Labor’s contempt for Sale on Gippsland rail project
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is angry at the Melbourne Labor Government’s failure to support additional train services to Sale and Wellington Shire under the federally funded regional rail package.
Mr O’Brien has been campaigning for the package to include a new train stabling facility at Sale (or Wurruk) to allow extra Melbourne trains to originate or terminate in Sale.
In Parliament last month, Mr O’Brien asked Labor’s Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allan, whether the package would include new stabling facilities for Sale, as well as detail on the costing of the replacement of the Avon Bridge at Stratford.
Mr O’Brien said the two-sentence response received from Minister Allan was disgraceful. Ms Allan replied:
“As the Member would know, the Andrews Labor Government recently secured $1.57 billion for its Regional Rail Revival package to upgrade every regional rail line in Victoria, including $435 million for the Gippsland line upgrade and $95 million to replace the Avon River Bridge. This project will deliver the public transport that Gippsland passengers deserve.”
“This non-answer is contemptuous both of the parliamentary process and the people of Sale and Wellington Shire. If the Minister has no interest in additional services to Sale she should just say so. A non-answer such as this is beneath the dignity of a Minister of the Crown.
“Clearly Labor has dumped the idea of extra services and stabling for Sale which was a commitment made by The Nationals in government, was part Gippsland Local Government Network report and even highlighted as necessary in Labor’s own Regional Network Development Plan. It beggars belief it is not included in this package.
“The $95 million price tag to replace the Avon River Bridge is perplexing given all other publicly available estimates suggest it will cost about $25 million. The Minister needs to explain this but has chosen not to do so.
Mr O’Brien said he will continue to lobby for Sale to benefit from this infrastructure upgrade and for more services to be delivered.
“The reliability, punctuality, performance and number of services on the Gippsland line is a regular issue for my constituents.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, who has committed funding for the Gippsland rail upgrade as federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, on the Gippsland rail line at Wurruk.