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THE fight has begunfor a slice of an estimated$6 billion port sale in Melbourne, to go toward new trains for the Melbourne to Albury line.
Nationals MPs Tim McCurdy and Steph Ryan were among the first to enter the ring to demand a share of themoney from the Andrews Government.
The coalition chose to support legislation for the sale of the Port of Melbourneon Wednesday, on the conditionat least 10 per cent wouldfund projects in country Victoria.
Ms Ryan, Member for Euroa, said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
“The money is now there to be able to do this project, it is imperative they recognise the needs of North East passengers,” she said.
“They (the Andrews Government)have talked themselves around in circles on thisrail line and have pretended to care about it.”
“Jacinta Allan –a country MP and the Public Transport Minister –argued this money should be invested exclusively in Melbourne.
Nationals leader Peter Walsh fought for the 10per cent share of the port salefor regional Victoria.
This means about $600 million would be invested into country transport projects.
Mr McCurdy, the Ovens Valley MP, said now is the time to push for trains.
He said he would also be consulting the community to determine other transport priorities.
“It comes back to the government, we don’t want to find it all goes to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo -which they have a habit of doing.
“It’s been ahuge win for regional Victoria, we arevery proud we didn’t cave in.
“The bucket of money will only be there for short time period.”
Benambra MP Bill Tilley said the salewas a rare opportunity for Premier Daniel Andrews to make good on a promise he madefour months ago.
Mr Tilley said he still had the November 18 front page of The Border Mailpinned to his wall, which shows Mr Andrews vowing to “fix” the trains.
“It’s almost exciting, but we’ve got to get Daniel Andrews to say yes,” he said.
“We are in competition with the rest of rural Victoria.
“We have to be strong, the community has to get behind this and send a clear message.
“We want a purpose built long-haul train service departs from Albury arrives in Southern Cross Melbourne.
“He can do this now.”
The Border Mail asked whether Mr Andrews would consider putting some ofthe money toward new trains for the North East line.
TreasurerTim Pallasreplied in a statement, only to confirm10 per centwould be allocated to regional and rural Victoria.
“It will be available for practical projects that support agriculture and infrastructure, including transport, on which we’ll have more to say in coming months,” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.