Regional Rail Services
15 September 2016
Ms RYAN (Euroa) — (11 705) My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is that the minister seriously re-evaluate the government's priorities around country rail and prioritise funding to both the north-east rail line and the Shepparton line for new rolling stock.
Despite claiming that this is a government that governs for all Victorians, we have seen very clearly this week that that is not the case. We have had the Treasurer on 3AW, on 25 August, boasting about how much money this government has. He said, 'I mean, Neil, we are running a pretty substantial surplus, one of the biggest the state has ever recorded, at $2.9 billion'. So my question is: why is the Treasurer being so incredibly miserly? Why will he not provide funding for the north-east railway line?
Last year we had a member for Northern Victoria Region in the other place, Jaclyn Symes, telling the local papers that her greatest priority was to get new rolling stock for the north-east line. We are now months past the New Year — she said it was her New Year's priority — and we have had a blueprint to nowhere that has been released by the government in the regional network development plan. They have been out there telling the community that they are consulting with people and providing a plan. That plan was done on the assumption by the people who engaged in it, with very good will, that funding would follow. There has been no funding to follow. Just this week we have seen the government proudly announcing a $2 billion investment for new rolling stock, but not one of those carriages and not one of those trains has been allocated to regional Victoria. Again, what we have seen from this government is that if you live beyond the end of the tram tracks, they do not care about you and they will not provide the funding that you need.
I think this is an issue that the Minister for Public Transport needs to turn her attention to, and she needs to turn her attention to it quickly. The regional network development plan supposedly provided the way forward, but without any funding it remains just that — it remains a plan. This government cannot keep telling residents in north-east Victoria, including Shepparton, that it has their interests at heart when it refuses to stump up any of the funding required to actually improve those services and ensure that regional commuters have a reliable service that they can use.