Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan is attempting to rewrite history by handballing blame for the stalled Murray Basin Rail Project to the Federal Government.
Ms Allan’s claims in media reports today that Victoria has been let down by the lack of Federal Budget funds to restart the stalled Basin Rail couldn’t be further from the truth.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said producers and transport stakeholders are at their wits end with the constant excuses from the Andrews Labor Government.
“Jacinta Allan’s crocodile tears aren’t fooling anyone. The Andrews Labor Government was handed a fully-funded project and botched it, leaving our north-west producers and stakeholders saying they’re now worse off than when the project started,” Mr Walsh said.
“Rumours have been circulating for months that Jacinta Allan is seeking a cheap exit strategy because her failed mismanagement has blown out the total cost of the project from $440 million to more than $1 billion.
“Producers and stakeholders should already be reaping the benefits of more efficient links to Melbourne’s port, but instead we’re left with a barely half finished mess.”
A Victorian Auditor-General Office report on the Andrews Government’s failed handling of Basin Rail found “completion of the MBRP is a year overdue, with over twice the original budget now estimated as necessary to complete the project to its original approved scope” (VAGO, p33).
Mr Walsh said Ms Allan must come clean on how the Andrews Government will fix its mess by releasing the revised business case for consultation.
“Minister for Excuses Jacinta Allan’s arrogant attempt to rewrite history by passing the buck to the Federal Government doesn’t pass the pub test,” Mr Walsh said.
“Producers and stakeholders in north-west Victoria will never forgive the Andrews Labor Government for blowing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade and standardise the freight rail network.
“Better freight rail infrastructure will transform our agriculture sector, but it’s failures like this that have seen regional Victorians lose confidence in Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor Government.”