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Press Releases

Coalition outlines Rail Corridor Development vision

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Victorian Coalition Government has allocated $8 million over two years to progress development along Melbourne’s Richmond to Footscray rail corridor in its latest budget, the Deputy Premier Peter Ryan announced on Sunday.


“The Coalition Government’s vision is to transform Melbourne by unlocking underutilised land along the rail corridor,” Mr Ryan said.

“Projects under consideration such as the E-Gate development, Federation Square East, the Flinders Street Station redevelopment and the Richmond Station Precinct have the potential to deliver new jobs, better pedestrian access, residential housing opportunities, new open public space and better public transport facilities.

“This funding will allow business planning for visionary projects including the area currently known as E-Gate, for Federation Square East, for Richmond Station and Flinders Street station.

“E-Gate, for example, could revitalise one of the last remaining industrial spaces in the central city to create a new suburb of around 5,000 dwellings for up to 10,000 residents over the next 15 -20 years.

“At Federation Square East, the Coalition Government is looking to fill a hole in Melbourne’s landscape by creating a new commercial, residential and civic precinct connecting the CBD to the Yarra River and our sporting precinct, including Melbourne Park.

“The Flinders Street Station project aims to improve the station and cater for future patronage growth while protecting its heritage, developing its underutilised western end, revitalise the Administration Building, and increase connectivity with surrounding precincts.

“A redevelopment of Richmond station could provide much better pedestrian access to Melbourne’s sport and entertainment precinct.

“A redeveloped Richmond station could have a direct connection with the MCG.

“The redevelopment of the Richmond Station precinct could create a new gateway to Melbourne’s famous sports and entertainment precinct, while catering for future patronage growth and improving access for those with disabilities.

“Together this suite of projects represent opportunities for billions of dollars of development and thousands of jobs, creating a pipeline of potential projects stretching out for decades,” Mr Ryan said.

Major Projects Minister David Hodgett said the rail corridor development strategy was part of the Coalition Government’s policy of bringing surplus government land to market.

“We are committed to encouraging sensible redevelopment, new housing and employment opportunities by putting Government owned land to better use,” Mr Hodgett said.

“With Melbourne’s continuing growth we see opportunities to modernise how land around in the Richmond to Footscray corridor is utilised.

“This strategy is about opening up new areas of the city and strengthening our economically important arts, sports and events precincts within the central city.

“There will be a major role for the private sector in realising this vision and the opportunities these projects present.

“You get one chance to develop these prime sites on the doorstep of our CBD, and in each of these projects, the Coalition Government is taking a considered approach to planning and is looking to deliver outstanding outcomes for Victorian taxpayers.

“We only get one chance to do these projects and we want to get them right,” Mr Hodgett said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Coalition to build transformational Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Deputy Premier unveils transformational Mildura to Geelong rail link 
  • Up to $220 million project will revolutionise freight movement across the state 
  • Victorian Coalition Government is investing in vital infrastructure across the state, creating new jobs and investment

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest up to $220 million to deliver key country freight rail line upgrades and build the transformational Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation link.

Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan today unveiled the Coalition Government‟s Murray Basin Rail Project that will revolutionise the movement of freight across the state and unlock the economic potential of regional and rural Victoria.

In the keynote address to The Nationals State Conference in Benalla, Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government‟s State Budget would deliver funding for the Mildura to Geelong standardised rail link with construction expected to be completed by 2018.

“This landmark project is more than a century in the waiting and the Victorian Liberal and Nationals Coalition has delivered funding to build it in our first term of government,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Murray Basin is one of the nation‟s leading food production regions, exporting in excess of $3 billion worth of food products and mineral resources per year.

“By converting the existing broad gauge tracks to standard gauge, the Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver modern rail infrastructure and transform Victoria‟s freight network to meet the increasing demand for freight services.

“The project involves building and upgrading freight lines to 21 tonne axle loading, providing an immediate 15% productivity improvement that will increase train loads by 300 to 400 tonnes.

“It will improve transport efficiency and enhance access to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne for Victorian exports.

“A modern and efficient rail freight network is critical to Victoria‟s economic productivity and this Project marks the first phase in the Coalition Government‟s vision to standardise regional and rural Victoria‟s freight-only lines to drive future growth and prosperity.”

