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Whilst the Federal Government's Auslink programme announced today will go a long way to upgrading this country's road and more importantly rail links, let's hope the work and management for Victoria's projects stays with the Federal Government's Australian Rail Track Corporation.
I refer to rail projects on the governments "wish List" and those which were promised to Victorian's prior to the Victorian labour party being voted into office.
Mildura Rail line standardisation, return of passenger rail services to Mildura, Ararat, Bairnsdale, Leongatha, the standardisation of the Heywood to Mount Gambier line (left out of standardisation work undertaken by Keating government because of Victorian preferences for Portland standardisation), the standardisation of the Mangalore to Wodonga rail line and Wodonga railway bypass, Lascelles wharf rail sidings Geelong and Morwell industrial siding upgrades,the list just goes on.
Of the above projects on the government's wish and promises list, the only project to be delivered to date has been the return of passenger services to Bairnsdale, and then only recently with the project running very late. The wodonga bypass, in my view, is a complete waste of taxpayers money and will remove passenger services out of Wodonga.
As for the promises of linking a product exporting city like Mildura to the vital sea ports on standard or national gauge, this should have been completed some time ago, not to mention the return of passenger services. Let's face it, the government has been unsuccessful over two years in completing a mere rail siding to Lascelles wharf near the port of Geelong. The fast rail project is over budget by hundreds of millions and Spencer Street Railway Station is far from completed and again over budget.
Like it or not, Victoria is fast becoming an insignificant railway rust belt, as a quick examination of Auslink funding, (some 18% and mostly roads) only highlights the federal government's viewpoint that Victoria cannot deliver a viable transport infrastructure project.
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