South West Coast MP Roma Britnell has called for an investigation into punctuality on the Warrnambool train line after it was the state’s slowest long-distance line for six months running.
The data for August showed just 77.9 per cent of services ran on time.
Ms Britnell raised the issue in State Parliament last week, and suggested Warrnambool services should run express between Geelong and Southern Cross Station.
“It’s not good enough. The people of south-west coast and beyond deserve better than this,” Ms Britnell said.
“A delayed train in Warrnambool means an even longer trip for people in Portland, Hamilton and Mount Gambier who use coach connections to complete their journey.”
Ms Britnell said the region’s transport issues were holding it back from growing its population despite the great lifestyle it had to offer because people were turned off by the distance.
“The poor roads and second rate rail service do nothing to improve that perception,” she said.
“The only way to do this is to bring the regions closer to the city with better and more efficient transport networks.”
State Transport Minister Jacinta Allan blamed the pressure on Warrnambool services on under-investment from the former Liberal/National Coalition government.
“In the last 12 months we’ve invested more than $12 million in critical maintenance on the Warrnambool line, and announced the first extra weekday service in more than a decade,” Ms Allan said.
Ms Allan said her government’s 2016 budget provided $280 million for new regional trains, $141 million for major maintenance and nearly $200 million for V/Line, which she said would have a positive impact on the Warrnambool line.
“In contrast, the former Liberal and National government didn’t order one new regional train for two years, cut $120 million for V/Line and didn’t add a single extra service despite the Warrnambool line running through the former Premier and Minister for Transport’s electorate.”