Mr Ryan said the first stage of the Murray Basin Rail Project would deliver urgent upgrades on the Mildura to Maryborough and Hopetoun to Murtoa rail lines, while the business case for the full Mildura to Geelong standardisation was finalised.

“The first stage of the Project will include an initial $41 million to upgrade the Hopetoun and Mildura rail lines to ensure quick benefits from more efficient freight movement,” Mr Ryan said.

“The final cost and alignment of the full Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation will be guided by the final business case to be delivered by the end of the year.

“The standardisation is also a crucial first step in the return of passenger rail to Mildura.”

Mr Ryan said the Project would assist in moving freight off road and onto rail and pave the way for the potential future creation of a new „transcontinental link‟ near Broken Hill, connecting to the Sydney- Perth rail line.

“The project will enable further logistical flexibility and ease of use of the Victorian rail network. It will result in a mode shift to rail and thereby improve road safety, reduce road congestion and lower road maintenance costs,” Mr Ryan said.

“Ultimately, the project will enable a Transcontinental Rail Link between Mildura and Menindee, near Broken Hill, NSW, connecting to the Perth interstate rail line.”

Mr Ryan said this historic investment formed a central part of the Coalition Government‟s plan to build a better Victoria by delivering new job-creating infrastructure projects that unlock economic potential and drive growth across the state.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Labor and Jacinta Allan bag in Bendigo what they barrack for in Burwood

Friday, June 06, 2014

  • Jacinta Allan criticising a policy her party supports
  • Labor tells country voters one thing; city voters another
  • Labor treating country voters with contempt

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has slammed the Labor Opposition for treating voters with contempt over the Victoria Coalition Government’s new public transport initiative.

The Coalition Government announced yesterday that it would provide free tram travel within the Melbourne CBD and Docklands, meaning country visitors no longer need a Myki to use trams in the CBD and Docklands.

“Labor leader Daniel Andrews backed the Coalition plan in a story in today’s Herald Sun, titled ‘Cheaper travel for outer ‘burbs – Napthine plan wins over ALP’,” Mr Ryan said.

“Mr Andrews was quoted as saying: ‘No matter who wins the election, public transport fares will be cheaper’.

“In other words, ‘me too’ politics.

“Meanwhile, in the Bendigo Advertiser today under the headline ‘Allan slams transport pledge’, the member for Bendigo East attacks the Coalition’s plan for free tram transport within Docklands and the CBD.

“This is deceitful and deceptive conduct by any standards.

“The member for Bendigo East is trying to give the impression to the people of Bendigo that Labor is opposed to this plan, which Labor actually supports. She seems to think country people are not aware of what her leader is saying in the Herald Sun.

“Labor supports this great new public transport initiative when it is speaking to city voters and smashes it when it is speaking in the country – Labor barracks for this initiative in Burwood while bagging it in Bendigo.

“Labor treats country people with contempt. The contempt shown by the member for Bendigo East and Labor to the voters of Bendigo and regional Victoria is not lost on these people. They will remember this,” Mr Ryan said.

Media contact: Les White 0409 805 122

Six crossing upgrades improve driver safety

Friday, June 06, 2014

• Rosedale, Fulham, Wurruk, Flynn and Kilmany crossings upgraded
• 50 major upgrades under the Fix Country Crossings Program
• Improving regional road and rail safety

Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today announced six local rail crossings had been upgraded to improve motorist and passenger safety.

Mr Ryan said the works had been undertaken through the Victorian Coalition Government’s $47 million Fix Country Crossings Program, which had seen major upgrades at 50 level crossings in regional and rural Victoria.

“The completion of these local works mark a significant milestone for the Fix Country Crossings Program, which is designed to improve the safety of the state’s railway network for regional road and rail users,” Mr Ryan said.

“The installation of boom gates and flashing lights has increased the visibility of the crossing to approaching motorists which has reduced the likelihood of a train and vehicle collision.”

Mr Ryan said major safety upgrades had been completed at the following six local level crossings:

• Wrights Lane, Flynn; Flashing lights and boom gates have been installed;
• Sale-Cowarr Road, Fulham; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights;
• Velore Road, Kilmany; Flashing lights and boom gates have been installed;
• Longford Road, Rosedale; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights;
• Willung Road, Rosedale; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights; and
• Hunt Place, Wurruk; Boom gates have been installed to work with the flashing lights.

Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was building a better Victoria and delivering transport improvements that made a real difference to motorist and rail users within the community.

