Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Opposition attacks will not sway Eric Charlton from Main Roads reform process

    14/01/1998 12:00 AM



    Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today Opposition attacks would not sway him from continuing the reform process at Main Roads.


    "The ALP is attempting to undermine our attempts to maximise the use of taxpayer dollars by restructuring and streamlining operations Main Roads," Mr Charlton said.


    "The Opposition appears happy to discredit the bulk of dedicated personnel in Main Roads who are calling for appropriate restructure as they carry out their task of overseeing a $550 million annual budget.


    "They are also attempting to take cheap shots wherever they can in order to discredit private sector road-builders who are delivering to Western Australians a world-class road network.


    "The ALP also seems intent on undermining commissioner Ross Drabble in his attempt to flush out the person or persons who unlawfully made public an internal working paper. Ross Drabble has my full support in carrying out his investigations."


    Mr Charlton said he expected Ross Drabble's recommendations on proposed changes at Main Roads later this month or early February.


    "I am vigorously committed to making sure Main Roads is a thorough custodian of the taxpayer dollar and that we have a team in place which can supervise contracts and all work efficiently and professionally as we move towards 100 per cent outsourcing of major projects," he said.


    "Main Roads oversees a huge budget which has risen from $320 million to $550 million since we came to government and we will have the best team possible to guarantee that every dollar spent gets the best result.


    "Things have changed since the ALP was in power and the road network totally neglected.


    "There is healthy competition between private sector road-builders and a key plank of Main Roads function is to benefit from it.


    "Main Roads has been dealing with private companies for years and for the ALP to attack quality of roads built by this sector does not make sense.


    "These are the same contractors who were building roads when the ALP was in government.


    "About 70 per cent of the road network is being built by private operators who have over the years built strong reputations for quality.


    "The recent attacks on proposed changes at Main Roads have nothing to do with the building of roads or road quality; it is political grandstanding by the ALP and an Opposition once again pandering to the union movement."


    Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333