Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has this week used debate in the Victorian Parliament to again seek information for local commuters on the Gippsland Line from the Minister for Public Transport.
In addressing Parliament, Mr Blackwood said the failure by the former Brumby Labor Government to include Gippsland in the Regional Rail Link Project was now hurting commuters and that the Andrews Government should confirm if additional lines were being considered as part of the Level Crossing Removal/SkyRail project.
‘The current chaos on the Gippsland V/Line network and the enormous disruption being endured by long suffering commuters looks set to continue for some time,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘The decision by the Brumby Government to deliberately exclude Gippsland from the Regional Rail Link Project in 2010 consigned Gippsland V/Line travellers to a second rate service compared to their regional cousins in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.
‘Part of the medium to long term solution for the Gippsland line must be extra tracks between Pakenham and Caulfield. ‘The Minister [must] confirm that as part of the Level Crossing Removal Program/SkyRail on the Pakenham/Caulfield corridor that a third and fourth line will be installed for Gippsland trains.
Mr Blackwood said the Andrews Governments silence on future investment in the Gippsland line also extended to the Regional Network Development Plan which still has not been released.
‘The Andrews Government first undertook consultation in June 2015 with commuters regarding the Regional Network Development Plan arguing it was a way to help guide future investment in the regional rail network.
‘Beyond summary documents we have seen nothing come of that consultation which is a slap in the face to those who took the time to take part in the feedback process and now face delayed, cancelled and unreliable services.
‘In the Legislative Council today Labor Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, clearly frustrated with her own Governments disgraceful response to this crisis, asked for an update from the Minister for Public Transport on where the Regional Network Development Plan actually is.
‘The lack of follow up from these sessions has been deafening and to still have no real report released nearly 250 days since that first consolation is simply unacceptable.
‘It is another demonstration that the Andrews Government is more interested in spin and blaming others instead of solving the Gippsland V/Line chaos.’ Mr Blackwood said.