguing on final details. There is no clear single point accountability. Nothing wrong with feds throwing in 5-15%, but 80%? this is not about ALP vs LNP, its about common sense and improving accountability of relative govts. Abbott has stated he will support fed roads and railways, nothing wrong with that and I don't support him funding any commuter road projects that are not within national interest.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
The problem with that argument is that it treats the traffic problems in each state capital like they are a sole state government problem, that is, it's anti-federation.

The Commonwealth has always funded special projects for the states as it should - the country that I live in is called "Australia" not the "Republic of Victoria".  As a citizen of Australia the light rail and airport train in Perth doesn't really affect me that much but in the longer run it adds to the national productivity; if one part of the country is hurting then it's hurting all of us. A reductionist argument is that Tassie gets loads more Commonwealth money than the rest of us because it's in the Federation... otherwise do you want loads of Tasmanian boat people coming across Bass Strait because they are economic refugees?  No.  That's why it's a Federation - we help each other out as we have done for the last 112 years.

Anyway, Victoria got a windfall with the Regional Rail Link, why shouldn't Perth get presents from Uncle Kev?  Personally I think the WA Liberals are doing a great job trying to get Commonwealth money for Perth public transport; the improvements they want funded will be great for Perth.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Labor recognised that supporting urban rail projects was in the national interest. Congestion costs the nation money and public transport has a role in reducing that. The irony is the feds have contributed to the problem by encouraging use of private motor vehicles through tax incentives.

Abbott's line is more ideology than any 'real' reason why the feds shouldn't invest in urban rail projects. After all they had no problem bringing in the 'Roads to Recovery' and 'Blackspot' federally funded programs, where a significant funding went to local council road maintenance and upgrades.

No prizes for guessing what a state government will do if required to fully fund a rail project as opposed to partially fund a road project where the feds pick up the balance !
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
What improvements have there been on the Frankston line?
VRfan

Sorry VRfan, I missed your question when I posted -

The state budget in May 2013 announced $100m for improvements to the Frankston line, including signal and track improvements, more CCTV and money to allow any type of train from the network to run (Xtrapolis).  Apparently the signals need to be moved so that the Alstom drivers can see them; it's a hangover from the badly designed Kennett privatisation that we have two different types of 'new' train that are not compatible with different parts of the network.  Given that the bay-side seats were the ones that decisively kicked Labor out in 2010 Napthine is taking pre-emptive action.

Doesn't matter that the Pakenham/Cranbourne line is probably more urgent... they're mostly safe Labor along there.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Apparently the signals need to be moved so that the Alstom drivers can see them; it's a hangover from the badly designed Kennett privatisation that we have two different types of 'new' train that are not compatible with different parts of the network.
don_dunstan
What! Are the driver's windows in the front of the train too small?

Or has the driver's position changed to the right hand side, or something?

Of course the signals would have pretty much the same sighting on all lines, so did the Alstom trains have problems on other lines?

Sounds bizarre.

Bring on ATP, etc.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
What! Are the driver's windows in the front of the train too small?

Or has the driver's position changed to the right hand side, or something?

Of course the signals would have pretty much the same sighting on all lines, so did the Alstom trains have problems on other lines?

Sounds bizarre.

Bring on ATP, etc.
awsgc24

Somebody else with more knowledge of the situation can probably better explain it than me - but I'll try and explain it to the best of my knowledge (I'm open to corrections).

When Kennett spilt the system between two 'competitive' entities (Bayside and Hillside train networks) in 1998 the subsequent franchise holders ordered different types of trains.  National Express (Bayside) ordered Siemens trains and Connex (Hillside) ordered Alstom.  This is where the State Government should have had the sense to step in and say 'no' but there was an ideological commitment from the (then) Liberals letting the franchise holders do whatever they wanted.

