Reading Hansard from yesterday, it's pretty obvious Jacinta is avoiding the question:
AIRPORT RAIL LINK
Mr M O’BRIEN (Malvern—Leader of the Opposition) (11:18): My question is to the Minister for
Transport Infrastructure. The proper construction of an airport rail link is critical to the state’s future
rail infrastructure. Will the minister rule out committing to an inferior project which fails to build
dedicated new lines between Southern Cross and Sunshine?
Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure) (11:19):
I am confident there will be some assistance in answering this question. I am absolutely delighted to
talk about how the Andrews Labor government is delivering a real airport rail service for Victorians—
not a fake one, not a fraud one, and I might come back to that a little bit later. I will come back to that
little bit later.
But importantly too—and this may make those opposite a little uncomfortable—we are working very
well with the federal government on this project, and the Leader of the National Party knows this. He
has seen firsthand the strong partnership that we have got with the Deputy Prime Minister on
delivering projects and we intend to continue that. As part of that approach, we are determined to
deliver a rail connection to Melbourne’s airport that benefits all Victorians. That is why a couple of years ago we identified the rail alignment through Sunshine as being the best way to make sure that
Victorians got the best possible access to Melbourne’s and to Victoria’s main airport. That is why,
whether you are coming from the west, whether you are coming from country Victoria, Sunshine was
the best place to hub that airport rail service through. That is why it has also been very well supported
by communities across Victoria, particularly communities like Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and
beyond, who know that they will be better connected to Melbourne’s airport via Sunshine.
It has been a bit of a journey over the last couple of years, but I was very pleased through that process
that we received support from the federal government for that alignment. Also, as we know, they have
committed $5 billion, as has the state Labor government committed $5 billion. There is $10 billion on
the table to deliver the airport rail link that Melbourne and Victoria need.
Mr Walsh: On a point of order, Speaker, I appreciate the background from the minister. But the
question was about making sure there are dedicated new lines between Southern Cross and Sunshine,
and I ask you to bring her back to actually answering that question, please.
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister is being relevant to the question that has been asked.
Ms ALLAN: Speaker, I appreciate you have not acknowledged the point of order. As part of that
detailed planning, it has been absolutely vital that we take the advice from our expert engineers, and
we have done that in the way we have delivered level crossings, we have done that in the way we have
delivered the Metro Tunnel, we have done that in the way we have delivered our regional rail upgrades.
We have taken the advice from the experts and engineers about how best to deliver our rail
infrastructure projects that both maximise the benefit for passengers, maximise the use of our precious
taxpayer funds that go to these projects and also benefit the network as a whole. At each stage of the
project we build a better, stronger network—
Mr M O’Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, in the 14 seconds the minister has remaining in this
answer I would ask her to address the question, which was: will the minister rule out committing to an
airport rail link which fails to build new dedicated lines between Southern Cross and Sunshine?
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has been relevant to the question that was put to her.
Ms ALLAN: We are working very hard on the detailed planning. We are working with the federal
government and I look forward to continuing that work with the federal government.
Mr M O’BRIEN (Malvern—Leader of the Opposition) (11:23): Unless dedicated tracks are built
for a new airport link between Southern Cross and Sunshine, Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo line
passengers will suffer longer travel times. Will the government guarantee that Victorians using these
services will not face decades of delays because the minister refuses to commit to build the dedicated
lines necessary for fast regional and airport trains?
Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East—Leader of the House, Minister for Transport Infrastructure) (11:23):
I am very pleased to talk about how we are building an airport rail link that also benefits regional
Victorian passengers. That is exactly why we have chosen the Sunshine alignment. I know the Leader
of the Opposition is agitated about this, and I know in government that they had an alternative proposal.
Tell you what, Speaker, we will deliver a real airport rail link. We will not be printing tickets to an
The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume her seat. Before calling a point of order, the
minister knows full well the use of props in the chamber is inappropriate. I ask the minister to leave
the chamber for the period of half an hour.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure withdrew from chamber.