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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 15011


Ms HENDERSON (CorangamiteAssistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services) (12:16): I rise to speak about the very significant infrastructure funding which has been announced for the Corangamite and Geelong regions and which is a game-changing investment for the people I proudly represent. In the budget this week, along with the surplus, we announced a record $100 billion over 10 years for roads and rail projects right across the country, in our rural areas and in our cities. This includes $2 billion to finally get fast rail going in this nation, from Geelong to Melbourne, to deliver a 32-minute journey. As soon as the state government can match this funding—we're calling on the state government to match this funding—and is willing to build this rail line, the money will be there. It is in our budget on page 64 of Budget Paper No. 2, and the reference is from 2021-22: $2 billion for the delivery of fast rail from Melbourne to Geelong to reduce travel times, increase train patronage and ease congestion on the Princes Highway and West Gate Bridge.

We've also delivered $700 million more for the Geelong rail duplication project, a project that I have championed since 2015. In 2016, we delivered $1 million for planning at a time when the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said this was not a priority. In the 2017 budget, there was $100 million; in the 2018 budget, there was $50 million; and now, of course, there is $700 million, bringing it to a total of $850 million for this project. There's also money for a business case to look at the Geelong rail tunnel, and additional money left over for the provision of future construction works to deliver that dual track that we desperately need to provide more frequent, reliable and faster rail services through Geelong. We know how critical rail infrastructure is.

I want to make this very clear on the record today: Australians do not like lies. I want to call out Bill Shorten's candidate in Corangamite, who said on the—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): The member for Corangamite will refer to members by their official title.

Ms HENDERSON: I'm not talking about a member.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I believe you are.

Ms HENDERSON: I'm sorry—Bill Shorten. Apologies. I want to call out the Leader of the Opposition's candidate in Corangamite, who in a post on her Facebook page said:

Scott Morrison and the Liberals have sat on their hands for nearly six years, doing nothing to improve rail infrastructure in Victoria.

What an absolute joke that is. That is a patent lie. As I've documented very clearly, we've delivered $150 million already, and now, in this budget, which preceded this candidate making this statement, we are delivering another $700 million. Of course, just two weeks ago we announced $2 billion. So, what a mockery! Politics is full of people who come to politics for all the right reasons, but Australians want their politicians to have integrity, and there is no integrity when a candidate makes that sort of statement after our government has delivered this sort of money for the Corangamite region. Of course, the total amount of money available and announced by our government up until the budget was $1.75 billion for the Regional Rail Revival package, when the state Labor government had provided only $150 million.

Now we have the member for Corio making more untruthful statements, claiming that the $2 billion for fast rail is not in the budget. That is patently untrue. They are desperate. It is clear that the Labor Party does not support fast rail. The Labor Party does not support faster, more reliable rail services into our region. The member for Corio is on a mission to campaign against better rail services. I say to the member for Corio: shame on you. We are incredibly proud of our commitment to fast rail. I call him out on his statements, which are completely untruthful, and I call on the Victorian government to provide the $2 billion in matching funding that we need to get on with this project; to expedite the $50 million that it's allocated in its business plan for fast rail; and to bring forward the construction timetable of the rail duplication project so we can get on with this project.

Question agreed to.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 12:21