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Today’s announcement of $1.52b in federal funding for Victoria’s regional rail lines is a welcome investment, but the Labor state government – who prioritise where the funding is spent – has once again overlooked the Shepparton rail line for any real commitment.
Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell said it is disappointing that even when Daniel Andrews is spending other people’s money, he’s still not investing in Shepparton.
Ms Lovell said most of the money has come to the state through the asset recycling of the Port of Melbourne and the state makes the decisions for the distribution of this funding, so it is extremely upsetting that once again Daniel Andrews has overlooked Shepparton for any major investment.
“The Labor Government has allocated $555.6m for the Ballarat line, $453m for the Gippsland line, $114m for the Warrnambool line, $110m for the Surf Coast line and $91m for the Bendigo-Echuca line, while just $10m will be spent on a study of the Shepparton line,” Ms Lovell said.
“Jacinta Allan was on radio today saying that the works funded on the Ballarat, Gippsland and other lines can begin straight away, which is in contrast to the token Shepparton line works announced in this year’s state budget which won’t commence until the 2018-19 financial year.
“The Andrews Labor Government clearly views the much-needed works on the Shepparton line with no urgency and is happy to leave the line’s locohaul services languishing in last century’s conditions, compared to the modern infrastructure and VLocity services other lines receive.”
Ms Lovell said the gap between the have and have-not communities on rail is continuing to widen, with the same lines – like Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo – continuing to get investment, and Shepparton continuing to miss out.
In the early 2000s, the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon lines received significant upgrades to accommodate VLocity services, and from 2009 to 2015 the best part of $1b was spent on the Regional Rail Link project to enable additional services on the Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong lines.
“The Shepparton line was not touched in either of these projects and today, once again, Labor is all but ignoring the Shepparton line compared to the more than $1.5b it is spending on regional rail lines across the rest of the state,” Ms Lovell said.

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