The Senate Inquiry into the Management of the Inland Rail project yesterday heard that the Morrison Government has no plan where Inland Rail will start, where it will end, the route it will take or how it will interact with existing stations up and down the country.
Appearing before the Senate Inquiry, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) confirmed that the Morrison Government has yet to determine where the route will start in Melbourne, while in Brisbane the proposal to end the route in Acacia Ridge is “under review”.
In another sign of the Morrison Government and the Deputy Prime Minister’s woeful mismanagement of this important project, the ARTC also confirmed that it is heading back to the drawing board when it comes to station redevelopments throughout northern Victoria.
Under previously announced plans, the ARTC was intending to raise the height of road overpasses to allow the transit of double stacked trains. Locals rightly pointed out that this would create eyesores and further divide historic towns such as Euroa, Glenrowan and Benalla.
While Labor is glad that the ARTC has finally listened to local communities, we remain seriously concerned regarding the future of this project.
Under the Deputy Prime Minister’s stewardship, total costs for this project have already blown out from $9.3 billion to $14.5 billion without any clarity being provided on the shape the actual line will take.
This project is too important to stuff up, but that is exactly what the Morrison Government is doing.
The Deputy Prime Minister finally needs to demonstrate leadership on this important national project and tell affected communities, the freight industry and the Parliament exactly how this project will be delivered, when it will be completed and how much it will actually end up costing Australian taxpayers.