Albo dodges question on public transport
LABOR'S regional development guru has dodged a question on how the party would improve public transport in Cairns.
Anthony Albanese, the federal opposition's spokesman for infrastructure, transport and cities, fronted reporters at the Australasian Bus Conference in Cairns this afternoon.
When asked what the party would do to improve public transport in the city - which has long suffered from reliability and affordability issues - Mr Albanese gave the following response:
"One of the things we're here for, is to say that public transport plays an absolute critical role," he said.
"It plays a critical role for local residents, in getting around Cairns.
"But it also plays a critical role in terms of visitors to this great city and to this great region.
"Therefore it underpins the economic growth and jobs here in Far North Queensland."
More than 700 delegates are attending the major industry conference, which has the theme "moving people."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who spoke at the conference yesterday morning, told reporters there was always a need for more public transport in regional areas such as the Far North, and encouraged Cairns Regional Council to apply for federal funding.
"The bus industry obviously plays a vital role, not just transporting people to and from work and other things, but certainly for tourism," he said.
"I'm delighted that the Building Better Regions Fund - the latest round of that was announced just a couple of weeks ago - it's going to have $200 billion that councils will be able to apply for.
"A component of $45 billion was set aside for tourism. And if there's one thing that Cairns is very, very good at, that's attracting tourists and making sure they have good time while here."