The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell is pleased that Greater Shepparton City Council has joined her in advocating for a funding commitment from the Andrews Labor Government that will deliver the long-promised nine return rail services between Shepparton and Melbourne.
Ms Lovell has been a tireless advocate for more rail funding for the Shepparton region, constantly citing a leaked copy of a business case for the project which confirmed that an additional investment of $282 million was required to deliver the nine return services.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Cr Seema Abdullah recently wrote to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan, seeking a funding commitment for Stage 3 of the Shepparton Line Upgrade project as well as a projected completion date.
The all-important Stage 3 of the project will deliver the nine daily return rail services between Shepparton and Melbourne and is currently unfunded. The letter also sought from the Minister an undertaking to progress a designated Northern Rail Plan and also reiterates the importance of the construction of a designated rail tunnel as part of the Airport Rail Link.
In an adjournment matter directed to Ms Allan in State Parliament last week, Ms Lovell said there was an incorrect belief in the community that the promised nine daily train services were already funded and will commence at the completion of Stage 2 of the project at the end of 2022.
Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has claimed the existing $356 million investment into the Shepparton Rail Upgrade will deliver nine daily return services between Shepparton and Melbourne by 2021/22 and Ms Lovell said Cr Abdullah’s letter exposes this claim as untrue.
In her contribution, Ms Lovell also sought a funding commitment for Stage 3 of the Shepparton Line Upgrade project from Ms Allan and a timeline for the completion of Stage 3.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“On many occasions I have highlighted the funding black hole in the Shepparton Rail Upgrade project that is preventing the delivery of the nine daily return services the Shepparton community want and deserve.
“The claim by Jacinta Allan and Suzanna Sheed that the current investment by the Andrews Labor Government will deliver the promised nine return services is simply not true.
“Together with Greater Shepparton City Council I will continue my advocacy in seeking a funding commitment that will finally deliver the passenger rail services the Shepparton community deserve and I will continue to fight until this funding is secured.”
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