Cheeseman backs site for train stabling facility
SOUTH Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman has backed the existing plans to build a train stabling and maintenance facility in Waurn Ponds, saying “there may well be an aggrieved land owner no matter where it is built”.
Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) has proposed acquiring 61 hectares of a farm at 255 Reservoir Road to build the facility, which has been opposed by not only the landowners and their neighbours but also the City of Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast Shire.
During an interview to mark his first year as a member of the Victorian Parliament, Mr Cheeseman said there was no publicly-owned land along the rail line between Geelong and Winchelsea for the facility to be built on.
The Government Land Standing Advisory Committee will hold a public hearing about the facility in February.
Mr Cheeseman said RPV would make its case to the committee, and he “strongly believed that the site the department has selected is a logical place for a stable yard”.
“You’re going to upset someone. The argument around this is really providing the greatest good for the most people.”
Geelong’s railway infrastructure is also a sore point in state-federal relations.
Last week in Parliament, Victorian Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson criticised Labor’s Victorian MPs (including Corangamite federal member Libby Coker), saying they had not done enough to push Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to invest in infrastructure, including faster rail between Geelong and Melbourne.
In response, Mr Cheeseman said the Liberals’ $2 billion commitment during this year’s federal election was “about trying to win votes and that didn’t work – Sarah Henderson obviously lost her seat – and it’s way undercooked”.
“The reality is that the more work we’ve (the state Labor Government) been doing on this, the more undercooked that $2 billion has become.”
On his first year, Mr Cheeseman said state Labor was continuing the rapid pace of the first 12 months since the election.
“We’re 25 per cent through my term and it’s gone so incredibly quickly, and it’s in part because the government’s getting so much done.”