Super hub ‘overlooked’

Tara Murray

Brimbank council is concerned the Sunshine Super Transport Hub has been overlooked in the designs for Melbourne Airport Rail.

The state and federal government last week revealed concept plans for a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River and elevated twin tracks between Sunshine and the Albion Junction.

The new bridge will be 550 metres long, 50 metres high and built alongside the existing heritage-listed rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River.

Between Sunshine and the Albion Junction, airport trains will gradually rise to travel on new elevated twin tracks for less than two kilometres, before descending and continuing at ground level alongside the existing freight line.

Mayor Ranka Rasic said the council was concerned that “airport rail is being treated and considered as largely a transport infrastructure-led project”, with no mention of the Sunshine Super Transport Hub during last week’s design announcement.

“Significant investment and development around the Sunshine Priority Precinct and Albion station corridor appear to be relegated to a secondary priority,” she said.

“While these designs highlight progress on the project, council is keen to see more detail on the previously committed Sunshine Super Transport Hub and a Sunshine Priority Precinct,” she said.

“Melbourne Airport Rail must be more than a train trip, it has the potential to create Sunshine and the west of Melbourne as a destination.

“The continued watering down of Sunshine station’s role in airport rail means any tangible and timely benefits from the project may not be seen by the western region for many years to come.”

The council has written to Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan and called on the state government to ensure the airport rail project includes fast, dedicated and efficient stops via the Sunshine super hub to maximise the investment, value creation and employment potential of the Sunshine Priority Precint; a Sunshine super hub design and master plan that provides for a world class interchange and attracts international, regional and local visitors; the redevelopment of Albion station; and ongoing community consultation about the rail link.

“As the only committed state government project within the Sunshine Priority Precinct, the airport rail must deliver an optimal design outcome which acts as a catalyst for future growth,” Cr Rasic said.

“Private investors see the potential, with five hotels and other mixed use medium density projects already in the development pipeline in the Sunshine CBD.

“Based on the concept images, there appears to be little to no alignment between any Sunshine Precinct Master Planning, and the scope and design process around how airport rail will unlock investment and development opportunities.”

Ms Allan said: “Works from Sunshine to Albion will form an important part of Melbourne Airport Rail, with Sunshine becoming a key station for airport services and other regional and metro lines.

“These improvements will make travelling through Sunshine easier as the number of trains and passengers increases following the completion of projects such as the new Metro Tunnel, Sunbury line upgrade and Melbourne Airport Rail.”

Rail Projects Victoria chief executive Evan Tattersall said that no residential properties would be acquired to build the rail project.