Pam Beggs

Pam Beggs

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    Opposition to WA's involvement in the NRC slammed

    19/05/1992 12:00 AM
     
     
    Transport Minister Pam Beggs today said the Liberal Party's opposition to Western Australia's involvement in the National Rail Corporation was merely a cover-up for the Liberals' lack of a transport policy.
     
    It was also disappointing that no viable alternative had been proposed.
     
    "It is ludicrous for the Liberals on one hand to claim they have no objection to the NRC and that it is essential for Australia, but then oppose Western Australia being a shareholder," Mrs Beggs said.
     
    "It is an absolute sell-out by the Liberals because unless Western Australia is a stakeholder, then it will have no influence over how the NRC will operate in this State.
     
    "The State needs to be involved directly so that it will have a say in the NRC investment decisions and a role in ensuring the industrial issues are resolved in the best interests of Western Australia's railway workers.
     
    "A shareholding is also important to enable the State to exercise some influence over the corporation's strategic direction."
     
    Mrs Beggs said the NRC would be a powerful contributor to achieving micro-economic reform of the railway industry.
     
    Benefits would come from increases in the productivity of capital and labour resources and from the development of a more effective interstate rail system delivering more reliable and faster interstate rail services.
     
    This in turn would lead to a more efficient and effective economy in which Australian industry could prosper.
     
    Mrs Beggs said the State Government had negotiated a special provision within the attachments to the National Rail Corporation Agreement Act to protect Western Australia's financial position.
     
    "These provisions specify that in the event Western Australia is put at a financial disadvantage, then the NRC will compensate it for any losses," she said.
     
    "The Opposition ignores this aspect of the legislation and instead displays its back-to-the-60s isolationist mentality where States do not co-operate in the national interest."
     
    Mrs Beggs said rail union concerns over industrial issues were being negotiated at both a State and national level. She emphasised that in Western Australia there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the new corporation.