FAST TRACK: Coker calls for full steam ahead on rail duplication
CORANGAMITE federal member Libby Coker is urging the Federal Government to bring forward the allocation of $750 million it committed at this year’s election for the Waurn Ponds to South Geelong rail duplication.
Ms Coker said that at the moment, the Morrison Government had only allocated 10 per cent of the federal funding needed over the next five years.
“In the fast-growing region of Corangamite, peak hour trains through Geelong are running at 140 per cent capacity and commuters regularly face significant delays and overcrowding.
“As the region continues to grow, demand for improvements to vital infrastructure, like this rail upgrade, will only increase.”
In Parliament, Ms Coker asked Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack why 90 per cent of the funding was being withheld until 2025-26.
“When I asked the Minister why nearly all the federal funding is being held over until the next term of Parliament, the Minister didn’t have a response; instead he refused to consider bringing the funding forward.”
Ms Coker said she also met with City of Greater Geelong representatives to discuss how rail upgrades could potentially provide jobs and strengthen the area’s economy.
Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood said it was vital to have the infrastructure to accommodate the growth of Geelong and the surrounding areas.
“Geelong is growing at a rapid rate and this upgrade is a vital part of the bigger picture of how we move people into and through our city in the future.” Cr Harwood said it was a similar scenario with the planned fast rail connection between Geelong and Melbourne.
“We can’t afford to wait years for this infrastructure – we need work to start now. We support the federal opposition putting pressure on the Morrison government to release funding now so that this project can be fast tracked.”
When the federal government made the announcement that it would duplicate the section of track between Waurn Ponds and South Geelong, Liberal Sarah Henderson held the seat of Corangamite.
After displacing Ms Henderson at the election, Ms Coker said she wanted to ensure that the government delivered on the election commitments it had made for the area.