27 March 2018

Labor fails to invest in Geelong to Melbourne rail line, an Infrastructure Australia national priority

The inclusion of the Geelong to Melbourne rail line in Infrastructure Australia’s national priority list highlights Labor’s ineptness.

For a very long time, I have been calling on State Labor to deliver the funding required for a first class rail service.

Of the $224 million being delivered for the South Geelong duplication project and the Warrnambool line upgrade under the Regional Rail Revival package, $204 million is being provided by the Turnbull government and only $20 million by the state.  This is utterly untenable and Daniel Andrews should hang his head in shame.

Our train service, which should be first class, is slow, over-crowded and unreliable.

Geelong and Corangamite commuters are being treated as second class citizens.  The Regional Rail Link, which is servicing the people of western Melbourne at the expense of Geelong and Colac commuters, has been an absolute disaster.

Geelong is one of the nation’s largest regional cities and interconnectivity with Melbourne is vital.

The Regional Rail link is clogged with suburban passengers from Melbourne’s western suburbs which must be fixed urgently.  We need a fast, direct train from Colac through Geelong to Melbourne.  Labor botched the Regional Rail Link and needs to admit its failings and fix it.

The Regional Rail Revival Package is providing $1.57 million to upgrade regional rail lines throughout Victoria.  Of this money, $1.42 billion is being provided by the Commonwealth and only $150 million by the state which is not good enough.

It is time that Daniel Andrews stopped focusing almost exclusively on Melbourne’s rail and wake up to the needs of regional Victoria including Geelong, Winchelsea and Colac. 

It is untenable that our community is being forced to wait two years for a business plan to duplicate the rail track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds, a project for which I have campaigned over a number of years. We need a duplicated rail track and upgraded stations at Waurn Ponds, Marshall and South Geelong as soon as possible – and we need to start planning for a duplicated track between South Geelong and Geelong stations now.

Infrastructure Australia has also backed the need for the East West Link, another failing of state Labor which abandoned this vital project at a cost of $1.24 billion.

27 March 2018