House debates

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Statements by Members

Melbourne Airport Rail Link

10:09 am

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It seems as though the Victorian state Labor government are close to announcing the model of their preferred Melbourne airport rail link project. This project was initially costed between $10 billion and $13 billion, and the federal government initially put $5 billion on the table to help drive this project forward. They also wanted to make sure that this project was done properly. To build the link to the airport from Melbourne's CBD in a way that would enhance passenger services in Victoria will always require a designated tunnel from the CBD out to West Footscray and, once at West Footscray, a new above-ground track can easily be made on the way out to Tullamarine and beyond. With a designated tunnel, regional services to Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Albury-Wodonga will also have the opportunity to benefit from the lines heading straight into the centre of Melbourne without having to deal with the metro stopping-at-all-stations trains. But state Labor don't want to build a designated tunnel. This is where the problem really gets messy. We can expect Sunbury-Melton to grow bigger than Geelong at the moment by 2036. In 16 years, we can expect enormous cities in the west. Werribee will grow to the size of Canberra. To service these lines will effectively use the full capacity of the MM1 tunnels that are currently being built. By the time the MM1 is complete, it will be overcapacity by simply servicing the western suburbs and the new mega-cities. If the MM1 also has to deliver six to eight services per hour to the airport as part of the airport rail link, it will mean that all services to the western suburbs and beyond will be completely and significantly restricted, plus any services to the north-east, the north and the north-west of Victoria will be denied yet again.

We are used to seeing the state Labor government in Victoria building projects that ignore regional Victorian cities, towns and communities, but what we are not used to seeing is state Labor—in particular Jacinta Allan, the transport minister, and Premier Daniel Andrews—putting in place a major project that will not only rule out regional Victorians but will also seriously damage the ability of those living in the western suburbs to actually use their train systems, in particular Werribee, Sunbury and Melton. Also, the inner west will be significantly damaged by this project. The councils across Melbourne, western Melbourne, northern Victoria and western Victoria have written. They are desperate that we try and stop the Victorian government from going ahead with this project without a designated tunnel. When you see so many councils and so many committees that are desperately opposed to this Victorian project, I think it's only right that the federal government do everything we can to stop it. (Time expired)