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Labor must come clean on Pakenham rail option

The Andrews Labor Government needs to immediately rule out any plans to terminate Gippsland trains at Pakenham and force passengers onto the metro system. 

In State Parliament today, Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan refused to rule out Gippsland passengers having to change trains at Pakenham to continue their journey into the city.

Minister Allan promoted government plans for a third platform at Pakenham, which she said would give Gippsland commuters the “choice” to switch to a Metro train. The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said this raised serious concerns.

“Why would anyone from Gippsland want to change onto a Metro train at Pakenham given they and the VLine trains share a track and end up at the same destination in the city?” Mr O’Brien said.

“There are a few people who may wish to stop at a suburban station but they can already do that by changing at Pakenham.

“It is extremely suspicious that the government is planning a major third platform given that we know transport bureaucrats in the past have sought to terminate Gippsland trains at Pakenham.

“The Minister’s explanation today doesn’t wash and makes no sense for the bulk of Gippsland passengers. We have fought this proposal before and won’t put up with it again.”

Mr O’Brien said Labor had consistently let Gippslanders down on rail.

“It’s now well over two years since my federal colleague Darren Chester delivered over half a billion dollars for the Gippsland rail revival program and we’re still seeing little work on the ground. 

“In the same time Labor has spent billions on metropolitan rail and road projects. It also refuses to look at a dedicated line through Melbourne for Gippsland trains to address the concerns we have with reliability on our line.

“Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and every other regional train line goes direct to Southern Cross – why should Gippslanders be any different and be forced to change at Pakenham?

“The Minister must now clear up her clumsy statement and guarantee that there will be no termination of Gippsland trains at Pakenham.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says the Labor Government must rule out any plans to terminate Gippsland trains at Pakenham.

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