Australia News Weekly

Election campaign: Morrison, Shorten pledge transport funds

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is promising to spend $4 billion on Melbourne’s shelved East West Link road project, even though the state Labor Government has ruled out its construction.

• A Coalition government would fund a road tunnel connecting the Eastern Freeway to Citylink
• Premier Daniel Andrews cast doubt on the project, calling the funding promise a “con”
• Federal Labor has backed Mr Andrews’ Suburban Rail Loop plan with a $10 billion funding promise

In a sign of how critical Victoria could be to the election result — and the popularity of infrastructure projects in the rapidly growing state — Opposi-tion Leader Bill Shorten has also made a pitch to local voters, with a $10 billion commitment to Premier Daniel Andrews’s suburban rail loop.

Mr Andrews promised at the last state election to build a 90-kilometre train line from Cheltenham, in the city’s south-east, around outer Melbourne via the airport to Werribee, in the outer west.

It would include 12 new underground stations.

The project is estimated to cost more than $50 billion and take decades to build.

Shorten pledges record rail cash
Mr Shorten also began the day in Melbourne with a promise for the single biggest federal investment in a public transport project in history, with a $15 billion, 15-year investment.

That includes $5 billion towards the Airport Rail Link, which the Coalition had already allocated.

Mr Shorten said the Suburban Rail Loop, which work will not start on before 2022, would be a “game-changer for Melbourne and Victoria”.

“It will stretch right around our city,” he said.
“We will finally defeat the proposition that to get anywhere else in Melbourne, you have to go into the middle.”