Community facilities | April 24, 2017
Labor must use Port money for passenger rail
The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP is calling on the Andrews Labor Government to invest $370 million to deliver quality passenger rail services for Western Victoria.
“The Nationals fought hard to secure an allocation from the Port of Melbourne sale to be used in country Victoria so we know Labor have the money and is able to invest in regional rail services in Western Victoria”, Ms Kealy said.
“The money available from the Port of Melbourne sale has given the Government a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring our rail infrastructure and services into line with the rest of the state.
“If Labor doesn’t invest $370 million from the Port of Melbourne sale into Western Victoria’s rail lines, we may never see rail return to the region and population across Western Victoria will continue to decline,” she said.
An expert report on country rail identified services west of Ararat had barely improved over the past 30 years and offered limited access to regional centres and provided inadequate connectivity. The report recommended extra passenger rail services, substantial safety upgrades and better connecting of coach services to smaller towns.
“The Andrews Labor Government has spent $10.5 billion on the Melbourne Metro rail system, so $370 million seems a very reasonable ask. It’s time they lifted their eyes from Melbourne and invested in country Victoria”, Ms Kealy said.
“Improved passenger rail services across Western Victoria would significantly boost employment and tourism, and will better connect many of our isolated rural communities.
“$370 million is not too much to ask from this city centric Labor Government, especially since we know the money is there.
“The Andrews Labor Government must invest in regional passenger rail services using the Port of Melbourne sale funds – It’s now or never, she said.