A major platform of my election campaign was to call for effective passenger rail services for the Shepparton district.
Shepparton remains the only major regional centre that lacks the infrastructure to connect to high-speed rail.
The technology is available to connect Shepparton to Melbourne in just under 2 hours, just as our neighbours in marginal seats are connected.
We need a regular, reliable and rapid train service. We know the benefits that it will bring to our community; we have seen the benefits it has brought to towns such as Bendigo, Ballarat Geelong and Traralgon. Shepparton currently has 4 passenger rail services to and from Melbourne each weekday, while Bendigo has 20. Our fourth train service was introduced one month before the election. It leaves Shepparton at 5.15 a.m. This alone is a poor response to what has been identified as a need of our area for years.
SheppRAILS, a local community group, was established in 2011 calling for better train services and the investment in infrastructure needed to make this happen. After years in the wilderness, when it comes to substantial infrastructure spending the people of the Shepparton electorate have stood up and are demanding a better deal. They are demanding equity in infrastructure spending. We do not need more surveys, more reference groups, more inquiries or more reasons for delay. The people of the Shepparton electorate are tired of taking the scraps from the table. There have been years of inaction. I am pleased to see that other local politicians are now getting on board and starting to advocate for improved rail services, although I wonder where they have been until now. The people of my electorate are seeking significant infrastructure investment. I invite the Premier and the Minister for Public Transport to visit my electorate.