Labor’s botched and broken rail projects

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley MP, has demanded Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan specify when the defects on the botched Maryborough Ararat freight line will be fixed.

She put Ms Allan under the spotlight during question time in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday and said she had repeatedly failed to provide an answer to when the defects on the line would be fixed, if at all.

Despite the line being opened and the return of freight trains to the Maryborough Ararat line earlier this year, the rail line has been a disaster.

In questioning the Minister for Public Transport, Ms Staley listed the significant defects in the rail line saying, “…freight trains are forced to crawl along this line at just thirty kilometres an hour despite the intended design speed of one hundred and fifteen kilometres an hour; the tracks need an additional forty thousand tonnes of ballast; in places, the tracks are not level and are twisted; the road crossings have not been commissioned; and some sleepers have already cracked and broken under the weight of three thousand tonne grain trains.”

Ms Allan was unable to provide an answer. Instead, she denigrated those providing reports of the line’s deficiencies.

“It is quite extraordinary that Ms Allan, as the Minister responsible for Public Transport and this freight line, can stand in parliament and just duck and weave and avoid answering the question,

“Businesses rely on the Maryborough Ararat Freight line to transport their products, it is an integral part of their business, for Ms Allan to so callously disregard my question and refuse to provide any update on when the botched line will be fixed just shows how incompetent Labor are at managing infrastructure,” Ms Staley said.

Ms Staley also used question time to highlight Labor’s disastrous mismanagement of the entire Murray Basin Rail Project.

The Murray Basin Rail Project is running $100 million over budget. Labor have sacked the principal contractor and indefinitely postponed construction of stages three and four of the project.

“Local businesses made multi-million dollar investments to ensure that they could get their products to port because of the timeline that Labor promised – these businesses are now in a mountain of debt and facing an uncertain future because of Daniel Andrew’s Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan’s decision to put an indefinite hold on the Murray Basin Rail Project,” Ms Staley said.

The Premier for Melbourne and Minister for Public Transport’s sneaky plan to derail the Murray Basin Rail Project and refusal to fix the Maryborough Ararat Freight Line shows again why Ripon can’t trust this city-centric Labor Government.