THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.

EVERALD COMPTON RELATES HIS LONG AND PAINFUL JOURNEY

Soon after John Howard became Prime Minister of Australia in 1996, I met him at Parliament in Canberra to outline my plan to build an Inland Railway.

He agreed that it was a visionary project well worth a try and he gave me the green light to open negotiations with appropriate Ministers in his Cabinet.

I mentioned to him that there was a political downside for his Government. No matter what corridor we chose for the railway, many people would be hurt as we resumed properties & demolished homes as inevitably happens with every infrastructure project anywhere in the world.

We agreed that we must always work on the principle that every effort would be made to avoid unnecessary hardship and that compensation for property and loss of income would be generous.

Sadly, those who have followed him have not adhered to this principle. Continue reading “THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.”

INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER

Back in the days of his prime, Barnaby Joyce announced that the Coalition Government had allocated 9.5 billion dollars for the construction of the Inland Railway.

He had demanded this from Malcolm Turnbull as the price for National Party cooperation at the time of Turnbull’s coup to topple Abbott.

Turnbull reluctantly agreed, but insisted that it had to be funded ‘off balance sheet’, ie, not taken from general taxpayer revenue in the next Budget, but funded by loans to be taken out by the Federal Government’s own railway company, ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) against its balance sheet. Future revenue would pay back the loans.

This was mentioned only in the fine print of the public announcement. Most voters think it is being funded by regular government grants.

In other words, Barnaby Joyce proceeded with the project without allocating one cent of government funds to it. This means that his in-depth commitment to it has been Nil. It was simply a vote getting stunt. Continue reading “INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER”