Monday, 1 May, 2017

Pressure is mounting on Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester and the Turnbull Government to back major rail upgrades for the Gippsland line announced yesterday as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s Regional Rail Revival package.

The $1.45 billion package will deliver better train services across regional Victoria and create more than 1,000 jobs.

The centrepieces of the package is a $435 million upgrade of the Gippsland line, which will upgrade crossings, duplicate track and improve stabling to run more services, more often for local passengers.

This huge investment will improve services, create more than 400 jobs and is fully funded in the Victorian Budget 2017/18.

On top of this massive upgrade, the Regional Rail Revival package also includes $95 million to duplicate the Avon River Bridge, enabling faster, more reliable services to Bairnsdale.

The upgrades are funded and ready to go, as soon as Victoria receives the $1.46 billion it’s owed under the agreement with the Federal Government on Asset Recycling.

This is not the Turnbull Government’s money – it is money owed to Victoria for Victorian projects.

The Gippsland Local Government Network, the Gippsland VLine Users Group, the Committee for Gippsland and local councils and other groups across Gippsland have thrown their support behind the Regional Rail Revival package.

Yet Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is yet to give his support to the upgrades and his Government continues to deny Victoria the money that would deliver these improvements for his community.

With regional Victoria growing and patronage on the V/Line network at record highs, it’s time for the Turnbull Government stop dithering, keep his promises and give Victoria its money.

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

This is our money and we will spend it on better rail for Gippsland.”

“Darren Chester needs to start sticking up for local passengers, who are getting dudded by his Government.”

“It’s time for Darren and the Turnbull Government to give us our money, so we can get on with our Regional Rail Revival.”