The Turnbull Government will push for a heavy rail connection to Monash University’s Clayton campus, as part of a major funding package for Victorian infrastructure in Tuesday night’s budget.
Urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher on May 7 said a $475 million commitment in the budget should be enough to half-fund the rail project, with the State Government expected to meet the remaining cost.
The state has said it would rather see light rail brought to the Monash precinct, recently announcing a $3 million design and planning budget for the project.
But the Turnbull Government prefers a heavy rail option, and is set to put its money on the table to see that happen.
“Our view is that it makes a lot of sense for our largest universities, particularly ones like Monash, which are in the corner of an employment precinct … to have a heavy rail connection,” Fletcher told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“If you look at what’s happened in Sydney with Macquarie Park and Macquarie University, the growth that has occurred there since heavy rail has been connected about 10 years ago now has been very, very substantial, and we would expect a similar thing to happen.
“The State Government has suggested – or has proposed a business case looking at light rail. We want to look more broadly than that and we’re also making very substantial funding commitment.”
Monash University welcomed the commitment, saying a rail link between Caulfield Station and its Clayton campus would significantly enhance travel options for tens of thousands of students, staff and other visitors.
“Reducing car use is core to Monash University’s sustainability effort,” president and vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said.
“We know that many who drive to campus would use public transport if more convenient options were available.”
The University noted it would continue to support all levels of government in their efforts to improve public transport to Clayton.