Where do the major parties stand?

The Coalition

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims to be a supporter and regular user of public transport, and has a habit of taking photos of himself on trains and trams.  

The Coalition has released a Cities Policy that is big on rhetoric but light on detail, and even lighter in funding. The policy was described in the media as "quite a stupid document" that read like something "put together by a junior management consultant day-dreaming about leaving the profession".

The Coalition has made a number of rail and public transport announcements.

The Coalition has committed to:

On the other hand, the Coalition will also:

  • pursue it's obsession with Coastal Shipping Reform, which will see interstate containerised freight taken off Australian trains and put onto foreign ships, leading to around 300 direct jobs being lost in the rail freight sector;
  • abandon the long-term goal of building a High Speed Rail network linking major cities along the east coast;
  • delay the construction of Inland Rail even further, by focusing on more"preparations" instead of just getting on with the job and building it.


Labor says it is committed to nation-building, and will invest invest in both roads and rail to ensure our cities and regions have properly integrated transport systems that boost productivity.

Labor has also made a series of major announcements on rail and public transport during the election campaign.

Labor has committed to:

Labor will also:

  • Support jobs in the Australian transport industry by rejecting the Coalition's plan to allow foreign vessels to work without any limits in Australian waters.

The Greens

The Australian Greens are committed to providing Australians the choice of catching trains, trams and buses that get them where they need to go, when they need to get there.  

According to the Greens, both federal and state governments should be working together to fund, plan and build public transport infrastructure in the public interest, with transparent, evidence based and accountable planning processes.

The Greens want a shift away from an outdated transport model based on inefficient urban tollways and car dependence, in order to create much-needed jobs, reduce congestion and pollution, and make our communities healthy and liveable.

The Greens will establish the Australian Infrastructure Bank to manage the financing and funding of federal government investment in infrastructure. The Australian Infrastructure Bank will be an independent statutory authority with an independent board. 

Importantly, the Greens are opposed to the Coalition's Coastal Shippings Reforms, which will destroy jobs in the rail freight sector.