Derailed Murray Basin Rail Project still not back on track under Labor
Labor still hasn’t got the Murray Basin Rail Project back on track.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has finally announced the Murrayville to Ouyen freight line is set to reopen – more than six months later than promised.
Work on the Murrayville to Ouyen line was scheduled to begin in August 2017, with the line to shut for five months for standardisation, upgrades and track maintenance.
But the Andrews Labor Government has completely botched delivery of the Murray Basin Rail project, blowing out the budget and the timelines.
Originally scheduled for completion this year, Labor’s poor management has left the project reportedly $100 million over-budget, seen the head contractors sacked, reports that sub-contractors are owed tens of thousands of dollars and pushed the expected completion out to 2020.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade and standardise the rail system of north-west Victoria and make it easier for our producers to get their product to port is at risk under Labor.
Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh
Jacinta Allan is desperately trying to cover her tracks and convince Regional Victorians Labor hasn’t utterly botched the Murray Basin Rail Project.
Every time the Andrews Labor Government puts out a press release on the Murray Basin Rail Project we find out it’s been delayed even more.
Only the Premier for Melbourne and his Minister for Excuses Jacinta Allan could inherit a fully-funded, once-in-a-generation project and completely botch the delivery.
Comment attributable to Member for Mildura Peter Crisp
Producers and businesses in north-west Victoria have been dealt a dud hand by the Premier for Melbourne.
Freight operators and primary producers in north-west Victoria should be reaping the benefits of standardised track and increased freight volumes this year, but under Daniel Andrews it’s off in the never-never.
The Nationals in government funded the $440 million Basin Rail project and I’ll keep fighting to make sure this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is delivered – in full – so we can get on with the level crossing upgrades that must be done in order to get a passenger service returned for Mildura.
Massive Boost to Home and Community Care
A Liberal Nationals Government will deliver a massive $175 million expansion of home and community care and support for Victorians with chronic disease and other conditions who can safely be treated outside hospital in the comfort of their own home and in their community.
Many Victorians have to be admitted into a public hospital or have extended stays in hospital due to the limited availability of Hospital in the Home or equivalent care. Hospital in the Home helps patients, who can safely be treated outside hospitals, get back home to their loved ones but with regular visits and support from health care professionals.
Hospital in the Home enjoys bi-partisan support and Victorians are currently receiving a number of treatments in their homes such as dialysis, rehabilitation and palliative care. Our investment will increase the availability of those treatments and expand treatment to other areas for patients who are clinically recommended, such as infection management and complex wound care.
This will require dedicated 24-hour medical and nursing coverage, greater scale, increased priority for patients in home-based care and all reinforced with rigorous quality and outcomes measurement. Treating patients in their homes has been shown to increase patient and carer satisfaction and reduce readmission rates.
Our funding will ramp up Hospital in the Home to support an additional 6,000 patients each year, helping more Victorians to access high quality care in their home for acute and chronic conditions.
Further, there are over a million Victorians living with multiple chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart or lung disease, many of whom are living in pain, are limited in their employment and regularly require medical and hospital care.
A Liberal Nationals Government will provide vastly increased support to help thousands of Victorians with complex health conditions to identify their needs, navigate their care choices and get appropriate treatment. We will help people to manage their pain, their health and their lives – rather than wait until things fall apart and they end up in hospital.
This funding will improve their health with increased access to GPs and community health services and reduced time spent in hospitals and emergency departments.
Successive Governments have trialled a range of chronic disease management initiatives. Labor’s HealthLinks: Chronic Care is a trial at 10 hospitals but with no additional funding.
A Liberal Nationals Government will make a genuine commitment to embed community and home-based chronic disease management as a core element of health and community health services across the State through funding and focus.
