Call to unlock rail link benefits

By Tate Papworth

Construction of the Melbourne Airport rail link and the creation of a Sunshine super hub could begin before the end of 2022.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that if re-elected, the Labor government will match the federal government’s commitment to the project and provide up to $5 billion towards construction.

“This project has been talked about for too long – it’s time to get on and build it and that’s exactly what we’ll do,” Mr Andrews said.

A route with a stop in Sunshine will see trains travel to the airport from the CBD via a new Sunshine super hub that will connect regional and metro train lines – including the Metro Tunnel – to the new airport link.

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the link would cater for all Victorians.

“The Andrews Labor government will build the airport link via Sunshine so that all Victorians can access the airport by rail, no matter where you live,” Ms Allan said.

“Not only will this deliver fast train services to and from the airport, but it will pave the way for fast rail to Geelong and Ballarat.”

But Brimbank councillor John Hedditch maintains that how the proposed rail link will benefit the Brimbank community needs considerable consideration.

“The west will be a major place of business going forward, but the benefits that come with a rail connection with a stop at Sunshine can only be harvested by a well-planned, thought out and executed plan for activity around the railway station as people get off,” Cr Hedditch said at this month’s council meeting.

“We want people to get off the train, stay and move into the wider west and do their business.

“To harvest the benefits, there needs to be consideration given as to how we set up the grid to help us do that.”