We are now stuck with this ridiculous situation of having trains on one part of the network that are incompatible with the other parts.  Siemens trains can't use much of the former Hillside network because of issues like tunnels being too low for their air conditioning pods (on the Hurstbridge line).  Alstom trains can't exceed 90kmh because there are no spots on the former Hillside network where they can get higher than those speeds so they were ordered with cheaper coil spring suspensions; therefore they can't run on (Bayside) Werribee and Pakenham/Cranbourne lines because they can't reach the speeds required for revenue service; apparently they bounce around too much at 100kmh.  That situation is patently ridiculous because even the older Comeng trains have air-bag suspensions and can run faster than the newer generation Alstoms; why the government didn't stop them from ordering trains with those specifications is beyond me.

The differences even affect things like signal sighting because the driver in an Alstom sits in a slightly different position compared to the driver on a Siemens/Comeng.  So before Alstom trains can run on the Frankston line they need to spend millions to re-align signals so that all train types can operate.  Wonderful isn't it?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Somebody else with more knowledge of the situation can probably better explain it than me - but I'll try and explain it to the best of my knowledge (I'm open to corrections).

When Kennett spilt the system between two 'competitive' entities (Bayside and Hillside train networks) in 1998 the subsequent franchise holders ordered different types of trains.  National Express (Bayside) ordered Siemens trains and Connex (Hillside) ordered Alstom.  This is where the State Government should have had the sense to step in and say 'no' but there was an ideological commitment from the (then) Liberals letting the franchise holders do whatever they wanted.

We are now stuck with this ridiculous situation of having trains on one part of the network that are incompatible with the other parts.  Siemens trains can't use much of the former Hillside network because of issues like tunnels being too low for their air conditioning pods (on the Hurstbridge line).  Alstom trains can't exceed 90kmh because there are no spots on the former Hillside network where they can get higher than those speeds so they were ordered with cheaper coil spring suspensions; therefore they can't run on (Bayside) Werribee and Pakenham/Cranbourne lines because they can't reach the speeds required for revenue service; apparently they bounce around too much at 100kmh.  That situation is patently ridiculous because even the older Comeng trains have air-bag suspensions and can run faster than the newer generation Alstoms; why the government didn't stop them from ordering trains with those specifications is beyond me.

The differences even affect things like signal sighting because the driver in an Alstom sits in a slightly different position compared to the driver on a Siemens/Comeng.  So before Alstom trains can run on the Frankston line they need to spend millions to re-align signals so that all train types can operate.  Wonderful isn't it?
don_dunstan
Good explanation, however from what I've heard the Alstom trains cannot exceed 90km/h because of a braking issue, not a speed limit issue. (The Glen Waverley line has a speed limit of 95km/h in some areas.)
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Somebody else with more knowledge of the situation can probably better explain it than me - but I'll try and explain it to the best of my knowledge (I'm open to corrections).

When Kennett spilt the system between two 'competitive' entities (Bayside and Hillside train networks) in 1998 the subsequent franchise holders ordered different types of trains.  National Express (Bayside) ordered Siemens trains and Connex (Hillside) ordered Alstom.  This is where the State Government should have had the sense to step in and say 'no' but there was an ideological commitment from the (then) Liberals letting the franchise holders do whatever they wanted.

We are now stuck with this ridiculous situation of having trains on one part of the network that are incompatible with the other parts.  Siemens trains can't use much of the former Hillside network because of issues like tunnels being too low for their air conditioning pods (on the Hurstbridge line).  Alstom trains can't exceed 90kmh because there are no spots on the former Hillside network where they can get higher than those speeds so they were ordered with cheaper coil spring suspensions; therefore they can't run on (Bayside) Werribee and Pakenham/Cranbourne lines because they can't reach the speeds required for revenue service; apparently they bounce around too much at 100kmh.  That situation is patently ridiculous because even the older Comeng trains have air-bag suspensions and can run faster than the newer generation Alstoms; why the government didn't stop them from ordering trains with those specifications is beyond me.