In summary, the Liberal Nationals Policy will establish:
[if !supportLists]· [endif]A ‘Home Hospital’, expanding, by up to the equivalent of 200 acute beds, Hospital in the Home services supporting an additional 6,000 patients each year discharged from emergency departments and wards or referred directly from nursing homes or GPs, who would otherwise be in hospital;
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Home visiting and community support services for up to 5,000 people per year living with multiple chronic diseases to help manage their diseases and prevent or delay hospital readmission;
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Enhanced support for young people with chronic disease transitioning from the Royal Children’s Hospital to adult services;
[if !supportLists]· [endif]New small grants for local chronic disease peer support groups, including online groups; and
[if !supportLists]· [endif]A state-wide plan for chronic disease management including approaches which prevent people from being admitted to hospital
With increasing demand for hospital services and increasing complexity in patient needs, ensuing high quality, accessible and responsive health services well into the future requires a strong network of acute hospitals as well as community health and home-based services for people who can be appropriately treated locally.
This policy commitment significantly expands the range of treatment options for Victorians with significant health needs and builds on Liberal Nationals commitments to build a new West Gippsland Hospital, new theatres and emergency department at Warrnambool Hospital and to make Australia’s largest investment in community based palliative care.
Mildura to get a residential rehabilitation centre under Liberal Nationals
The Nationals Member for Mildura Peter Crisp has today announced that an elected Liberal Nationals government will fund
and build a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for Mildura.
The 18 to 20-bed centre will address the critical need for residential rehabilitation services in north-west Victoria.
Mr Crisp was joined in Mildura today by Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy.
“Mildura has a real need for a residential treatment centre and if a Liberal Nationals government is elected, I will deliver
this vital service for our community,” Mr Crisp said.
“These centres save lives and they change lives, and we need one in Mildura.
“The Nationals believe in backing projects our communities have identified as a priority, and this centre will make a real
difference to the health and wellbeing of Mildura families.
“I’ve worked very closely with community supporters of this project and I am very pleased be here today with Emma Kealy
to tell them a Liberal Nationals government will deliver it.
“We have an excellent non-residential program run by Sunraysia Community Health already, and a residential facility would
complement that and boost our capacity to tackle the scourge of drug and alcohol addiction which sadly affects some
members of our community.
“Only a Liberal Nationals Government will deliver a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for Mildura and
The Liberal Nationals will put $7 million into this commitment for Mildura, as part of a package of new drug and alcohol
rehabilitation services for regional Victoria.
Victoria currently has about the quarter the number of residential rehab beds of New South Wales, which has more than 800.
Ms Kealy said the Andrews Labor Government had failed regional Victorian communities by not keeping up with service
demands for new residential rehabilitation beds.
“Plans to increase the number of residential rehabilitation beds were axed by the Andrews Government when it was
elected in 2014, and that meant communities like Mildura have missed out.
“Waiting lists have blown out and in some places people are being told they have to wait up to a year, and that’s just
not good enough.
“A Liberal Nationals government will make the investments regional communities need so that when people are struggling
and need help for drug and alcohol addition, residential rehabilitation services will be there for them and their families.”
Monday 23 April 2018
Twice as many trains and at faster speeds under the Liberal Nationals
Shepparton will finally get the rail service it has long wanted under a Liberal National plan to revitalise the city’s rail services and help decentralise Victoria’s economic and population growth.
The Liberal Nationals will double the current number of return rail services from Shepparton to Melbourne.
Through a $77 million investment the Liberal Nationals will increase the number of daily services from four to eight and track conditions will be vastly improved to allow maximum train speeds of up to 130 km/h, significantly higher than the current limit of around 95 km/h.
The Liberal Nationals’ plan will also see up to 32 road level crossings fully protected on the Shepparton line, eliminating the need to slow down and enabling maximum speeds to be maintained for as long as possible.
New remotely controlled automatic signalling will be installed on the line along with new sleepers, ballast and drainage.
The announcement is part of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to invest in heavy rail upgrades and to decentralise Victoria’s growth, creating a state of cities, not a city state.
It also follows the Liberal Nationals’ $633 million announcement to replace all diesel hauled country rail services with six carriage long haul VLocity railcars, which would operate all Shepparton services.
Gone will be the days of waiting for emergency repairs on ageing 1980s rolling stock and consistent broken air-conditioners on hot days, Shepparton will finally get a first class rail service.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy:
“A government I lead will deliver faster, comfortable and more reliable rail services for Shepparton. As one of the largest cities in Victoria, Shepparton deserves no less.
“One of the most effective ways to decentralise Victoria’s population and economic growth is to upgrade our rail network and this is exactly what a Liberal National government will do.
