The Minister today failed to clearly outline how he would pay for the rail takeover.
The Minister must secure Federal Government assistance.
The Minister has previously failed to get Tasmania's fair share of rail funding from the Federal Government.
After trying to grab a headline to save his damaged reputation, the embattled Infrastructure Minister, Graeme Sturges, failed to say how he would pay for Tasmania's $32 million buyout of rail.
It is not good enough for the Minister to simply stand up in Parliament, say that he's going to buy rail for $32 million and then not even say where the money was coming from.
The Minister now has some serious questions to answer. Tasmanians deserve to know how he's going to fund rail. Will existing services be cut to pay for it? Will maintenance money be diverted, further jeopardising the rail safety and reliability? Will the Government borrow money?
The Minister has previously said that there are other options for rail funding. What are these other options? When is the Minister going to stand up and start arguing for Tasmania's fair share of federal funding for rail?
Out of the $42 billion of money set aside for infrastructure under the Federal Government's Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, Graeme Sturges managed to get just $8.9 million for road and rail in Tasmania. That's just 0.02% of the $42 billion package.
This has all the hallmarks of another Government decision made on the run for a short-term political quick fix to paper over the cracks that are emerging after 11 years of Labor Government.
The Government has supposedly been working on this plan to buy back rail for quite some time, it's just that the time frame has been accelerated, so it must know how it is going to pay for it, and it should say.
Then again, this Government is incapable of planning properly for the future and this is just another example.