Member for Morwell Russell Northe yesterday in Parliament voiced the concerns of Gippsland commuters following ongoing problems on the Gippsland line.
Mr Northe said the Labor Government had tried to spin its way out of the ongoing V/Line debacle; however the impact upon Gippsland commuters had been and continues to be substantial.
“Whilst commuters would express some relief at the return of some services, now is the time for the Andrews Government to outline to commuters how services would be improved in the future to deliver greater frequency and reliability which have deteriorated under the current Government,” Mr Northe said.
“My office has been contacted by a number of locals over the last week, who conveyed their frustration at the ongoing disruption to Gippsland rail services.
“For example a gentleman who commutes most days to Melbourne for work explained that he catches a bus in the morning and an evening train service and this is creating at least an extra 6 hours of travel per week for him.” Mr Northe said I was also approached by a lady who told me that her long awaited dental appointment had to be rescheduled as her dentist who was due to travel from Melbourne to the Latrobe Valley had their bus service cancelled.
“In Parliament we have a conga line of Labor Ministers standing up and espousing the virtues of metropolitan rail projects but when it comes to Gippsland V/Line service disruptions we hear nothing,” Mr Northe said. “This is simply not good enough, when at the same time Gippsland commuters have endured enormous disruption and hardship over these past weeks!”
Mr Northe said without the pressure from local commuters including members from the Gippsland VLine Users Group, this issue may have dragged on for many more months.
“Gippsland commuters have been left in the dark for over a month about the ongoing VLine crisis until yesterday when the Minister spoke for the first time since February 4th announcing the return of some Gippsland trains on 21 March,” Mr Northe said.
“While yesterday’s announcement is a step forward for rail users in the Gippsland region, the Andrews Government’s communication with local commuters on this issue has been nothing short of disgraceful.
“There has been no major funding commitment from the Andrews Government and I call on Daniel Andrews and his Minister Jacinta Allan to provide funding in this year’s Budget for additional infrastructure investment for VLine services to and from the Gippsland region,” he said.
“Now is the time for the Andrews Government to invest in the Gippsland line and deliver the certainty that Gippsland rail users deserve.”
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