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ss than three months ago the Andrews government came to power in Victoria. It has rolled up its sleeves and is getting to work on major public transport infrastructure, for the benefit of millions of Victorians. The Andrews government has started work on its promise to remove 50 of the most dangerous level crossings in the state. On 17 February the Level Crossing Removal Authority was created and allocated $3 million to fast-track plans—if you will excuse the pun.


THE HON MICHAEL DANBY MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION,
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR MELBOURNE PORTS

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (10:30):  Less than three months ago the Andrews government came to power in Victoria. It has rolled up its sleeves and is getting to work on major public transport infrastructure, for the benefit of millions of Victorians. The Andrews government has started work on its promise to remove 50 of the most dangerous level crossings in the state. On 17 February the Level Crossing Removal Authority was created and allocated $3 million to fast-track plans—if you will excuse the pun. Plans are for 20 crossings to be removed by the end of the government’s first term. Obviously, safety is one of the issues with the removal of level crossings, but their removal also increases the speed of road and rail access and eases congestion.

The Melbourne Metro Rail Project is finally up and running, touted back in 2009 and drastically altered in the death throes of the previous state government. Daniel Andrews has gone back to the plan that put a Metro line north-south through the CBD and importantly to the Domain interchange on St Kilda Road, opposite the shrine in my electorate. The new underground will loop back to South Yarra and that central rail hub. These plans come in marked contrast to the east-west plan of the previous government, made, pledged and promised by former Treasurer O’Brien on the eve of a democratic decision by the people of Victoria. The federal government, rather than respect the wishes of the Victorian people, seems to be tying much of its federal funding to that scheme, which will put more cars on our roads, without considering the democratic views of the population.

Particularly our Ruritanian Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, has criticised the priorities of the Victorian government. He probably thinks that the four million people of Melbourne are an addendum to his government’s concerns. But, in his more lucid moments, Mr Truss has said, ‘Frankly, the states and local governments are best equipped to manage and deliver public transport projects.’ I completely agree. So, Mr Truss, and the Government, stop dictating to Victoria what we can and cannot build. The federal government should hand over the cash, as the Prime Minister has intimated, by negotiating with the Victorian government, as is proper after the democratic decision of the Victorian people. The four million people of Melbourne are not going to do without their public transport because a bunch of Ruritanians want to impose their will on Victoria despite the will of the Victorian people, clearly expressed at the very recent election.