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     3   Wodonga-Melbourne rail line

Ms McGowan, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        notes that:

(a)        for more than eight years, regional communities in northeast Victoria have been frustrated by significant engineering failings on the Wodonga-Melbourne rail line;

(b)        in 2016 the trains were on time 79.7 per cent of the time, with the rate dropping to 55.2 per cent in November, the train now takes half an hour longer to get from Southern Cross to Albury than 10 years ago;

(c)        the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) maintains that it is meeting performance obligations under the terms of the 44 year lease agreement with the Victorian Government and under its charter;

(d)        the ARTC has spent $134 million on remediation works that have not improved passenger rail services, with trains regularly slowed or replaced by buses; and

(e)        the current arrangements are not meeting the need for reliable passenger rail services, instead regional communities are viewed as freight corridors; and

(2)        calls on the Australian Government:

(a)        as the sole shareholder of the ARTC, to update the ARTC Statement of Corporate Intent to ensure that passenger services and the transport needs of regional communities are considered core business;

(b)        to direct the ARTC to release and review the current agreement between the ARTC and the Victorian Government for the Wodonga-Melbourne rail line, giving due consideration to the passenger rail services and the transport needs of regional communities; and

(c)        to develop a long-term plan for passenger rail services that meets the economic, social and environmental needs of regional Australia.

Debate ensued.

The time allotted for the debate having expired, the debate was interrupted, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.