Report reveals regional fast rail would boost the economy

A new report has revealed fast regional rail services to Traralgon and other regional centres will deliver a $200 billion boost to the Victorian economy.

The Stronger, Together report, released this week (29 July 2020), assessed a proposal to upgrade the VLine network to boost train speeds to 200km/h between Melbourne and larger regional centres, like Latrobe Valley.

It found an upgrade would significantly cut travel times, double capacity and provide a massive boost to the state’s economy by 2060.

The report explains how fast trains lead to a strengthening of the population and economic activity in the region and adjacent regions.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the worsening pressure of the coronavirus pandemic meant we must look at every opportunity to strengthen our state’s economy in the future.

“Gippslanders deserve a fast, reliable and modern rail service and fast rail will be a game-changer for Gippsland,” Ms Bath said.

“Many Gippslanders commute daily for work, attend specialist medical appointments in the city or attend tertiary education and have been subjected to a substandard service.

“Gippsland’s inadequate rail service is more miss than hit, having failed to meet punctuality targets for over five years.

“The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live and work. Planning for a stronger future for regional Victoria will help to build confidence as we strive to get Victorians back to work and back in business.”

The report was commissioned by the Stronger Together Alliance, a group of regional city councils, universities and regional business and community leaders who are advocating for massive upgrades to country rail services.

Ms Bath said fast rail into Gippsland remained a key priority for The Nationals.

“Strong economic growth, fairness and opportunity are needed in all communities and not just in metropolitan Melbourne,” Ms Bath said.

“Gippsland rail services will be forever stuck in the past, stopping all stations stuck behind metro trains if Labor doesn’t fix the ongoing rail problems.