More than eighteen months after the Turnbull government announced $1.42 billion for a Victorian regional rail package with only $150m from the Victorian government, State Labor has failed to deliver any further funding for rail upgrades including for the Geelong rail duplication project.
I call on State Labor to match the funding the Turnbull government has provided.
Across our region, Labor needs to deliver at least a quarter of a billion dollars to match what we have delivered.
Just image what an investment of half a billion dollars or more could deliver?
Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to provide just $150 million for regional rail upgrades across all of Victoria is totally inadequate.
Our passenger rail services are slow, overcrowded, unreliable and totally unacceptable.
This has been made worse by Labor’s Regional Rail Link which services the people of western Melbourne while putting Geelong and Colac commuters last.
Longer term, we need a fully duplicated rail track through all of Geelong, a train station at Armstrong Creek and a fast train to Melbourne.
In the 2017 May budget, our government announced $100 million for the Geelong rail duplication. Then on 27 June 2017, we announced a $1.57 billion regional rail package which included $110 million for the Geelong rail duplication project and $114 million for signal upgrades and other upgrade works on the Warrnambool to Geelong line. All we received from Labor on these projects were scant details in a media release.
As Geelong and Corangamite continues to grow, investment in state of the art rail infrastructure must be a top priority.
In June 2016, after a long running campaign, I announced with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull $1 million to fund a business plan to duplicate the rail line between Waurn Ponds and South Geelong. The state also committed to the business plan but then, in June 2017, confirmed this plan including detailed designs would take two years, until mid-2018. This is not good enough.
Why is Daniel Andrews putting Geelong commuters on the slow train? In May 2017, Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the Geelong regional rail projects were “ready to go”.
Labor has utterly failed to fast track rail infrastructure investment in regional Victoria and Corangamite and Geelong commuters are sadly paying the price.
2 February 2017