Minister for Public Transport and Roads Terry Mulder said installing boom barrier protection resulted in safer level crossings for country Victorians.

“With frequent V/line trains using the line, motorists will have improved safety at these Gippsland crossings, and that is what this investment delivers,” Mr Mulder said.

“As well as a safety boost across country Victoria, the program has been an economic boom for regional Victoria.

“The program relies on a skilled workforce with each level crossing upgrade requiring many skilled hands to deliver the safety improvements.”

Media contact: Stephanie Nicholls 0437 108 870 stephanie.nicholls@parliament.vic.gov.au





Trains return to Sale

Friday, June 06, 2014
Acting Premier Peter Ryan and Transport Minister Terry Mulder have welcomed the return of passenger rail to Sale today.

Work to ‘shave’ the steel track to enhance level crossing detection is complete and test trains have triggered the timely activation of boom gates and bells at level crossings.

The first train departed Melbourne just after 7am.

Gippsland East MP Tim Bull greeted the service as it arrived in Sale.

Mr Ryan thanked the people of Sale and Rosedale for their patience during the time train services had been replaced with buses.

“The people of Gippsland have been very patient while V/Line has worked through the safety issues on their line,” Mr Ryan said.

“Since the grinding machine arrived from Austria in late September, V/Line crews have acted quickly to get the section of track between Traralgon and Sale back up and running.

“Safety was always our key concern with this issue. I remind Gippslanders to be attentive at level crossings, remembering that trains are back on the line.”

Mr Mulder said grinding work would now begin on the line between Sale and Bairnsdale with a full service return between Melbourne and Bairnsdale by the end of October.

“Later this year, axle-counter technology will also be installed to ensure a permanent solution is in place.”

Mr Bull said he was "rapt" that work on the line between Sale and Bairnsdale had now begun.

"I look forward to the restoration of services to Bairnsdale, following the successful completion of work on the Sale line," Mr Bull said.

Mr Ryan said it was disappointing that Labor chose to run a misleading scare campaign that indicated trains would not return to service east of Traralgon.

“The primary concern for the Coalition Government was always passenger safety and ensuring trains would return to service only when it was safe to do so,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Coalition Government is committed to maintaining passenger rail services east of Traralgon having recently replaced 20,000 sleepers between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

“We have also provided up to a further $8 million to install axle counter technology at all 32 level crossings along the line, to ensure once trains return to service they remain on track.”

Encouraging seniors to get involved with festival

Friday, June 06, 2014
South Gippsland seniors will be spoilt for choice with the 2013 Victorian Seniors Festival boasting a jam-packed program of entertainment and activities throughout October.

Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today urged seniors to pick up a 2013 Seniors Festival program guide and start planning to make the most of this year’s event, which starts on Sunday, 6 October.

“There has been some fantastic events arranged for this year’s festival and I encourage all seniors to get involved in the planned activities both locally and statewide,” Mr Ryan said.

“The festival, in its 31st year, is about celebrating the many men and women, aged 60 and over, who contribute to our communities.

“The week highlights the benefits of ageing well and keeping active, healthy and involved in the community.”

Mr Ryan said there were more than 1,000 events planned across the state which included music, arts, sports and learning activities.

Key events run from Sunday 6 October to Sunday 13 October with additional festivities to take place statewide throughout October.

Mr Ryan said events taking place in South Gippsland included:

• Heritage railmotor trips on Sunday 6 and 13 October between 11am and 4pm, cost $12; and
• Come and Try day at Leongatha Croquet Club on Saturday 12 October from 10am, which is a free event.

Mr Ryan said free public transport would be offered to Victorian Seniors Card holders from 6 to 13 October on town bus and Metro trains and between 8 October and 13 October on VLine buses and trains.

For further information on local events, contact South Gippsland Shire Council on 5662 9294.

The official festival program is available from Peter Ryan’s Sale office located at 54B Cunninghame Street or by calling 1300 135 090 or visiting Seniors Online at www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au

Regional Growth Fund upgrades South Gippsland tourist railway

Friday, June 06, 2014
Victoria’s longest tourist railway, between Korumburra and Leongatha stations, will be upgraded thanks to a $115,000 investment from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

In Korumburra to announce funding for the $177,000 project, Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MP Peter Ryan said the project would deliver a better experience for tourists.

