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Staff and training shortages show vital need for Federal rail funding

An investigation exposing staff shortages and inadequate training in the State's rail system highlights the need to boost State funding and protect Federal funding from proposed cuts, the Greens said today.

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Tony Abbott has vowed to abolish Federal funding for urban rail if elected.

"The 2013-14 Federal Budget includes $500 million for rail in WA over the next decade and today's revelations show how urgently it is needed, but under Tony Abbott's Coalition - that money is gone. The Premier makes a show of standing up for Western Australia, but what will he do to defend this vital funding?"

Greens State Transport spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC has asked the Barnett Government to explain how its election promise for the Metro Area Express light rail system will be funded, in light of Mr Abbott's plan to abolish Federal rail funding.

"The State Government gave an empty answer. They didn't explain any funding options. It appears they have no plan.

"The State Government expects six per cent growth every year in use of the Perth train station. The only measure they've announced is completion of the current City Link Project.

"The public needs more than a walkway across Perth into Northbridge. We need light rail shuttling commuters through the city and through the suburbs. Adding a few rail cars on a hobbled train network just doesn't cut it.

"The Greens call for funding light rail now to relieve the burden on the current heavy rail network. Every time we lay new tracks, people take up public transport in droves - the Barnett Government needs to listen to what that says: Perth people want better public transport."


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