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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 3867

Ms RYAN (LalorOpposition Whip) (10:47): I rise to speak on the motion moved by the member for Gellibrand and thank him for bringing on this important issue. I'd just note, after listening to the member for Murray, that there was a little bit of confusion there about infrastructure spending. The first point would be that he certainly was in a state government while the Regional Rail Link was being built, but he forgot to mention that they failed to order the trains, which set back the Regional Rail Link's opening for six months, if I remember correctly. I know that when I got here we were expecting that Regional Rail Link to be opened, and of course it was set back for six months because they failed to deliver the trains.

The member for Murray is also confused about something else: he wants to talk about the national spend from this government on infrastructure, and of course this motion is specifically about the fact that that national spend on infrastructure has sorely missed the very important state of Victoria. We're talking today about the fact that we are in an absolutely critical moment in time around Melbourne's population—around the population of Melbourne's west and around the long-term, dramatic and sustained growth that we've seen in the city of Melbourne, not least in the electorate of Lalor, which encompasses the city of Wyndham, which of course has seen extraordinary growth. This federal budget has again neglected Melbourne and the outer western suburbs on infrastructure investment.

Unlike this government, Labor understands the importance of investment in transport and infrastructure, and our record at both federal and state level reflects this. Under the previous federal Labor government, of course, $3.2 billion was invested in the Regional Rail Link, $3 billion was committed to the Melbourne metro tunnel, and the Princes Highway and East West were funded. However, since this Liberal federal government came to office, a mere 9.7 per cent of the federal infrastructure budget has been allocated to Victoria, even though Victoria comprises 25 per cent of the nation's population.

This lack of investment by the current government is having real effects in my community, which is experiencing population increases of an additional 12,000 residents per year. In Wyndham, we are in desperate need of rail funding. Passenger numbers on the Wyndham line alone are at an 11-year high. Thirteen of the 60 weekday morning train services on the Geelong line to Melbourne's CBD—that is, the regional rail link—reach maximum capacity by the time they reach the Wyndham stations. This congestion is only going to increase. Forward projections demonstrate that Wyndham's population will increase by 74 per cent to reach 435,000 residents by 2036, an increase of 185,000 people in 18 years.

People are using public transport. The regional rail link, funded by the Gillard government, demonstrates the power of investment in this space. With the regional rail link open, the Tarneit station is now the second busiest station to the Southern Cross station on V/Line. We have shown that the people moving into our communities will use public transport when and where it is provided. That is a critical point.

The recent Infrastructure Australia report Future Cities: Planning for our Growing Population demonstrates that we need to be looking holistically at where people live, where jobs are located and the transport networks which connect them. That is why the $5 billion commitment the Prime Minister suggested he was making to Victoria—although we saw in the budget that only $255 million was committed for the next four years—is really critical. The Prime Minister came to Victoria and announced that he was going to partner with the state government to do a $5.1 billion spend on a rail link between the airport and the city. That link needs to go to Sunshine. It needs to go to Sunshine to fit with Victoria's plans for the future. It needs to go to Sunshine so that it links with the regional rail link and opens up the possibility for a 20-minute train trip in the future. It is imperative that it does.

This Prime Minister likes to travel on the regional rail link when he goes down to Geelong to see the member for Corangamite. I would suggest to him that, next time he wants a photo op in Corangamite, he opens his eyes out the window as he travels and sees Melbourne's west growing—because between one month and the next there are thousands of people moving into our area and they need public transport. There are people moving to Ballarat and Bendigo and they need access to the city by public transport as well. There are people moving to Geelong. The whole of the west of Victoria is growing at a rapid rate, and this Prime Minister needs to get serious about supporting infrastructure for us.