Gippsland MPs from The Nationals have welcomed today’s announcement of major Commonwealth funding to upgrade rail infrastructure across regional Victoria.
Federal Member for Gippsland and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Commonwealth and Victorian governments had settled on an agreed scope of works, with the Commonwealth Government contributing $1.42 billion and the Victorian Government contributing $150 million.
“As a local MP and as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I am proud to announce the Federal and State governments have settled a $1.6 billion package of works to upgrade infrastructure in Victoria with a focus on regional rail,” Mr Chester said.
State Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath says the news opens up many opportunities for Gippsland.
“This is significant funding to overcome major hurdles in rail efficiency,” Ms Bath said.
“Almost one third of the total funding in today’s announcement is for the Gippsland line – $530 million.”
“Train services, frequency and speed have been impacted by having a single line in many places. Duplication including second platforms at Morwell and Traralgon will allow for improved and increasing services into the future.”
“This is a game-changer for Gippsland. Not only will this improve access to Melbourne; this will also make our fabulous region more accessible and supports the objectives of the Liberal Nationals Population Policy Taskforce of enhancing the potential of regional cities and towns.”
“It’s also really pleasing to hear that more than 400 jobs will be created in Gippsland as this major rail project is finally delivered.”
“It is hoped that local businesses will be contracted to undertake the works, particularly given the Latrobe Valley has been hard hit by job losses following the closure of Hazelwood Power Station.”
The Gippsland share of the total package includes:
- Bunyip-Longwarry track duplication
- Moe track duplication
- A second platform at Morwell and duplication extension
- A second platform at Traralgon and relocation of train stable\
- Replacement of the Avon River bridge