BALLARAT’S federal MP Catherine King is backing the state government in calling for a future airport rail link to run through Sunshine.
Speaking in parliament on Monday to support a motion put forward by Gellibrand MP Tim Watts, Ms King said the proposed link, the cheapest of four options on the table, had “the potential to improve the quality of life for many in the west of Melbourne but also in regions.”
“It’s really important that our regions aren’t forgotten when it comes to infrastructure funding,” Ms King said.
“Like regional centres all around Australia, residents of Ballarat rely on our transport links with major cities for work, play and study.”
Ms King said the federal government’s $5 billion commitment in the budget was a once in a generation opportunity that needed to be followed through with.
“There is an opportunity with the Melbourne Airport link than do more than just connect the CBD and airport,” she said.
“We can also connect Ballarat and our other regional centres with our airport and better connect Ballarat with the CBD.
“The train service will be hugely beneficial to the economy of the region. It’s not often that such a possibility arises from a single rail project and when it does the government needs to act to make the most of it.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews last month said he wanted to see the rail link connect to regional centres throughout Victoria.
“Airport rail is a chance to be part of a bigger agenda of true fast rail that will fundamentally change the way big regional cities in our state - Geelong and Ballarat - work and function,” Mr Andrews said.
While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he had no personal route preference, it is believed the federal government would prefer a route through the former Maribyrnong Defence Site which it is trying to sell for development.
The Rail Futures Institute and Committee of Ballarat have also thrown their support behind the Sunshine link.