I rise today to express my profound concerns about Victorian Labor’s unfair funding deal for the Geelong region, which is very much a case of too little too late. I have proudly led the way in advocating for the Geelong rail duplication project and, on behalf of the Turnbull government, delivering $150 million for this important project, which is to duplicate the rail between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds and to upgrade the stations, those being Waurn Ponds, Marshall and South Geelong.
Our government has also committed another $104 million for signalling and passing loop upgrades on the Warrnambool line. This is also important in order to deliver more frequent, reliable services, including through to Melbourne. As my constituents know, I have been campaigning up hill and down dale for faster rail to Melbourne.
Last Friday Labor announced a $147 million election commitment only, meaning there is absolutely no funding to start construction on the Geelong rail duplication project. This is really disgraceful.
It also represents about only 20 per cent of the cost of this project, which is not good enough.
In contrast, the Turnbull government put $150 million on the table. We have that money there to spend on infrastructure in our community, but Daniel Andrews and his pathetic bunch of local Labor MPs have not delivered any money for construction of this important project.
What’s also incredible is that the Regional Rail Link, Labor’s grand vision, has turned into an absolute disaster as our region continues to grow rapidly, along with western Melbourne. Labor’s treating Geelong commuters like second-rate citizens.
A solution to this rail link is desperately needed. We need fast rail. We need reliable rail. We need rail that will give us the service that we as a community deserve.
It is absolutely untenable that the Labor government in Victoria has not in four years delivered any money for constructing Geelong rail for Corangamite commuters and for Geelong commuters. I absolutely condemn Daniel Andrews and the Labor government in Victoria. I call on Daniel Andrews to deliver this much-needed funding for rail construction.
21 August 2018