Transport minister Steven Miles has said he would like to see more Australians using public transport by 2030.
He also revealed that the Government had decided to move to an “open and transparent” approach to rail transport, including public transport.
Miles told Parliament in Sydney on Monday that Australia needed to make the case to world leaders that Australia was a leading country in rail transport.
“The world is changing rapidly.
Australia is in the middle of the biggest expansion of rail infrastructure since the Victorian rail network in the early 1980s,” he said.
“We have been ahead of the curve for decades in terms of building, operating and improving rail infrastructure.”
The Minister said it was time to make “good and strong” public transport an issue.
While public transport has been a key issue for many, Mr Miles said it needed to be seen as an issue of fairness, accessibility and affordability.
“It’s not just about a good deal for consumers,” he told Parliament.
It’s also important to understand that rail travel can be an expensive proposition, he added.
“This means that the taxpayer has to pay for it.
We have to understand the economic and social impact of a change in the way we operate the system.”
He said that was a key consideration in the Government’s proposal to shift to a “closed and transparent model” of rail transport in 2020.
“There’s a lot more that needs to be done to make rail a more accessible, more affordable and a more equitable system,” Mr Miles added.
In a statement, the Government said it would move to open and transparent rail transport models by 2030 and would seek feedback on the new measures.
The Federal Government’s transport plan for 2020 includes an emphasis on rail and road investment, as well as the “high-value” projects.
But the Minister said the Government would not allow public transport to become a “political football”.
“It is about fairness, fairness for all Australians, fairness to all taxpayers and fairness for the people of Australia,” he added, saying it was “not a politics issue”.
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