North-east rail line

 

The matter I wish to raise is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for her to inform my community about the hard-fought improvements to the north-east rail line. The minister is no stranger to the north, having represented northern Victoria for such a long time. She really gets it. She was in Wallan last year and, along with people from her department, spent a number of hours speaking personally about what was needed in that fast-growing area. Since then we have seen more stops on the Seymour line, including at Donnybrook station, as a reflection of that growing population. A couple of budgets ago we had funding for planning to connect the Seymour line to the Upfield line, which would make enormous improvements to travel times and give increased services.

In relation to the Melbourne Metro project, I know that those opposite, and particularly some in the National Party, bagged the project and said that it is not good for country Victorians. But it absolutely is, because rather than members of my community having to change to a bus at North Melbourne — a very good bus that Labor introduced — when Melbourne Metro is complete they will have direct rail access to the medical and university precincts, which my community deserve.

On Melbourne Airport rail, those opposite had a thought bubble about that. This minister is pushing really hard for that to be a new project that we will deliver. It will not simply connect to Melbourne; it will connect to our regional Victorian lines and make it easier for regional Victorians to access the airport and for visitors to get from the airport to regional Victoria to see all the magnificence that regional Victoria has to offer.

The Donnybrook and Wallan stations have been the beneficiaries of two lots of car park upgrades, and we are getting new stations there. I know the minister worked absolutely doggedly, and like her I have been pleased to go all over the state to talk about the importance of the regional rail upgrade. I know the minister worked really hard talking to the federal member for Gippsland, Darren Chester. It seems like his own party has knocked him off so that we no longer have a Victorian in federal cabinet from the National Party — and those opposite seem to be silent about that. Spin Doctor Steph, the member for Euroa, is constantly criticising the north-east line — commentating but not getting it done.

The SPEAKER — Before calling the Minister for Police to respond to a matter raised by a member of this place, I wish to acknowledge the service of Mr Tony Favier, who has been an attendant here since 2000 and is now a senior tour guide. It is fair to say that he has made the experience of countless thousands of Victorians who have visited this Parliament an enjoyable one. He has certainly made life for members much easier and more enjoyable as well. Thank you, Tony. We note that you retire on 2 March, and we wish you well in your retirement.