Sey­mour by­passed

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - By Ali­son O’Con­nor

The Vic­to­rian Govern­ment has rolled out its own Re­gional Rail plan, fol­low­ing The Na­tion­als’ an­nounce­ment re­cently for their re­gional rail vi­sion if elected to govern­ment.

How­ever, La­bor’s grand plan doesn’t in­clude the Sey­mour, Shep­par­ton or North-East lines, with only Bal­larat and Gee­long res­i­dents to en­joy fast rail un­der the Govern­ment’s plan.

Premier Daniel An­drews said their Re­gional Rail Re­vival was about fix­ing the un­re­li­a­bil­ity on re­gional lines, and pro­vid­ing more fre­quent ser­vices — but it won’t be lo­cal res­i­dents who will en­joy the up­grades.

‘‘The growth of Melbourne’s western sub­urbs, and the pop­u­lar­ity of Gee­long and Bal­larat as com­muter hubs, means our net­work needs more than just an up­grade: it needs re­draw­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘That work has iden­ti­fied the projects we need to make fast rail to Gee­long and Bal­larat a re­al­ity — and a re-elected La­bor Govern­ment will in­vest an ex­tra $100 mil­lion to com­plete all the plan­ning we need to get it done.’’

Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan, who has cam­paigned heav­ily for up­grades to rail ser­vices in the re­gion, de­scribed the plan as a ‘‘pan­icked al­ter­na­tive’’ to The Na­tion­als’ plan.

She said in com­par­i­son to The Na­tion­als’ $19 bil­lion plan, La­bor in­cluded no money for con­struc­tion for at least four years and had over­looked the north east, Shep­par­ton and Sey­mour lines en­tirely.

‘‘It is in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­point­ing that the Shep­par­ton, north east and Sey­mour lines aren’t even men­tioned in La­bor’s plan for re­gional rail,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Our com­mit­ments for re­gional rail are clear and we have al­lo­cated bil­lions of dol­lars to get­ting on with the job.

‘‘We will up­grade the Shep­par­ton, north east and Sey­mour line tracks to a class one stan­dard, al­low­ing trains to travel at speeds of up to 160 km/h and we will buy brand new long haul trains for the lines which will be on the tracks within our first term of govern­ment.

‘‘All La­bor has done for the last four years is talk about im­prove­ments to our line, with­out de­liv­er­ing a sin­gle new train or any im­prove­ment in ser­vice. They have now told us that un­der a re-elected La­bor Govern­ment, there will be an­other four years of talk­ing about high speed rail for Gee­long and Bal­larat with no money for con­struc­tion com­mit­ted and no works start­ing.’’

Ms Ryan said La­bor’s pro­posal did lit­tle for any­one liv­ing out­side Gee­long and Bal­larat.

‘‘La­bor’s plan will only serve two re­gional ci­ties in­stead of ev­ery re­gional rail line,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘If the govern­ment was se­ri­ous about de­cen­tral­is­ing Vic­to­ria’s pop­u­la­tion and de­vel­op­ing our whole state in­stead of just Melbourne, it would have in­cluded our re­gion as well.’’

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