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Bill Shorten will promise to pump $2 billion into Victoria’s largest public transport project if he wins government, ending a six-year standoff over federal funding.
The Labor leader will on Friday vow to “unlock the box” of frozen federal cash — earmarked for the dumped East West Link — to help fund the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel.
Mr Shorten told the Herald Sun that the Coalition government had been “anti-public transport” and “anti-Victoria” for the majority of time in power.
The decision means the long-running $3 billion federal offering for the East West Link — twice rejected by voters at Victorian elections — would be taken off the table by Canberra.
“Dan (Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews) and all Victorians need someone in Canberra who gives a stuff about our state,” Mr Shorten said.
“I’ve lived in Victoria all my life, I know how fast we’re growing, and that’s why infrastructure is my priority for the state.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will on Friday vow to ‘unlock the box’ of frozen federal cash to help fund the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel.The project, due for completion in 2025, will dramatically increase the capacity of Melbourne’s rail network with twin 9km tunnels from the west of the city to the southeast.
It will allow extra train services to be added to the Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Frankston, Pakenham, Sandringham, Sunbury, Upfield, Werribee and Williamstown lines.
The Gillard Government offered $3 billion towards the project in 2013, but then it was removed from the following year’s budget by Treasurer Joe Hockey who pledged $3 billion for East West Link instead.
Labor is still to promise to match the Morrison Government’s $2 billion promise towards high-speed rail between Melbourne and Geelong but has committed to the $5 billion airport rail link.
Mr Shorten said the Melbourne Metro Tunnel would create 7000 jobs in construction — including at least 700 apprentices — with local suppliers and manufacturers prioritised in the procurement process.
“If I’m fortunate enough to be elected prime minister, I will get started straight away on making sure our state gets its fair share,” he said.
“Federal Labor can afford to give Victoria its fair share of infrastructure funding because we are closing the Liberals’ tax loopholes for the top end of town.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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