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Nats call on Labor to match trains commitment

Gippsland Nationals MPs are putting pressure on the Andrews Labor Government to match their commitment to purchase new trains for the Gippsland long-haul line to Bairnsdale.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull both raised the issue in Parliament this week.

Mr O’Brien asked when the government would commit to replacing the ageing rolling stock on the Gippsland line.

“I am proud that The Nationals have committed to a $633 million investment to replace all the old long-haul rolling stock that was introduced when Ronald Reagan sat in the White House, the AFL was still the VFL and the internet was unheard of by most people.

“The old N and Z class trains that currently service all Victorian long-haul routes are outdated – they regularly break-down, air conditioning can’t handle much more than a warm summer’s day and locos and carriages are regularly out of action for maintenance,” Mr O’Brien said.

“While we will deliver 16 new six-car sets based on the existing VLocity trains made here in Victoria if elected later this year, the people of Gippsland don’t care which party gets it done, they just want new trains and better services.

“So far Labor has delivered nothing for passengers east of Traralgon – it’s time Labor joined with The Nationals and committed to new trains for Gippsland.”

Mr Bull also raised the matter in Parliament, saying he was pleased.

“With the amount of enquiries and complaints that I receive regarding lack of air conditioning, unreliable services and limited seating in peak times, this is an announcement that has been very well received by the people in my community.

“I note that in making some commentary on this the Minister referred to the rollout of new VLocity carriages - these of course are not long-haul trains and are not for the Bairnsdale line,” Mr Bull said.

“It would be good if we could get some matching commitment from this government so that, regardless of what happens on 24 November, rural train travellers, including those in East Gippsland, get the quality of service that they deserve.”

The Nationals MPs said they will be continuing to advocate for better transport infrastructure in Gippsland ahead of this year’s state election.

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