The Victorian Opposition has pledged to scrap the multi-billion-dollar Suburban Rail Loop and divert the funds into Victoria’s ailing health system if it wins the November state election.
- The Suburban Rail Loop aims to connect Melbourne’s major rail lines and will cost $30-50 billion
- The Victorian Opposition says it will scrap the project and divert the money into the health system if it wins the election
- The Opposition is pledging to build new hospitals at Melton, Mildura, West Gippsland and Wodonga
The long-term rail project aims to connect every major rail line from Frankston to Werribee via Melbourne Airport and is estimated to cost $30-50 billion.
Construction of the first section of the rail line, between Cheltenham and Box Hill, began in June and is expected to be completed by 2035.
The first section includes 26 kilometres of tunnels and six new underground stations.
The Victorian Opposition says it will shelve the project and invest the money saved into new hospitals at Melton, Mildura, West Gippsland and Wodonga as well as a new infectious diseases hospital.
It is also proposing a major rebuild of hospitals at Rosebud, St Arnaud and Sandringham.
“Daniel Andrews has failed to make sure that Victorians have got the proper health system they can rely on,” Shadow Health Minister David Davis said.
“They’ve failed to make sure that our emergency departments are able to provide the calls and support they need. They’ve failed to provide the triple-0 support that’s needed.”
The Opposition pledged to halve Victoria’s elective surgery waiting times within four years of being elected.
It is also promising free public transport for healthcare workers, proposing to place a mental health professional in every Victorian school and offering rebates of up to $4,500 for IVF and fertility treatment.
Victoria’s Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said Labor took the Suburban Rail Loop proposal to the last state election in 2018 and the government intends to deliver it.
“The suburban rail loop is a project that Victorians voted for and they’ve backed the project because of the vital connections it provides to universities, to our hospitals in the suburbs,” she said.
“These are the connections that the Liberal Party and Matthew Guy will cut.”
The government said scrapping the project would also cost thousands of jobs during construction and delivery of the project.