Questions need to be answered over level crossing upgrades

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says she is relieved no one was killed in Wednesday’s collision between a Warrnambool bound V/Line train and a truck at Pirron Yallock.

She said it was amazing most people escaped without major injuries and her thoughts were with the passengers, train staff and the driver of the truck who was flown to a Melbourne hospital.

Mrs Britnell has sought a briefing about the incident from the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan and from V/Line.

Mrs Britnell said there were questions that needed to be answered about why the crossing had not been upgraded, despite the State Government saying work would be completed by the end of 2015.

“In the last full year of the Coalition government, there was a blitz on regional level crossings, with eight upgraded along the Warrnambool line,” she said.

“But that program has stalled under Labor.

“In a media release dated February 2015, Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said the Phalps Road crossing had been fast-tracked and work would commence that year.

“But later, when my colleague, the Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan, asked Minister Donnellan about it in Parliament, he was told site work would begin in June 2016.

“When and why did the government’s priorities change and were they going to tell anyone about it?”

Mrs Britnell called on the minister to provide a full explanation and to outline when other crossings on the Warrnambool line would be upgraded.

“There is a massive focus on removing level crossings in the city – but there are plenty of dangerous level crossings in regional areas that need attention as well.

“This Labor Government cannot see beyond the tram tracks. It has once again failed regional Victoria.”

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