David Southwick SRL Story 21 June 2024

The favorite brainchild of the former premier Daniel Andrews, the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) envisages to deliver a 90km rail line linking every major train service from the Frankston Line to the Werribee Line via Melbourne Airport. The state government says it will connect Victorians to jobs, retail, education, health services and each other.

Three transport super hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine will connect regional services, so passengers outside Melbourne won’t have to travel through the CBD to get to work, hospitals and universities in the suburbs.

While the Allan government continues to blow its trumpet on how the SRL (SRL East, SRL North, SRL Airport and SRL West) will help reshape our city’s growth in the decades ahead, there have been major concerns about the cost blowouts and the people in the know, not knowing as to what the final actual cost and timeline will be.

And it is not only the opposition, there are cracks appearing in the government ranks and some Labor MPs seem to be concerned that the scale of the project is gobbling up vital resources allocated to meet the more immediate requirements.

It seems the cash-strapped federal government; after failing to deliver on the pittance promise of $275 per year per household (the Queensland government is delivering $1000 per household/year), is also not very keen to commit any real amounts of money.

“The Rail Futures Institute, Emeritus Professor Michael Buxton, and the Grattan Institute are among many transport and economic experts calling for the project to be slowed down or scrapped, with even the Federal Labor Government running in the other direction when asked to increase funding to the project”, Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Southwick, said.

Also read: Regional, Suburban Rail Loop works out to market

“With debt hitting a record high, major project cost blowouts exceeding $40 billion and ongoing division over the SRL, it’s clear that Labor cannot manage major projects and Victorians are paying the price.”

Labor’s record debt is set to hit $187.8 billion by 2027-28, with interest repayments alone to reach almost $26 million each and every day.

Although the Allan Labor Government has admitted it does not have any confirmed detail on its proposed value capture initiatives for the SRL East, Victorians may still be slugged with SRL tax which will aim to raise approx. $11.5 billion.

Construction of SRL East from Cheltenham to Box Hill is underway following the release of the comprehensive SRL Business and Investment Case and planning approvals, leading on from a detailed Environment Effects Statement.

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