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Chester wants ‘connectivity in all its forms’ for regional Victoria

V/Line train going through level crossing. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

Darren Chester, federal transport and infrastructure minister in the Turnbull Government, has called for a greater infrastructure investment in regional Victoria to safeguard future growth and prosperity.

Writing in The Weekly Times, Chester stated that improvements are needed in the regional rail system to not only provide a more reliable network with a greater frequency of services, but also to provide “more opportunities for people to live and work outside of the increasingly congested greater Melbourne area”.

“All levels of government need to work in partnership with industry and the community to prioritise infrastructure investment decisions, which address community needs now, and into the future,” Chester wrote.

The minister expects that government projects, such as the Murray Basin Rail Project and the planned Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail line, will increase productivity, capitalise on free trade agreements, and provide more jobs in regional areas.

Chester has been meeting with the Victorian Government to discuss possible passenger rail projects in the state.

While providing no details of the outcome of these discussions, he asserted that the Turnbull government wants to be “an active partner” with the Andrews Labor Government, and that both state and federal levels “recognise the value of connecting regional communities to Melbourne and providing better links within each part of the state”.