Mr Ryan said the works would be carried out by the South Gippsland Tourist Railway and would include the insertion of 100 second-hand sleepers, interpretive and directional signage and an upgrade to the pedestrian underpass at Korumburra Station.

“The South Gippsland Tourist Railway maintain trains over a 36-kilometre section of the main line from Nyora to Leongatha, which is the longest tourist railway in Victoria and an excellent tourist attraction,” Mr Ryan said.

“This work done as part of this project will help reduce ongoing maintenance costs and allow trains to maintain the maximum 40km/h allowed for tourist railways.

“An expected increase in visitors will bring the natural flow-on benefits to the local community including a boost to local businesses and the potential for job creation.”

Mr Ryan said the South Gippsland Tourist Railway was contributing more than $52,000 in cash and in-kind support, while South Gippsland Shire Council was also investing $10,000.

Mr Ryan said that when regional and rural Victoria does well, the entire state does well.

“The Regional Growth Fund supports community-led local initiatives such as this that will provide a tourism boost to regional and rural Victoria, and boost local economies,” Mr Ryan said.

“In South Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $11.2 million to 28 projects, leveraging a total of $55.3 million. This includes $2 million for the Great Southern Rail Trail Extension and nearly $2 million to Burra Foods to expand its milk powder division.”

Mr Ryan said the project was expected to be completed in the middle of 2014.

$13 million rail grinder arrives for Bairnsdale works

Friday, June 06, 2014

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder joined Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan today at Appleton Dock to welcome Metro’s $13 million rail grinding machine that will re-profile steel rail on the Traralgon to Bairnsdale line, enabling V/Line’s passenger trains to resume operation.

The Austrian-manufactured milling machine (rail grinder) arrived in Melbourne after an eight week journey on the M/V Otello.

Mr Mulder said Metro’s loan of the rail grinder for urgent works on the Bairnsdale line was a good example of how since the establishment of Public Transport Victoria, Victoria’s rail operators were cooperating to deliver the best outcomes for passengers who made 225 million trips a year on Metro and 13 million trips on V/Line trains.

“More than 10,000 passengers a month in total board at either Rosedale, Sale, Stratford or Bairnsdale, so V/Line’s trains are important for family, leisure and business travellers residing in or visiting East Gippsland,” Mr Mulder said.

“Bairnsdale’s trains do not just serve East Gippsland. V/Line’s connecting coaches from Bairnsdale also convey passengers the scenic way to Cooma, NSW and Canberra, ACT.”

Mr Ryan thanked Andrew Lezala, CEO of Metro for his prompt recognition as to how Metro’s new leased rail grinder would assist Gippslanders in getting back their V/Line trains.

“Safety will always be V/Line’s top priority.  Now that the rail grinder is in Victoria, V/Line staff can start grinding the tracks for a kilometre on each side of the 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” Mr Ryan said.

Since March 2013, level crossing related safety equipment between Traralgon and Bairnsdale has been unable to consistently detect approaching trains early enough for warning bells, flashing lights and boom barriers to activate for the required 25 seconds before a train reaches the level crossing.

The rail grinder will ‘shave’ back (reprofile) the rail head, creating an improved electrical connection between the rail and train wheel.

V/Line CEO Theo Taifalos said that with no suitable rail grinder readily available in Australia, getting the specialist equipment to Victoria had been a lengthy but necessary process.

“If all goes to plan, I expect to see all Gippsland line passenger trains returned by the end of October,” Mr Taifalos said.

An L. Arthur Pty Ltd heavy haulage truck will transport the grinder to Traralgon where it will start work in two stages:

• Traralgon to Sale works will start at the end of September 2013 and should be finished by mid October.
• Sale to Bairnsdale works will occur from mid to the end of October 2013

Once works are complete, the Victorian Coalition Government and V/Line will invest up to $8 million to install axle counters at all 32 level crossings along the Traralgon to Bairnsdale line as a permanent solution to the safety issue.

Mr Mulder said that once V/Line’s Bairnsdale line works had finished, Metro would use the rail grinder on its 15 line Melbourne metropolitan network to grind out minor rail defects, increasing longevity of the tracks.

Mr Taifalos reminded Gippslanders to be vigilant around level crossings now that works were about to begin.

“From the end of September 2013, residents will see renewed activity between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.  I ask all motorists, heavy vehicle drivers and pedestrians to be alert around level crossings – slow down, obey signage and be prepared to stop,” Mr Taifalos said.