“While Daniel Andrews is only interested in being the Premier for Melbourne, I will be the Premier for all of Victoria.”
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh:
“The Labor Premier for Melbourne is putting billions into the Melbourne metro and leaving Shepparton on the slow train.
“This commitment, in addition to the purchase of new long-haul trains, reflects the Liberal Nationals’ vision for Shepparton becoming a major regional centre as part of our plan to grow the whole state, not just Melbourne.”
Comments attributable to Liberal Candidate for Shepparton, Cheryl Hammer:
“The Shepparton community has told us loud and clear that improved connectivity to and from Melbourne is essential for building our future.
“I am proud to be part of the Liberal Nationals team that will deliver a faster, more reliable train service giving us the opportunity to better showcase our region, and move our travelling public in the manner they deserve."
Comments attributable to The Nationals Candidate for Shepparton, Peter Schwarz:
“Modern, fast, reliable trains and more services on the Shepparton line will be a terrific asset to attract people and new businesses to our community.
“The Shepparton region has a lot to be proud of and the better public transport links that will be delivered by an elected Liberal Nationals government will help our community grow.”
Friday 19 January 2018
Communities along Victoria’s state borders will benefit from the services of a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
People living and working in Victoria’s border communities alongside New South Wales and South Australia face unique problems, including with access to services, licencing and coordination of emergency services.
Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh is in Mildura today to make the announcement.
“A lot changes when you travel across the border and for our business owners and residents in border communities this is an added complication to everyday life,” Mr Walsh said.
“It means our tradespeople have to get two separate licences to operate their business, while farmers and transport operators require two separate permits to move agricultural equipment.
“It also makes it harder for our police officers and emergency services to share the information they need to do their job.
“An elected Liberal Nationals government would ensure our communities have a dedicated Cross Border Commissioner based in regional Victoria to identify and solve these problems.”
Areas the Cross Border Commissioner would focus on include regulation and licensing, legal systems, emergency services and service delivery.
“The Liberal Nationals want to make it easier for border communities to go about their business,” Mr Walsh said.
“New South Wales already has a Cross Border Commissioner and has signed agreements with both Queensland and the ACT.
“It’s time for Victoria to take action to resolve our cross border issues with South Australia and New South Wales.”
Wednesday 1 November 2017
Rail Freight Advisory Council
If Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan is genuinely committed to making Victoria’s freight rail network as ‘efficient and safe as possible’ Labor should fund upgrades at level crossings on the Maryborough to Mildura line.
The Andrews Labor Government today announced the appointment of a Rail Freight Advisory Council to advise on rail industry issues.
Freight rail is the vital link between Victoria’s producers and ports that send our high quality produce across the world.
But Labor’s slow progress to start work on the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project and last year’s ridiculous heat restrictions are making it harder for farmers to run their business.
The city-centric Andrews Labor Government is obsessed with looking inwards to Melbourne and regional Victoria is missing out.
Tuesday 12 September 2017
Reports that Daniel Andrews will reduce the speed limit to 70 kmh on some unsealed country roads is just lazy policy by a lazy government, Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has said.
The Andrews Labor Government has flagged the government is considering a proposal to reduce the speed limit on unsealed country roads to 70kmh.
Mr Walsh said the Melbourne-centric Labor Government should instead commit to properly funding the maintenance and upgrade of crumbling country roads to keep motorists safe.
“Our country roads are vital to keeping northern Victorians moving and connected,” Mr Walsh said.
“But the State Government is spending less on road maintenance, causing our roads to crumble and putting lives at risk.
“Daniel Andrews’ lazy response is to reduce the speed limit to 70kmh on some country roads.
“The better solution is to provide adequate funding to maintain and upgrade our country roads.
“Rural and regional councils have consistently called for the return of the Liberal-Nationals’ Country Roads and Bridges Program, axed by Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government.”
The Nationals are fighting for more funding for country roads in northern Victoria to keep our community safe on our travels.
“I’d like to know what you think,” Mr Walsh said.
“Go to www.haveyoursayvictoria.org and share your views about the proposal to reduce speed limits.”
Tuesday 15 August 2017
Country Victorians are wearing the costs of the Andrews Labor Government’s cuts to country roads funding.
The parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability and Operational Challenges of Victoria’s Rural and Regional Councils heard today that country councils are struggling to meet the high costs of maintaining their roads network.
Giving evidence to the parliamentary inquiry today, Local Government Victoria confirmed rural councils have a disproportionately large amount of infrastructure to maintain compared to their city counterparts, but significantly lower income streams.
The inquiry was told rural and regional councils managed an average of 2200km of roads – more than four times that of city-based councils.
One of Daniel Andrews’ first actions as Premier was to axe the Liberal-Nationals’ successful Country Roads and Bridges Program.
The Premier then blatantly spent money earmarked for country bridge upgrades on roads in his own city electorate of Mulgrave.
Our rural road networks are crumbling and urgently need an immediate funding injection to improve safety.
Monday 1 May 2017
Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan announced a $1.45 billion regional rail package on Sunday, but have refused to spend a cent of state government money.
The media stunt, which has no plan, no business case and no funding, was badged as a ‘huge investment’.
Just two years ago, Daniel Andrews claimed a business case was essential for every project, but now expects the Federal Government to hand over $1.45bn for a project with no plan and no business case.
Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh
This was a cynical media stunt from Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan, designed to mislead regional Victorians.
There’s no plan, there’s no business case, there’s no state government funding – this is just another empty promise from a Premier who loves to tax regional Victoria but refuses to invest in our communities.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Hodgett
Daniel Andrews has ignored country Victorians for two years and now he’s ignored his own advice, making huge promises and then failing to provide a business case or invest a cent of state government money.
The Andrews Government has left the regional rail network to deteriorate and now expects the Federal Government to foot the bill to fix it.
Friday 28th April 2017
The Murray Basin Rail Project – a critical project proudly driven by Victoria’s National Party – passed another milestone this week with official signoff of the Federal Government’s $220 million contribution.
Federal Infrastructure Minister and The Nationals Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester this week approved the Commonwealth’s $220 million contribution which will secure the upgrade of this vital freight rail link between north-west Victoria and the state’s ports.
The Murray Basin Rail Project will standardise and upgrade the Mildura, Manangatang and Sea Lake lines and standardise the Murrayville line.
Leader of The Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh commended the Federal Government for delivering the $220 million needed to complete the project, alongside the $220 million allocated by the former Liberal Nationals state government in 2014.
“State and Federal Nationals are proud to have secured and delivered the $440 million needed to deliver this vital upgrade for north-west Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to standardise and repair freight rail in western and northern Victoria, and make it more efficient for farmers to get their product to port.
“It is disappointing that the Andrews Labor Government hasn’t followed through with the same strong support as we’ve seen from the Federal Liberal Nationals Government.
“But now the final $220 million has been officially signed off, there aren’t any more go slow excuses for the State Labor Government.”
The remaining funding was delivered through the Federal Liberal Nationals Government’s $3 billion Victorian Infrastructure Investment Package.
The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad said the rail upgrade would improve freight efficiency for producers in the Wimmera, Mallee and Mildura regions.
“Approximately $3 billion worth of food, fibre and minerals is exported from the Murray Basin annually,” Mr Broad said.
“These works will provide measured improvement in productivity and connectivity, and significantly enhance international competitiveness of Murray Basin producers.”
The Nationals State Member for Mildura Peter Crisp welcomed the flow of funding and said the Andrews Labor Government must now deliver the project on time and on budget.
“The Nationals at the State and Federal levels have worked hard to secure a project that will transform the way we get our agricultural products and other freight from north-west Victoria to the rest of the world,” Mr Crisp said.
“Importantly, this critical project will also reduce the number of trucks on our highways, making our roads safer for all road users.”
Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said these works would make it more economical for farmers to do business in western and northern Victoria.
“These works are firmly aimed at better connecting goods produced in north-west Victoria with the ports of Melbourne, Geelong and Portland,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Murray Basin Rail Project will open new export opportunities for our producers and businesses in north-west Victoria by providing a reliable and efficient way to get their product to market.”
The project schedule indicates the works should be completed by late 2018.
Photo: Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, Wakefield Transport Group Managing Director Ken Wakefield and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp.