North east line on the right track with $140m pledge
26 June 2017
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan is over the moon following confirmation that the Federal Nationals have increased their commitment to the north-east line.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester is expected to announce tomorrow that an extra $40 million will be spent on upgrading the track, on top of the $100 million he announced in May.
Ms Ryan lobbied strongly for the investment in the troubled line, which continues to be among the worst performing in Victoria.
“In total the Commonwealth will now invest $140 million to upgrade the track so that trains run faster and more smoothly,” Ms Ryan said.
“A joint working group will be set up between the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to manage oversight of the project but, in light of the ARTC’s previous failings, it is vitally important that the community is also involved in the project.”
Ms Ryan said she would work with Minister Chester to ensure locals were consulted.
“The ARTC needs to work hard to regain the faith of the community after it botched the installation of concrete sleepers on the line in 2009, exacerbating pre-existing weaknesses in the structure of the track and leaving us with a service that is slower and less reliable,” Ms Ryan said.
“I intend to ask the Minister to ensure there is rigorous oversight of the project with strong involvement from the local community.”
Ms Ryan said Daniel Andrews was fast running out of excuses to invest in new trains for the line.
“The funding announced by Minister Chester is seven times the amount Labor wanted to put to the north-east line in its Rail Revival Package,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Andrews Government has been dragged kicking and screaming into quarantining this much money for north east Victoria.
“Daniel Andrews stood in Wangaratta and promised that if the Commonwealth Government invested in fixing the line, he would invest in new rolling stock.
“With Minister Chester investing so much money to upgrade the track, it’s time for the Premier to get on board,” Ms Ryan said.
To join the campaign for new trains, visit Fix Our Trains.