Geelong projects ‘off list’

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG: Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.

Liberal MPs have slammed the Andrews Government for failing to submit Geelong projects for a national infrastructure priority list.
Geelong missed out after Victoria became the only state or territory to submit “zero initiatives” for Infrastructure Australia’s 2018 list, said federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson.
The failure denied the region “desperately needed infrastructure”, she said.
Ms Henderson accused Premier Daniel Andrews of “playing politics” with vital projects.
Federal Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher backed Ms Henderson, saying Mr Andrews had “again proven he is more interested in playing politics than working constructively with the Commonwealth”.
“Daniel Andrews was happy to attack the respected independent body Infrastructure Australia recently, complaining there were too few Victorian projects on the Infrastructure Australia priority list. But he forgot to mention one vital detail: the list is developed based on submissions from state governments, and for two years the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria has not bothered to submit any initiatives.”
Liberal state Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said the Andrews Government was too preoccupied with rorts, union deals and fighting the Greens for inner-city seats to worry about regional Victoria.
All of Victoria’s major construction works were in Melbourne, Mr Ramsay said.
“With billions of dollars of federal funding sitting waiting to be spent, this government is still planning the Midlands Highway upgrade, the Waurn Ponds to South Geelong rail duplication and the Drysdale bypass.”
Mr Ramsay said the government had left in limbo Geelong projects including a convention centre, an upgrade of the city’s railway station and revitalisation of the city centre.
“Given the population growth of the region, these priority projects can’t sit in the must-do pile any longer. This government has to start doing something for regional Victoria.”
But Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen said the Liberals were “wrong, wrong, wrong”.
“The government has worked closely with Infrastructure Australia on our priority projects since 2015, providing project business cases and a series of detailed briefings for senior officials,” Ms Allen said.
“The government lodged a submission to the IA Audit and Plan process in September 2015, including a package of the Victorian Government’s priority transport projects, many of which are included in the plan. We have recently submitted business cases to Infrastructure Australia for the Ballarat Line upgrade stage one project and the $711 million Monash Freeway stage two upgrade project.”
Ms Allen named “Melbourne to Geelong rail enhancement” as one of 13 projects on which the government was working with Infrastructure Australia.
The other projects were all in Melbourne.
At the same time, the Andrews Labor Government is planning for the next tranche of infrastructure investment to support the continued growth of our state,” Ms Allen said.
“This includes work on a joint business case for duplication of the Geelong line from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds to increase capacity on the Geelong line and planning for improvements to the metropolitan network, including Fisherman’s Bend and planning for an airport rail link and faster rail services to Geelong and the regions.”

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