The claim from Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan that the Murray Basin Rail Project is ‘ahead of schedule’ has left regional Victorians in absolute disbelief.
The Murray Basin Rail Project is stalled, astronomically over-budget and nearing a decade behind schedule thanks to Jacinta Allan and Victorian Labor’s catastrophic project mismanagement.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria Peter Walsh said the Minister’s claims were infuriating given the project has been stalled – again – for more than a year because Victorian Labor won’t commit $5 million for planning work to fix Jacinta Allan’s botched work.
“The Minister for Excuses has out-done herself today with these false claims that will infuriate the regional Victorians who have missed out on Basin Rail’s transformational benefits because of Jacinta Allan’s mistakes,” Mr Walsh said.
“Jacinta Allan should be ashamed Labor has botched what was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve north-west Victoria’s connection with global trade markets, but today she’s cruelly celebrating it.
“Under the project’s original scope, first put forward by the former Liberals and Nationals government, north-west Victorians would have been reaping the benefits of a standardised freight rail network in 2015.
“Not only will Basin Rail, completed in full and to the original scope, deliver better productivity and efficiencies for producers and transporter in the north west, it’ll also mean less damage to country roads by removing hundreds of truck movements every single day.”
The Commonwealth has gone above and beyond to get Basin Rail finished, providing a further $200 million more than 12 months ago to fix the Minister’s botch job.
But the future of the Project hanging in the balance because the Victorian Government has refused to contribute a $5 million share for planning work to begin.
“Jacinta Allan has been out this week trying to claim Victoria’s been ‘short-changed’ when she should be taking responsibility for her Labor Government’s failures in her own backyard,” Mr Walsh said.
“Only a change of government in November will deliver a fair share for regional Victorians and a positive plan to recover and rebuild our state.”