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15 August 2019

Members Statement: Murray Basin rail project

I rise today to call on the Minister for Transport Infrastructure to give a guarantee that the Labor government will proceed with the Murray Basin rail project as originally planned and not sell off our Victorian network to the federally controlled Australian Rail Track Corporation.

The Murray Basin rail project is vitally important for the whole of Victoria. Regional Victoria is where much of the state’s wealth is generated, and without those goods heading to the world markets, the state’s finances would be in a very different shape.

To put this in perspective, for what it is costing this government to remove one level crossing in Melbourne, it could complete the Murray Basin project to its original scope—no shortcuts with dual gauge, just proper standardisation across the whole network—for $240 million.

But in true city-centric Labor government style, rather than trying to save our tracks and finding the money to finish the job properly, the government’s first thought is to blame everyone else for its stuff-up and then think the best option to fix up the mess is to off-load it to somebody else.

The focus of this government remains squarely within the tram tracks of Melbourne. This is a vital project for our entire state. It must be done and it must be done to the original scope.

There is no point trying to blame other ministers. This has been your project from start to finish and the mess it is in now is your doing.