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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2050


Mr BROAD (Mallee) (13:41): Today, Tuesday, 27 February 2018, marks a terrific milestone. Today the first standard gauge freight train has left Merbein and headed towards Melbourne. The $240 million for this was first secured by the member for Gippsland when he was the infrastructure minister, and having standard freight rail from Mildura all the way to Melbourne is a fantastic milestone. But there's more to be done in rail in the electorate of Mallee.

If there were one thing I could think of that would transform the Wimmera, it would be to get passenger rail from Horsham through Stawell all the way to Ararat, then to Ballarat and ultimately to Melbourne. The member for Gippsland, when he was infrastructure minister, had been working with the state government on funding for a business case, and we would like to see that business case funded. We asked the Victorian state government to see a vision for western Victoria, to have a business case, and then ultimately put the case for getting passenger rail.

Passenger rail is important because it links people who are unwell to health services; it links the community. If you want to be rid of all that traffic in Melbourne, if you want to have a better lifestyle, if you want to breathe the great fresh air and have a good passenger rail service, don't go to Gippsland. Come to where it is nice and warm; come to western Victoria. We look forward to fighting hard for this outcome for our people over the next few years.