The interim findings of a Population Taskforce have confirmed the need for a dedicated fast train service linking Geelong and Melbourne.
Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, has been advocating for the service for years.
“I have previously called for a business case with costings to provide a fast train between Geelong and Southern Cross.
“I have also requested documents to show work done on a proposed rail link from Geelong to the Bellarine and Torquay and for the release of the business case for the rail duplication between Waurn Ponds and South Geelong,” said Mr Ramsay.
“The funding for the business case was committed in last year’s state budget – so surely the work has been done? And yet we still don’t know the details.
“The Federal Government has committed $100 million so it is critical we know the full cost of the works.
“The findings won’t shock regional Victorians who already know that all of these projects are needed with urgency,” Mr Ramsay said.
The Coalition’s Population Taskforce interim report has resulted from a six-month process across regional Victoria – with 100 submissions received from organisations and individuals.
It highlights the need the put in place transport, job, education and health infrastructure that will encourage decentralisation from Melbourne.
Currently,77 per cent of Victoria’s population lives in Melbourne and 90 per cent of annual population growth settles in Melbourne.
“A projection of those figures to 2050, would result in Melbourne growing by 3.8 million and regional Victoria by just 690,000.
“With our rail lines already coughing and spluttering to a halt, this report simply highlights the extraordinary need for action.
“If it can’t cope now, how will it cope in 33 years?”
Mr Ramsay has thanked the many contributors to the Report and the work of the local population taskforce chaired by the Member for South Barwon, Andrew Katos MP.