Labor Engages In Faux Rail Loop Community Engagement

Liberal Party Victoria

Today’s release of the Allan Labor Government’s Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) Structure Planning Community Engagement Phase One Report shows the government has no intention of real community consultation on the mega project.

Instead of genuine engagement about building high-rise towers in suburban streets, the SRL’s $216 billion price tag, or the $11 billion funding shortfall that will need to be funded by increased taxes, residents were instead asked generic questions about whether they wanted to “Drive productivity and economic growth” and “Support the heart of Glen Waverley to grow”.

When provided with balanced information about the costs and benefits of the SRL, the result is nowhere near as glowing. In February of this year, a Bayside CouncilCommunity Engagement Summary Report found residents’ top three views were “Project not needed”, “Concern about costs to provide”, and “Waste of money”.

This comes after successive reports from the independent Parliamentary Budget Office and the Victorian Auditor-General have discredited the SRL’s costings and business case.

Meanwhile, the Rail Futures Institute, Emeritus Professor Michael Buxton, and the Grattan Institute are among a chorus of transport and economic experts calling for the project to be slowed down or scrapped.

If Labor was genuine about community consultation, they’d be asking Victorians whether they support $11 billion in new taxes to make up for Labor’s funding shortfall, whether they support service cuts to fund the $216 billion project, or whether they want their ability to have a say on high-rise towers in their suburbs taken away.

Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Southwick, said: “Labor knew their $216 billion SRL white elephant would never pass the pub test, so they’ve told Victorians half-truths to try and cover it.

“If Premier Jacinta Allan had any confidence in the SRL, she would be upfront with Victorians on exactly what further critical transport projects from across the state will be cut to pay for it.

“Labor can’t manage projects, can’t manage money, and Victorians will be paying the $216 billion price.”

/Public Release. View in full here.