Hopes Dashed! Melbourne Airport Rail Link Won’t Be Ready By 2030

Hopes Dashed! Melbourne Airport Rail Link Won’t Be Ready By 2030
Image: Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan (left) indicated that the Melbourne Airport Rail Link won't be completed by 2030. Image: Facebook

The Victorian government is being urged to fast-track the much-delayed $10 billion Melbourne airport rail link project so that it is open by 2030. 

On Monday, Melbourne Airport backed down from its demand for an underground station that had held up the project for four years and hoped that the vital rail link to the airport would be completed by 2030.  

Premier Jacinta Allen, when asked about a revised timeline for the airport rail link project, however, told media persons that the delay could not “magically be washed away”. 

Critical Project For Melbourne

Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic called on the Victorian government to fast-track the works.  

“The announcement by the Melbourne Airport operator provides a clear pathway to get the Melbourne Airport Rail built,” Rasic said in a statement

“The next step recommended by the mediator is to start ‘no regrets’ work on the Sunshine Precinct. Not only is this a critical part of the Melbourne Airport Rail, but it’s also going to start to deliver benefits for residents, bringing people and jobs to the west.”

The Mayor said that Melbourne could not afford any more delays. “I urge the Premier to reassess the revised timeline of a four-year delay and treat the Melbourne Airport Rail project with the same priority as the Suburban Rail Loop East, which will service the better connected and more affluent suburbs in Melbourne’s east.”

Stalemate Ends

The stalemate between Melbourne Airport and the state government over whether the airport train station should be underground or overground had delayed the $ 10 billion project. Last week, Federal Government-appointed mediator Neil Scales recommended an above-ground station unless a “comprehensive” business case was put forward for an underground station. 

On Monday, Melbourne Airport,  whose proposal for a third runway is before the Federal Government for approval, withdrew its objections and agreed to an above-ground station. 

“Victorians have waited long enough for an airport rail line. We will work with the Victorian Government to deliver their preferred above-ground station at the airport so the rail line can become reality,” Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lorie Argus said in a statement. 

“With an estimated 45 million travellers a year predicted to be using our airport when the third runway opens, the rail link will support a massive increase in passenger numbers and billions of dollars in additional economic activity for Victoria,” Argus added. 

Get It Done!

Melbourne Airport Rail Link. Image: Victoria’s Big Build

However, hopes that the rail link would be open by 2030 were swiftly dashed. Victoria’s Big Build website revealed that the “Melbourne Airport Rail will likely be delayed by at least 4 years.”

Josh Bull, state Labor MP for Sunbury and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure Delivery insisted that the Melbourne Airport Rail was “back on track”. 

“Funded early works of Airport Rail including relocating transmission towers and telecommunications, water and electricity services are continuing and will be completed this year,” Bull said in a post on Facebook

“We’ll continue to work with the Commonwealth and the Airport, as we always have, to deliver the best outcome for Victorians. It’s time to get on and get this done.”

City of Moonee Valley Mayor, Cr Pierce Tyson had a message for the government and the Melbourne Airport – it encapsulated what Melburnaians had to say about the Melbourne Airport Rail link – “About bloody time. Let’s get on with it.”

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