Jun 16, 2015

Statements by Members – Regional Rail Link

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:42): I was very proud to attend Sunday’s opening of the new Regional Rail Link, which untangles the lines used by Melbourne’s suburban railway lines from those used by regional services to and from Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. This project created 15,000 jobs. It will add 54,000 passenger seats a day to the train system and save the Victorian economy $300 million a year. There are new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit, upgrades of four stations, grade separations, removal of level crossings—this was a fantastic project.

That is why it was so surprising that it was in Melbourne that the Prime Minister made his famous dictum that the federal government does not invest in public transport. All he had to do was to go and have a look at this project—the largest ever federal investment in an urban public transport project in Australia’s history. It is consistent with the funding that we put into the Gold Coast rapid transit system and the Noarlunga to Seaford railway line, which are also open.

But on Sunday the Deputy Prime Minister, who is not prepared to fund public transport, was prepared to be there to cut the ribbon. He said there that the Victorian government should submit the Melbourne Metro to IA—it has already been approved by Infrastructure Australia; we already committed $40 million for the planning, which has been done.