Extra passenger service in limbo as governments argue funding

The State Government’s Regional Rail Revival Package which was set to see increased passenger services on the Maryborough rail line remains in “jeopardy”.

Hitting out at the Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan and the Turnbull Government after the federal budget failed to include the funding for the previously announced State Government $1.45 billion Victorian Regional Rail Revival package, a spokesperson for the state Transport Minister has said the Federal Government is “ripping Victoria off”.

“Until the Federal Government gives our money, the Regional Rail Revival package is in jeopardy,” the spokesperson said.

“Dan Tehan and the Turnbull Government need to explain why they are ripping Victoria off and punishing local passengers.”

The Regional Rail Revival Package was the centrepiece to this year’s state budget, and plans to upgrade every major regional passenger rail line across the state, including a $39 million upgrade to allow new services to Ararat and Maryborough.

That $39 million investment was scrapped after the Federal Budget, which was handed down earlier this month, included a $500 million investment for regional Victorian rail, “short-changing” the State Government from the Asset Recycling Initiative, under which the Andrews Government believes Victoria is owed the $1.45 billion following the sale of the Port of Melbourne.

Responding to the claims, Mr Tehan said he was not going to indulge in name calling or petty politics.

“I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that the State Government is pedalling this type of politics,” he said. “What I want to see happen is a partnership between the state and the Federal Government to fix passenger rail service into country communities.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, May 19.

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