State Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has called on the Andrews Labor Government to keep its word and deliver at least 10 per cent from the proceeds of the sale of the Port of Melbourne to regional Victoria for transport investment as promised just weeks ago.
The agreement for 10% of the Port sale to be directed to Regional Transport Infrastructure was reached after very strong lobbying by Liberal Shadow Minister’s and is a fantastic outcome for Country Victoria.
Now we find that part of the minimum 10 per cent, or nearly $700 million, raised from the port sale will be used to fund the already promised $200 million Agriculture Fund drastically reducing potential investment in regional transport which is desperately needed in both road and rail infrastructure.
‘Daniel Andrews needs to keep his word to regional Victorians that they will receive at minimum 10 per cent from the sale of the port, in addition to the $200 million for the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘There are a huge range of important regional transport projects that need to be undertaken including extra tracks between Pakenham and Caulfield and duplication of the Longwarry/Bunyip line for Gippsland V/Line services and investment in local road upgrades to support our small regional communities.
‘The Gippsland Rail Crisis has only this week ended and many local commuters had hoped this fund would be used to help improve the frequency, reliability and capacity of the Gippsland V/Line services.
‘If $200 million is used from the Port of Melbourne sale for the Agriculture Fund that will undermine the potential for these investments to occur.
‘Daniel Andrews must assure regional communities that both programs will go ahead independently and that one will not be used to pay for the other.
Mr Blackwood said that Daniel Andrews already in his time as Premier had a history of misleading regional Victorians about just how and where regional grant programs for country areas were being used.