Silence on Baxter line business case

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FRANKSTON MP Paul Edbrooke has remained tight lipped on the progress of a business case investigating the extension of the Frankston line to Baxter.

Mr Edbrooke did not answer questions from The Times asking for an update of when the case would be completed.

The $3 million business case, paid for with federal funding, was started in April of last year. The media release stated it was expected to be completed by “early 2019”.

The state Labor government is the missing piece in the project, with both major parties at federal level committed to the project.

Dunkley MP Chris Crethwer said “as the railway line is State Labor Government owned and managed, they are undertaking the business plan using $3 million of Federal Liberal Government funding I secured, and need to authorise the project to proceed. Unfortunately, Labor at the State Government level have continued to play politics over the issue, instead of putting our community first, by both delaying the commencement of the business plan to begin with and now delaying the completion of the business plan. 

“My aim is still for the project to commence in late 2019, and Labor need to finish the business plan, contribute funding towards the project and allow it to commence as soon as possible. Labor’s delays continue to push back the potential start date for the project build,” he said.

“This project is so important for our kids, our grandkids, our parents, our seniors and our community in the connectivity and opportunity it will provide, and I hope we can work in a bipartisan fashion to get this project underway.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reaffirmed the government’s $228 million commitment in a visit to Leawarra Station in September of last year. Dunkley Labor candidate Peta Murphy said “A federal Labor government will move quickly to deliver the extension of the metro line to Baxter.”

“70 per cent of the Liberal’s promised funding won’t flow for at least another four years, putting the project off into the never never. I will work to make sure that the extension of the line to Baxter becomes a reality.” 

The rail extension would see the rail duplicated and electrified to Baxter, with two new stations at Langwarrin and Frankston East constructed.

The Victorian state Liberals had pledged to provide $225 million to the project if they won last year’s state election, which they went on to lose in a landslide.

First published in the Frankston Times – 11 March 2019

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