MEMBER for Mildura Ali Cupper has urged Premier Daniel Andrews to invest in crucial infrastructure projects in her electorate as part of the State Government’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Ms Cupper used her adjournment speech during Thursday’s emergency sitting of Victorian Parliament to press Mr Andrews on funding for Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct and rail infrastructure that would help restore a passenger rail service to Mildura.
Mr Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas on Wednesday said modelling showed a bleak outlook for Victoria’s economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Cupper’s adjournment speech outlined the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct and rail as two major infrastructure projects the government should fund as part of any economic recovery.
“Rail investments for our electorate will keep people in work during the construction phases but will also allow us to shift more of our precious and valuable fresh produce to market, to help our communities get to Melbourne in comfort and to encourage tourists to get to our region while experiencing our uniquely outback feel,” she said.
“How do we do this? By completing the Murray Basin Rail Project, and by restoring passenger rail services to Mildura.
“Both these rail projects are big, but unprecedented economic circumstances call for a big response.
“Let’s get people working on making the necessary improvements to the Mildura line: installing boom gates at level crossings, fixing the railway stations in communities like Woomelang, Ouyen and Birchip, refitting the appropriate V/Line rolling stock for a standard-gauge line and getting a passenger service back on the tracks.”
Ms Cupper said $10 million in funding would be the “last remaining piece of the puzzle” to ensure the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct was completed in full.
“This facility will provide a hub not only for community sport, but for Mildura to host statewide and national sporting competitions across a range of codes, including our beloved AFL,” she said.
“An investment of $10 million will inject vital capital into the local construction industry to weather the recovery and will leave our community with an asset to attract visitors from all over the country to flagship sporting events.”
Ms Cupper said Mildura had “languished” for many years in terms of State Government investment compared to other regional centres while facing higher unemployment and lower social and economic indicators.
“With the health of the Victorian economy and the wellbeing of the people of the Mildura electorate in mind, the action I seek is for the Premier to invest in game-changing infrastructure and services in the forms of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct, the Murray Basin Rail Project and the restoration of a passenger rail service to Mildura via Birchip, Woomelang and Ouyen,” she said.