Rail tops Gippsland wishlist

A direct train line for Gippsland commuters is on the wish list from the State Government’s sale of lease at the Port of Melbourne.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the $9.7 billion leasing of the port with a promise to spend 10 per cent of the proceeds in regional and rural infrastructure projects.

The lease was signed by the Lonsdale Consortium, comprising of the Future Fund, QIC, GIP and OMERS for a 50-year term.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said the State Government had an opportunity to look at major transport in Gippsland.

Mr Northe noted the region had been looking for major road and rail infrastructure for Gippsland commuters.

He said the previous Labor government’s Regional Rail Link Project saw Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo receive a direct line, but Gippsland had been left off the list.

“Gippsland commuters need a dedicated line like other regional centres,” Mr Northe said.

“It’s certainly something for the government to consider for a transport package.”

In a statement, the Premier said the government promised it would lease the Port of Melbourne, while ensuring regional and rural communities got the support and funding they needed to prosper.

“We are putting people first with dedicated funding from the lease going to regional and rural Victoria, helping to create jobs and ensure our state stays number one for food and fibre,” the statement read.

The government has also delivered a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund to drive economic growth and support Victorian farmers.

Key projects already supported include the next stage of the Macalister Irrigation Project in Gippsland.