Member for Northern Victoria, Tania Maxwell MP has called on the Victorian Government to expedite completion of Stage 2 of the Murray Basin Rail Project in line with recommendations from the Victorian Auditor General.
The Victorian Auditor General’s Report into Freight Outcomes from Regional Rail Upgrades concluded that the upgrades they reviewed are not improving rural freight outcomes in a timely and cost-effective way, and had made the situation worse in some areas.
Ms Maxwell says the report is the latest in a long saga of disappointments for those relying on regional rail. The report confirms the Murray Basin Rail Project has ‘not met scope, time, cost or quality expectations’ and would need a considerable injection of new funds to be completed.
Ms Maxwell said the report’s confirmation of the ineffective contract management and project execution by V/Line, as well as inconsistent engagement with stakeholders was not surprising and needed to change.
Ms Maxwell said that regional Victorians were as deserving of quality and reliable rail services as metro counterparts, saying the Department of Transport’s Regional Rail Revival (RRR) upgrades should prioritise both freight and passenger services. The Department of Transport’s response to the report said the focus of the RRR should be on passenger services.
V/Line has accepted in full the recommendations made by the Auditor General.
Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell MP:
“The Auditor General’s Report confirms many things that we already suspected about the management of these important rail projects.”
“I hope now that the Government will commit to the completion of Stage 2 of the Murray Basin Rail Project, and I will continue to advocate for this.”