Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — I am delighted to note that construction of the Melbourne Airport rail link will commence under a second-term Andrews Labor government. Premier Daniel Andrews’s announcement on Sunday that a re-elected Labor government will commit $5 billion to this project ensures that Victorians will finally see this long-awaited project become a reality. I am also pleased that the government has opted for the Sunshine route, which will pass through my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region.

This route will see the utilisation of the existing Albion East rail reserve train lines and minimal disturbance to nearby homes and businesses through the use of tunnels, as well as proving highly cost efficient, with a total cost in the range of $8 billion to $13 billion. It will also see Sunshine station transformed into the new Sunshine super-hub, which will have increased regional connectivity via the Ballarat and Geelong line and see connection with the new metro rail tunnel and of course the new airport rail link.

This project will be groundbreaking for the western suburbs, and it will see Sunshine become the centre of economic activity in the region. The west is set to grow to the size of Adelaide by the 2030s, so we must continue to pursue initiatives such as these to boost economic development and interconnectivity in the region. This funding commitment matches that made by both the federal government and the federal Labor opposition leader, Bill Shorten. The project also has strong support from Brimbank City Council. I commend this project and thank the Andrews Labor government for another groundbreaking transport project that will transform the lives of my constituents out in the west.

25 July 2018