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Labor’s Geelong fast rail betrayal

Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson, has condemned federal Labor MPs Richard Marles, the member for Corio and Libby Coker, the member for Corangamite, over Labor’s reported decision to axe the Geelong Fast Rail project.

“After the Coalition government worked so hard to deliver $2 billion in Commonwealth funding for faster rail services between Melbourne and Geelong, I am appalled that the Albanese Government is planning to strip this funding from our region,” Senator Henderson said.

“This is a massive setback for commuters from Geelong and south-west Victoria travelling to and from Melbourne, the busiest regional rail corridor in Victoria, who deserve state-of-the-art rail services,” Senator Henderson said.

“In savaging our region with the biggest funding cut in living memory, Mr Marles and Ms Coker have deserted the people of Geelong, Surf Coast and the Bellarine. They have shown they are unfit to fight for our region in Canberra.”

“Reports that the state and federal Labor governments will axe both the $4 billion Geelong Fast Rail project and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, fuelled by the Victorian government’s gross financial mismanagement, tells us everything we need to know about the Albanese Government’s budget priorities. Why is regional Victoria once again paying the price under Labor?”

“I call on local councils, G21 and the Committee for Geelong to join with the Liberals in fighting this massive funding cut.”

“Regional Victoria has already been hit hard by Labor’s broken cost of living promises including on skyrocketing power prices, groceries, interest rates, rents and mortgages. This decision is one more kick in the guts from a heartless Albanese Government,” Senator Henderson said.

“I also raise deep concerns that the $1 billion Waurn Ponds to South Geelong rail upgrade, 80 per cent funded by the former Coalition Government, faces deep cuts. There is still no commitment to duplicate the section of rail between Marshall and South Geelong, and where is the long overdue business case for the rail tunnel between South Geelong and Geelong?”

Background note: On 21 November 2020, the former Coalition government announced with the Victorian government a $4 billion investment in faster rail services between Geelong and Melbourne, starting with track upgrades between Werribee and Laverton including a new dedicated express track. Construction was scheduled to begin in 2023, with the project expected to create 2,800 construction jobs.  An overview of the Geelong Fast Rail project can be found here.

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