Promised cheaper V/Line fares for regional Victorians are at risk as independent analysis reveals a $155 million funding shortfall according to a press release from the office of Victorian shadow minister for transport Richard Riordan.
According to the the presser, the true cost of Labor’s cheaper V/Line fares policy is going to be $358.1 million over the next four years when it looked at the Parliamentary Budget Office figures closely.
That, it says, leaves a massive shortfall of funds because the real cost of the cheaper V/Line fares announced is $155 million more than what has been budgeted by the Andrews Labor Government to date.
This budget shortfall is anticipated to reach over $900 million over the next decade putting the long term viability of cheaper public transport for regional Victorians at serious, real risk.
Victoria’s net debt is set to exceed that of New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania combined, and the interest bill to service Labor’s debt is more than $10.5 million every day. This is wasted money that could instead be spent on delivering better, more frequent rail services while keeping fares affordable.
Shadow Minister for Public Transport, Richard Riordan, said the funding shortfall for regional public transport services was another consequence of Labor’s financial failure.
“Labor’s financial failure means it can’t afford to keep fares low in the long term,” Mr Riordan said.
“People from every corner of our state deserve cheaper fares and better services to get to important appointments, events or to see friends and family.
“Eight years of mismanagement and incompetence means that important services could be at risk. What services will be cut or when will V/Line fares be increased again?
“Labor is still yet to answer one simple question. How does it intend to deliver cheaper fares indefinitely without raising taxes or cutting jobs to make up the billion dollar shortfall?”
With regional Victorians set to access cheaper V/Line fares from this weekend, the Andrews Labor Government must come clean on how it intends to fund the policy long-term.
Some experts believe, it is just a matter of time (read election cycle) before the capped rates come under pressure and are put up.