09 October 2017

Geelong to Melbourne fast train vital for our region

The Turnbull government is investing $20m in business case funding to support the development of faster rail between capital cities and major regional centres.

A fast train between Geelong and Melbourne, which will also mean a faster service for Colac, is vital.

That’s why I am calling on the state government or the private sector to apply for business case funding for the Geelong to Melbourne rail line.  Business cases for only three regional cities across Australia will be selected, and Geelong needs to be one of them.

The Turnbull Government is committed to exploring the opportunities for faster passenger rail links between our major cities and our regions.

The Australian Government’s Faster Rail Connecting Capital Cities and Orbital Regional Centres initiative was announced in this year’s federal budget.

This initiative will explore improvements to the rail connections between our cities and surrounding regional areas through $20 million in funding to support the development of business cases. Business cases will need to demonstrate faster rail travel times through new or upgraded rail infrastructure.

Business cases must also outline initiatives which will increase housing choices by opening up regional areas, encourage job and career opportunities, and improve access to specialist services for people in regional areas, as well as major events.  Proposals may involve initiatives such as new lines connecting to the existing network, extending existing lines to growing urban areas, improvement to infrastructure such as bridges, track duplication, network electrification or rolling out next-generation signalling technology.

Applications for funding are open to state governments and the private sector, including consortia arrangements.  Ultimately, the best three proposals will receive Australian Government co-funding towards business case development, with the final business cases then progressing to Infrastructure Australia for assessment.

Over a number of years, I have fought very hard for better passenger rail.  Corangamite residents deserve a first class passenger rail service.

I am very proud that our government has delivered $110m for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds rail duplication as well as planning and land acquisition for a rail corridor through Armstrong Creek to Torquay.  This is an addition to the $1m in planning money the Coalition committed in 2016.  We have also delivered $114m for signalling upgrades and a passing loop, west of Colac, on the Warrnambool to Geelong rail line. The project will pave the way for more services and new VLocity trains, which currently only travel as far as Waurn Ponds, to go all the way to Warrnambool.

Labor’s Regional Rail Link, which services western Melbourne, has become a white elephant.  It is already at capacity and on many services is a case of standing room only.  A fast train between Melbourne and Geelong is critical for our region’s future growth.

The Faster Rail Connecting Capital Cities and Orbital Regional Centres initiative is part of the Turnbull Government’s record $20 billion national rail investment announced in the 2017/18 Budget.

For more information, or to make a proposal, visit https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/trains/faster_rail/files/faster-rail-prospectus.pdf.

Proposal outlines are to be submitted by 5.00pm 13 October 2017 to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development via rail@infrastructure.gov.au.

6 October 2017