Business of the House

About this Item
SubjectsParliament: New South Wales; Railways
SpeakersStoner Mr Andrew; Scully Mr Carl
BusinessBusiness of the House, Motion
Commentary CountryLink

Page: 4825

    Reordering of General Business

    Mr ANDREW STONER (Oxley—Leader of The Nationals) [2.34 p.m.]: I move:

    That the General Business Notice of Motion (General Notice) given by me this day [CountryLink Rail Services] have precedence on Thursday 13 November 2003.

    I seek precedence so this House can fully and freely debate how this Government is running an orchestrated campaign to shut down country passenger rail services. The clock is ticking on our country and coastal rail services, with the Government's Parry inquiry due to deliver a final report next month. This Government has the gun cocked at the head of country rail services, and once its kangaroo court has delivered its verdict the trigger will be pulled. Quite clearly, CountryLink is a core government service that should be subsidised. And, quite clearly, the recommendations made by the interim Parry report to scrap CountryLink services will severely disadvantage country and coastal people.

    The sentiments of the Liberals and The Nationals—in fact, these exact words—were echoed in a press release issued by Country Labor convenor Gerard Martin. I look forward to the honourable member for Bathurst and his so-called Country Labor colleagues joining with the Liberals and The Nationals in supporting the reordering of this motion. I am calling for the Carr Labor Government to retain CountryLink services. Anyone who cares about country New South Wales will support this motion. Indeed, I invite the Premier to join with us, given his oft-stated concern about population pressures in Sydney. Surely it is paradoxical for him to rip services out of country and coastal New South Wales while at the same time screaming about an overpopulated Sydney. Premier, it is simple: if you run down services and infrastructure the population drift will continue.

    I call on the Premier and Labor to give an ironclad guarantee that CountryLink rail services will be maintained and improved by government investment in the necessary rolling stock and infrastructure. The substitution of passenger rail services with bus services will clearly add to problems on New South Wales roads. This move will increase road traffic and road maintenance costs and involve busloads of people travelling on roads and bridges, many of which are in a dangerous state of disrepair.

    I was concerned to read in Country Labor's press release of 16 October that Labor members of Parliament are calling on Mr Parry to give country people more transport options, and to retain CountryLink services. This is propaganda worthy of a slick dictatorship. It is not Professor Parry who has the power to give country people more transport options or to retain CountryLink services; it is the New South Wales Labor Government. That is the New South Wales Labor Government, of which each and every one of the so-called Country Labor members of Parliament are members. [Time expired.]

    Mr CARL SCULLY (Smithfield—Minister for Roads, and Minister for Housing) [2.38 p.m.]: The Government supports the motion for the reordering of business.

    Motion agreed to.