It is disappointing the federal government is walking away from its 2019 City Deal election commitment to Melbourne’s southeast, but the Frankston rail extension already is a nationally recognised infrastructure project that the Morrison government separately committed to building – and partially funded – and should not be further delayed.
It has been promised for 92 years, has the support of both major political parties, already has a clear public benefit case to fix our region’s inadequate public transport network, and is one of only three urgent Victorian projects listed as a “near term” (0–5 years) national infrastructure priority (Infrastructure Australia, 2020 Priority Initiatives).
If Canberra can’t pull off a City Deal, it can get going and fulfil its 2018 promise: “Building metro rail for Frankston East (Hospital/Monash Uni), Karingal, Langwarrin, Baxter & surrounds.”
In recent days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not apologise for keeping voter promises. “Where we have made commitments, we meet them,” he said. This is what the 300,000 voters of Dunkley and Flinders have asked for: build the Frankston rail extension. It is time to act and extend the track.
• C4GF asked Liberal Party candidate for Dunkley Sharn Coombes if the cancelled City Deal would affect the Frankston rail extension. She replied: “$225m in Australian Government funding for the Frankston-Baxter Rail Upgrade remains committed on a 50:50 basis. As the owner and operator of the Victorian metropolitan train network, it is ultimately up to the Victorian Labor Government to decide what network upgrades are undertaken and when.”
Our CEO Ginevra Hosking comments: “Without a southeast Melbourne City Deal process, the federal government has not explained to Frankston, Langwarrin and Mornington Peninsula voters how it will work with the state government to build its promised Frankston rail extension.”
• Comment has been sought but not received from federal Cities Minister Paul Fletcher and Senator Jane Hume, the Liberal Party’s patron for Dunkley electorate.
On Tuesday 21 December, The Age published an article about the federal government delaying signing a City Deal with eight southeast Melbourne councils, including Frankston. Our fast-growing region was promised a City Deal during the 2019 election campaign to build infrastructure and create jobs. Melbourne is now the only capital city without a stimulus project.