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Author Topic: Rail network safe for next decade  (Read 2031 times)

Online ozbob

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Rail network safe for next decade
« on: September 30, 2006, 09:58:25 AM »
Rail network safe for next decade

Advocate
Date published: Saturday, September 30, 2006, Burnie Tas.
Author: CHRIS PIPPOS and AAP

THE Federal Government has signed off on the long-awaited rail rescue package, securing Tasmania's freight rail network for the next decade.

Outgoing Transport Minister Warren Truss yesterday finalised the agreement, a year after rail operator Pacific National threatened to walk away from its lease.

Under the deal, Pacific National will sell back its track, yards and terminals to the State Government for $1, while investing $38 million over eight years in rolling stock and equipment.

The State and federal governments will contribute a combined $118 million to upgrade and maintain the track.

"It is now up to the Tasmanian Government and Pacific National to keep to their side of the arrangement to ensure the flow of Australian Government funding through AusLink, the national land transport plan," Mr Truss said.

"I also encourage the Tasmanian Government to move swiftly to develop the scope of the package of works for the Tasmanian rail system which will need to be agreed by the Tasmanian and Australian governments."

Pacific National angered governments last year when it threatened to abandon its Tasrail lease unless public money was used to improve the infrastructure.

State Infrastructure Minister Jim Cox said more work still needed to be done.

"Work is already being undertaken to prepare draft contracts for the next stage of negotiations with Pacific National," he said.

"It is hoped that these negotiations can be finalised in the near future."

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