MPs blindsided by Andrews government request to delay Melbourne Airport Rail project


But three senior Labor MPs, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said they were shocked and dismayed by the news that the two major projects would be delayed, and said they had not been informed of changes to the infrastructure pipeline.

A minister of state told age They expect projects whose funding will lapse this year will no longer receive funding unless they are deemed critical or electorally committed. Another minister said they expected some local road projects to stop.

Andrews blamed the delay on the federal government and Melbourne Airport at a cabinet meeting earlier this week, according to two ministers.

The state government did not provide a formal response by the deadline.

The federal government has written to all state and territory governments asking them to identify projects that have received federal funding to determine if any can be reviewed or delayed as the federal government prepares to tackle its own debt bill, which has reached a record high of more than $911 billion Dollar.

Sources close to the talks say the federal government is focusing on projects that have yet to be built, but the Andrews government ignored the directive and proposed the airport rail project despite spending almost $1 billion on construction.

suburban rail loop

suburban rail loop

“It’s 100 per cent a state government initiative,” said a Canberra source, expressing frustration at Victoria’s reluctance to say publicly which government had initiated the delay.

“You would have relative confidence that the airport rail link would be a more valuable project than some of the other projects in the state.”


John Hirsch of the Institute for the Future of Rail, a transportation advocacy and research group, said the airport delay presents an opportunity to advance the electrification of Melton, which would also free up capacity for more V/Line trains at Wyndham Vale and Relieve overcrowding on Geelong trains.

A month before his landslide victory in the 2018 state election, Andrews pledged to bring electric metro trains to Melton and the Windham Valley, marking possible new stations as part of plans for Western Rail.

But last October, Andrews said those upgrades would Unable to start That won’t happen until 2028 until the Geelong fast rail is completed.

When the federal coalition announced last year that it would not fund the Andrews government’s orbital suburban rail loop, an independent analysis found the first two stages were expected to cost $125bn – more than double Labor’s original estimate for the project – Andrews warned it would cost more to shelve projects than move forward.

“One surefire way to make sure the suburban rail loop is more expensive is to scrap it, delay it, shelve it,” Andrews said last year. “And you’ve got to do road and rail.”

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