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Greens grill Conroy on transport

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has questioned Minister Conroy on the government's decision not to include public transport in its $42 billion dollar economic stimulus package.

"The Minister showed a formidable absence of understanding in his response. I asked the Minister why public transport and cycling infrastructure was being neglected, given the multiple benefits of these investments. I also asked what was being done to link new public housing into public transport services and whether the potential to create new Australian jobs in transit manufacturing had been considered."

"The Minister didn't answer the question and couldn't provide a reason for not including public transport in the package," said the Greens Public Transport Spokesperson, Senator Ludlam.

"A rushed and piecemeal response to massive stimulus spending risks landing the country in massive debt without attacking the real problems we face. There is an urgent need for Commonwealth spending on public transport: to rescue stranded commuters, to stimulate the economy, and to shock-proof Australia from an oil shock that everyone except the Government seems to know is coming."

"I'm sure if you asked the hundreds of commuters that were left stranded by the bus, tram and train break-downs last week, they'd be stunned by the Minister's attitude. It's time the Commonwealth Government got into gear on public transport rather than the baffling fob-off we got today."

Senator Ludlam raised the issue as commuters are still reeling after some train, tram and bus services ground to a halt in Adelaide and Melbourne last week, unable to cope with a record breaking heatwave.

In November Senator Ludlam initiated the first ever Senate Inquiry into public transport, due to report mid-year.

For more information or media enquiries please call Robert Simms on 0417 174 302

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