Airport rail ‘more than a transport link’


Tara Murray

The Melbourne Airport Rail Link needs to be considered as more than a transport project, according to the advocacy group behind a key document on Sunshine’s future.

The West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA) produced the 2019 report, ‘Daring to be great’, which looked at the economic development and jobs strategy for the Sunshine Gateway Project.

The report said the Sunshine Gateway Project would provide a new focal point for Melbourne’s development and make Sunshine an attractive place to work and live.

The release of concept plans for the rail link last month has left Brimbank council and many residents concerned that plans for a transport super hub in Sunshine had been watered down.

WoMEDA executive director Wade Noonan said it was vital for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link to be more than just an airport rail project.

“The Victorian government has made crucial decisions which will shape Sunshine’s future,” he said.

“Establishing a transport super-hub at Sunshine, declaring Sunshine as a priority precinct for investment and development, and enhancing suburban rail to and through Sunshine are all exciting developments.

“Sunshine will play a key role in changing the shape of Melbourne as it evolves towards a much larger population.

“This is a chance to grow jobs and improve the liveability of the entire precinct by incorporating elegant design and sustainable technologies, greater tree cover, more parks and open space, active transport options, diverse and affordable housing, and strong protections for the multiethnic character.”

Mr Noonan said the project has reached a point where it would benefit from the establishment of a key advisory group made up of representatives from Brimbank council, WoMEDA, LeadWest, the Western Metropolitan Partnership, and other interested groups across the community and commercial areas.

He said for WoMEDA’s vision to be reached, everyone still needed to consider Sunshine as a new and exciting focal point for Melbourne’s development.

“For that vision to be realised, we need the future Sunshine super hub to be considered within the context of a new thriving economic hub, akin to Parramatta in Sydney’s west.

“WoMEDA recognises that delivering major pieces of infrastructure in established urban areas often comes with constraints and complexity.

“Our interest is to ensure all issues are considered within the context of the precinct’s design, not just the transport project.”