I've mentioned this before on these pages and elsewhere, given the conversion of the line through Inglewood to SG, a rebuild of the Inglewood to Eaglehawk line in SG and then with some DG into Bendigo, would open up access for the Bendigo region to the whole SG network. It may appear a round about way of achieving access but in reality it's only 40km overall.Inglewood to Eaglehawk may only be 40km, but that isn't the full picture is it?
The entire route from Southern Cross (0km point on all railway lines in Victoria, and the closest comparison to road distance) to Bendigo via Woodend is 162km. For the route you are suggesting for an SG link, via Geelong, Ballarat and Inglewood the distance is 296km. So yes, it is indeed a round about way of achieving access.
Then there is the capital works to get the line via Bridgewater to an acceptable standard, this would be a similar level of work as the Avoca line required, and a similar cost. As the line would need a complete rebuild, the gauge conversion would be inconsequential.
So lets just say for a moment, money was no issue, and we could give it the go ahead tomorrow. Who is going to use it? What freight customer is going to prefer that route when it is 130km longer? I mean consider this, most freight would be going to the Port of Melbourne, there is nothing stopping this from happening now on the broad gauge. There is even an eager local rail operator in Bendigo with a fleet of BG locos, and a rake of container wagons, mostly just sitting idle in their Bendigo workshops. If the customer was there for rail, they would be using rail now.
So you would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create an SG link to Bendigo, and as far as I can ascertain, its only possible use would be for SSR to ferry there SG locos to their workshops.
That is just not going to fly.
And this has been covered in multiple threads, multiple times.