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12 March 1991 - Current

Shepparton rail services
Page 322
20 February 2018

Ms SHEED (Shepparton) (19:11:01) — (14 008) My adjournment matter is for the Treasurer, and the action I seek is that he join me on a train journey from Southern Cross station to Shepparton to experience firsthand the substandard travel conditions that my constituents face on a daily basis. It is interesting that I am speaking after the member for Benambra because I have to say that the northern lines in Victoria are two of the most ancient and underdone in the whole state.

The Shepparton district needs a commitment from the government in the next Victorian state budget to provide the massive investment required to bring our line into the 21st century. Each week my office receives numerous complaints about the pitiful train services constituents experience on a daily basis — overcrowded trains, lengthy and regular delays as other lines get priority, no air conditioning or buffet services, and carriages that are well beyond their use-by date. The list goes on.

It is unacceptable that in 2018 people in the Shepparton district are the recipients of a Third World rail system. The number of passengers on V/Line services in the past 10 years has increased by almost 90 per cent. Much of this can be credited to the significant investment in rail services and rolling stock the Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Latrobe Valley lines have received. Not so many years ago the state of Bendigo's rail service was not dissimilar to that faced by Shepparton today. It now enjoys at least 20 trains a day with a high level of patronage. The results for Bendigo speak for themselves. Shepparton is only 19 kilometres further from Melbourne than Bendigo, yet there are light years of difference between the quality of our services.

We know that if you build it they will come. Demand in Shepparton continues to grow. Surely it is now our turn. Since the last election more money has been invested in rail in my electorate than ever before. We were really pleased to see $43.5 million in last year's budget allocated to a number of upgrades. But while it gave us great hope, we are now 10 months down the track and there is no visible work underway. Momentum is being lost and faith is waning in the government's ability to deliver rail services to the Shepparton district that are worthy of our community. The time for bandaid fixes is over. We need an exponential leap, which can only be achieved with a massive funding investment that will rectify decades of neglect and an extraordinary lack of advocacy from previous representatives of my community.