South West Coast MP Roma Britnell says the Labor Government’s hand-picked infrastructure advisors have backed a long held community desire for five return services on the Warrnambool Rail Line.
Infrastructure Victoria’s draft 30 year strategy said there needed to five return train services on existing long-distance lines over the next 10 years, with a focus on providing greater opportunity for communities to access to jobs and services in Melbourne and within their regions.
“The primary focus should be on delivering five services five days per week on the long-distance lines to Warrnambool, Bairnsdale, Albury-Wodonga, Echuca, Swan Hill and Shepparton,” the report says.
Mrs Britnell said the former Liberal National Coalition Governments investment in a $10 million passing loop at Warncoort meant the infrastructure was now in place for increased passenger services on the line.
“For a decade, our community has been asking for five return services on the Warrnambool line, this report backs that call,” Mrs Britnell said.
“From next year we will have four return services, five days a week, which is not before time.
“But the infrastructure is already in place and the government is flushed with money thanks to the Port of Melbourne Lease, so now it’s time for Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and the Labor Government to listen to their advisors and add a fifth return service.”
Mrs Britnell said the fourth return service on the line is due to start early in the new year, but it still remains unclear if there will be coach connections from Portland, Heywood, Hamilton and Mount Gambier.
“The idea of these new services was to make travelling times more convenient for commuters, but especially those in the western portion of the electorate who need to use coach connections,” Mrs Britnell said.
“I have asked Minister Allan if coach connections are planned and am awaiting her response.”