Pacific National rail sale a 'farce'

Stoush over future of Tasmanian rail takes another turn, with infrastructure minister accused of incompetence and evasive tactics

August 25, 2009

The bitter stoush over the future of Tasmanian rail has taken another turn, with the Greens accusing the infrastructure minister of incompetence and stalling the State's takeover the rail network.

As Pacific National prepares to hand control of the rail network to the Tasmanian Government, Greens infrastructure spokesman Tim Morris says key rail issues are being stalled.

Morris has labelled Minister for Infrastructure Graeme Sturges is "incompetent" and "evasive", claiming he has been slow to complete the handover of the Melba Line on the island’s west coast.

Morris says the Minister has also insulted the rail industry with the Government's plans to sell much needed railway sleepers to the general public.

"If we ever needed proof that Graeme Sturges has no idea about the issues affecting our railways, here it is," Morris says.

"The Minister must explain why he is selling off reusable sleepers while rail lines in need of sleeper replacement lay dormant."

Morris says Sturges continues to miss the deadline for the rail handover and continues to avoid questions about the timing of the sale.

"[The] rail sale process is descending into farce as the Minister misses deadlines and misleads the people of Tasmania".

Sturges criticised Morris earlier this month over similar comments and made it clear the proposed completion date for the buy back of Asciano-owned Pacific National had been set at November 30.

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