Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Opposition MP accused of conducting campaign to distort facts on State's road program

    10/06/1998 12:00 AM



    Transport Minister Eric Charlton accused Opposition MP Alannah MacTiernan of conducting a deliberately mischievous campaign to distort the facts relating to the State's road program.


    "She has no credibility because one day she tells people we do not need new roads and the next day she will complain that we are not spending enough on roads," Mr Charlton said.


    "The figures on road funding since the Coalition Government came to power speak for themselves, with $681million to be spent in 1998/99 compared with $370 million spent on roads in 1992/93, the last year of the Labor Government.


    "Week after week now the Member for Armadale has disseminated wrong or misleading information to the public in an effort to discredit the State's road program."


    Mr Charlton said that Ms MacTiernan appeared not to understand that allocation of road funding was a complex process which consisted of road maintenance, reconstruction, new projects, safety, overheads and other imperatives.


    "After trying to kill off many of the rural and regional projects funded under the $1.3billion TransformWA package she has suddenly switched tack and now says we are not directing enough funding to the bush," he said.


    "We seem to be dealing with a chameleon, an irrational politician intent on shadow-boxing her way into the headlines for personal political gain and her claims are totally discredited.


    "Ms MacTiernan has been misleading the community by attempting to compare the 1997 Ten Year Road Program with the TransformWA information brochure which covers a different 10-year period.


    "The 1997 Road Program covered the period from 1997/98 to 2006/7 when the TransformWA Brochure relates to the 10-year period from 1998/99 to 2007/8. Overheads and preservations and maintenance are still to be applied to the 34 TransformWA projects.


    "It is important for people in rural and Western Australia to understand that Ms MacTiernan always falls horribly short when it comes to the facts and despite being provided with one briefing after another on road and transport projects she never seems capable of grasping the issues. She is deliberately misleading the community.


    "She has even been publicly rebuked by one of her own senior colleagues, Julian Grill, when she called for the removal of some Goldfields road projects from TransformWA.


    "Now she is claiming the Government is cutting road spending in country areas. This is a total nonsense and she ought to be at least disciplined by her party for making such misleading statements."


    Mr Charlton said the Government was obliged to spend public money to provide metropolitan and country Western Australians with the big picture about the State road program over the next 10 years.


    "We have undertaken a public information campaign against a backdrop of Opposition misinformation," he said.


    "Considering the previous Labor government also syphoned off some $43 million annually from 1986 to 1993 and channelled it into public transport without producing any real community benefit, it is doubly perplexing that Labor should criticise this Government's performance in transport and roads," Mr Charlton said.


    "Simple arithmetic would also tell the Opposition that there must be an increase in road spending under the $1.3 billion TransformWA package and the earlier $1 billion program announced in 1995. That is an additional $2.3 billion to be spent in the State over 10 years," he said.


    He said that in all regions, road spending had increased substantially under the Coalition in comparison to the last five years of the previous Labor government.



    1988/89 to 1992/93 under Labor    

    1993/94 to 1997/98 under the Coalition

    Funding over next five years

    Great Southern




    South West








    Mid West








    Southern Wheatbelt




    Northern Wheatbelt

















    Mr Charlton said that in addition, local government was sharing in 25 per cent of road revenues raised in the State for improvements to local roads.


    "A State as large and diverse as ours needs an efficient road and transport system, and the Opposition ought to be a little more honest when broaching the subject," Mr Charlton said.


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