11 May 2023
LABOR CONFUSION REIGNS ON AIRPORT RAIL LINK
The Albanese Government’s Budget is unravelling with the Minister for Infrastructure Catherine King and the Prime Minister contradicting each other over the future of the $10 billion Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
“This is chaotic government and no way to provide confidence to the people of Melbourne who want certainty and clarity about the future of this project,” Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Bridget McKenzie said.
“Not only has the Government decided to push more than 400 infrastructure projects into a Review to the other side of the Budget to make its bottom line look better, now there is supreme confusion about what projects are in the Review and which are out.”
Following a conversation between Premier Andrews and the Prime Minister, the Premier announced the Melbourne Airport Rail Link was subject to the Infrastructure Review.
“It seems the Premier of Victoria and the Prime Minister have had a sneaky side deal to enable the Premier’s exorbitant Suburban Rail Loop to be funded at the expense of a much need rail link connecting Melbourne CBD to the airport – all without involving the Minister for Infrastructure, Catherine King,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Victorian Government has bungled the consultation as highlighted by Infrastructure Australia’s September 2022 evaluation summary, but this is no excuse to scrap the project.
“The Commonwealth has already spent more than $70 million for the completion of the business case, and procurement for several delivery packages is already well progressed.
“Minister Catherine King now says she “misspoke” when she announced the Melbourne Airport Rail Link would not be part of the Review into the Infrastructure Pipeline and has now conceded that the important Airport Rail Link may be axed,” Senator Bridget McKenzie said.
Two weeks after insisting the project would not be part of the Review during a press conference in Ballarat, Ms King’s office has told the Herald Sun she “misspoke”.
Under a current agreement between the Federal and Victorian governments, the Commonwealth has set aside $5 billion towards the project which was still in Tuesday’s Budget.
“The Government announced a 90-day Review into the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline and every other day is in the media ruling in or ruling out another project.” Senator McKenzie said.