Member for Ripon, Louise Staley today joined Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy as he announced that an elected Liberal Nationals Government will build European-style high speed rail between Melbourne and Ballarat, slashing travel times by at least 28 minutes.
“Bringing Victoria’s cities closer together with European-style high speed rail is the cornerstone of my plan to decentralise our jobs and our population.
I want to build a state of cities and not be a city state.
Victoria needs population growth but it needs to be the right growth in the right places at the right time. We can’t afford another four more years of Labor’s unplanned, unmanaged population growth.” Mr Guy said.
European-style High Speed Rail to Ballarat will also provide faster overall travel times between Ararat and Melbourne.
Ms Staley said currently it takes commuters 138 minutes to travel from Ararat to Melbourne, with the new European-style High Speed Rail, that commute will be reduced to 109 minutes.
“Our plan for European-style high speed rail will decentralise our population and transform regional Victoria.
European-style high speed rail to Ballarat will give residents in my electorate of Ripon real choices where they live and work and free up precious time to spend with family that is currently consumed stuck on trains.”
A Liberal Nationals Government will also return passenger rail services to Dunolly, St Arnaud and Donald as a part of its plan to revolutionise Victoria’s passenger rail network.
Today’s announcement is a key part of the Liberal Nationals plan to revolutionise Victoria’s passenger rail network by delivering high speed rail right across Victoria.
Reaching speeds of 200 kilometres per hour, Victoria’s new high speed rail network will be the fastest in Australia.
The High Speed Rail project will see the rebuild of much of Victoria's current Class 1 track to 200 kilometres per hour operation as well as major track improvements on every other passenger rail line.
A Liberal Nationals Government will also fund new-generation, faster, inter-city and long haul variants of the successful V/Locity trains which will provide better comfort and leg room, safety and amenity for passengers.
At the core of the Liberal Nationals plan for European-style high speed rail is the further separation of the regional network from the metropolitan network thus increasing capacity and avoiding a 'dump and run' at the end of the suburban rail network.
At an estimated total cost of $15 billion to $19 billion, this super-infrastructure project will transform regional Victoria and is affordable, sensible and realistic.
Whilst Daniel Andrews and Labor have introduced 12 new taxes in the last four years, a Liberal Nationals Government will not introduce a new tax or levy to fund European-style high speed rail.
That’s why construction of a European-style high speed rail in Victoria is also a nation building project that will attract funding from the state and federal government along with the private sector.
“Today’s announcement is not only a win for commuters, it is also a win for regional employment.
Building a high-speed rail network across Victoria will create at least 10,000 new jobs, with many of these jobs in regional Victoria.” Ms Staley said.
A Liberal Nationals Government will grow all of Victoria, not just Melbourne.