Bill's Media Releases

$90 MILLION OFFERED FOR ST ALBANS LEVEL CROSSING

The Federal Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, has expressed anger and disappointment as the State Government rejected an unprecedented Federal Government offer to help fast track the upgrade of the notorious St Albans level crossing.

Mr Shorten this week revealed that Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, offered $90 million in Federal funding to fix the level crossing at Main Road St Albans – a site that has seen 16 fatalities in the last decade.

“We made a genuine offer to share the cost of this important infrastructure project with funds available right now,” Mr Shorten said.

“I am appalled by the Napthine Government’s decision to knock back this offer, it’s simply unacceptable.

“The truth of the matter is this is money in the bank, the only person putting it at risk is Premier Napthine by playing politics.”

The Federal Government’s $90 million offer was formally made in February in the hope that a bipartisan agreement could be reached to fund the crossing upgrade.

Mr Shorten said that crossing upgrades were a State responsibility, but on this occasion the Gillard Government had offered to make a significant contribution in the interests of putting politics aside and getting on with the job of fixing the crossing as soon as possible.

The $90 million would fund over half the projected cost of the upgrade, which has been in planning stages for several years but has never been funded.

“For decades we have had a level crossing in St Albans that is notorious. Precious lives have been lost,” Mr Shorten said.

“The issue is too important to be ignored – it is about the safety of our people.

“The State Liberals clearly have different priorities for their money.

“But they should be upfront and straight with the people of St Albans, and not invent false excuses for knocking back this funding offer.”

Mr Shorten has written to 17,000 households in the St Albans area, and is calling for locals to add their voice to calls for the State Government to commit to funding the grade separation.

“This is a site of tragic deaths and countless near misses. It poses a constant risk, and the Victorian Liberal Government should not neglect St Albans and the western suburbs.”

“I’m asking every St Albans resident and anyone who cares about this issue to phone, email or tweet the State Government, or sign my petition for an urgent upgrade of the Main Rd level crossing.”

The petition may be found at www.billshorten.com.au/petition.

ENDS

Contact: Jayne Edwards 9326 1300 / 0410 455 737

                        jayne.edwards@aph.gov.au