“Track machinery and test trains will be operating at any time of day or night so people need to be alert at all times.  Risky behavior around level crossings at any time can cost lives.

“I thank the Gippsland community for their patience while V/Line has worked to return passenger trains to Rosedale, Sale, Stratford and Bairnsdale. V/Line looks forward to running trains on the line for decades to come.”

Ballarat community helping shape railway station master plan

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today encouraged the Ballarat community to continue their spirited involvement for the second round of engagement in the development of the Ballarat Station precinct master plan.

Mr Ryan said there were some terrific ideas shared by the community that centred on opening the precinct up as a place of activity and celebrating its heritage, while still reinforcing its role as a major transport hub.

“Creative ideas proposed to date include reusing existing buildings for markets, museums and other tourist attractions as well as the development of new buildings and outdoor spaces,” Mr Ryan said.

“It’s great to see the community being involved in planning for this iconic precinct that has the potential to serve as a gateway not only to the city of Ballarat, but the dynamic region of Western Victoria.”

Mr Mulder said the development of the master plan was progressing and conversations with the community would continue with the next round of engagement to focus on potential design options for the precinct.

“The vault of local knowledge and creative opinions shared by the community has contributed to a range of options that aim to rejuvenate the site and make it a safe and lively place,” Mr Mulder said.

“I encourage the Ballarat community to come and view the design options next month, either at the open house or online, and provide their input.”

Mr Mulder said there had been a terrific response from the community to date in the form of electronic submissions and more than 90 people attending workshops to identify the challenges, priorities and opportunities for the site.

“Some of the key issues identified included congestion and conflict of users accessing the site, the poor presentation of heritage buildings and a lack of integration to the city centre,” Mr Mulder said.

“It is clear that the station precinct is highly admired by the local community and that there is a strong desire to see it transformed and used to its fullest potential into the future.”

The Victorian Coalition Government in partnership with the City of Ballarat is undertaking a master planning project to examine the role of the precinct as a transport hub and the opportunity to unlock underused land and structures within the site for transport and other activities and purposes.

The master planning project is being managed in partnership with VicTrack, the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, Regional Development Victoria and the City of Ballarat.

The focus of the master plan is on the use and development of the precinct across the short, medium and long-term, not the frequency or nature of rail services.

The master plan is scheduled for completion in early 2014.

The community is invited to view and discuss potential design scenarios with project team at the following date and time:

Time: Anytime between 3.00pm - 8.00pm
Date: Wednesday 9 October, 2013
Where: Jackson and Co, corner of Mair and Lydiard Streets

If you are unable to attend the open house, you can still share your views online by visiting www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay  

A summary of the round one community engagement is available on the City of Ballarat’s website.

Further information is available at www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/projects, email BallaratStationPrecinct@ballarat.vic.gov.au or contact Council on (03) 5320 5579.

Gippsland line sleepers upgraded

Friday, June 06, 2014
V/Line maintenance teams have replaced 20,000 timber sleepers on the Gippsland line between Traralgon, Sale and Bairnsdale Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

“The new concrete sleepers replaced the older timber sleepers at 32 level crossings in Gippsland to improve train efficiency prior to the return of passenger trains next month,” Mr Ryan said.

“This track-improvement work has been completed while a rail grinding machine is shipped from Austria to undertake work on the track later this month.”

Mr Ryan said V/Line expected the rail grinder would arrive from Austria at the Port of Melbourne on Thursday, 19 September with work to begin on Tuesday, 24 September.

“The rail grinding machine will re-profile 60 kilometres of rail at all 32 level crossing approaches between Bairnsdale and Traralgon, which will take three weeks to complete,” Mr Ryan said.

“On completion of this work, V/Line will run several test locomotives to determine the reliability of the level crossing equipment.

“When the testing is successfully completed V/Line will advise the community of the date passenger trains will return.”

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $8 million for the installation of axle counters to detect trains at the 32 level crossings between Bairnsdale and Traralgon as a long term solution to the rust build up.

“These counters detect approaching trains so the crossing warnings can operate for the required number of seconds before a train passes each crossing,” Mr Ryan said.

“In the meantime, V/Line continues to provide replacement road coaches including an express road coach from Bairnsdale and Stratford to Southern Cross.”