Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
In March this year, the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allen and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing visited the Stratford rail bridge to announce the start of work on its replacement as part of the $530 million Gippsland Line Upgrade after funds were provided by the Federal Government.
However, the recently released State budget hasn’t provided a single cent of the $95 million that was negotiated by the Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester to build the bridge.
State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull is disappointed that not only does the budget push completion of the Stage 1 works of the Gippsland Line Upgrade out to the end of the 2021/22 financial year, some four years away, it also puts no timeframe whatsoever on a start to the new Stratford rail bridge.
“It’s pretty disingenuous of the Andrews Labor government to talk up a half billion dollar Federally funded Gippsland Line Upgrade at a media event on the site of the Stratford rail bridge and then quietly make no provision at all for the bridge’s replacement,” Mr Bull said.
“Community members were right to be suspicious of the Andrew’s government’s intentions for the Stratford rail bridge’s replacement when the Transport Minister said back in March that VLine planned to run lighter VLocity trains on the Bairnsdale line to prolong the life of the bridge.
“It’s now clear that Minister Allan has no plan for replacing the Stratford rail bridge and we’ll be stuck with an inferior rail service for a lot longer than should be necessary.
“The Minister needs to stop stalling and give the community a clear timeframe of when the new Stratford rail bridge will be completed,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, pictured with Federal MP Darren Chester, has called on the Public Transport Minister to explain why the State Budget hasn’t included a single cent of the $95 million in Federal government money earmarked for replacement of the Stratford rail bridge.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018