Letter to the editor
I write to correct statements made by the G21 Alliance in relation to the Geelong rail duplication project as reported in your story ‘Regional delegation heads to capital for rail duplication funding’ (Geelong Advertiser, March 11).
In August 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote to Premier Daniel Andrews offering to fast-track infrastructure projects by bringing forward infrastructure spending.
The Victorian Government selected a number of projects but did not seek accelerated funding to fast-track the tendering, planning and delivery of the Geelong rail duplication.
That stage 1 of the project – which involves upgrades at Waurn Ponds Station, including the construction of a small amount of duplicated track and a pedestrian overpass at Waurn Ponds – are the only works scheduled to commence in 2020 is just unacceptable.
For a long time, I have called on the Victorian Government to fast track this project which involves duplicating the track between Waurn Ponds and South Geelong, upgrading stations at Waurn Ponds, Marshall and South Geelong, constructing several grade separations including on the Surf Coast Highway and planning for a new rail tunnel between South Geelong and Geelong.
A duplicated track will help deliver faster and more reliable rail services which our region desperately needs.
State Labor has put this project in the slow lane for way too long. It took more than two years just to complete a business case.
As a member of the Morrison Liberal Government, I was very proud to have secured another $700 million to fully fund this project before the 2019 Federal election. Yet, on the State’s current timeline which it manages and controls, this won’t be completed until at least 2025.
With Geelong now one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, this is just not good enough.