The differences even affect things like signal sighting because the driver in an Alstom sits in a slightly different position compared to the driver on a Siemens/Comeng.  So before Alstom trains can run on the Frankston line they need to spend millions to re-align signals so that all train types can operate.  Wonderful isn't it?
don_dunstan
Yes, definitely not one of Kennent's better moves., the trains and trams should have been network compatible, in hindsight.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Labor recognised that supporting urban rail projects was in the national interest. Congestion costs the nation money and public transport has a role in reducing that. The irony is the feds have contributed to the problem by encouraging use of private motor vehicles through tax incentives.

Abbott's line is more ideology than any 'real' reason why the feds shouldn't invest in urban rail projects. After all they had no problem bringing in the 'Roads to Recovery' and 'Blackspot' federally funded programs, where a significant funding went to local council road maintenance and upgrades.

No prizes for guessing what a state government will do if required to fully fund a rail project as opposed to partially fund a road project where the feds pick up the balance!
cootanee

We have an unfortunate situation here in Victoria where our State Govt isn't interested in big projects for public transport - at least in WA the Liberals are much more progressive and are actively trying to get their projects funded.  They will probably get an airport train link before we do - how backwards will Melbourne look then, only us and Adelaide without rail links to their airports.

As was discussed at the start of the thread, Federal Labor is telling them they will only get their (stalled and unfunded) rail project funded - not the East-West tunnel.  I just hope that if Labor is re-elected (looking increasingly likely) that Napthine is not bloody-minded enough to turn down billions of federal dollars for the rail project.  Given how obstinate they have behaved in the last three years it wouldn't surprise me.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The problem with that argument is that it treats the traffic problems in each state capital like they are a sole state government problem, that is, it's anti-federation.

The Commonwealth has always funded special projects for the states as it should - the country that I live in is called "Australia" not the "Republic of Victoria".  As a citizen of Australia the light rail and airport train in Perth doesn't really affect me that much but in the longer run it adds to the national productivity; if one part of the country is hurting then it's hurting all of us. A reductionist argument is that Tassie gets loads more Commonwealth money than the rest of us because it's in the Federation... otherwise do you want loads of Tasmanian boat people coming across Bass Strait because they are economic refugees?  No.  That's why it's a Federation - we help each other out as we have done for the last 112 years.

Anyway, Victoria got a windfall with the Regional Rail Link, why shouldn't Perth get presents from Uncle Kev?  Personally I think the WA Liberals are doing a great job trying to get Commonwealth money for Perth public transport; the improvements they want funded will be great for Perth.
don_dunstan

Ok, please tell me what limit a commuter based project should be entitled in fed funding? Under your argument I see no issue in up to 20% to help get things moving. But 80%? What use is the state govt then, just a committee of planners that then go on bended knee to another govt for cash and then when the feds say no (right or wrong) they then go to taxpayer/voter crying and blame the evil feds for stopping their latest toy that is such a great idea because well just ask them. Meanwhile the poor taxpayer is stuck with who do I vote for/blame and who is right/wrong?

For a govt to have relevance, it needs to be able to fund the majority of its own planning. NSW said it didn't believe the PERL wasn't in the best interests of its people and right or wrong is funding and building something it believes is in the best interests of Sydney and itself. Almost 100% accountability. If the feds had chipped in 10-20%, great, but it would not have a huge bearing in voters choice of fed govt and still covering your argument.

As I keep asking people on the same topic for the Qld CRR, what do we think is reasonable level of funding for this project? (WA) and if the state had come up with a $6B project, do we think blaming the feds for not funding $5B would be appropriate?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Ok, please tell me what limit a commuter based project should be entitled in fed funding? Under your argument I see no issue in up to 20% to help get things moving. But 80%? What use is the state govt then, just a committee of planners that then go on bended knee to another govt for cash and then when the feds say no (right or wrong) they then go to taxpayer/voter crying and blame the evil feds for stopping their latest toy that is such a great idea because well just ask them. Meanwhile the poor taxpayer is stuck with who do I vote for/blame and who is right/wrong?

