ADJOURNMENT North east rail line

North‑east rail line

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria) (18:33:14) — My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Public Transport, and it relates to the $1.57 billion regional rail revival package of works and upgrades to every regional passenger line in Victoria. It took some time, but the federal government finally came to the table. It was good news for the north‑east line, with $100 million allocated to help deliver the reliability that the passengers of the north‑east deserve. I welcomed the investment but questioned whether it would be enough to fix the problem‑plagued federally owned track.

A steering committee involving experts from the Victorian and commonwealth governments, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Public Transport Victoria and V/Line was established to consider the works necessary to improve the north‑east line’s condition. I understand that the $100 million for various capital works along the line will improve passenger service, resilience, reliability and ride quality, but it is not enough to bring the track up to an acceptable standard. It will likely require ongoing money and ongoing maintenance.

The Victorian government has invested $2 million in designing new rolling stock for the north‑east line to replace the classic fleet. For the new modern trains to run reliably and at an optimal steed on the north‑east line we need at least a class 2 track. This is a standard that applies across the majority of the regional network in Victoria where VLocity trains run. The ARTC track on the New South Wales side of the border has had lots of investment, and it has been built and maintained to the high standard of a class 1 equivalent.

In order to deliver at least a class 2 track standard, additional money from the commonwealth is going to be required. Upgrading the line to at least a class 2 standard will enable our new trains to travel up to 130 kilometres per hour. The Minister for Public Transport has been working to secure this funding from Canberra, and I ask her to update the house on her meeting last week with the current commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Transport with regard to the commonwealth releasing this much‑needed funding so that passengers along the north‑east line can finally get the services they deserve.