Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has said an extraordinary answer to a very simple question in Parliament this week proves the Andrews Labor Government has been misleading Gippsland commuters regarding SkyRail and how it will benefit the region.
The Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan was asked directly what benefits SkyRail works would deliver for Gippsland commuters and in a bumbling answer was unable to provide any information relating to travel time reductions or frequency improvements.
‘This week the Andrews Labor Government has clearly indicated that SkyRail is purely to benefit Metro commuters and that Gippsland V/Line services will not see a single improvement from this upgrade,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘It is extraordinary given the amount of disruption the Gippsland commuters have suffered so far during the SkyRail project that none of it will benefit the frequency or speed of our service into Melbourne.
‘SkyRail is a rushed project, that during its planning failed to adequately engage with the local community that it directly impacted, and also blocked the opportunity for construction of a third or fourth dedicated rail line to assist Gippsland V/Line services which are often held up behind Metro trains in the metropolitan network.
‘Given the way in which this project has been botched, future options for the Gippsland line have been severely limited by this Government and local commuters know Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan are to blame for future delays because of their failure to include the needs of the Gippsland line in the planning of Skyrail.
‘Ms Allan in her answer also referenced works to be completed on the Gippsland line as part of the Regional Rail Revival program, however these projects will not be completed until 2022, the last of any Regional Rail Revival works being undertaken across the State.
‘Again Ms Allan and Daniel Andrews have proven Gippsland commuters are an afterthought when it comes to funding and investment as their focus does not extend beyond metropolitan Melbourne,’ said Mr Blackwood.