Infrastructure and Transport
Indi needs to be a connected electorate where people can get to where they need be, and where businesses can effectively transport goods.
Transport is a critical issue for our region. Along the Hume and Midland highways many towns and industries depend on access to roads and rail. There are pressing issues in fixing transport services. We need Indi’s interests to be addressed by long-term projects such as high-speed rail and inland freight. Responsibility for transport is shared by State and Commonwealth governments and this requires a co-ordinated approach.
Wodonga-Melbourne Rail Track
The first infrastructure priority for our region is fixing the Wodonga-Melbourne rail line.
Work on the rail line between Wodonga and Melbourne began in 2008. There have been significant engineering failings, resulting in the rail line only supporting slow-running trains along much of the track. This significantly disrupts passenger services and causes inconvenience to many people. For nearly six frustrating years, many services have been replaced by crowded and unpredictable bus service. Indi badly needs representatives and agencies to deliver on this project. A recently released report on the line shows that there are ongoing issues with the foundation and ballast which won't be fixed in the current works.
Cathy’s commitment to rail
I will lobby the Australian Rail Track Corporation to commit to a timetable for lifting speed restrictions. First, the need is to ensure the line is safe and this requires a firm commitment from the Federal Government.
I will support an upgrade to the rail passing loops so passenger trains don’t sit still on the tracks waiting for other trains to pass. Some parts of the route (between Seymour and Melbourne) still have single tracks.
I will support an upgrade to the carriages themselves. The old V/Line trains that run on the line are some of the oldest and shabbiest still in operation in Victoria. More people will catch the train if they feel it is a comfortable, safe place where they can work, study or just relax.
There is a great need for dependable local public transport in Indi. Elderly people, underage travellers and people with a disability all face restricted mobility because there isn’t a sufficient public transport service to help them get around.
Bus programs have been trialled in the area, with mixed success. We need to look at approaches such as community transport, carpooling and taxi services to ensure people can get to where they need to go. There is extensive knowledge within our community about what works and what doesn’t, and we need to incorporate that knowledge in our approach to addressing the issue.
I will work with state and local government agencies and service providers to develop local transport strategies for Indi.
I will support the continued development of car-pooling and other community transport initiatives.
A freight rail route between Melbourne and Brisbane has been discussed for some time. Rail freight would improve safety on the Hume, reduce congestion and wear on the roads, and bring down carbon emissions.
I will support the route going through the existing Wodonga-Melbourne track. Having the route along the existing track would be both cheaper and faster. Freight rail would give additional capacity to the passenger rail lines and mean passenger trains aren’t left sitting still on the tracks waiting for freight trains to pass.
I will support placement of intermodal hubs where freight can be exchanged between road and rail. It makes sense to have a hub near the Wodonga LOGIC centre.
High Speed Rail
Feasibility studies have been completed on the High Speed Rail (HSR) plan, which show it is economically viable. A stop near Albury/Wodonga could yield great benefits for our region over the long term, making it possible to be in Melbourne or Canberra in an hour or Sydney in two hours.
HSR is a long-term project, so we need to ensure it’s a possibility for the future. There are many views within the community about the best route and where the stops should be.
I will facilitate community input on high speed rail, including the preferred route along the Hume corridor, and the location of the stop in the Albury/Wodonga region. We only have one chance to get it right and we need to make sure the community has a strong voice in the process.