The Committee for Geelong is calling for plans to duplicate the rail line from Waurn Ponds to South Geelong as a key driver for fast rail in the region to be accelerated by both levels of government in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the Committee for Geelong’s CEO Jennifer Cromarty, it is imperative that for economic recovery planning, decisions relating to these projects need to be progressed during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We fully acknowledge that both the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have been focused on supporting and informing the community during this critical time where the health and welfare of our community is paramount. We welcome the range of supporting initiatives and announcements that have been made in this time of national and global crisis,” Ms Cromarty said.

“However, these major infrastructure projects will provide vital stimulus to the recovery of our region as well as economic opportunity and employment to ensure the region as a whole is well positioned for future growth and prosperity.

“The Committee for Geelong understands from briefings with the Victorian Government, the Metro Tunnel currently under construction will be completed prior to the Melbourne Airport Rail and Geelong Fast Rail projects. The Metro Tunnel will change the way people from Geelong enter Melbourne CBD by rail. It should cut travel times for Geelong commuters by up to 20 minutes a day depending on their preferred route. This is a great start for our rail travellers.

“Advice via the Geelong Fast Rail Stakeholder Reference Group is clear: all route options being assessed by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments for airport rail allow for fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat. They also allow for electrification to Wyndham Vale and Melton.

“The Committee for Geelong wants to see a faster rail solution for the Geelong-Melbourne line that delivers greater reliability, more frequency, higher capacity and a faster, direct service.

“We are committed to ensuring that the duplication of the Waurn Ponds line including the construction of new platforms, grade separations and car parks is expedited to kick-off this important transport connection. 

“We look forward to the release of key planning work undertaken that will inform decisions regarding the planned route for faster rail for Geelong. The Committee for Geelong has been consistent in its position about the region’s transport future and ensuring that planning is informed, measured and provides the best outcome,” Ms Cromarty said.

“Currently there are two railway corridors heading from Geelong to Melbourne: the existing route through Wyndham Vale and the previous route via the Werribee line.  The Werribee route is eight kilometres shorter and both corridors should be assessed to ensure the most reliable and fastest long-term solution.

“The private sector market-lead proposal put forward to government that would run Geelong trains through a tunnel between Sunshine and Melbourne CBD would see the tunnel access privatised for 40 years.  The Committee for Geelong believes that no decision to privatise the Geelong line should be made without further detailed community consultation on what it would mean for pricing, services and future network improvements,” Ms Cromarty said.

The Committee for Geelong provides strategic leadership and influence to leverage the economic and social prosperity of our city-region. An independent, membership-based, not for profit organisation, the Committee for Geelong works collaboratively with an authoritative group of members and stakeholders to design Geelong’s best future.

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Media contact: Jennifer Cromarty, CEO Committee for Geelong M: 0413 241 033