Local MP, Libby Coker, is urging the Federal Government to act now and bring forward their election commitment of $750 million for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds rail duplication instead of waiting until 2025-26 – after the next election.
“The Morrison Government must start investing in our region and deliver their election commitment for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds rail upgrade in this term of Parliament, not wait until 2025-26.”
“As it stands, the Morrison Government has only allocated 10 percent of the Federal funding needed over the next five years – definitely not enough to begin construction.”
In Federal Parliament, Ms Coker questioned the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, asking why $675 million (90 percent of funding) was not available until 2025-26; the Minister had no reply.
“When I asked the Minister why nearly all the Federal funding is being held over until the next term of Parliament, the Minister didn’t have a response; instead he refused to consider bringing the funding forward.”
Ms Coker said local commuters could not wait that long.
“In the fast growing region of Corangamite, peak hour trains through Geelong are running at 140 per cent capacity and commuters regularly face significant delays and overcrowding. As the region continues to grow, demand for improvements to vital infrastructure, like this rail upgrade, will only increase.”
“The Federal Government needs to fund the rail duplication in this term of Parliament, not start construction in 2025-26.”
“People travelling from Waurn Ponds are facing delays and overcrowding, and services cannot increase until the upgrade is completed.”
“Residents in Corangamite who are reliant on these services have told me they are regularly delayed and sit languishing on trains when they should be at work or at scheduled appointments.”
“It is stressful, unproductive and so frustrating. And there is a solution. I say to Scott Morrison, release funds for construction in this term of Parliament and get works underway.”
Ms Coker has also met with the City of Greater Geelong and discussed the importance of the rail upgrade for the region’s worker, for jobs growth and for our economy.
Mayor Bruce Harwood said that with the rapid growth in Geelong the infrastructure was vital and in line with the council’s proposals for rail improvements.
“Geelong is growing at a rapid rate and this upgrade is a vital part of the bigger picture of how we move people into and through our city in the future.”
“It links in closely with the Greater Geelong council’s proposal for a fast rail connection between Geelong and Melbourne, which would ultimately connect up with the planned Tullamarine Airport Link.”
“It will also be vital to the communities in towns west of Geelong such as Colac and Winchelsea, who also need a fast and reliable connection into and through Geelong.”
“We can’t afford to wait years for this infrastructure – we need work to start now. We support the federal opposition putting pressure on the Morrison government to release funding now so that this project can be fast-tracked.”
Ms Coker concluded that the duplication would deliver significant benefits to the people living in Corangamite.
“Our region is growing fast and delivering this duplication will have significant benefits for people from Waurn Ponds, Armstrong Creek, and Grovedale to Winchelsea and Torquay.”
“The Morrison Government should honour its election commitment and get construction going now, not delay it off into the never never.”