Additional Gippsland Rail Services still on the never-never

The Andrews Labor Government is continuing to dither on additional rail services for Gippsland passengers, more than four years after saying upgrades to the Gippsland line were “shovel ready”.

In Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings today The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien pressed public transport officials on when additional Bairnsdale line services will be delivered.

“It is very disappointing that the Government still can’t give us a timeline for when passengers on the Bairnsdale line will get any additional services. We currently have just three return services a day to Sale and Bairnsdale while Traralgon has 19 and other regional centres have significantly more,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I know in Sale the anecdotal evidence is that many people drive to Traralgon to get the services they need because Sale’s three services just don’t offer enough flexibility.

“In 2017 the Minister for Transport said the Government had “done the work and we’re ready to go” and Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Region Harriet Shing said a Gippsland rail upgrade was “shovel ready””.

“We are now told today that the Gippsland Rail Revival Project won’t be completed until the end of 2022. That’s almost six years after the Government announced the project.

“We want to see that line upgrade actually deliver something in terms of better services given the appalling punctuality and reliability figures for the Gippsland line.

“Additional trains between Melbourne and Bairnsdale is the payoff and the Government needs to give the community some hope that the long wait will actually be worth something.

“I have received a lot of feedback form the community in past years about the need for improved public transport and will continue to push for additional services for Gippsland passengers.”

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