Question Time: Transport Infrastructure
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) (12:28:27): My question is for the Minister for Transport Infrastructure. At the election last year Victorians voted for the Andrews Labor government to keep getting on with building the transport infrastructure our growing state needs. Can the minister update the house on how the government is not wasting a single day and outline the work that has already been undertaken on major transport infrastructure projects across the summer?
Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure) (12:28:56): I would like to thank the member for Yuroke for her question, and I look forward to working with her in her capacity as the Parliamentary Secretary for Road Infrastructure. She is going to be very busy. During the last four years Victorians saw with their own eyes how the Andrews Labor government was undertaking the biggest transport infrastructure program in Victoria’s history. What we also saw was they voted for us to keep going, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are absolutely getting on with it, not wasting a day on this important program. What we have seen over the last few weeks is that we have taken advantage of the quieter summer period to undertake a road and rail construction blitz. On the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Frankston lines a massive upgrade to power and signalling was undertaken. This was important because this is all about getting those lines ready for the high-capacity metro trains that will start running on our network later on this year. At the same time, on the Metro Tunnel project at the Metro Tunnel entrance at South Yarra construction really cranked up on that site. What we saw as a result of these works was that this did result in significant line closures during the December and January period. This is Melbourne’s busiest rail corridor, and over the summer we had 1 458 297 passengers travel on replacement buses. That gives you a sense of both the size and the scale both of the works but also the importance to the number of people who use the network. Also in regional Victoria, as we get on with upgrading every single regional passenger line in regional Victoria, there was work on the Gippsland line, the Ballarat line and the Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca lines, with replacement buses operating on all of those lines. I would like to thank the passengers for their patience during this program of works, and I would also like to thank the thousands and thousands of workers who worked around the clock over this summer period. While others were enjoying a holiday, they were working around the clock on this big construction blitz. It was not just our rail network that saw this construction blitz. It extended to our road network as well. There is a massive construction site right on the edge of the city as workers dig out, right now, the northern entrance for the West Gate Tunnel project. In just a few months this will be the site of the first of our tunnel boring machines, Bella, that will be launched and ready for action. Yan Yean Road was also closed for a period of three weeks as works continued on this much-needed duplication for this growing area of Melbourne. We are getting on with the projects Victorians voted for. Here is a quick snapshot of what they are: the Melbourne Airport rail link; the Suburban Rail Loop; another 25 level crossing removals, with 75 to be gone by 2025; new electrified train lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale; duplications of the Hurstbridge and Cranbourne lines; and high-speed rail to Geelong and Ballarat, with 54 new V/Locity trains as well. We are not wasting a single day as we get on and do the works that we have already committed to. Planning and construction is underway on all of these projects—the projects that Victorians voted for.