Public Transport Bendigo Port of Melbourne | March 11, 2016
Port sale should fund new train services for Bendigo
Thursday 10 March 2016
Nationals MP Damian Drum has called on the Andrews Government to use part of the proceeds of the sale of the Port of Melbourne to provide new trains and services for the Bendigo line.
The Nationals refused to pass a bill to lease the Port of Melbourne until Labor agreed to return at least 10 per cent of the proceeds to transport projects in country Victoria.
"The sale of the port is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put new rolling stock on the Bendigo line to improve the comfort, reliability and frequency of the service," Mr Drum said.
He said The Nationals’ support for the sale was conditional on it benefiting all Victorians, not just those who live in metropolitan Melbourne.
He said the government had estimated the port's value at between $6 billion to $7 billion, which meant - under The Nationals' demands - around $700 million will be invested into transport projects in country Victoria.
“The Nationals leader Peter Walsh has worked very hard to achieve this, and Bendigo should be at the top of the list,” Mr Drum said.
He said Mr Walsh was adamant that country Victorian should see a return of at least 10 per cent from the sale of the Port of Melbourne.
"Country Victoria would never have seen a cent of this money if it wasn't for Peter's dogged determination to ensure we got a fair deal.”
Mr Drum said Daniel Andrews tried everything to get the sale through without returning anything to regional Victoria.
“Food and fibre from country Victoria makes up the bulk of exports through the port yet Labor intended to invest all of the proceeds from the sale into Melbourne.
"Before agreeing to our terms, Labor threatened to devalue the port by bypassing Parliament, it threatened to trigger an early election but at the end of the day, Daniel Andrews needed our support and he had no choice but to begrudgingly meet our demands."
Mr Drum said he was disappointed Labor MPs in regional seats had not fought for money to be returned to country Victoria.
"Labor does not care about communities outside of the city limits. Jacinta Allan - a country MP and the Public Transport Minister - argued that this money should be invested exclusively in Melbourne," Mr Drum said.