For a govt to have relevance, it needs to be able to fund the majority of its own planning. NSW said it didn't believe the PERL wasn't in the best interests of its people and right or wrong is funding and building something it believes is in the best interests of Sydney and itself. Almost 100% accountability. If the feds had chipped in 10-20%, great, but it would not have a huge bearing in voters choice of fed govt and still covering your argument.

As I keep asking people on the same topic for the Qld CRR, what do we think is reasonable level of funding for this project? (WA) and if the state had come up with a $6B project, do we think blaming the feds for not funding $5B would be appropriate?
RTT_Rules

Shhh.... it's a secret.

I'll let you in on the secret only if you promise not to tell anyone else.  

State governments are irrelevant and need to be abolished.  They are a hangover from colonial days and we simply don't need them.

They don't do anything other than add another layer of administration to our already over-governed country.  Menzies removed the power of the states to impose income taxes as an emergency war measure and (surprise surprise) didn't want to give the powers back to the states after the war ended.  Since the states lack power to impose their own taxes as they are restricted by the constitution they have been sliding into irrelevance since then.  Howard gave the states the GST revenue supposedly without strings but then took away most of the special purpose grants so the states have been whinging about the loss of revenue ever since.

The only taxes that states have left are things like stamp duty, gambling taxes and speed camera/traffic fine revenues.  The states have been pushing these as far as they can possibly go but even then they still lack the money and the power to do things so it's still up to the Feds to give them special purpose grants for big projects.

The upcoming referendum question on recognition of local government is probably another attempt by the Feds to try and undermine the states because it will allow them to bypass the states and grant money straight to local councils - like all referendum questions though, it will probably fail.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Shhh.... it's a secret.

I'll let you in on the secret only if you promise not to tell anyone else.  

State governments are irrelevant and need to be abolished.  They are a hangover from colonial days and we simply don't need them.

They don't do anything other than add another layer of administration to our already over-governed country.  Menzies removed the power of the states to impose income taxes as an emergency war measure and (surprise surprise) didn't want to give the powers back to the states after the war ended.  Since the states lack power to impose their own taxes as they are restricted by the constitution they have been sliding into irrelevance since then.  Howard gave the states the GST revenue supposedly without strings but then took away most of the special purpose grants so the states have been whinging about the loss of revenue ever since.

The only taxes that states have left are things like stamp duty, gambling taxes and speed camera/traffic fine revenues.  The states have been pushing these as far as they can possibly go but even then they still lack the money and the power to do things so it's still up to the Feds to give them special purpose grants for big projects.

The upcoming referendum question on recognition of local government is probably another attempt by the Feds to try and undermine the states because it will allow them to bypass the states and grant money straight to local councils - like all referendum questions though, it will probably fail.
don_dunstan
Haha, I don't disagree.

But if we are to have state govt's, then the role and revenues need serious modification. Remove areas that are of national interest, sorry catching a train from Perth Airport is not one. But things like Health, edcuation especially tertiary and 2econdary, driving licences, car registration is. National parks is probably also an obvious one, after all they are called "National" Parks.

Local road, communter roads, commuter railways, city planning, public transport, water supply, sewerage, HV network etc is more localised. Yes it could be Nationalised so to speak, but matters little if it is or isn't, but thinking it maybe better if regional/state based. But if kept state based, then funding should match needs and needs to be adjusted as such.

I suppose should it all be Nationalise everything benefits such as one commuter rail govt body and they would buy standards, ie Perth and Brisbane rollingstock would be the same, currently is but in future not so.  I think SE Regional and interstate rail would benefit from more centralised planning rather than sydney Centric.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The $10b wasted not protecting the borders would have paid for the Inland Railway (Mel-Bris) twice over with money to spare. Thanks Rudd & Gillard.

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