Announcement, by Premier Ted Baillieu and Prime Minister Julia Gillard, of the sixth and final package of the Regional Rail Link project.
I am very pleased to be here.
We are announcing the sixth package on the Regional Rail Link project.
This is the sixth and final package, and I believe that this package, like the other packages, contributes to what is a very important project for Victoria, an important project for Melbourne, and obviously, an important project for Ballarat and Bendigo and Geelong because this project separates the V/Line services from the Metro services and that means better services both for the Metro and V/Line rail networks.
And I think commuters will very much appreciate it.
This final package is a package worth more than $40 million.
It is a package which makes the link from West Werribee to the Geelong line.
And we are very pleased that this package has been awarded to Leighton-Downer as a joint venture, and it will consist of an over pass over Bolden Road and the separation of those lines in order to lay the two new lines to come into the Geelong line.
It is a significant package in its own right, but it is the final piece of the jigsaw in the Regional Rail Link.
It is a project which does have Commonwealth funding and we very much appreciate that.
And there is no doubt that this is a project which will assist the public transport system in Victoria.
But it will benefit jobs, it will benefit the economy and it will benefit the regions.
And to think that there are more than 5,500 jobs associated with this project, it puts it into perspective.
And we expect this project to commence by the end of the year, and to be concluded in 2014, and we are expecting that services will commence on the regional rail line in 2016.
And when those services commence, I think everyone will see that this project has been worthwhile and will make an incredible difference to the public transport system in Victoria.
It really is good to be here, to be able to say that the Regional Rail Link is now full steam ahead.
That every part has been subject of contract and construction will now move into full mode getting this very important project done.
And we are getting to turn the sod today on the last section and celebrate that the final piece of the puzzle has been the subject of contracting and now will move to construction phase.
But overall we are talking about a huge project.
I am very proud that the Australian Government has been able to commit $3.2 billion towards this project and worked in partnership with the Victorian Government to get it done.
It is the largest public transport infrastructure project in Australia today.
It will supply 5,600 jobs during the life of the project and then when it is completed, it will be a major contributor to productivity and infrastructure in Victoria, in Melbourne's west.
What we will have here in 2016 is trains starting to run on new lines and that means we can move more people to more places more often.
It means that Victoria's three biggest regional cities: Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat will each have their own dedicated tracks through the metropolitan system.
And by separating the regional lines from the metropolitan lines, we are able to increase capacity and improve timetable reliability for both.
So we will see enough extra train services to move up to 9,000 extra passengers across the network in peak times.
For us locally here in Melbourne's west, this is a hugely important project.
This is an amazing growth corridor where so many people come to make their lives, to buy their first home, to have their families.
And so this project, including the new train stations, will be a revolution in services for people right here in Melbourne's west – in my electorate.
So it is a great delight to be here, to turn this sod and to celebrate a project that is now in full construction mode.
Thank you very much.
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