Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (19:09): (6460) Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight and congratulate you on your promotion to the position of Deputy Speaker.

My adjournment tonight is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for the minister to actually outline a time line for new train services beyond Traralgon, to Sale and Bairnsdale in particular. The minister will be aware that the government has the current Gippsland rail revival project underway at $532.8 million, the vast bulk of that being funded by the former federal coalition government, thanks to my colleague Darren Chester, the former minister for transport infrastructure. We have also seen in the budget this year a commitment by the state government to train stabling at Bairnsdale, which is very welcome, which will allow obviously for VLocity trains to be stabled at Bairnsdale. The question that people in my electorate—and I am sure in the member for Gippsland East’s as well—have is: why are we waiting? There are no further works proposed beyond Traralgon now. The works that are underway under the Gippsland rail revival are all to the west of Traralgon. The Stratford Avon River bridge has been replaced, the level crossing issues and signalling works that have been done between Traralgon and Bairnsdale are there. There is no reason why we actually could not get additional train services, particularly to Sale. Then, once the Bairnsdale stabling is completed, we would actually have more services.

By comparison, we currently have 19 services a day to Melbourne from Traralgon, and just three on to Bairnsdale, including Sale, and Rosedale to Stratford. That is a significant difference compared to other regional cities such as Ballarat and Bendigo, which have 20-plus. The comparison is not odious given that Wellington and East Gippsland shires collectively have a population of over 90 000 people. It is a significant part of the state; we do deserve additional services.

The works have been done, thanks to the federal government. I know that the then minister for transport and a member for Eastern Victoria in the other place at the time, in 2017, said these projects were shovel ready. In 2017 these projects were shovel ready, yet here we are—2022. The projects are still underway, they are still not completed, and we have no additional services. There is no point in spending half a billion dollars in extra money to fix up the Gippsland rail line and actually not give us any additional services.

In addition, I think the ministers should actually be looking, as I have called for time and time again, at the issue of dedicated tracks between Pakenham and the city for the Gippsland line. But the people of Sale and the people of Wellington and East Gippsland shires want to see additional services, and the minister should outline when those services will be delivered.

Stay up-to-date

Subscribe to Danny’s regular newsletter to stay informed about issues relating to Gippsland South.