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The State Government says the Opposition is peddling a “hoax” to suggest fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne can be completed in four years.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said it was likely to take longer.
“It appears the state Liberal Party are wanting to continue perpetrating a hoax on Geelong passengers,” Ms Allan said.
The comments come after Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the Liberal Party believed fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne could be completed in the short term.
“This is not a decade out project. We believe this can be done in the next four years if the political will is there,” Mr O’Brien said this week.
“We think if you look at state money and federal money and this also links in with some of the work being done as part of airport rail, you can get it done.”
Ms Allan said the project was likely to cost more than $4 billion — the initial amount the project would receive under the Federal Government’s plan that also requires $2 billion from the State Government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announce $2b for fast rail on March 22. Picture: Alan Barber“We’ve not had any conversation with the federal Liberal Government about this $2 billion commitment,” Ms Allan said.
“If we had the opportunity to talk to them we perhaps would have pointed out that what they were promising the community of Geelong just wasn’t going to be able to be delivered in the time frame and cost they think it will.”
Ms Allan said the State Government was assessing a private sector proposal for fast rail to Geelong, but was tight-lipped on when the assessment would be complete.
Meanwhile, Ms Allan hit back at the Federal Government for stalling the Waurn Ponds to South Geelong rail duplication after the business case for the project was assessed by Infrastructure Australia (IA) last year.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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