Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan says Victorians deserve a regional rail revival.Months after winning a $1.4 billion battle with Canberra over regional rail funding, Victoria hopes the funds will soon start flowing.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is due to meet with Infrastructure Minister Barnaby Joyce on Wednesday to finalise the agreement over the federal government’s Inland Rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Once that deal has been inked, money can be delivered for the separate state plan to revamp Victoria’s regional passenger train routes.
“We were able to work constructively with the former Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester who helped secure funding that Victorian passengers deserve for regional rail revival,” Ms Allan said.
“We want that work to continue – particularly when you consider the massive deficit Victorians are experiencing when it comes to infrastructure funding – with NSW receiving 45 per cent of funding and Victoria only nine per cent.”
In 2017 the Andrews Labor government announced a mammoth overhaul of the state’s regional train lines, as a way of strong-arming the federal government into giving it more money in return for the Port of Melbourne lease.
The federal government previously offered Victoria only $877 million from the asset-recycling fund for the Port of Melbourne lease sale, arguing the state didn’t apply or get approval before the June 30, 2016, deadline.
The funding spat came to an end in June.
A spokeswoman for Mr Joyce said he was “looking forward” to meeting Ms Allan “to discuss Inland Rail, the Victorian Regional Rail package and other issues of importance”.