Federal Budget makes up for State debacle
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Federal Budget makes up for State debacle

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed the investment in East Gippsland from the Federal Budget, including funds for the Avon River rail bridge at Stratford and several roads projects.

He said the Nationals in Coalition will deliver the largest single Federal Government investment ever in the Gippsland rail line with a $290m spend.

“It was very pleasing to hear from my Federal colleague, Darren Chester, that the investment includes $195 million for track duplications and upgrades on the Gippsland line and replacement of the 130-year-old Avon River Bridge at Stratford,” Mr Bull said.  

“What is pleasing about this is that traditionally passenger rail is funded solely by the State Government. And I’m delighted the Nationals in Federal Government have been able to deliver these improvements and full credit to Darren for delivering this.”  

Mr Chester said the new Avon River Bridge will remove speed restrictions on the Bairnsdale line and enable freight trains to return, and importantly future-proof Bairnsdale train services by replacing one of the oldest, most expensive structures on the line.”  

“Now the federal money is on the table, I will be looking to work with my state counterparts to deliver more funding for the Gippsland line,” he said.  

“The State Labor Government has identified additional projects for the Gippsland line, however they are yet to provide any state money, or detailed planning to my office. The sooner I receive that information, the sooner we can get started on delivering.  

“The Coalition will also be calling on the State Labor Government to make its own contribution to the Gippsland line upgrades. It is important we work together for the good of Gippsland,” Mr Chester said.  

Gippsland will also receive $2.3 million under the Black Spot Program to improve road safety, including improvements to:

• Boisdale-Newry Road between Walkers Road and Back Valencia Road, Boisdale: new t-intersection and warning signs - $434,000

• Dawson and Wallace Streets, Bairnsdale: modify roundabout and improve lighting - $180,000

• Pearson and Grant Streets, Bairnsdale: new roundabout - $467,000

• Romawi Road North at Peecks Road, Forge Creek: new guard fence, upgrade delineation and reduce speed limit - $160,000, and

• Rules Road between the Princes Highway and Lens Road, Toorloo Arm: upgrade delineation and signage, seal the shoulders and reduce speed limit - $192,000 .

Work is also getting underway on upgrading the Princes Highway east of Sale ($50 million), the Great Alpine Road ($10 million), and the Monaro Highway ($10 million). The Victorian Government is funding half of the cost.

The Federal Government’s investment in Gippsland’s infrastructure includes:

• $25 million for the Princes Highway, Sale to NSW border

• $20 million for the Macalister Irrigation District pipeline upgrade

• $10 million for the Latrobe Performing Arts Centre, Traralgon

• $9.2 million to three Gippsland councils under Roads to Recovery Program (official estimate for 2017-18)

• $5 million for the Great Alpine Road • $5 million for the Monaro Highway, including $2 million for Cann River

• $1.2 million for the Glenaladale bridge replacement (underway), and

• $250,000 for the Mallacoota Recreation Reserve

Mr Bull said this investment was in contrast to the State Government’s investment in East Gippsland, which like almost all rural areas, received little.

“In fact their map of East Gippsland in the State Budget papers was covered by an index, but this Federal Budget more than makes up for it,” he said.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017