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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14636

Infrastructure: Rail


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population. Will the minister update the House on how the government's investment in fast rail will bust congestion and support population growth? How might a different approach derail important infrastructure projects?


Mr TUDGE (AstonMinister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population) (14:58): I thank the member for La Trobe for his question on the budget. Labor has stopped asking questions on the budget, we point out. After seven questions, they've stopped asking. No more questions on the budget! On the budget, I can report that last night we put $4 billion into the Urban Congestion Fund and, over the last month alone, we've been busting congestion right across the great cities of our nation, including in the member for La Trobe's electorate—on Racecourse Road, on McGregor Road, on the key intersections along the Princes Highway and, last night, duplicating Wellington Road in his electorate. It's such a congested piece of road. That will be fixed, as well as other areas.

This Urban Congestion Fund is just one element of our population plan, which is aimed at easing the congestion in our big cities and supporting the growth of some of the regional areas. Another part of that plan is our 20-year fast rail plan. In that plan, our aim is to connect our big capital cities to the satellite regional centres. Over the next 20 years, we hope that many like that will be done because it will enable people to reside in those regional centres and very easily commute into the big capital cities on a regular basis. We are starting with the first one, and we have got $2 billion on the table to get the—

The SPEAKER: I'm worried about this one—does the member for Grayndler have a point of order?

Mr Albanese: Yes, Mr Speaker. It's on relevance. It goes to when this very slow fast rail will actually commence? When does it start?

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. There's no point of order.

Mr TUDGE: We have $2 billion to get the Geelong to Melbourne fast rail done and constructed in two years time. The member for Corangamite has been one of the greatest advocates of this particular fast rail. It will mean no longer a 60-minute journey but a 32-minute journey for residents of Geelong.

I am asked about alternatives. It's interesting, when you look at the Labor Party, where they are on fast rail from Geelong to Melbourne. When the Prime Minister and I were announcing this, the Leader of the Opposition had his union thugs out there campaigning against us.

The SPEAKER: The minister will withdraw.

Mr TUDGE: I'll withdraw that. When the Leader of the Opposition himself was asked directly whether he supports the Geelong-to-Melbourne fast rail—he was asked this question three or four times—guess what he said? He actually said, 'We want to make sure the rail line from Geelong to Surf Coast is better.' Geelong to Surf Coast is not Geelong to Melbourne. The member for Grayndler said nothing. The member for Grayndler, the shadow spokesperson, has said nothing about fast rail since then until today. But guess what we read the next day? Apparently the shadow Treasurer is going to fund it, with $2 billion matching it. Jump on the ScoMo Express, Labor!

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen has been warned. He will leave under 94(a).

The member for McEwen then left the chamber.