Regional Rail Funding Adjournment Speech

GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (18:12:45): My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, the Honourable Jacinta Allan, and it relates to funding for rural and regional rail services in western Victoria. The state government’s commitments to increasing overall funding in western Victoria are welcomed by the community. Large-scale projects such as the Western Highway extension, in addition to local road projects, have ensured that many of my constituents get home quicker and safer. Over the past few weeks I have travelled around my electorate and met with numerous local councils. There is a common need for greater passenger and freight rail services in each of these councils.

The mayors of both Horsham and Portland have expressed the need for the state to further fund business cases for freight rail to service their towns, whilst the Geelong and Corangamite councils are pursuing funding for greater passenger rail services. The Public Transport Development Authority has publicly declared support for the Waurn Ponds rail duplication project, with the state government committing $140 million to the initial cost of the project. The federal government has committed $750 million to the project; however, only $50 million is to be delivered between now and the next state election. In addition to the Waurn Ponds rail duplication project, the federal and state governments have indicated their support for fast rail services from the CBD to Geelong. A total of $2 billion has been committed by the federal government, whilst initial project funding is still required from the state in order for a detailed business case to be fully developed and construction to begin. I note an unprecedented level of investment in infrastructure spending across the state which is being undertaken by the Andrews government. The action that I seek is for the minister to provide a public time line for both freight and passenger rail service extensions in western Victoria and to highlight whether these projects going ahead are dependent on both federal and state funding commitments being met.